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Kokoro Connect – 03

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「ジョバーとローブロー」 (Jobaa to Rooburoo)
“Jobber and Low Blow”

Someone mentioned it and I will not take credit for it, but Yui’s background is revealed this week and she was indeed a rape victim. Or almost. I think it would’ve made for a darker story if she really was raped, since the “almost” lessens the severity of the situation. However, the fact that she was attacked when she was younger explains why she doesn’t like being touched, why she shivers in the presence of men and why she seems to shake Yoshifumi off. As terrifying as her experiences are though, I was more interested in the interactions between Taichi and Yui, Taichi and Himeko and I was hoping for more Iori. I also thought it would’ve been a nice touch if they animated a flashback of some sort while Yui dug up her past. It would have delivered a more powerful message in my opinion, however I guess the focus of the episode isn’t on Yui, but rather how she overcomes her past.

I ranted a bit about how the body-switching and Heartseed introduction bothered me last episode… but I know understand a little more that the series is more about how each person overcomes their insecurities with the help of others who understand what they’re going through. Yui and Taichi were a great example of that. As stated, I’m not too thrilled about hearing about Yui’s background, but what really got me was how Taichi chose to help her overcome her fears (even if it meant injuring himself). I never imagined a Yui x Taichi pairing, but I’m starting to see it more now. Taichi is indeed someone that I can foresee fitting all three of the female characters. I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing – I see him as a very typical harem male lead who just happens to fit everyone, easy going personality with no real sense of individuality. He even lets his sister dictate what they watch.

On the other hand, I really don’t blame Taichi for his “lack” of personality so to speak. For one, I definitely relate to him in more ways than one. Himeko pointed out that he was selfless and he would like someone to protect (someone like Iori), even being as clueless as he is. Although I definitely agree with Himeko’s evaluation of the situation, I also see Taichi as someone like myself and I can empathize with him. He fits all the girls and blends in well because he’s so laid-back. He’s selfless in a sense that he rather see other people happy and he chooses to suffer (by doing garbage clean-up for example) because he knows it has to be done and no one wants to do it. I completely respect that (and have been in similar situations), and that means I no longer find him a bland character to watch. I’m actually very anxious to find out who he ends up being most attracted to… my guess so far goes to Himeko (since she did just faint). While she described Iori, I almost felt like she was also going through the same emotional roller coaster and simply had no one to depend on – since she acts as the pillar for all the other girls to lean on.

Yoshifumi and Iori had very few scenes this episode… and the few scenes that Yoshifumi was in, made me only feel like he was the most undeveloped and flat character. The girls trump the guys in terms of interesting back stories and Yoshifumi falls way behind Taichi in terms of understanding people too. Not to say that he doesn’t have his own issues, I just haven’t seen them surface yet. This probably won’t be explored until later though – next episode seems to focus more on Himeko, Iori and Taichi.

Full-length images: 15, 31, 35, 36.

 

Preview

Kokoro Connect   03   Preview 01 Kokoro Connect   03   Preview 02 Kokoro Connect   03   Preview 03
July 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm
59 comments »
  • July 22, 2012 at 1:57 pmxRichard

    Re-posting my impressions.

    I’m loving this series. This drama is exactly what I expected K-On to be before it aired. There’s a lot to write about.

    Yui
    The main star of the episode. Her problem was exposed and she is now trying to overcome her fear. Brave girl. I don’t know if there’s more about her character to discover.

    Aoki
    “My policy is to enjoy life as I go”. This guy seems like the only real victim here. It’s like he’s an already developed character. Maybe he will play a bigger role in this mess when Romance starts to kick in.

    Iori
    It seemed that her mother was giving her some good news, maybe re-marrying. But I don’t think Iori was honest about her
    reaction on the matter. As Inaba said, she may be the weakest one out of all the group.”)

    Inaba
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Taichi
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • July 22, 2012 at 3:14 pmMasterDragonKnight

      I agree with your assessment of Iori. When she told her mom that she would be fine with anything (or anyone) she decides, it felt like the conversation was about remarrying.

      Iori comes off as someone who perpetually smiles, no matter how painful she feels. Her past experience, likely from a broken family, caused her to withdraw and hide away her true feelings. What is left is someone who keeps smiling and maintains a false cheerful attitude, in order to avoid getting hurt again.

      • July 22, 2012 at 8:02 pmxRichard

        Iori’s situation is awfully similar to that of Show Spoiler ▼

      • July 23, 2012 at 8:03 amCherrie

        I thought so too that maybe her mom was remarrying… if she’s at work so often though, it makes me wonder if she even has time to date =X Maybe they’re moving or her mom is going on an extended vacation somewhere? I don’t know =S but we’ll probably find out next week.

    • July 22, 2012 at 7:47 pmkirin

      I’m impressed. If the show does characterize Taichi in that manner eventually then I would have no more complaints.

      One of my more pressing fears is that the anime will spare no time to explore Taichi’s “selflessness”, and he would be left to rot as a generic altruistic male lead from some third rate visual novel.

      • July 22, 2012 at 8:14 pmxRichard

        He may be the groups worst enemy. Because Show Spoiler ▼

        Now, Inaba is a whole different case. She’s kind of his opposite in that sense.

  • July 22, 2012 at 2:06 pmegarim

    That was definitely an interesting episode.
    The main characters are developing in a such great way and it’s difficult not to become attached to them. I loved Taichi and Yui moments in this episode even if unexpected (as the reaction of Iori).

    IMHO this is going to be the most interesting sentimental anime in this season.

  • July 22, 2012 at 2:14 pmBenz

    They actually skip some of the dialogue when Himeko calling him out as selfless and like to self-sacrifice for other Show Spoiler ▼

    To be honest I kind of hate his attitde, is one thing if he decide to do it on his own ( lik yui’s problem, he help because she is a friend) but being a self sacrfice idiot just so no one would be bother by it is just stupid, when they are just classmate who for one I doubt they are all his friends, so why would you wanna bunden yourself with task that others even yourself not willing to do, just plain stupid. I would rather let fate run its course and if in the end I get pick then at least I feel fate ask me to.

  • July 22, 2012 at 2:17 pmMocha

    B E S T A N I M E O F S E A S O N

  • July 22, 2012 at 2:48 pmKinny Riddle

    Taiichi teaching Yui to defend herself by showing her where to aim for where it hurts most – literally – and Taiichi proves his selflessness by using himself as an example. Though it took a bodyswitch back for him to realize how painfully foolish that was. lol

    Speaking of which, the timing of this switch back was just too funny for it to be purely coincidental. I do suspect Heartseed may not be telling the whole truth about the switches being totally random, and that he may on occasion take control of the switches for the sake of trolling our heroes in order to further satisfy his own lulz. ;)

    • July 22, 2012 at 3:14 pmDextro

      I don’t think Heartseed is the one controlling the switches since there’s a very simple and obvious entity that controls them: it’s called plot :P

    • July 22, 2012 at 4:04 pmjrj

      Disclaimer: what I say here is purely speculation and NOT LN spoiler xD
      Heartseed emphasized that the 5 need to make the body swap incident “interesting”, and the reason they are chosen for this incident is because they are “interesting”… So if he has the ability to control the teacher’s body, why is it implausible that he could, to some degree, control body swapping to make them more “interesting”? xD
      At least it is “interesting” to us viewer and “painful” to Taichi xD

  • July 22, 2012 at 2:49 pmCybersteel

    A series where both male and female led has equal importance.

  • July 22, 2012 at 2:52 pmBio D

    Glad to see this series living up to my hopes.
    The self-inflicted kick in the balls was actually a pretty clever way of helping Yui deal with her fear, because without the body-swapping she would have never believed him and it shows just how far Taichi is willing to go in his selflessness. In sense much Shirou in that one.
    Inaba has a very dark world view and it shows in her opinions of others (calling everyone an enemy, Iori “the one most likely to break down completely”, etc.).
    Aoki’s observant nature is a good facet to his character, but I do wish it had been noted before the observed had been made blindingly obvious.

    • July 22, 2012 at 2:54 pmBio D

      Also of note are the hints that Inaba has a thing for Taichi (though who doesn’t at this point…), which makes all her comments on Taichi’s selflessness while trying to set him up with Iori interesting. Maybe she’s chewing out herself too?

      • July 22, 2012 at 3:35 pmR

        Sure seemed like she was talking her own self down, especially with her “everyone is an enemy” line.

  • July 22, 2012 at 3:00 pmKTNO

    That awkward moment when you kick your own balls

    • July 22, 2012 at 4:58 pmFantomOmega

      Racking your nuts… in the name of Friendship!

      Dear god don’t tel me that Yui is gonna develop some form of martial arts dedicated ONLY to breaking your balls!? -_- the hell will she name it!? Nut-Fu? Balls-Quan-do???

      • July 22, 2012 at 9:54 pmThe Sandman

        “The Nutcracker Suite”.

      • July 23, 2012 at 8:33 amKTNO

        “Yui: The ball slayer”

  • July 22, 2012 at 3:10 pmSalbazier

    Great episode! ^^

    Though I feel it was a bit rushed, I was impressed by Taichi’s way of helping Yui. Kick in the balls, gotta the worst (and funniest) thing that can happen to a girl in a guy’s body. XD I’m suprised he can run and walk normally soon after. From my expereience the pain can linger for quite a while…

  • July 22, 2012 at 3:23 pmderpy derp

    well i was right on my guess week ago, she is a rape victim

    • July 22, 2012 at 4:36 pmSilver

      To be exact, an attempted rape victim. However the damage was still a lot because he practiced Karate everyday and was a very strong fighter. To barely escape from such a situation is a large blow to her confidence with her ability to defend herself against men which resulted in her fear of men.

  • July 22, 2012 at 3:54 pmGolos

    >and Yoshifumi falls way behind Taichi in terms of understanding people too.<

    Did we watch the same episode?
    It was shown that Aoki was better at perceiving of Yui's issue than Taichi who did not even notice that something was wrong with her.

    • July 22, 2012 at 6:58 pmBakaMochi

      Yeah… I thought Aoki was pretty perceptive too. It’s just that he knows he’s not the right person to help Yui – that’s not an indication of someone who lacks understanding of others, but rather an indication of someone who’s well aware of his own limitations. He cares for Yui as much as Taichi does, probably more so. But he’s smart enough to know that to Yui, he’s not what she needs.

      In my opinion Taichi is the flattest of them all right now, and it ties back into what Inaba said – he’s all about molding himself into people’s expectations, so his sense of self is the weakest of all the leads. So in that aspect, he’s a little behind.

      It’s too early to tell but he really seems like he has the biggest issues with himself in terms of avoiding issues/defining his sense of identity; he needs something to fix, and has some preordained thought that whenever there’s something that needs doing it has to be him – classic saint behavior. That’s either a marker for someone who really doesn’t want to face the skeletons in his closet or someone who’s due for a mental breakdown in the near future. Or it could be just some condescension issues going on, but who knows?

      Point is, once Taichi runs out of things/people to “fix”, he’s going to run into an existential crisis.

      I don’t think getting “almost raped” lessons the severity of the situation any, since it’s still a terrifying situation to face. If anything, the problem was toned down for the sake of the resolution – if Yui really was raped, learning she can kick the guy’s balls to escape isn’t gonna make her feel better. Like fragb85 said, I’m not still not entirely happy with how the conclusion is handled, but what can you do. At least Kokoro Connect even bothered to bring this perspective into the story.

      • July 22, 2012 at 9:35 pmJohnTheRaptist

        I’ve got a love/hate thing goin on with the guy. The saintly behaviour does go a bit far, but the whole slightly altering yourself based on who you’re around definitely strikes a chord with me. In a sense, he’s still his own person he just lets certain traits stand out more depending on who he’s with. His personality hasn’t veered so wildly as to have him be some mary sue/cypher who takes on any personality so i can relate to that aspect of him very well. With aoki, his whole idiotic but be perceptive act just comes across as awkward and jarring with the rest of the cast. I can’t really figure out why, maybe how he just sort of gives up on himself. I don’t really see it as natural limitations he just seems so preoccupied with apologizing he cant just listen to the girl like taichi did. It seems hard to believe that he can’t move beyond being able to see what’s wrong with others. I mean, isn’t that the first step to empathizing and ultimately being there for someone?

      • July 23, 2012 at 10:37 amCherrie

        I always thought that Aoki was understanding… but only towards one individual – Yui. Whereas Taichi seems to have a better relationship with all 3 of them… so perhaps I am judging Aoki a little early, but this is just what I see of the two boys so far. To me, if you’re interested in a girl, obviously you’d go out of your way to pay attention to her. But Taichi seems to care about all of them equally so… if that means he’s lacking in individuality, I guess that clearly means we can’t all be perfect =S

        I agree with JohnTheRaptist when I mentioned that I can empathize a lot with Taichi. I know that a lot of people may find him flat and lacking… but I don’t think he needs to fix people, he simply wants to help people and be a better person. Similar to how I am… I know a lot of my friends find that I don’t get what I want because I consider myself easy-going and just don’t want trouble. Yes… that also means that I tend to avoid the pink elephant in the room and I probably bury all my internal issues and never talk about them – but we have all our ways of dealing with problems and this is mine. Not to say that Taichi does the same thing… I don’t think he seems to have many problems at all actually – which can be a problem in the future too.

        Anyway, I don’t want to be all defensive about him and stuff since I know he has his faults too. I’m just saying that I can relate since I probably am a living version of someone like him…

      • July 23, 2012 at 5:43 pmBakaMochi

        Hmm… sorry if I misunderstood your point – I guess the way I read it, it just seemed like Aoki was flat? I don’t know if there was any indication Taichi is on particularly better terms with the girls, but it does come off that way since he gets considerably more screen time than Aoki does.

        The biggest issue with Aoki is that he lacks tact, or sensibility. He sees an issue, and can address it, but he doesn’t know how to “fix” it. Taichi, from being a “selfless freak” (Himeko’s words, not mine) has always strove to make everyone happy – I don’t think he knows innately how to fix every problem, just that he’s usually the most logical person to do because he has no ulterior motives (i.e. he doesn’t have feelings for Yui). And that’s the key here, because no matter what Aoki does for Yui, it’s always going to be tinted with something else in her eyes. She needed someone who had no “third party” emotions to help her face the issue, since that would give her the reassurance that nothing would be expected of her – Aoki, intentional or not, can’t give her that. Hence why Taichi’s the “right” person for the job.

  • July 22, 2012 at 3:57 pmjrj

    Just finished vol.1 and half of vol.2 of the LN. I have to say, with all the body swapping, the anime is a bit easier to understand than LN. Also the anime is faithfully following the LN so far and seems like will continue that trend at least next week :)
    Ok, now that my LN comparison is over, time for actual comment :) Yui’s backstory… For this I have to say the way it is done here is good enough. If she was really a rape victim, then it would too cruel for her and for Yoshifumi to deal with, plus Taichi can’t save her then…
    As to Taichi shipping… My personal favorite would be Taichi x Himeko! (I am not spoiling how LN shipping is going, at least not now)
    Next week, Inori scene and Himeko scene :)
    PS. Yoshifumi, bribe the author so you can shine! You shined for a few minutes this week, but you need more… Or learn from Klein of SAO or Ash Roller of AW…( just kidding )
    PPS. Heartseed, you are now officially on my “list”…
    PPPS. Taichi x Himeko !!! xD

    • July 22, 2012 at 11:22 pmWW

      I’m guessing you are following or are planning to follow the LN as far as it has gone, so I have a question for you. Has there been any indication if Heartseed has the characters’ interests at heart with the body-swapping, or if Heartseed is pretty much like the kid with the magnifying glass aimed at the anthill?

      • July 23, 2012 at 1:01 amjrj

        I will answer you, so don’t worry. First of all, yes, I will follow LN, but to be precise, I will follow as far as what is translated since I can only read Chinese.

        now to your question… my answer will base on vol.1 and 2 alone (out of 8 volumes). Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 22, 2012 at 4:03 pmrochichan

    Wow. This is really getting good so far. Taichi… even though he’s a “selfless” freak, his attitude in always wanting to help others and suffer for them, it makes me adore him so much.

  • July 22, 2012 at 5:28 pmfragb85

    Well I guess my prediction on Yui’s past was right. I’m a bit uncomfortable on how it was easily solved though (trauma like the does not go away easily). Still, it was a good episode and did establish that there would be some character drama amid the comedy. I’m especially interested in Iori, since there is some foreshadowing about her own happy mask.

    Taichi kicking his own nuts was as awesome as it is hilarious. That’s +1000 MAN points from me. It begs the question though, how does a man-hating Yui NOT know the valuable self-defense technique known as a nut-shot?

  • July 22, 2012 at 6:06 pmHunterWulf

    Fantastic episode, it grabbed my attention from the first minute to the last, this episode really fleshed out the characters so well, we got to confirm that Yui fears men because of that traumatic event in her past (even more traumatic than normal since she was training in Karate but she could barely escape her assailant, that would break her self-confidence), also the dialog between Tacichi and Inaba at the beginning of the episode did a fine job showing us Inaba’s view of the world and of both Iori and Taichi … hope the next episodes give that same treatment to the rest of the characters … also happy how the series manages to mix serious drama with funny moments without either of them ruining the other .. it seamlessly flows back and forth between the two.

    Also i have to note i liked how mature the characters felt despite the silly moments here and there .. and good to see the writer avoided the whole cheesy drama of Aoki seeing Taichi with Yui and seriously thinking there is something between them (it was reduced to a funny moment .. which is fine by me).

    This show keep getting better and better IMO … and i’m glad to see less complainers about the whole body switching mechanic and less people who thought that was a Sci-Fi show when it is a actually a slice-of-life drama with a touch of comedy and supernatural mixed in … phew.

  • July 22, 2012 at 6:33 pmc2710

    thought it’ll be some fluffy series but looking at the previous and current episode, it doesn’t seem to suggest so

    and silverlink is thus far doing a good job in animating it… though i’m still coming to terms with its lack of silverlink-ness or shaft-yness

  • July 22, 2012 at 8:05 pmrockmanjoe

    Such a great show, my favorite of the season by far.

  • July 22, 2012 at 9:10 pmewok40k

    I am amazed how the whole premise of body-swapping was a front for much more character development driven series – and this has my full approval. Some people already hinted about Yui possibly being a victim of sexual attack by man, and they have been proved right. I did a sigh of relief that she managed to run from the attack, but there was still damage to her psyche… Luckily Taichi managed to convey to her that men are easy enough to defeat, so hopefully she will be better off. Taichi is definitely having a white knight syndrome, which might yet have to be addressed. Yoshifumi had a bit of backseat to this, and Iori was totally relegated to being elsewhere (though she was shown in some serious conversation with mother). What next got me interested me was Himeko. She seems to be a math-logic type obsessed with controlling herself, so the whole idea of randomly being swapped with someone’s body is abhorrent to her. And she couold have some health issues, so
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • July 22, 2012 at 10:58 pmFT5Havok

      ^Never thought of that idea! its quite possible…

    • July 23, 2012 at 8:17 amCherrie

      That’s a very interesting thought =O I never even imagined anything like that… although I don’t think they would be switching around for that long enough to happen, it’s a very grim idea indeed…

      • July 23, 2012 at 9:31 amewok40k

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • July 23, 2012 at 11:43 amCherrie

        That would also explain why she suddenly fainted! =O And her negative outlook on life?

  • July 22, 2012 at 9:20 pmhaizaraa

    I may be wrong (or thinking too much) but I had the impression that the one who fainted wasn’t Inaba, but maybe she switched with Iori right before that. I mean, both of them seem like they could break any moment; Inaba from the stress of the personality swap, and Iori from the family issue and hiding her true feelings.
    Oh man, this show just keeps getting better! Romantic pairings aside, I just wholeheartedly hope for all these kids to be able to help one another overcome whatever issues they have!
    Oh and, Heartseed really does seem like an alien. O-O

  • July 22, 2012 at 10:17 pmAnonymous

    TaichiXInaba please
    But really though, the fact that there are not enough males for pairings makes me think either

    1.) Someone is left out and we are all sad
    1a.) Harem ending
    1b.) One of the girls is left out (Probably Inaba)

    2.) (One of the girls) X Fujishima [Best possible ending] and everyone else is happy
    2a.) Lesbian and harem ending so Aoki still gets screwed over

    • July 22, 2012 at 10:44 pmjrj

      “Hmm… I am too lazy to tell you whether your guess are right or not… plus that won’t make it interesting… when things get interesting enough, you will see the result…” – Heartseed

      ok, jokes aside, after reading vol.1 and 2 of the LN, I can’t tell you how the ship will go (too big of a spoiler), but if the anime is following LN into vol.2, the relationship front will indeed be answered :)
      and I support Taichi x Inaba (Himeko) like you do :)

      • July 23, 2012 at 8:48 amAnonymous

        As a reader of the LN, how does the anime compare?

        So I am guessing no twist-lesbian endings?

      • July 25, 2012 at 7:55 pmrice

        I’m a reader of LN too.
        The anime strictly follows the flow and plot in LN IMO, so I guess that explains some of the pacing/plot issues that some might have (not for me though). The differences between the anime and LN are mostly insignificant.
        Show Spoiler ▼

    • July 23, 2012 at 10:41 amMirakurun

      actually
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • July 23, 2012 at 9:25 pmAnonymous

        I don’t want to spoil myself so here is what I will imagine is hidden by the spoiler tag:

        Actually,
        Aoki finally woos Yui and they live happily ever after.
        Taichi, unable to choose between Inaba and Iori, runs for mayor and eventually rises to the position of Prime Minister. At this point Japan’s low birthrate is the top issue. As a countermeasure, Taichi legalizes polygamy and gets married to both Inaba and Iori and they live happily ever after.
        The End

  • July 22, 2012 at 11:32 pmWW

    Not sure if I can get an answer from the specific person I asked, so I’m opening my question up to everyone. Can anyone who follows the light novels tell me if there’s any indication if Heartseed has the characters’ interests at heart, or if he’s just like a kid with a magnifying glass aimed at an anthill?

    • July 23, 2012 at 1:55 amrice

      Heartseed had already stated that he chose them for observation purpose in previous episodes.
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 23, 2012 at 8:24 amTerrorhunt

    Nutcracker. ^^;

    But jokes aside, I really love how thing goes so far. And I really think that this series has great potential.

  • July 23, 2012 at 5:29 pmposeidonhands

    http://randomc.net/image/Kokoro%20Connect/Kokoro%20Connect%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2013.jpg
    If i was in this situation i would’ve been like two can play this game.

  • July 23, 2012 at 8:06 pmparallelzero

    Anyone else think putting the preview in the beginning of the ED song makes the previews feel so much more emotional? I like it.

  • July 23, 2012 at 10:21 pmJinS

    For me Miyuki Sawashiro’s voice just makes every character she voices much more likable by default. I honestly can’t remember the last time I disliked one of her characters.

  • July 24, 2012 at 4:52 amSaturo

    I starting to believe that Inaba secretly loves Taichi. I kinda like this possible couple.

  • July 24, 2012 at 3:27 pmSaturo

    Got a question for all the Light Novel-readers out there (since I don’t speak Japanese):
    Watch out – spoilers!
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 25, 2012 at 8:05 pmrice

    Does anyone else notice how all the others (Inaba, Aoki, Yui, and Iori) refer Taichi using his first name while Taichi refer everyone else using their last name (Inaba, Aoki, Kiriyama, Nagase). Wonder if there are any significance to this?

    • July 30, 2012 at 7:26 amAshen

      @rice: I hadn’t picked up on that. Good catch. I’m guessing it may hint at how he feels more “removed” from the group than the others do (or at least act like they do). He’s in the group but not part of it. This may give him a clearer, more objective view of others’ problems if he learns to pay attention, but I can also see it causing him pain.

      Loving how this show is progressing. Much more emotional and character depth than I would’ve thought it capable.

  • August 16, 2012 at 4:59 amTopboy

    After first episode I think this is 1 to 1 relationship with 2 pairs ,but may be it’s many to one after all.