Kokoro Connect Ends

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Kokoro Connect originally struck me as a series with a lot of potential, but I don’t think it lived up to it.

The first story arc (Episodes 1-5) delivered an interesting combination of the cute and the chilling. At that point I was thinking of this as one of the top series of the season. But after that it seemed to lose inspiration, starting to seem more and more like an Afterschool Special.

Now I’m not opposed to having the characters learn an Important Lesson, if that occurs as a natural part of an interesting story. However a story doesn’t have much entertainment value if it is so focused on the IL that it contains nothing else that is particularly interesting or significant.

Which leads us to the final episode, which ends the third story arc with a ludicrous climax that feels inane, anti-climactic and fundamentally dishonest.

To some extent my reaction probably reflects cultural differences. Japanese viewers don’t like a story to involve an irreconcilable difference between a parent and a child. This can happen in anime but it’s considered fundamentally tragic and incompatible with a happy ending. Also, except in the most egregious cases, we can’t humiliate the parents by having them admit that they were wrong and apologize. So it’s better if we just wave our hands, whistle a happy tune and agree that it was all a silly misunderstanding.
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I think the series missed an opportunity with the alien entities referred to as Fuusenkazura or “Heartseed.” If they had been developed into actual interesting characters it would have given the story much more depth. Instead they just feel like a plot device. I have a strong suspicion that author Sadanatsu Anda doesn’t really care about the aliens and has no idea who they are or what motivates them. Their only purpose is to appear when the author needs them to kick the plot along.

To be fair, the series had some nice moments, enough to keep me watching. It just feels like a missed opportunity.