Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Slice of Life, Supernatural
Release: S1 (2012)
Honestly, Kokoro Connect‘s first episode was really good that I was hooked on the show right off the bat. The anime starts with your cliche high school group of five hanging out in their after-school club, but things get complicated when they suddenly start switching bodies with each other like crazy. The cause of this? Some bored supernatural being called Heartseed wants to be entertained so he decided to mess with them for a bit.
Each arc will feature a different phenomenon caused by Heartseed, and the first will be about the body switching. Despite the body switch being a problem that definitely needs solving, Kokoro Connect, or rather Heartseed, mainly uses this instance as an opportunity to dwell deeper into the unique personas of our five main characters. In the first arc, we are asked the age-old question: what makes you, you?
“Our souls and personalities cannot be seen or touched. That’s why we typically use physical appearance to identify a person- that means that the body is the foundation for the identity. But if our bodies lose their significance because of the personality switching, will we still be ourselves?” -Nagase Iori
Plot: It’s just an ordinary day at the Cultural Research Club, except that Chihiro Uwa and Yui Kiriyama have disturbing news: that they woke up in the middle of the night last night in the other’s room, possibly suggesting a body switch. Then everything went back to normal after a few minutes have passed. This of course baffled their club leader Himeko Inaba, but she would have none of it.
Meanwhile, Iori Nagase went out to get her notebook in the classroom, and protagonist Taichi Yaegashi suggested they have some hot tea to calm things down a little.
But after a blink of an eye, Taichi, while looking at Inaba, suddenly finds himself looking under a chair drawer…
With his voice changed…
And that he had some noticeable oppai.
To have the short of it, he became Iori Nagase.
Things went back to normal after 30 minutes. But in the next day, Inaba, Chihiro and Yui had a three-way body swap. And after days of randomly experiencing this phenomenon between the five of them, they agreed it could happen just about anywhere and anytime so they devised countermeasures.
It’s pretty funny at this point since the girls are awkward taking control of the boys’ bodies, feeling disgusted when having the urge to go to the restroom. The guys, on the other hand, are enjoying their stay in the girls’ (though nothing perverted is suggested, which means, it’s all up to your imagination! Lol.)
Later on, it is revealed to them that a certain supernatural being called Heartseed is the cause of everything. His reasons? Their bunch fascinated him, and that he had a grand time with this experiment he did on a whim. He leaves everyone with the tip that there will be other phenomena that will occur randomly, but will end once he gets his amusement. They tried to retaliate violently, but to no avail.
They were able to manage the switching for awhile. But it didn’t take long before someone broke, Inaba being the first. This is due to her innate trait of not trusting anyone no matter what. The thought of people taking control of her body, most of the time without her consent or supervision, is driving her nuts. For Inaba, her best friends also happen to be her worst enemies. The logic here is that since they are the ones closest to her, they’re also the ones who can hurt her the most. Now she’s caught between antagonizing her friends and keeping all the stress in.
After a few episodes focusing on character development via the body switching, Heartseed declares his boredom and takes matters in his own hands. In the first arc’s end, Nagase Iori’s life hangs in the balance and Heartseed gives them the power to change personalities at their command. This meant they have to decide who will die with Iori’s body. I won’t spoil you any more that what I’ve already said, but how things turned out in the end was pretty good.
In the second arc, they would randomly speak their inner thoughts out loud for the world to hear, which, again, leads to inevitable conflict between them. Here’s a screenshot that broke the internet for awhile:
The same setup will go for the next two arcs: an unnatural phenomenon will disrupt their everyday lives, thanks to Heartseed, and they must now cope with the problems that will arise with it. Needing to work together to keep their friendship intact despite having their trauma and issues from the past haunt them, they also need to the right decisions to make Heartseed happy and content.
The anime is as cheesy as it sounds: connecting hearts. The fact that Heartseed is forcing awkward and problematic situations onto our characters suggests he wants them to be better people. And making the right decisions, which are usually attained after a hard struggle within themselves, are also what makes Heartseed entertained. There’s nothing like that said in the show, but I think he’s actually a good guy. If you’re open to this wild concept of an anime, then I recommend it.