And just like that, with a snap of my figures, we are now back into one of my favourite genres of Anime – Slice of Life. Today, we’re going to be covering Kokoro Connect, which is actually an Anime that is labelled as many things, I just so happen to see it as a slice of life.
The story of Kokoro Connect (KC) revolves around a supernatural conceit that drives the drama of the story. Simply put, a group of teenagers are put in a position where they no longer truly control their own bodies. Over the course of the story this takes on several different forms, but the awesome thing about it is that the writers were clearly creatively inspired by this seemingly silly premise. A show that could have easily gone on an ecchi, slapstick, “accidental pervert” fest, decided to use this as a way for the characters to learn more about themselves and each other, and we as the audience end up doing the same. Toward the end, the show does wander into some of the inane melodrama that plagues a lot of animes, but understanding that this is an inherent characteristic of the medium, such things cannot be helped.
The art was certainly very well done. (Like others, it seems) I was actually reminded of KyoAni’s sort of “special” art style, but to my surprise, they weren’t involved at all. Even so, all the characters were very well drawn (even the side-characters), and the animation was nice and smooth. There are a lot of emotional scenes present, and whether a character was expressing happiness, sadness or anger, it was always done in such a way that it didn’t feel “overdone”, or “off” in any way, which of course is a big plus.
Another thing I would like to point out is fanservice. Now, I’ve gotten pretty used to seeing a fair share of fanservice in anime, even (or especially) in the ones revolving around a bunch of high school friends. But to my surprise, there really isn’t much of that to find anywhere here. There are maybe 3 or 4 very short scenes like these, and I found it very nice that they didn’t try to break up the emotions with random boob-shots.
Of course, in a show so focused on the emotional changes of our characters, good voice acting will be needed to really be able to bring the (very well done) writing to life, in a smooth and relatable way. To be honest, I really believe the voice actors all managed to do this.
They all fit their respective characters very well, and to be able to display so many emotions throughout a rather short time, really takes a bit of effort.
The one who stood out to me the most, however, was easily Nagase Iori. How she was able to both represent this happy, childish girl, as well as the cold, darker side of Iori we get to see, was truly well done.
As for the music; The background music did a good job at accompanying the writing, but it never really tried to overtake any other aspect, which was nice, and even if I personally didn’t really care for the opening theme all too much, I think it shows the happy, hoping side of the group in a nice way.
Now, this is where things get really good. In short, the characters are all very well written and synergizes rather well with each other. At a first glance, most of the characters appear quite innocent and “playful” (for lack of better words), except for maybe Inaba, who acts as the stern leader of the group. However, as the story goes on, darker sides are revealed, and as we find out more about each characters backstories, you learn that they’re not quite as innocent and/or happy as they’d like you to think, and this is all that makes you care and feel for the characters.
Obviously, a show about being forced to reveal your darkest secrets wouldn’t be very interesting if said secrets were all kinda “meh”, would it? Thankfully, all of the characters (save for one, I guess) have rather good backstories, and this also contributes a lot to character development. As they struggle to overcome their past problems/traumas, they actually develop as characters and synergize with the other characters in new ways, which again brings up a lot of new scenarios.
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