Kokoro Connect – 05

Inaba gathers Taichi and Iori to watch Aoki confess to Yui and ask her out, in an effort to put a jolt into their progress. It seemingly works, as Iori confronts Taichi while pretending to have swapped with Inaba. Taichi chases Iori down, reinforces his belief that she has her own personality, then tells her he loves her and asks her own. A moment later, Iori is taken over by Heartseed, who says they’re too boring, and throws Iori off the bridge.

At the hospital, Iori is in the ICU, and Heartseed returns as Mr. Go. He tells them she will die, but they have thirty minutes to decide whose personality will die with her body. Taichi volunteers himself, but Aoki believes Iori should die in her body. They discuss it with Iori, who agrees with Aoki, then switches from body to body saying goodbyes, telling Taichi she loves him too and they kiss (while she’s in Inaba’s body). She delivers her decision to Heartseed, but instead of dying, she makes a full recovery. Heartseed never meant to kill anyone. The body swapping ceases.

One of the trademarks of a great anime is making you totally forget you’re watching two-dimensional approximations of people voiced over by people in soundproof booths, and truly breathing life and vitality into the characters. After a rough start, Kokoro Connect is proving adept at this, turning in another emotional powerhouse. With a title like “A Confession and Death…” we knew what we’d be getting, but that ellipsis opened the possibility that the episode wouldn’t be that literal, and it wasn’t: we get two confessions and no death. Though at times, we must confess we thought they may actually kill Iori off. Turns out Heartseed is more curiously cruel than pure evil (he even thinks to safeguard her phone by tossing it to Taichi before throwing her off a bridge. How considerate!)

Prior to the game, we liked how one confession spurred on another, with Inaba apparently happy to be the yenta in the middle. We liked the dangerous trick Iori played on Taichi, proving her chameleon skills, but even better was Taichi’s spirited rebuttal of Iori’s misgivings, and his sudden but welcome confession. We’ll admit to getting into the drama; Iori and Taichi’s talk leading up to their “first/last kiss” got us right there (kudos to Miyuki Sawashiro for really channelling Iori), and we pumped our fists when the doctor cracked a grin, despite the fact we knew this was probably all a game/test.

Rating: 9 (Superior)