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Kokoro Connect (TV).


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WhiteHairGirls



Joined: 27 Apr 2011
Posts: 3315
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:49 pm Reply with quote
HaruhiToy wrote:
WhiteHairGirls wrote:
On that note, we Inaba fans can rejoice spoiler[that Taichi and her are going out.]

Getting to see Inaba as a six year old was worth the price of admission. I wish I could get a girlfriend to do that now and then.


Yup that was awesome, I am going to watch that scene again right now.

Edit: Oh I guess I was wrong about Inaba not being mentioned by her first name. When she turned 6 years olds, Yui and Tachi calls her Himeko chan.
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JustinGallimore



Joined: 08 Oct 2011
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:32 am Reply with quote
Just finished the series today, I was amazed at how good it was the ending is truly enjoyable!
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Akito Kinomoto



Joined: 24 Dec 2010
Posts: 48
Location: Pretentious University

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:11 am Reply with quote
I don't like this anime. At its best it avoids being bad. More thoughts below...
--
I really don’t want to do this. Look, before I continue any further I need you to understand where I’m coming from. I have a weakness for moelodramatic anime, from the iconic Angel Beats! and Clannad to the obscure Sola and U.F.O. no Natsu. If these kind of shows aren’t your thing it’s likely you would avoid Kokoro Connect as well. That’s fine. But this is directed at everyone who has an overall positive track record with these kind of anime and want their heartstrings pulled again. Though if my words weren’t enough indication, I don’t like this anime.

Granted, it starts harmlessly enough. We’re introduced to a group of high school students going about their lives when they find themselves walking in each other’s shoes. After all, they’re switching bodies with each other at random points and frequently at inopportune times. They call each other if possible during a switch and fill them in on what’s happening, sometimes being inconsequential, other times becoming too close for comfort. Through this body switching, and other supernatural phenomena, we learn a lot about the characters. We learn their insecurities, their pasts, their embarrassments, their fears, their feelings for each other. They don’t overcome themselves very easily, but there’s so much about them—the good –and- the bad—that we learn that it’s hard not to feel for them. It’s a good thing Kokoro Connect has a solid cast of characters, because with the story the way it is, they’re going to carry this anime.

So as the characters are trying to deal with the body switching, we’re introduced to what is quite possibly the biggest slap in the face to every fan of moelodramatic anime ever: Heartseed. It turns out he’s the one behind the characters switching bodies with each other and the other supernatural phenomena happening to them. Heartseed says this is some kind of experiment, and throughout the show—especially when things seem to be going well for our characters—he interjects himself and causes them more grief. He then says something along the lines of this experiment being successful in connecting their hearts together. This process is repeated a few times throughout the show.

Heartseed, for all intents and purposes, is the story element of moelodramatic anime becoming a character and outright telling us what we can expect. The experiment he conducts is the drama, the way he interjects himself is the same as things suddenly taking a turn for the worse, and the experiment being successful in connecting their hearts together is the moment when we’re supposed to realize that our heartstrings have been pulled. I say “supposed to” because the introduction of Heartseed is doing that instead, and with a name that plays off the term “heartstrings,” it’s like the show is telling us “we’re going to start making you like the characters a lot now.”

And quite frankly, it’s insulting. I like moelodramatic anime because even though I know my heartstrings are going to be pulled, I never know when it happens. Sure, I –realize- at some point that I like the characters a lot more than I thought I would or did, but I never know –when- I forgot I was watching an anime and started feeling genuinely enamored toward the characters. Never knowing when I –really- start to feel for these characters is its own reward that lets me indentify with them in the same way that they never know when they started falling in love, for example. Combined with everything else the show is spelling out for us, from explaining the premise of the drama to interjecting itself instead of tragedy happening naturally, and it kills the immersion for the story. Sure, all of these clichés are something you can see in a moelodramatic anime in hindsight, but the thing about Kokoro Connect is that you’re not seeing them in hindsight but –as they happen-, and it tells you –that they happen-.

Some of you might ask if that’s the entire point of Heartseed existing. That he’s supposed to troll the audience with his exposition. No, I –do- understand the point of Heartseed. I understand that he’s a sign of the writers not being confident in how well they can write a moelodramatic anime. I understand that he’s a sign of the writers thinking the audience needs everything spelled out for them. I understand that he’s a sign that they don’t know the difference between a well-written antagonist and an antagonist that’s hated for all of the wrong reasons.

Overall, I can’t really recommend Kokoro Connect to anyone because of how insulting, self-explained, and self-referential the story is. Even if you’re a fan of moelodramatic anime—no, -especially- if you’re a fan of moelodramatic anime—it’s all the more reason to avoid this show. If you’re still intent on watching it and don’t mind the story literally telling you everything, you might be able to find some salvation in the solid cast of characters because they’re really carrying this show. But even at its best and with the most praise I can possibly give, Kokoro Connect’s severe imbalance of good characters and poor story –barely- prop up the overall show to avoid being bad. Otherwise, this is one moelodramatic anime you won’t be Connecting your Heart to.
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HaruhiToy
He started itHe started it


Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 2272

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:09 am Reply with quote
Is "moelodramatic" even a word? Now that's insulting.

Quote:
No, I –do- understand the point of Heartseed. I understand that he’s a sign of the writers not being confident in how well they can write a moelodramatic anime. I understand that he’s a sign of the writers thinking the audience needs everything spelled out for them. I understand that he’s a sign that they don’t know the difference between a well-written antagonist and an antagonist that’s hated for all of the wrong reasons.


Objection. Argument assumes facts not in evidence. spoiler[sustained.]

Although I can agree that Heartseed is not the best plot device anyone ever came up with, and further you can argue that once having introduced it they failed to make the most of it, it is also possible to argue that it was necessary to do what they wanted to do.

The fact is they were playing around with the characters in such a way they had to provide some way for the characters -- not the audience -- to figure out something about what was going on. They made an amazing amount of progress before Heartseed showed up but the author clearly wanted create a rule set so complex that there was no plausible way for Inaba to figure it out in the time they had.

Was Heartseed really so much worse than finding the answers on Google? I recall Inaba was researching the Heartseed plant without getting anywhere. At least they didn't make anything of it.

Incidentally, if you want to talk about the "confidence" of the story writer the evidence that it is quite high is clear. He neither excessively avoided or exploited the sex angle. He didn't wring tiresome and predictable gags out of it. Yet the characters talked about it without dwelling on it. If I were writing it I would have had the characters react a bit differently, but I don't see that as a flaw. The personalities that emerged were a joy to watch.

End result: KC is very entertaining -- not great literature. Worth a lot more than other anime you paid the same price for.

I just got the Blu-Ray edition of this. I'll post if it provides anything new worth posting about.
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WhiteHairGirls



Joined: 27 Apr 2011
Posts: 3315
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:47 am Reply with quote
Psh you mean best anime.
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Sohma_Curse
Bargain HunterBargain Hunter


Joined: 07 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:05 pm Reply with quote
While I enjoyed this anime overall, there were a few things that irked me.

#1 was just the basic nature of the plotting/pacing and how it seemed to be a little all over the place in its structure. Didn't have a good and natural flow to it.

#2 was spoiler[how simplistically it ended (granted, I haven't yet seen the OVA, but it still felt like a cheap ending). To me, it was basically like, 'I won't tell you who that other heartseed was, but I WILL tell you that he won't be bothering you anymore...oh, and I guess now that you've learned a few life lessons, neither will I. Goodbye.' Felt like they didn't realize they were in the last episode until about halfway through it and then scrambled to an ending with little to no explanations and/or closure]. The show itself had some funny, touching, and intense moments for sure, but again, spoiler[that ending]...
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Akito Kinomoto



Joined: 24 Dec 2010
Posts: 48
Location: Pretentious University

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:31 pm Reply with quote
HaruhiToy wrote:
Is "moelodramatic" even a word? Now that's insulting.

Quote:
No, I –do- understand the point of Heartseed. I understand that he’s a sign of the writers not being confident in how well they can write a moelodramatic anime. I understand that he’s a sign of the writers thinking the audience needs everything spelled out for them. I understand that he’s a sign that they don’t know the difference between a well-written antagonist and an antagonist that’s hated for all of the wrong reasons.


Objection. Argument assumes facts not in evidence. spoiler[sustained.]

Although I can agree that Heartseed is not the best plot device anyone ever came up with, and further you can argue that once having introduced it they failed to make the most of it, it is also possible to argue that it was necessary to do what they wanted to do.

The fact is they were playing around with the characters in such a way they had to provide some way for the characters -- not the audience -- to figure out something about what was going on. They made an amazing amount of progress before Heartseed showed up but the author clearly wanted create a rule set so complex that there was no plausible way for Inaba to figure it out in the time they had.

Was Heartseed really so much worse than finding the answers on Google? I recall Inaba was researching the Heartseed plant without getting anywhere. At least they didn't make anything of it.

Incidentally, if you want to talk about the "confidence" of the story writer the evidence that it is quite high is clear. He neither excessively avoided or exploited the sex angle. He didn't wring tiresome and predictable gags out of it. Yet the characters talked about it without dwelling on it. If I were writing it I would have had the characters react a bit differently, but I don't see that as a flaw. The personalities that emerged were a joy to watch.

End result: KC is very entertaining -- not great literature. Worth a lot more than other anime you paid the same price for.

I just got the Blu-Ray edition of this. I'll post if it provides anything new worth posting about.

I use moelodramatic™ as a neutral, short-hand descriptor. On other places I've used moeblob in positive and negative context. Lite-fantasy drama and cute girls doing cute things becomes too much to type after a while.

I already said the characters were good and the sex angle was something the show managed to do right to match their development. I don't recall Heartseed interjecting himself during those moments, which goes back to what I'm getting at: show what's happening, don't tell. And tbh, a few good aspects handled well does not an enjoyable anime make. Especially when its flaws undermine everything that's appealing about these kind of anime and not in the deconstruction sense either because nearly everything is played straight.

I watched the TV version without the last four episode OVAs. You'll want to excuse me for not taking into account anything outside the given canon.
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WhiteHairGirls



Joined: 27 Apr 2011
Posts: 3315
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:05 pm Reply with quote
You should have watched the 4 "ova" episodes first. They were suppose to be in the first season, but something went wrong and they had to release the last 4 episodes later.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:45 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, the last 4 OVA offer real closure to certain things, in fact the last part of episode 12 were meant to show that certain things were not resolved yet.

And I don't see how Kokoro Connect can be accused of being too tell over show. I say that there was a good deal of work put into showing little mannerisms that showed the quirks and secrets, and if you had a good eye you could spot certain things way before they were explained. For example you could spot Iori kind of had a strangely in sometimes matching the boys to acting more girly. That Himeko despite her meddling had a fixation on Taichi a little beyond just setting up, and would often strongly try to protect herself. Yui did flinch, and although unsaid it did appear she liked Yoshifumi's attention. And some of Taichi's actions might have been him just being nice, something that was not made obvious.

Also a little strange to say too much was said, but then not really understand Heartseed. Although Heartseed claimed to only be interested in just entertainment, personally I think the implications were that this was not the case, at least not the first one. Although looking like the actions were not random, they appeared to mostly be by design, like Heartseed was merely leading them to actually get closer to each other. Forcing them to open up, trust each other and accept their own feelings or solve their issues. Heartseed merely appeared when he needed to put in rules or to force someone's hand
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HaruhiToy
He started itHe started it


Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 2272

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:50 am Reply with quote
DuskyPredator wrote:
Forcing them to open up, trust each other and accept their own feelings or solve their issues. Heartseed merely appeared when he needed to put in rules or to force someone's hand


Looked at that way you could say that Heartseed was actually a fantasy figure. I can't count how many times in a rom-com you can be watching and be totally frustrated because the characters could so easily make progress on their problems by just saying a few words about what they are thinking. Yet that famous Japanese reticence stops them 99 out of 100 times.

So in KC we don't have that. Heartseed doesn't tell them what to say or what to do. He just sets it up so that doing nothing is not an option. Just think of what he could have done by appearing in Peach Girl or Rumbling Hearts or Sakura. Not that I would advocate that but just thinking about it seems to be the point.
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Akito Kinomoto



Joined: 24 Dec 2010
Posts: 48
Location: Pretentious University

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:07 pm Reply with quote
Most of the problems they had wouldn't have been brought up if it weren't for Heartseed in the first place. Good drama lets these events build up naturally instead of forcing it to move along. The difference between Kokoro Connect and its kin, who can also be accused of forcing drama, is the former says it's moving along. If the character's mannerisms were already hinting at their damage, then build on that. Let the body switching, impulses, and age regression still happen, but let it stay as an extended event that's just passing through them for whatever reason and not fast-forwarding progression for its own sake--remove Heartseed and write events to take their natural course. It can still be handled poorly, but it can also be handled well, compared to being self-aware of forcing drama which tbh can't seem to reach a level of good storytelling.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:25 pm Reply with quote
@ Akito Kinomoto
I don't know how you expect normal teenagers having such strange things happen to be caused naturally? They were being toyed with what could have been a god like entity, maybe something that could be a force of nature. Although this force of nature have intentions and speak.

And on saying that the problems would not have been brought up without Heartseed, well that is not a bad thing. All the problems allowed them to move forward in some way, the problems created were only a catalyst. And also why Heartseed was so important in revealing the problems. Although really Heartseed barely made contact in the third, the uncertainty was actually a raising source of anxiety.

The opinions of it not reaching good storytelling seems to merely be opinion rather than a consensus.
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Akito Kinomoto



Joined: 24 Dec 2010
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Location: Pretentious University

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:25 pm Reply with quote
The strange things happening to them is natural in the same way the Everlasting Sakura from Da Capo is natural or Illusory World from Clannad is natural; it's a lite fantasy force that can or can't be used by others, but it can't use itself. The problem in Kokoro Connect is the the lite fantasy force starting as "nature," then becoming a "character." Granted, "nature" can be a "character," but AFAIK they're always revealed alongside each other.

Yes, Heartseed forcing the problems out isn't a necessarily a bad thing since he's an antagonist, but from his name to the way he interjects himself and given the kind of anime this is, makes it self-referential, self-aware of how blatant it is. Granted, the storytelling blatancy might be the point, but if the writers wanted to take jabs at fans of Clannad, Da Capo, ect., the characters also need to be warped. But as it is, we have sincere characters with insincere storytelling and the result is a show suffering from an identity crisis, half authentic and half parody.
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HaruhiToy
He started itHe started it


Joined: 15 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:24 pm Reply with quote
OK, so I just finished the BD edition of Kokoro Connect.

Short story: it seems just as good if not better than a year ago. This is in spite of some problems I have with the English dub which is done with well seasoned VA actors.

Perhaps too well seasoned. I don't know if the problem I have with the performances of Taichi (Ayers) or Nagase (Rial) is just that I have heard those voices too many times before in so many situations but it just seems like they were just not that into it.

It is also possible that these roles are so hard to interpret that the direction just wasn't up to it. As much as I like it much of the drama in KC is very very contrived and it must be hard to make those emotions believable.

Also there is at least one point the dub loses continuity. When Heartseed 2 reveals himself to Taichi in the time-reversal arc part of his lines include a threat of what would happen if Taichi doesn't follow his instructions. That audio turns up garbled.

Yet at the end of the day you care enough about the characters that the dub problems just don't seem to matter. It worked in Japanese and it works in English.

Also, last year I hadn't had the opportunity to watch the OVA (four episode arc) that I just watch. It just confirms my annoyance that often a TV series is streamed and they don't license the OVA. I wish the streaming industry would get over this practice. (Although to be fair this happens with DVD/BD distributions all the time.)
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Gewürtztraminer
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:22 pm Reply with quote
I finally got around to watching the final ova arc.
I thought it filled some character holes reasonably well, but....

Do actual police not exist in Japan?
This instance did have a plausible suggestion when the idea to call police came up, they pointed out that they did not know where to send them. spoiler[But then they do not call once the location has been found.]

And what of the criminal justice system?

spoiler[Kidnapping and attempted murder (attacking an unarmed guy with a steel pipe)] gets dealt with outside of official means.
Is that any kind of deterrent?
"I just committed two felonies that would normally put me away for life." and no official punishment?

Anime in Japan: Where to be a criminal.

Still, it did not affect the story in any way, except annoyance fodder for me.
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