First Impressions: Kokoro Connect

So, Kokoro Connect is totally a weird show for me.  It’s not a genre I watch all that often, though it definitely is the type of show fellow writers Kaushik and pluffei would enjoy more (and in fact, do).  Kaushik even described the show to me as something akin to Anohana, a show that I winded up hating.  Anyway, Kokoro Connect seemed to be giving me some bad signs.  However, I decided to give it a shot. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.  What I found is a show that, at the very damned least, is above average.  I’m not sure how I regard it yet, but I’d be a liar and an idiot if I said it was a bad show.

Well, the show is basically about five kids who, per school rules, have to join clubs, but can’t for various reasons, so they get lopped into one catch-all club that doesn’t do much of anything.  Except write articles about stuff, I suppose.  Sounds kind of familiar.  Anyway, who cares, the show is actually about body swapping.  Basically, the main cast of characters keep switching bodies with each other.  Hijinks ensue.

While this isn’t the most original premise, Kokoro Connect goes pretty far with its gimmick.  It starts out being pretty comedic, with your standard body swapping humor.  Incidentally, this was my least favorite part of the show, so far.  I didn’t really like the setup all that much, but it wasn’t bad.  It seemed like I’ve seen it before.  The humor started to grow on me, however, as they start screwing up repeatedly, and even started to pull pranks on each other.  However, I don’t think the show can stand on its humor alone.

"What, I have to use my brain when heading to the bathroom?"

Fortunately, the show is much more than meets the eye.  The show seems to be going all the way with the body swapping. There is some serious comedy you can derive from body swapping.  The show explores that.  Consequently, there’s also quite a few repercussions to body swapping.  The show also explores that.  What, there’s some serious potential drama involved with body swapping?  You better believe the show explores that.  Everyone has emotional skeletons they wish to keep hidden?  Yeah, not while this show’s on it!

At the same time, it’s not as if the characters don’t have questions regarding their situation.  I am kind of annoyed regarding how they treated the mystery though.  The show introduced a new character in the second episode, whose sole purpose is to explain the phenomenon, but not in any useful manner.  Basically, “Yeah, there’s a mystery, go solve it.  Or you’ll be sorry.”  He did create some rather interesting tension, implying that they can seriously fuck up.

And at this point, that’s one of the really interesting parts of the show.  There is a sense of danger.  The characters can really fuck up, and ruin themselves for the rest of their lives.  Hell, there’s so many ways to screw this up, it can be rather horrifying.  Kokoro Connect does a great job of pointing those dangers out, that even though they’re in this interesting situation, if they screw up it’s over.

... or else!

The show isn’t Bokurano levels of dark, however.  Far from it.  Just like there’s a variety of danger present, body swapping presents the opportunity to solve problems, as demonstrated in episode three.  The show carefully balances these two aspects, quite cleverly too, as it never swings too far in one direction.  I think this might be the reason why I’m still on-board.  While I could probably sit through a comedy show through its entirety, if Kokoro Connect became drama-heavy like Anohana, I would’ve dropped the show pretty quickly.

The characters, however, aren’t the most aspect of the show.  At least, not yet.  They all fit their nice little archetypes, with little to no surprises… seemingly.  There are enough hints to suggest that there is a lot more that meets the eye for any of these characters.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if these hidden depths will play out generically or not, as the show makes little reference to them other than that they exist.  Episode three made them out to seem rather interesting, but at the same time, I’m worried that the reveal of the most damaged character in the show will be underwhelming.

At the same time, the characters may be in good hands.  It’s not much yet, but the show has poked threateningly at many of the character’s archetypes.  Some of these archetypes could very well wind up being subverted.  For instance, the main character is described as a selfless individual, and while he may have helped one of the other characters out with some of her problems, another character points out that this nature of his will get him in serious trouble.  Again, I don’t know where this will go, and though I’m worried, I’m also very much interested in seeing how these characters develop.

Making fun of selflessness? We're off to a good start, already!

I can’t make a judgment about the show’s technical merits, unfortunately.  The art style reminds me of K-ON!, but that’s about it.  However, it doesn’t look bad, per se.  In fact, every shot manages to look at least decent, as characters seldom appear off model or smudged or anything.  There’s not much in the way of animation, but the show looks like it has a decent budget, at least.

The music’s been pretty decent.  I don’t remember any songs, but I’ve actually found myself pointing out the songs.  Usually, I don’t even remember if an anime even had a soundtrack.  I suppose that’s a positive already.  However, the music does fit what’s going on quite well, which is another plus.  The show has quite the all-star cast, all of whom fit their roles quite well.  Yet another plus, I guess.  These three pluses probably make sound a success.

Overall, Kokoro Connect is a pretty interesting show, as it tackles the body swapping genre from a very precarious position.  It doesn’t use an overly comedic approach, nor is it very drama-heavy.  Instead, Kokoro Connect walks this genre on a dangerous tightrope, hoping not to sway in either direction.  However, it has elements of everything, and also does everything quite well.  The comedy is amusing, the danger is very real, and the drama is effective.  It would be tragic if the show fell off this tightrope, and becomes a highly comedic or highly dramatic show, but should it continue to capture all these elements, and hold on to all of them dearly, this show would wind up being a pretty great one.

 

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A mad scientist who's so cool!

Laevatein

A mad scientist who's so cool!

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