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« Kokoro Connect – 13

Kokoro Connect – 14-17 (END)

Episode 14

Kokoro Connect   14   01 Kokoro Connect   14   02 Kokoro Connect   14   03
Kokoro Connect   14   04 Kokoro Connect   14   05 Kokoro Connect   14   06
Kokoro Connect   14   07 Kokoro Connect   14   08 Kokoro Connect   14   09
Kokoro Connect   14   10 Kokoro Connect   14   11 Kokoro Connect   14   12
Kokoro Connect   14   13 Kokoro Connect   14   14 Kokoro Connect   14   15
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「壊れてゆく日々」 (Kowareteyuku Hibi)
“The Days Fall Apart”

Kokoro Connect is back for its final 4 episodes and it wastes no time jumping right back into the story. We open up with Valentine’s Day and to my surprise, Taichi makes the bold move of asking Iori out. I thought that with the new development between Iori and her mother (and finding out Himeko’s feelings), the romance department would’ve taken a back seat. But no, Kokoro Connect would not be the drama that it is without the awkward situations and Heartseed’s influences. Of course, there’s also no better way to get to know someone than by reading their thoughts. I’d have to say though, not only is it a pain to have your own thoughts overhead, but to hear what others thought of you, I think that’s the worst… and I can definitely relate to Iori’s breakdown.

Along with this new phenomenon, the club members also discover that Gotou cannot be an advisor for two clubs in the upcoming year. In order to keep Gotou as their advisor, they will have to compete against the Jazz club in a presentation – what kind of presentation? Well I wasn’t too sure of that myself until the finale. This poised issues for our group since it required teamwork and Iori was clearly not in the mindset for company (or friends for that matter). I found her drastic change in attitude a little hard to believe at first, but if you can imagine having all your thoughts contradict your words and actions, I can imagine how someone would go antisocial. Unfortunately, this doesn’t get much better next episode.

Full-length images: 02, 03, 05, 13, 18.

 

Episode 15

Kokoro Connect   15   01 Kokoro Connect   15   02 Kokoro Connect   15   03
Kokoro Connect   15   04 Kokoro Connect   15   05 Kokoro Connect   15   06
Kokoro Connect   15   07 Kokoro Connect   15   08 Kokoro Connect   15   09
Kokoro Connect   15   10 Kokoro Connect   15   11 Kokoro Connect   15   12
Kokoro Connect   15   13 Kokoro Connect   15   14 Kokoro Connect   15   15
Kokoro Connect   15   16 Kokoro Connect   15   17 Kokoro Connect   15   18
Kokoro Connect   15   19 Kokoro Connect   15   20 Kokoro Connect   15   21
Kokoro Connect   15   22 Kokoro Connect   15   23 Kokoro Connect   15   24
Kokoro Connect   15   25 Kokoro Connect   15   26 Kokoro Connect   15   27
Kokoro Connect   15   28 Kokoro Connect   15   29 Kokoro Connect   15   30

「なにも見えてない なにもわかってない」 (Nanimo Mietenai Nanimo Wakattenai)
“You Don’t See it, You Don’t Get it”

Iori has always been the clear favorite of mine, but within just two episodes, I already couldn’t stand her new personality. What bothers me was her lack of explanation of why and where this comes from. I understand that she felt misunderstood all this time – she felt that she had to pretend to be someone she wasn’t so people would approve of her and like her more. I can definitely empathize since I’m sure everyone wants to blend in and be accepted as part of society. Iori didn’t want to be this “person” anymore and she felt that the nice/bubbly/cheerful side to her, wasn’t her and she flipped 180 degrees to become this antisocial/quiet/uncaring character. I think the deal with Iori is that she tried too hard to be one way when she did have another side to her. It’s clearly eating her up on the inside and when she straight up rejected Taichi and Yui, I felt extremely bad for both parties.

Heartseed shows up several times these past couple of episodes – with Aoki and Yui on two separate occasions. I thought he would play a more devious role in making things “interesting”, but luckily he only gave them a quick evaluation. I can’t believe he said Aoki and Yui were uninteresting! In hindsight though, that’s not a bad way to be categorized when the goal is to escape Heartseed’s watch and trials.

I know that the romance between Aoki and Yui is pretty clear-cut right now, but I can’t help but wonder what it would be like between Yui and Taichi. They’re great as friends, and ever since Taichi helped Yui overcome her phobia, I’ve always secreted hoped that there could be something there. Even if that ship has sailed though, I believe that Yui brought up a good point – Taichi has the ability to help Iori and he needs to reach out to her more.

 

Episode 16

Kokoro Connect   16   01 Kokoro Connect   16   02 Kokoro Connect   16   03
Kokoro Connect   16   04 Kokoro Connect   16   05 Kokoro Connect   16   06
Kokoro Connect   16   07 Kokoro Connect   16   08 Kokoro Connect   16   09
Kokoro Connect   16   10 Kokoro Connect   16   11 Kokoro Connect   16   12
Kokoro Connect   16   13 Kokoro Connect   16   14 Kokoro Connect   16   15
Kokoro Connect   16   16 Kokoro Connect   16   17 Kokoro Connect   16   18
Kokoro Connect   16   19 Kokoro Connect   16   20 Kokoro Connect   16   21
Kokoro Connect   16   22 Kokoro Connect   16   23 Kokoro Connect   16   24
Kokoro Connect   16   25 Kokoro Connect   16   26 Kokoro Connect   16   27
Kokoro Connect   16   28 Kokoro Connect   16   29 Kokoro Connect   16   30

「覚悟と氷解」 (Kakugo to Hyoukai)
“Determination and Resolution”

Iori’s problems quickly spread to those beyond the club and we’re introduced to a few new characters who I feel are just being slotted into the show “just because”. Not that Setouchi Karou (Uesaka Sumire) isn’t a good character, but I felt like her presence was so forced. From a simple rejection? Shouldn’t Karou be happy that she has a chance with the dude now? Nevertheless, I underestimated Karou and her friends and would have never believed that they would go all that way to trash CRC’s presentation. Iori quickly came to the conclusion that it had to be Karou’s doing (who else right?) and it set her on fire! I would’ve liked to see Karou’s ass handed to her, but I guess she’s really just a coward on the inside.

Unfortunately, this movement was still not really enough to bring our group back together. Iori was still distant and cold while Taichi and Himeko tried to get through to her. I felt bad that all their attempts just seemed to flop over because Iori was a stubborn and seemingly aware of what she was doing (which makes it worse). I laughed when Himeko finally admitted to having dreams about Taichi and to the extent that she could draw out their position! That takes guts (to all the men out there that never hear girls talk about this openly) so I give her my full respect. Taichi also steps it up and this is probably what got through to Iori (as Yui predicted). She wants to know that people would love her regardless of how she acts. What Taichi means is – he loves her as a person and who she is. How people show their affections may vary, but she has good intentions and that’s probably who he fell in love with. Too bad it just… didn’t last.

Full-length images: 03, 05, 07, 09, 16, 25.

 

Episode 17

Kokoro Connect   17   01 Kokoro Connect   17   02 Kokoro Connect   17   03
Kokoro Connect   17   04 Kokoro Connect   17   05 Kokoro Connect   17   06
Kokoro Connect   17   07 Kokoro Connect   17   08 Kokoro Connect   17   09
Kokoro Connect   17   10 Kokoro Connect   17   11 Kokoro Connect   17   12
Kokoro Connect   17   13 Kokoro Connect   17   14 Kokoro Connect   17   15
Kokoro Connect   17   16 Kokoro Connect   17   17 Kokoro Connect   17   18
Kokoro Connect   17   19 Kokoro Connect   17   20 Kokoro Connect   17   21
Kokoro Connect   17   22 Kokoro Connect   17   23 Kokoro Connect   17   24
Kokoro Connect   17   25 Kokoro Connect   17   26 Kokoro Connect   17   27
Kokoro Connect   17   28 Kokoro Connect   17   29 Kokoro Connect   17   30
Kokoro Connect   17   31 Kokoro Connect   17   32 Kokoro Connect   17   33
Kokoro Connect   17   34 Kokoro Connect   17   35 Kokoro Connect   17   36

「心をつないで」 (Kokoro o Tsunaide)
“Connecting Hearts”

The final episode started off by tying off all the major plot points. From the destruction of the club room to Iori’s realization that “hey! I’m not such a bad person!“. It came off as abruptly as it started, but like I said previously, I never thought of her as a bad person – both her personas are part of her as a whole person. She just has to learn to embrace it and accept it. Overall, I thought it was a good way to tie in Karou to the story too. She’s made a few new friends and gets her own appearance in the aftermath as well (looks a bit like Himeko…). I’m not completely satisfied with the way that she was dragged into the story, but it proved as a good trigger for our ending. And hey! It looks like Gotou can continue to advise the CRC while helping the Jazz club at the same time… Trolololol? That in all honesty, felt like wasted efforts for the club members.

Now the answer that everyone’s been waiting for…. who did Taichi pick?! I’ve been purposely avoiding this aspect of the story for the sake of keeping it condensed to this one paragraph. I know what a lot of people will say here – Dereban! Knowing my readers (or at least the ones who leave comments), I’m sure a lot of you will be satisfied with this ending. Himeko finally gets her man after taking the back seat for so long and pushing the Taichi x Iori ship. I can’t say that she doesn’t deserve it because she does! After all the three of them have been through, I can see that Iori is really not ready to be in a relationship. Himeko is and she is mature enough to admit that she is selfish. She wants to be with Taichi and I feel bad for her because Taichi’s never seen that. On the other hand, I don’t blame Taichi for being so tunnel-visioned when he was in love with Iori (most people are). I’m just glad that Taichi and Iori had their closure. They admit that they were in love… but sometimes that’s not enough to sustain your relationship. In this case, Himeko and Taichi are a better pair right now and I don’t deny that it’s a very fitting ending to the love triangle.

Full-length images: 07, 10, 25.

 

ED4 Sequence

Kokoro Connect   ED4   01 Kokoro Connect   ED4   02 Kokoro Connect   ED4   03

ED4: 「I scream Chocolatl」 by Team.ねこかん[猫]featuring.Lia (Team.Nekokan [Neko] featuring. Lia)

Final Impressions:

Kokoro Connect started off as one of the most anticipated series to air during the Summer of 2012 and I for one, admittedly went in with very little knowledge of its source material. I didn’t see what all the hype was about until the end of the first arc. The sudden twist of fate involving Iori and the body swaps made it a very entertaining first few episodes. The story was funny, original and the cast of characters were so broad and easily relatable. Amongst the 5 of them, you can see that they each have their own individual issues, but at the same time, they’re also all teenagers trying to discover who they are and what they can do to help one another survive Heartseed’s phenomena. In the end, I think there’s a little bit for everyone to empathize with – whether you suffer identity issues (like Iori) or can’t get your crush to notice you (like Himeko), Kokoro Connect brings to surface a lot of troubles that teenagers go through.

With that said, my interest level does drop gradually as the arcs progress. As “realistic” as the story tries to be, there are moments that drag on and on. I understand that in real life, people can’t be expected to change personalities on demand – that’s just not how human nature works. In an anime though, I would hope that the story develops in a way that keeps me intrigued and brings in new issues without the same ones reoccurring. This was probably the only thing that the series suffered from, and although a lot of people may disagree, I would’ve liked to see more progression before the final 4 episodes. A large part of me would also rant and complain about Heartseed’s involvement – mainly due to the lack of explanations! However, I’ve learned to accept that as random as it seems, it’s only a minor part of the show that’s meant to bring out the “real” characters and how they deal with each phenomena. You learn to accept it at face value.

In the end, Kokoro Connect is definitely one of the more dramatic slice-of-life series that I’ve seen in 2012. It brings together 5 seemingly normal teenagers and throws them in awkward, random and very uncomfortable situations. With each new arc, the audience learns that each character has their own flaws and how they deal with their past and identities. The premise is fresh and beats the typical love-triangle angle that most romantic comedies try to spin. On the surface, I thought the series would be light-hearted and comedic, but there are definitely some dark undertones to it. You can’t underestimate the level of emotional impact some of the these scenes have so for those that haven’t seen the series – don’t take it too lightly!

January 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm
99 comments »
  • January 3, 2013 at 8:32 pmDave

    I <3 Inaba

    I thought the series was great. Yes it bogged down a bit but it really got you invested in some of the characters. Especially Inaban. Very happy it turned out the way it did. It also tied almost everything up at the end.

    I can see a second cour coming out of this as Heartseed never really said he was done with them.

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:23 pmpokpok

      that last telepathy between Inaban and Taichi is hirarious ! Finally cool girl get MC , how fustrate to see every cool girl get lonely all the time – She is cute !!

    • January 5, 2013 at 12:46 amAemilius

      The anime covered only the first half of the light novels, so i do hope so that there will be continuation in anime. Not to mention that the light novels are still ongoing, so there should be enough material for anime adaptation.

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:37 pmJimhawk

    This arc was much better than the last two for me. It is only slightly behind the first arc, which had a lot of impact.

    Glad to have finally seen the conclusion of this series after all the controversy and hubbub of the real-life drama behind the scenes of Kokoro Connect. “Let’s improve our drama-writing skills by having drama of our own!”

    Also, dat Dereban.

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:39 pmRyuuzaki21

    in this 14-17th episode at some point, i got really pissed with iori with her emo/retarded or whatever you called that act of stupidity, though i understand that she still dont know what is her true personality is, but still. >,<

    at the end im just happy that taichi choose himeko! yay!

    • January 3, 2013 at 11:25 pmOrangeJuice

      How I interpret it is that, Iori actually found her true self through the course of the past 3 arcs, and realized that she was actually not the genki girl as she and everyone thought she was and in fact had a cold, snarky personality within, which created a new problem she faced in this arc: Was her time with her friends a lie? This very doubt, on top of her “perfectionist” “must choose side” personality, resulted in her breaking down in the fear that her friends would not accept her new found “self”.

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:39 pmMikioBo

    I really enjoyed Kokoro Connect while it aired and the next episode could never air soon enough. It was definitely in my top 10 (maybe even top 5) shows this year, especially now that we got the Dereban ending. Himeko was one of my favourite girls this year and she really deserved to end up with Taichi, considering how much she loved him and how hard she tried. All in all I am very happy with the way this series ended ^^

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:41 pmbillng

    Inaba ending YEEEEEESSS, I am satisfied

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:48 pmPockyG

    Inaba!! YES!!!!

    Ahem… beside the small issues this series had (pacing) that you pointed out Cherrie, this is a damn satisfying and unique watch. It’d easily place in the top 10 of 2012 lists of most anime watchers, or at least I’d hope.

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:54 pmEntrav

    Inaba win???!?!?!? Well, I didn’t expect that. I probably should have.

    I’m just frustrated that it took them so long to figure out Nagase. “Return to your normal self!” Every single time they said that I was just -_______________________-

    • January 3, 2013 at 9:17 pmCherrie

      I also agree that I got frustrated watching the whole “emo-Iori” scenes… it felt a little dragged out and in the end, she snapped out of it anyway. Oh wells… drama needs to build up somehow!

    • January 3, 2013 at 10:10 pmLegacy

      yeah i have to agree with you on that..everytime you were like -_______________-..i was like..”you are so slooooooooooooooow..figure it out already” >______________<

    • January 3, 2013 at 11:18 pmOrangeJuice

      Miscommunication kills.

      To be fair though, if I were in their shoes, even if I know my friend has multiple persona, I wouldn’t really expect that the friend I know all these time was a facade (at least in her own perspective.)

      I think that, Iori was a little more willing to tell them her problem, the problem would have been solved. But hey, that’s teenager angst for ye.

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:58 pmEmD

    When was the last time Best Girl won? Man, this is awesome!

    First Girl lost. Best Girl won.

    Best ending for this series.

    • January 3, 2013 at 9:08 pmEmD

      Also, I have to disagree a bit (Don’t shoot me!) about all of the characters having their own issues. I think the reason Heartseed finds Aoki boring, and the reason he’s the least popular of the cast, is because he really doesn’t have any issues at all. Nothing Heartseed does really affects him on a personal level. Any issues he has from Heartseed’s meddling stews from the effect it has on his friends, not on him. The one time he was affected due to his ex-girlfriend’s memory, he got over it extremely quickly and was never particularly bothered by it, just curious and wanting to reaffirm something.

      And that’s why Heartseed claims he’s uninteresting. Heartseed enjoys making people grow and Aoki did all of his growing up before Heartseed entered the picture, so there’s nothing for Heartseed to do when it comes to him. He’s got his head on straight and always has.

      But that’s my take on the whole thing, you don’t have to agree.

      • January 3, 2013 at 9:34 pmCherrie

        I do think that Aoki is “uninteresting”… in the sense that, he doesn’t really have any drama following him in this series. The anime really focused on Iori, Yui and Himeko’s issues (Taichi didn’t really suffer from anything too bad).

        But if you take a step back and look at the series from an analytical POV, I think Aoki does suffer a bit from being a bystander and someone who isn’t “included” in the drama that involves everyone else. Besides his love for Yui, he does lack involvement. Not to say that he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t try and bud his head into everyone’s business (no offense Taichi!). In that sense, I think he has issues that people can relate to… not everyone is in the center of the drama and circle of friends and that’s fine.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:01 pmqwert

    Excuse me while I go rewatch Inaban detailing her erotic dreams for the billionth time.

    Between that scene, the deluge of telepathic declarations of love in the infirmary and Dereban I don’t know how I survived finishing this series.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:13 pmBlackStealth1989

    I really feel like the love triangle.. Was unnecessary.. So much so..that it almost ruined it for me. The drama for the past 4 episodes felt forced. I was definitely feeling the Taichi x Iori Pairing until she literally went Emo on everyone. I really don’t know what to make of this show. I’m glad that Taichi went with Himeko.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:21 pmDEREBAN IS BEST GIRL

    DEREBAN IS BEST GIRL, AND IF YOU DISAGREE, YOU LACK A HEART

    • January 3, 2013 at 10:49 pmFT5Havok

      DEREBAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:51 amEuzio

      Indeed! Dereban 4tw!!!

      And I had a massive LOL when her emotions were literally firing off for Taichi to hear XD

      “I need you!”
      “Definitely!”
      “I love you! I love you! I love you!”
      “I love you so much! I love you so much! I love you so much!”
      “I love you so much! So, so, so much!”
      “Love me back!”
      Make love to me!
      “I love you!”

      Can’t believe the 2nd last one actually made it out as well! lol!

      • January 4, 2013 at 2:37 pmOrangeJuice

        Er… just to clarify… That is 100% a mistranslation/joke by the subs…

        “Suki ni natte, suki ni shite” is just variation of “I love you” and doesn’t translate into anything close to “Make love to me.”

        So yeah… please don’t take that subbed line seriously… imo it kinda destroys the mood.

      • January 6, 2013 at 6:37 amEuzio

        I know~ Usually i’m rather picky when it comes to deliberate mistranslations but it made me laugh so I give them credit for it XD

    • January 4, 2013 at 6:51 amc2710

      DEREBAN!

    • January 4, 2013 at 10:31 amKairoru

      Dereban wins Taichi’s heart. It’s a good ending that we all waiting for.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:21 pmrukia

    Really surprised with the ending. Pleasantly surprised. Happy to see an upset for a change. Good for Inaba.

    Is anyone going to blog about Nekomonogatari?

    • January 3, 2013 at 9:38 pmCherrie

      I’m glad that so many readers are satisfied with the ending =) it was a surprise indeed! What a change of heart for Taichi… within 3 episodes.

      Nekomonogatari will be blogged by Verdant. Keep coming back to see when it’s out!

      • January 4, 2013 at 8:13 amVoyager

        Taichi’s defender to the rescue :)
        I don’t think that Taichi had that big of a change of heart, in the end.

        He has always liked Inaba, too, and I mean not only in a sexual way (we all remember how he told her how he was thinking about her in his “private” moments), he admired her as a person, he cared about her, liked staying with her and they had their moments during the series. When a boy and a girl share that kind of feeling and thoughts, they are just a step far from becoming a couple.
        Of course that is never enough to actually form a couple, I for one didn’t think it would have happened for Taichi and Inaba given the circumstances, still I wouldn’t call it a “change of heart”.

        Taichi had already a crush, and he is the type that is serious about his feelings. I commend him for that, because I can relate to it. I was once in a similar situation, well, actually not so similar, there was a girl that I loved and later we actually ended up together for a while (it was a disaster but I couldn’t have guessed it at the time), and there was this other girl following the same courses at the university … she was smart, nice and caring, we became close friends. What I was thinking at the time was something like “If I wasn’t in love right now, I could fall in love with this girl. I’m happy we can at least be friends”. And that’s how I like to interpret Taichi’s thoughts.

        And there’s another thing that I can commend Taichi for, and that is the fact he was serious until the end and avoided making Inaba feel like she was a fall back. When he was rejected by Iori, he didn’t go for Inaba like “ok, you are the next in the list”, instead, he first saw a proper conclusion to his love for Iori,

        so that now Inaban knows that Taichi’s heart is ready for her and he will never let her go.
        Truly, the BEST ending.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:29 pmFreddeh

    Dereban #1

    Glad to see I wasn’t the only one that liked this arc though, I’ve been seeing a lot of hate on it, but personally, I loved it!

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:31 pmKioku from Negotiations

    Voice actors did a wonderful job on this series as a whole. Major props to Inaban’s woman though, the range of emotion she displayed was on par with Okabe from Steins;Gate to me, and possibly even better.

    • January 3, 2013 at 11:14 pmOrangeJuice

      I think Iori’s VA (Toyosaki Aki) deserves a special mention too. Her performance as Iori completely losing herself in these final 4 episodes was very well done. Props to both Sawashiro and Toyosaki for voicing the two excellent characters so wonderfully.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:37 pmD

    http://i.imgur.com/IlrMJ.jpg
    Inaba Charisma Break. HNNNGGHHHH.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:52 pmDrift

    INABAAAAA <3
    That is all.

  • January 3, 2013 at 10:10 pmLOLOLOLOLOL

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  • January 3, 2013 at 10:17 pmLegacy

    well i guess i am satisfied with the ending..it brought justice to the characters..though i do think that if Iori had little faith in Taichi and told him the whole issue from the beginning she would have had the chance to still be with him..rather than keeping everything to herself and breaking apart slowly..
    well not like i think that Inaba doesn’t deserve a happy ending..she did her best after all..and she is more mature too

  • January 3, 2013 at 10:23 pmYalvyn

    All Hail Dereban!!

  • January 3, 2013 at 10:51 pmFT5Havok

    Dereban dreaming about Taichi and doing some naughty things ! xD #derebanFTW

  • January 3, 2013 at 11:03 pmnagi

    Best girl Dereban WINS!!!

    Oh and if anyone didn’t notice, the 2 freshmen and soon-to-be CRC members already made a cameo so the chance of having a 2nd season went up! Although with the recent seiyuu controversy I’m not so sure anymore…

  • January 3, 2013 at 11:05 pmTarage

    It’s a shame this series probably will never see any sequels or anything of the like given the incident with Mitsuhiro Ichiki. It’s forever a dark stain on this series.

  • January 3, 2013 at 11:23 pmK

    Being a long-time (since before the anime aired) Inaba rooter and InabaxTaichi shipper. I am very satisfied to see the increase of InabaxTaichi shippers. So sad there probably won’t be an anime sequel in a while, but in the meantime, I will stick to the LN.

  • January 4, 2013 at 12:05 amTerrorhunt

    Out of all of KC’s arc, this is definitely my personal favorite. And it’s not just because of Dereban, mind you. Compared to the “desire unleashed” which I though to be the most grim and depressing moment in KC (Taichi and Aoki fighting, Taichi hit Iori), this arc really sets the bar high especially in ep 17. Plus I personally think that this anime displays one of Miyuki Sawashiro’s best performance of all time. Rarely there a chance I ever get Miyuki plays a role of a character whose personality isn’t as composed as her previous role (Suruga Kanbaru, Saeko Busujima, Celty Sturluson, Seri Awashima, Hakase Kusaribe).

    Though it’s a shame that this series (along with other anime series that I love/enjoy/appreciate) lost to Guilty Crown in RC’ Best of Anime 2012 since that bomb earn 11th spot on Reader’s choice (the hell?).

  • January 4, 2013 at 12:35 amtaiakun

    I had Spiderman 3 vibes with Iori moping around like she did in this arc. It was so sudden. In the end, the version of herself which she wanted to be ended up being almost identical to how she originally was. I was expecting to see a drastic change in her character at the end of this arc, but with the lack of such I wonder why they dedicated so many episodes to this issue?

    If anything, I think these past few episodes were aiming for one clear thing – to showcase that Dereban is a better fit for Taichi. Dereban really showed both her mature and deredere sides throughout this arc and stood out as the most entertaining character throughout this arc. I also think it was her “live life the way you want!” line that shook Iori out of her emo self rather than anything which Taichi did. The scene where Taichi asks Dereban out at the end of the final episode was one of the highlights of this series as a whole, especially where Dereban could not control her thoughts throughout the scene. If Heartseed can purposely choose which thoughts to convey, kudos to him for picking that one particlar moment!

  • January 4, 2013 at 12:47 amfragb85

    Probably my least favorite arc. It just difficult to watch through and I was actually tempted to start skipping. Iori just goes full emo with no foreshadowing at all other than for convenient drama. It also doesn’t help that they keep repeating the same cycle of each friend trying to reach out to Iori and Iori just ripping into every one of them. Then it takes a ridiculous soap-opera quality kidnapping situation Iori to snap out of it. Four episodes of forced Identity Crisis drama all for Iori to go back to being what she used to be. Yay?

    I will say this, I’m glad that KC tried to avoid excessive screaming and tears for the most part. And if anything Iori did have some great dialogue (almost meta) when she wasn’t being annoying. I particularly liked how she reamed Inaba, it encapsulates everything that frustrated me about the contrived love triangle. Also, Evil!Iori was pretty awesome.

    Good thing I’m indifferent about the love triangle. I’m just glad its been resolved and the characters can move on. Its too bad Aoki and Yui didn’t really do much this arc again, they’re pretty much the only ones I cared about at this point.

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:07 amDvalinn

      I pretty much had the same feeling about this arc. Everything just felt forced and it kind of smelled like Iori underwent character derailment to pair the main protagonist with the fan favourite girl. A lot of the characters just started getting on my nerves because they’re acting like idiots (beyond the point where you’d think they’d start getting a clue) and overall, I didn’t really enjoy this arc. While it still had some good moments, I’m having the feeling that they’re starting to run out of ideas and the show is getting stale. Let’s hope they quit here, before the show can ruin my still positive impression of it on the whole.

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:06 pmOrangeJuice

      Hmm, I’m gonna be a Iori defender here.

      I think we are all trying too hard to “categorize” the problems the cast is having. Yes, it is related to the exploration of “Identity,” but it’s not that simple or defined. If you take into account of what the characters went through in the past few arcs, Iori in this case, you will see that her problem changes slightly as the story progress.

      Let’s start by breaking down and review what Iori gone through in each arc.

      Arc#1 Iori started off with the most generic way of defining an “Identity Crisis”: not knowing who she really is. The story had Taichi convince her that all the masks she puts on are actually part of her. But let’s face it, it didn’t really solve anything. Just a bandage on the surface of the issue, but it’s still a start. Yet before she even gets a chance to exercise what she learned, she had to face “death (even though it was just trolling)”. So what was her course of action? What an ideal person would do: stay strong and accept death gracefully til the last minute.

      Arc#2 Iori had to face her group falling apart, and the fact that her best friend had fallen in love with the same guy she did. So what was her course of action? What an ideal friend would do: stay strong, get back everyone together and reassure Inaban that their friendship would fall apart over love rivalry.

      Arc#3 Iori was given the offer to rewrite her past that she regretted. Her course of action? What her ideal self would do: Stay strong. Accept her own past.

      Seeing the pattern here? She had been choosing the “ideal” option in the past three arcs. And then something changes. At the end of the 3rd arc, she raised the question: Do I really like the guy? That’s basically her doubts of: Is this really my will? Am I really who I think I am? Compare this to her initial “Who am I?” back when the story starts. It had already become a different issue. The notion is different. Back then, she had no clue who she was. After the events of the 3 arcs, she had become aware of her own will and began to question her own actions. She did her best to be ideal, for everyone else. But was it ideal for herself?

      Then we move onto the 4th arc. New phenomenon, goodie. What she’d do? The ideal option: Stay strong with everyone. But this new gimmick has a new catch: her thoughts are being exposed. All her thoughts contradicts her actions, revealing that she wasn’t really the perfect person on the inside, and everyone else saw it. Was her friendship all a lie? Her own question plagued her and she snapped, abandoning all the ideals she had and went for the other extreme.

      Now back onto the original topic. Can you say this is an “Identity Crisis”? Sure enough. However, it didn’t play that much of a role in this arc. In fact, it’s closer to what Inaban went through in Kizu, that Iori feared people not accepting her darker qualities, though for entirely different reasons.

      Moving on, the main complain about the resolution, that Iori will “do what she want” yet reverted back to her old self. I think this is entirely a perception problem. Think of it this way. Before, Iori was the cheery girl because she thought people would prefer her that way and she accepts it as it is. After, Iori was the cheery girl because she wants to be the happy girl that enjoys company. The result is the same, but the notion is different. Compare “Accept your masks” back in the 1st arc and “Live how you want.” Accepting doesn’t necessary mean you’re happy about it. Recall the end of the 3rd arc, she accepted the fact that she had an abusive father. Was she happy about it? Not really. She even remarked that she’d be lying if she didn’t hold a grudge. But she accepted it anyway because that’s what she “should” do.

      I’m just gonna end this post by a quote someone else wrote:

      In the past arcs, understanding her character was like staring through stained glass. It was impossible. Her cheerful attitude was nothing more than a facade, masking her hidden insecurities. But now, we know that she’s acting as she wants to, and that, I believe, makes all the difference in the world.

  • January 4, 2013 at 12:47 amSwarz

  • January 4, 2013 at 12:50 amKuro

    No, I was on the Taichi x Iori ship through the anime. I was hoping they get together, but it was still a good ending with Taichi x Dereban. Hopefully, Iori find somebody else that loves her.

    • January 4, 2013 at 4:16 pmCherrie

      I won’t lie… if you read my previous posts, I was a huge IorixTaichi shipper as well. But it became clear halfway through the series that if Iori and Taichi were going to get together, they already would have. I blame Iori wholeheartedly on that end since Taichi was devoted to her already (and even taking the step to ask her out). Iori just never seemed to know what she wanted and as much as I like her… dating is about good timing too and the two of them just had bad timing. I bet for people that watch all 17 eps in one go (rather than waiting week by week), the Himeko-ending is a lot more evident and you can see it coming.

      • January 5, 2013 at 5:38 pmpokpok

        i’m not really sure cuz i don’t see that coming cuz Cool girl always get left behide we all like feminine girl sweet word happy go lucky just like YUI from K-on lol She is cute – but She can’t be a good bride lol I like her too but not as much as all Cool girl in Anime – Inaba , Classerep in evry anime basically don’t mind exeption for loli or glasses shy one, love Club pressident , Student council , exicting Childhood friend , Sport girl , Big Onee, chan ,littlesister chan, badass girl protagonist, Anarchy Angel who love sweets and also GOD herself Uwahaha most of these have Black hair some has green ,blode , violet and brown . Owaah Back to myself No i don’t see it coming I just think that Taichi will save Inori and go out with her and leave Inban to MEEEEEEEE!! Like most of the Anime do anyway! It’s only mind opinion Arigatou go saimasu~ Ijo~

  • January 4, 2013 at 12:53 amBeedle

    Heartseed’s identity still isn’t explained but…

    …who the hell cares when we have DEREBAN~? <3

  • January 4, 2013 at 1:13 amUjelly

    Funny. When my ex and I broke up, I tried to pull off the whole “we admit we were in love but it just wasn’t enough and I’m glad I fell in love with you” part. Well, quite frankly I got my ass kicked. Not literally, of course.

  • January 4, 2013 at 1:56 amMutare

    ‘A kiss on the cheek from my little sister?! Hell Yeah!’ – best thought to have transmitted; serious case of sis-con here. AND WOOOOOOOOOOOOOW DEREBAN!!! <3 <3 <3

    • January 4, 2013 at 4:43 amMasterDragonKnight

      I got a bit of Mikan from To-Love-Ru vibe from the little sister. Cute, mature, and not above teasing her brother.

      • January 4, 2013 at 1:24 pmpokpok

        all little sisiter can’t be this cute! Anime one are the best

    • January 4, 2013 at 6:13 amewok40k

      best sister award of the season goes to her… she even got chocolate especially to cheer up her brother on Valentnes!

      • January 4, 2013 at 7:05 amc2710

        How about the Fire Sisters and Sengoku?

  • January 4, 2013 at 3:18 amTopboy

    Kokoro Connect is one of top five best anime for me in 2012.
    Still hope for second season even BD/DVD sales plummet after bully incident.

    • January 4, 2013 at 6:44 amKinny Riddle

      What bully incident?

      • January 4, 2013 at 6:57 amjrj

        the whole prank that several people involved with production pretend to give this guy a voice acting job for the show, but turns out to be fake, and they ridiculed this poor guy… (this is a very watered down version of the story anyway)

      • January 4, 2013 at 7:04 amc2710

        Hope it does not stop them from doing “Return of Dereban”

      • January 4, 2013 at 7:24 amGiNoCo

    • January 4, 2013 at 3:45 pmDrift

      Wow, that “prank” was very unprofessional it’s not a prank anymore. It’s just pure bullying.

      I was one of those people glad Dereban won but because of this I don’t think I’ll be supporting this anime nor the voice actors and staff involved in the prank anymore. So childish.

  • January 4, 2013 at 5:24 amMi-Mi-Mikuru

    I don’t like Taichi anymore, going from “I love you Iori, please go out with me” to “I love you Inaba” in the span of 4 episodes.Both girls deserve better.

    • January 6, 2013 at 1:55 pmMatroid

      Teenagers often just go with their emotion at the moment. As they discover more about themselves as well as their lovers, they will mature and change for the better. I don’t condone Taichi’s easygoing attitude. But I would give him the benefit of the doubt that he was probably just inexperienced and confused given the bizarre situation they were put into.

  • January 4, 2013 at 6:43 amKinny Riddle

    Dereban, from now on, we should all call her that. XD

    At first Heartseed does seem to have limits with his trolling, but this arc really tempted me to put him in the same rank as Kyuubei in “trolls I’d like to kill”.

    Iori sure has grown a lot in this arc, having to endure the final collapse of the old personality she has been projecting and struggling to maintain after many intrusions by Heartseed, she went into a shell and acted more or less like a bitch.

    It wasn’t till Dereban’s scolding and subsequent kidnapping that finally kicked her out of it and made her decide to rebuild the personality she wanted to project on her own terms, not via the expectation of other people.

  • January 4, 2013 at 6:54 amjrj

    lol… I still have got time to watch the episodes… but as a LN reader, I think I really loved how this arc ended… even though it is sad to see Iori going through all that, I am a devoted Taichi x Himiko shipper :)

    what I really want to say is Thank you Cherrie for covering KC! Without your coverage in the early episodes (1-2), I probably won’t even touch the show, let alone reading the LN of it xD So thank you very much and good luck with new year and everything!!

    • January 4, 2013 at 4:11 pmCherrie

      Great to see you around jrj. Thanks for all the continued support too =) Will I be seeing you for Accel World 2? =O (if it ever comes around T_T)

      • January 4, 2013 at 5:23 pmjrj

        haha, the appreciation is mutual then xD
        Of course I will be there to support you for Accel World 2 posts if and when it comes out (which I believe it will) since the the story in the new arc is so gripping and awesome! (I will save my praise for the story for those posts lol)
        and I wouldn’t mind seeing season 2 of KC with your coverage as well xD

  • January 4, 2013 at 7:02 amc2710

    Inaban…. Mini-inaban…. Dereban…. Someone call 911! We have a situation here!

    And what’s that weird whale humping noises I here there???

    I thoroughly enjoyed the series despite some scenes were a little bit hard to watch. That aside, I must applaud Aki Toyosaki. She’s way better here than in Silver Wing.

    As for Sawashiro Miyuki… I’ll remember her for her roles as Kanbaru and Dereban!

    On another note –
    - I’m not sure who is more awesome… Tsukihi, Karen, Sengoku or Taiichi’s sister
    - We all had an idea what her dream was. Dereban TRULY got guts to openly admit her hot and almost wet dream in front of Taiichi. Wonder what position were they in? Any speculations? Show Spoiler ▼

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 4, 2013 at 7:08 amjrj

      to your comparison of the younger sisters in monogatari and KC… depends on what quality you are looking for… I am pretty sure your perception of Sengoku Nadeko, whatever it may be, will change once you see Otorimonogatari and Koimonogatari (both might air in 2013)… Tsukihi is crazy, Karen is nice but too hot headed… so the only viable option might be Taichi’s sister… xD

      • January 4, 2013 at 7:46 amc2710

        Heard bout the total 180 change in Nadeko in Otori- and koimono-

        Can’t wait for it!

  • January 4, 2013 at 7:59 amHighway

    I enjoyed this arc much more than the previous two, and would slot it in behind the first one as 2nd best. I’m with the folks that think that Iori was projecting the genki girl image, while having her snarky thoughts to herself, and so when they started having their thoughts broadcast to others, she realized that this would expose her, and that caused her whole facade to collapse and she pulled back from everyone. Yeah, it was abrupt (for us, didn’t they say they’d had this happen for 3 weeks already?) but teenagers aren’t particularly known for their emotional stability anyway.

    I think it became obvious through the show that no matter how much Inaba claims that Iori needs Taichi, Inaba needs him just as much. As much as she thought she could be the conductor, running the show, she pales in comparison to Fujishima, and needs to be one of the participants.

    I was trying to figure out Heartseed’s reasoning for confronting Yui and Aoki. I think at least some of it was to spur them perhaps into some rash actions, which neither of them did. They didn’t have too much to do, but there’s always the boring friend.

    I also think that Iori making friends with Kaoru was something she needed, having a friend outside the CRC, having someone that wouldn’t really be dragged into more of their Heartseed shenanigans. Maybe that’s what she really needs to develop herself into someone she can live with.

  • January 4, 2013 at 8:05 amHystericalPenguin

    Ultimately, Kokoro Connect had succeeded quite well on sketching on the pages of our perceptions how the growth of youth becomes a distorted skew of identity complexities and perplexed intertwining of relationships despite how mundane it was before. Although there were times when the show had almost succumbed to the abbys of disappointment, this final 4-episode arc undoubtedly fastened every nook and cranny of its flaws’ traces and surprisingly utilized it into a conclusion enshrouded with enough salty floods of tears and potentially diabetic bud of a new couple (TaichixDereban) which are indeed responsible for interposing satisfaction within my cranium’s processing factory.

    In any case, this show definitely had stapled receipts of amusements on each of the time I consumed by watching its episodes. Fortunately, Michi Random heightened quite magnificently Kokoro Connect’s denouement and managed not to let any of my expectations drop on the grounds of frustration and dismay.

    Great review btw. :D

    • January 4, 2013 at 8:53 amVoyager

      And here I was thinking my English was good enough to understand RC comments …
      *sadly leaves to study more English*

  • January 4, 2013 at 8:25 amedo

    So in the end iori returned to be the classroom whore?

  • January 4, 2013 at 8:27 amTrombe

    Dereban-Miyuki such a perfect combo.

  • January 4, 2013 at 10:25 amMr.Mean

    Dereban inspires people to hit the dictionary to find the way to express their satisfaction … if you know what I mean

  • January 4, 2013 at 10:30 amPrimeHector

    Otorimonogatari is shinobu end.

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:57 pmpokpok

      i think it’s koimonogatari

  • January 4, 2013 at 1:16 pmMatroid

    The change from Iori ending to Inaba ending was a little bit unexpected, but not totally out of the blue. In order to solve Iori’s psychological problem, her relationship with Taichi has to be undone. And it is only natural to substitute Iori with Inaba to give a happy ending. The introduction of Setouchi was a bit rushed. It fits the Japanese formula of introducing a new “common enemy” to provide an opportunity for the existing characters to put down their differences, beat up (or convert, in this case) the new enemy, and then live happily ever after. I don’t particularly hate it, but I don’t think it is very satisfying either.

    All in all, a nice produced series, with an original idea. Hope the author will write more “psychological” stories like this one.

  • January 4, 2013 at 2:41 pmFadingMoon

    There is still more material left in the Novels ( I believe about 5 more volumes left) from this point, so they could do another season..

    I think it’s a good stopping point here though, but if another season were to come out I would watch it.

  • January 4, 2013 at 5:58 pmMishieru

    Hi, I’m a long time reader but this is my first time commenting here. First off, I want to say thank you for covering Kokoro Connect. ^^

    I’m not good with words which is why I never commented before, but after reading this article and the comments, I felt compelled to share my thoughts and opinions.

    we’re introduced to a few new characters who I feel are just being slotted into the show “just because”.

    I disagree. It might have felt forced because of the long interval between the old and new episodes. People may have forgotten Setouchi Karou’s character from the earlier episodes since she’s just a minor character. <remember this?<

    What a change of heart for Taichi… within 3 episodes.

    Once again, I disagree. I re-watched the earlier episodes, and noticed things I haven’t before. I think that Taichi doesn’t really see Iori that way, he said so himself (check ep3) and I don’t think it will even cross his mind if not for Inaba. In the earlier episodes, you’ll notice that Inaba’s always observing Taichi and Iori’s interactions and she came up with this conclusion: Iori’s in danger and needs help + Taichi’s a selfless freak = They should be together. And because of Inaba’s insistence, Iori’s situation, and his own personality he came to believe that he was in love with Iori. But perhaps he did fell in love with her along the way.

    I also think that from the beginning, Taichi already have feelings towards Inaba and he’s just not aware of it. Check his reactions when Inaba smiled at him (start of ep3), when she collapsed (ep4) and notice that when Yui asked Taichi why he wanted to help her, he was able to answer her instantly but when Inaba asked him the same question, he stuttered.

    In order to reassure Inaba that her friends will still accept her despite of her shortcomings, he confessed to her the secret he was planning to take to the grave and yet, he didn’t do the same with Iori (Inaba/Iori’s situations are more or less the same). It just goes to show how much he believes and trusts in Inaba. Like what Taichi said in episode 17, “it just took them too many detours to get there”.

    Wow, that was long! I still have things I want to add, but I think I said enough. lol

    I hope I didn’t offend anyone. ‘^^

    • January 5, 2013 at 6:23 ambear

      I think you’re much better with words than you think. You even back up your disagreements with definite examples and there is nothing disrespectful in your tone. Don’t be afraid to comment. It’s part of the enjoyment of reading Blogs and forums on something you love.

      • January 5, 2013 at 8:21 pmMishieru

        Thank you very much. I felt touched and encouraged by your comment. ^.^

  • January 4, 2013 at 8:08 pmNoSicko

    I think I’m gonna miss Heartseed. His trolling ways entertained me.

    • January 5, 2013 at 5:26 pmpokpok

      he make me think of kyubei!!

  • January 5, 2013 at 1:27 amStellarHime

    As much as I love Himeko x Taichi..

    honestly, I’d prefer it much, much more if it was Iori.

    But, as long it’s for the best!

  • January 5, 2013 at 6:44 ambear

    I’ll add my thoughts on Iori. At the beginning of the series she feels that she is nothing but facades that reflect that what people want her to be. She doesn’t even know who she is or if there is anything real about her. This last arc shows her believing that she is a dark and angry person. She had bottled up those sorts of feelings so they were new to her and she assumed that all of the positive aspects of her were fake. What she couldn’t see was that some of the positive feelings were just as much a part of her personality as the negative ones were. She literally went from one extreme to another. Much like Inaban being afraid that people would find out that she didn’t have a trusting personality, Iori was convinced that no one could like her because she was not a happy person. She just couldn’t accept that any of her positive feelings were real. Going to help her friends showed her that she had more than just one type of emotion in her, so she could accept her positive emotions as well as her negative ones.

  • January 5, 2013 at 1:01 pmthankonomics

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. I’ll always ship Iori x Taichi; however, Iori simply wasn’t ready what with her whole identity crisis going on. At this point in the story the girl who really deserved Taichi got with him. Props to Inaban.

  • January 5, 2013 at 4:41 pmend3rr

    Am I the only one here who didn’t like the sudden change of feelings that Taichi had? I respect this show alot, I really do, it even made me rethink about the way I’m living my life right now considering all of the life events that I went through, because of these last few episodes. But I really can’t respect how the world Love is just thrown around so much. Am I missing something here, I thought Taichi really loved Iori, because of all of the things that they went through, and all of the sudden, with one hit in the head he turns to Inaban. Not only that, they even talked about starting their relationship over, I understand that Taichi didn’t fully know Iori when he said those words, but he still knew enough. She was going through alot of changes in her life but that should give him more reason to be there for her and he was, but suddenly everything just changed. IORI JUST WENT THROUGH SOME REALLY PAINFUL STUFF AND TAICHI AND INABAN GETS TOGETHER THAT SAME WEEK. WTF! -____- Am I the only one here who was unsatisfied with this ending!

    • January 5, 2013 at 5:24 pmpokpok

      yes cuz Inori and Taichi relation is *Fake* love misunderstanding love and Inori will get sucked in Taichi delusion of perfect Inori! She will never be free ! And that explain why love relation these days suck and so many break up since they are blind but they admit that it’s good ,Inaban love Taichi since the Begining yeah she’s Tsunaban so she try to get Inori with Taichi cause well why don’t you go and rewatch entireserie -oh ep 9 when Inaba’s confession yeah if you love someone because you pity them you are the one tremple on them that’s- Hanekawa Tsubasa teached you and that’s why Araragi can’t love her cause he surpass that point he can even die for her damn!! why did Nekomonogatari even pop in my head – please understand Taichi love fake Inori yeah Inori who when she say she love love you in her mind it go like URUSAI USOOODAAA yeah if this is Higurashi Taichi is keiichi and he get mutilate by fake Miion who is in fact shion but in reality is Mioon lol He love a delusion just like those who marry a hug pillow or an LCD monitor and feel triump and satisfy but in fact who is a forever a lone sicked person and think of ecchi thing with children -that’s probably don’t exist I just exagerating thing like you convince you emotion without solid and Deep Meta degree POV and statement to backup – on offence friend in Drama we all love different Heroin yeah it’s fiction but inspire by reality I don’t know what your age of your occupation but let me point this out. Taichi is better off with Dereban and for Inori better future she should be free from Taichi and be herself- the one she was born with she is a good person good heart to the core and not pretend to be a twisted mind anymore that’s it!! Cool girl get lonely in most of Anime and In real life well i don’t mind – but if tthis is a real story – it can happen without that hearth SEED stuff HOW?( Taichi can even read Inaban mind by looking at her and psychologu=ist can analyse body language) well I will get Inaban and leave Taichi with Inori – completely fine by me she is my type after all)

    • January 7, 2013 at 3:40 pmrh75

      Well, I’m agreeing with you end3rr. I find the love and relationships presented in the last episodes to be about as solid as liquid oxygen. Even reading the translations of the chapters of the LN leave me with that feeling.

      What was Taichi’s reason for going out with Iori? To help her find herself.
      What was his reason for breaking up with Iori? To let her find herself.

      Nevermind that Inaba has problems herself. She is just looking for someone to latch onto and support her during the tough times. Then again, I see Taichi as a opportunistic boyfriend. He’ll disappear when the relationship becomes troublesome for him. Case in point, his relationship with Iori. First sign of doubt and he bails without any guilt.

  • January 5, 2013 at 8:42 pmrockmanjoe

    Great ending, <3 Inaba!

  • January 5, 2013 at 8:58 pmncc1664

    Would be nice if we get a real 2nd season. :/

  • January 5, 2013 at 10:39 pmJellokun

    On My Podcast we talked about this show and its funny I used Metallica’s Nothign Else Matters if you listen to the lyrics it describes Lori’s feelings and stuff lol it syncs up very well.

  • January 6, 2013 at 9:15 amewok40k

    DEREBAN is WINABAN!
    other than that, I actually came to like Iori a bit ebtter, she is more interesting as darker and edgier one than “usual” chirping cheerful bird…

  • January 26, 2013 at 3:05 pmAnanas

    That was the most cancerous show I completed in a while.

  • May 14, 2013 at 8:39 pmCoconut

    So is it possible to have a second season of kokoro conect