「この五人がいれば」 (Kono Gonin ga Ireba)
“As Long as the Five of Us are Together”
This episode marks the pseudo-finale (the last episode to air) and the end of the current arc of Kokoro Connect. However, it’s by no way a bad way to end and it comes packed with many resolutions, especially involving Iori. I always felt that this arc would focus more on Himeko/Iori’s interest in Taichi, but this episode definitely zoned in on Iori. In fact, there was very little done on Taichi’s part (even if he mentioned Heartseed #2) and everyone started reverting back at random.
I previously guessed that Iori’s meetings with her mom stemmed from another marriage proposal or a relocation for work. We find out this episode that Iori’s mom actually offered her second dad (the violent and abusive one) another chance to come back and live with them. But not for her own companionship, it was because she thought it would make Iori happy. And the only thing Iori wants is for her mother to be happy. How bittersweet and selfless is that? These types of stories always remind me of The Gift of the Magi (which is a Christmas story I realize but always cute to read nonetheless) where both the individuals give up something important to them for the sake of the other person. In this case, both Iori and her mother think the other will be happier, even when it’s clearly the opposite. I think this also a good example of miscommunication and something that parents and offspring should always talk about. If there’s something bothering you, you shouldn’t have to hide it from your parents. They’re there to support you and ensure you have the best growing up so I think it’s a good step forward for Iori and her mom.
With that all said, I thought this was a very clean way to end the arc. It felt like a simple misunderstanding, cleared up by Heartseed (#1) and he even offered Iori a final wish to reverse time. I think the following episodes would’ve been far more interesting to see Iori try and clean up her “mistakes” but I’m also glad that they chose to finish off the arc with decent conclusions (for everyone). This includes Yui and Aoki as well of course. It opens up questions about Heartseed though. Where did he come from and why are there two of them? Who is he and what’s his motive? He doesn’t seem to be as much of a douche bag as I thought (at the end of arc 1), but still… he seems to be after something by messing with their lives. I’m more curious now who he is rather than… what he has planned (or who #2 is). Basically the same questions I brought up in my initial impressions.
The ending monologue was unexpected to say the least and I would love it if future episodes focused more on Iori. I have always appreciated Taichi’s point of view because he sounded subjective and less driven by his emotions. It’s time for a change though and I was pleasantly surprised when Iori talked about her love for Taichi – is it real or not? It’s a shame that this had to be the setup for future episodes since I feel like KC still has a lot of story to be told and if each character is going to take turns playing “protagonist”, we have a long ways to go. I guess that’s why the LN has lasted as long as it has.
Please note: I will continue to blog upcoming episodes as soon as I can when they are released (unless something comes up in which case, I’m sure someone else will cover it!). Since the finale hasn’t aired, I will save my final impressions until the end of episode 17 so I will catch you all then! Ta!