|Iori's just a little flustered at Taichi|
Kokoro Connect (ココロコネクト)
Based off of the light novel by: Sadanatsu Anda
I have been into anime for a very long time, so it takes a special anime to get my attention. This summer season has been one of the weakest ones in recent memory, with only a few standout anime. Of the anime released in summer season, the best of the pack is Kokoro Connect. Kokoro is a Japanese word that means “heart,” it is used in common Japanese language to describe strong feelings. With a name that focuses on heart, it is quite understandable that a strong focus of the anime is the feelings of the central cast. A seemingly simple romance story raises complex issues about personality, feelings, and the interpersonal relationships we hold dear. Kokoro Connect is a great anime that stands out in a rather dull summer season.
|After a body swap|
The strength of Kokoro Connect is that it has a very strong, distinct cast of characters. It has the most likable cast of the summer anime season. The lead character is Taichi Yaegashi, a pro wrestling fan that has a rather dry sense of humor; he is a self-sacrificing person who always wants to help others in need. His main love interest is Iori Nagase, a young woman who has a rather unreliable mother and has no father figure thanks to her mother’s frequent marrying and divorcing; she tries to mold her personality to the people around her, and she is troubled when her last stepfather’s dying wish was for her to be herself. Himeko Inaba is dour girl who doesn’t really trust people, the events in the story only exacerbates her personal insecurities; like with Iori she has a common romantic interest in Taichi. Yoshifuni Aoki is the best friend of Taichi, his outgoing personality and his playboy-esque appearance is the butt of jokes amongst the Cultural Research Club; he has strong romantic feelings for Yui and does not hesitate to admit it. Yui Kiriyama is the longhaired beauty in the club; she has a fear of men and a complex about her “modest” proportions compared to Iori; she also is the strongest member in the club, being a Karate champion at a younger age. The five characters are all easy to relate to, and their troubles are the central point of character development.
|Inaba telling a secret|
For an anime story that is about the feelings of people, Kokoro Connect really connects with the audience by presenting a wonderful, likable cast of characters. The story concept is simple, a mysterious force makes people’s lives miserable by taking them out of their comfort zone, the anime is the result of such a simple concept. It wraps up the cast with complex theories of personality development, human insecurity, and interpersonal relationships. This anime season has a weak selection of anime that is being released, so do yourself a favor and watch the cream of the crop this season, Kokoro Connect, you wont regret it.
Kris Zoleta started working in Anime Expo as a staffer in Manga Library. He worked in Staff Service in Anime Expo 2006 and became the manager of Manga Lounge from Anime Expo 2007-2010. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the 501(c)(6) non-profit behind Anime Expo and is one of the most recognized cosplay photographers in the West Coast.