Kokoro Connect – 17 (Fin)

The three thugs tie up Inaba and take her to a warehouse and summon Setouchi. Inaba is able to use the phenomenon to tell the others where she is. They storm in and Yui takes care of two of the three thugs. The third pulls a knife on Inaba, and Iori makes her move, pretending to betray the others so he’ll let his guard down. They knock him out and escape with Setouchi. Iori forgives, hits, and apologizes to her, then asks if they can be friends. While the five reunited CRC members walk home, the third thug runs at them with a pipe. Taichi shields Inaba and gets knocked out.

While unconscious, Taichi has a conversation with Iori using the phenomenon. They’re both glad the other fell in love, but after all that’s happened, they agree to reset their relationship. When Taichi wakes up, Inaba is by his bed. Her thoughts scream her love for him, and he asks her out right there. She accepts and they start dating. Heartseed tells Iori the phenomenon is over. Their club presentation goes off without a hitch, and Gotou decides to advise both clubs. Life returns to normal, with Inaba and Taichi a couple, Yui and Aoki drawing closer, and Iori becoming popular on her own terms.

Fun Fact: Every high school in Japan has an abandoned warehouse nearby where delinquent students can kidnap classmates and hold them there until they’re rescued by friends. Was this an incredibly silly development? Sure, but it does give the finale some much-appreciated action elements. Yui shows the importance of a young lady being trained in self-defense while Iori gets out of bed and does whatever the hell she wants to do, which is save Inaba from the shitstorm she wrought. Using her powers of deception (and her sex appeal) to lower the thug’s guard was some awesome, heroic shit. Inaba and Taichi told Iori to be her own person, and that’s what she does.

And the real her is amazing. She sees that Setouchi is in the same boat, and befriends her so they can work through it together. Everyone seems to have found themselves and one another. Iori and Taichi work things out…in their heads. The girls do the presentation in cosplay after all…because why not? Yui teaches Inaba a submission hold, because let’s face it, Inaba can get into trouble sometimes. Taichi and Inaba (or rather “Dereban”) end up together, and they work beautifully. The episode is replete with satisfying scenes that are payoff for all the teeth-gnashing and emotional discord. It’s a well-earned happy ending.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

 

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Kokoro Connect – 14

It is Valentine’s Day, three days after Heartseed started a phenomenon that allows the thoughts of one person to be transmitted to a random assortment of the others. The sender will know who hears their thoughts, but the receivers won’t know who else heard them. When Taichi confesses to Iori, she rejects him. Word gets back to Inaba, who is upset. Hearing one another’s thoughts only seens to make things worse, but when Heartseed confronts Aoki, calling him “the most useless”, he hears Yui thinking of him, and vows to keep fighting for her and everyone else’s sake, by being himself.

Three months after the last episode broadcast, Kokoro Connect is back and man, this newest phenom by Heartseed (or is it “Balloon Vine?” we’ll stick with the former…) is a doozie. I mean, having your thoughts, which are supposed to be private, transmitted to others, including the one person you don’t want hearing them? People may not always say what they mean, or say what they’re thinking. They can bail themselves out by saying they misspoke, or were only joking. But isn’t the very definition of thoughts “what people mean,” without any pretense? We have no choice but to “mean what we think,” right?

Things better left unsaid are being said, and it’s wreaking havoc on Iori’s psyche. She believes that she, more than anyone else in the CRC, hides her true self in her thoughts. The Iori she lets the others see – the one Taichi fell in love with – isn’t really her. When Inaba tells her their decision-making process is impaired during this phenom, Iori puts it to her: what’s so different about the phenomena and other external influences? The experiences they’re going through under Heartseed’s spells are no less real than others. On the positive  side, the phenomenon seems to be strengthening the bond between Taichi and Inaba, as well as Aoki and Yui. Go figure.

On top of all that (or rather below, because it doesn’t seem like that big of a dilemma compared with the other stuff), they’ll have to fight the jazz club (which is really good) if they want to keep Gotou, their faculty advisor, and thus their club autonomy. Now they’ll have to justify the club’s existence with a presentation that includes actual cultural research. Their ultimate idea sounds pretty bland; we think if they made a presentation based on the crap Heartseed’s put them through, they’d beat the Jazz club handily…or get referred to psychiatrists.


Rating: 8 (Great)