Kokoro Connect – 10

The field trip begins with Iori all over Taichi, but when Inaba cuts her finger, Taichi tries to help, and she runs off. Iori follows her, and realizes Inaba is in love with Taichi too. Eventually losing her patience, Iori demands an explanation. Himeko didn’t want to break up the group, so suppressed her feelings. Iori insists she fight her for Taichi; Inaba agrees. Heartseed inhabits Iori to tell Inaba Taichi fell. Fearing the worst, Inaba races to him, but it’s only a minor fall. Back at school, she confesses to him, announces she and Iori will both fight for his heart, and kisses him. The unreleashed desire episodes cease.

Can Heartseed manipulate horoscopes? Because Inaba was warned she wouldn’t be able to hide her feelings for Taichi from everyone any longer, and Taichi’s worst possible luck on the day of the field trip invariably leads her feelings indeed being exposed, but not to Taichi, at first, but to Iori. The central setpiece of this episode is an intense, highly emotional argument between Iori and Inaba. But Iori doeesn’t get mad because Inaba likes Taichi, as Inaba fears: she’s angry because Inaba has such a low opinion of herself and believes her friends will abandon her if she tells them the truth. The powerful, well-acted verbal sparring shows Miyuki Sawashiro and Toyosaki Aki at the top of their games, bringing more life than ever to the characters.

We’re totally okay with these two deciding to engage in a [relatively] friendly, fair fight for Taichi’s heart. “Let the best girl win”, and all that. We now understand and appreciate Inaba’s dogged insistence on suppressing her feelings (the StuCS members are the only real friends she’s ever had) but also give Iori a lot of credit for setting her straight (she’ll love Inaba no matter what). And what can we say: Inaba’s confession and kiss are friggin’ adorable as all hell – especially the aftermath when she’s short of breath and in a state of crying-laughing bliss and surprise at her own audacity – another wonderfully acted scene. Now, everything’s out in the open. Will it all be smooth going? Of course not; love triangles rarely are. But if we have to have a triangle, we couldn’t have asked for a better one.

Rating: 9 (Superior)