Here is my policy on reviewing series that still have important DVD specials coming up: I do not include those DVD specials in these reviews. The reason for this is quite simple: I guess most of you know that my blogging style is very spontaneously: I write down whatever comes to my mind. Most of those DVD specials take months to arrive, some even half a year. At that point my memory of the series in question just isn’t sharp enough to write an accurate review. Kokoro Connect is a special series: it has four episodes scheduled on DVDs that tell its final arc, a procedure that I very much encourage, but this review does not take those into account, other than ignoring the unfinished ending. I’ll talk about it later when everything has finished.
Especially because Kokoro Connect created some very interesting memories during the past season. I mean, every season I watch a ton of bad romantic comedies when every series starts, to the point where I’ve become a bit too biased on some of the clichés and early warning signs. The victim of this was Kokoro Connect, which started off with half an episode of school girls whining and delivering bad sex jokes (just like so many other shows out there do). I completely wrote off this series, and then it turned out to be this genuine and insightful drama. Talk about a surprise here.
So yeah, give this show a chance if you want drama that takes a very deep and close look at its characters. The thing with Kokoro Connect is that it consists out of three arcs, each of them throwing the cast into a situation completely beyond their control, and designed so that they are forced some of their deepest issues. The first arc for example has the cast switch bodies. This brings out tons of interesting issues, both with it shedding a serious look on what it would be like to spend time as a different gender and delving into the characters and their problems.
The first arc is particularly good at this, mostly because of its incredibly sharp dialogue that cuts right to the chase. This sharpness is unfortunately lost on the later arcs, but these still are really good and chock full of character development. The weak link is the second arc in the middle, which just ends up too forced. It’s nothing but the characters yelling at each other, and the creators make too little use of it. It also breaks up the pacing a bit after how good the first arc was: you’d expect something of the same quality, but the end result just doesn’t match up.
What also made this such a surprise is the studio behind it: Silver Link. My opinion of this before this show started was as a collection of bad Shaft-wannabes. That definitely changed with this series: they stopped trying to adhere to their Shaft roots and instead try to go with their own style (albeit slightly inspired by K-On). The animation ends up surprisingly good. Perhaps not Hyouka-levels, but the attention to detail still is quite impressive. The voice acting also is quite good, and unlike any of Silver Link’s previous hammy series. They really did something different here, and while it suffered fierce competition this season in the drama department (Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Hyouka), it held its own and delivered a high school drama that actually managed to stand apart from the rest.
|Storytelling:||8.5/10 – The dialogue at worst is pretty forced. At best however it’s incredibly sharp and insightful.|
|Characters:||8.5/10 – Excellent cast of characters, with issues that play off each other really well and lead to quite some interesting drama.|
|Production-Values:||8.5/10 – Good animation, though it does still look a tad generic.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Um yeah. Perhaps this gets explained in the final arc but things just… happen. It’s done believably, but this is one example of a setting that exists just for its characters to develop. Nothing wrong with that, but it also doesn’t get extra points for that.|