Three-Episode Test: Kokoro Connect

An obvious pitfall with doing these three-episode samplings of ‘new’ anime series is that I will eventually find one that I don’t just dislike, but which I actively dislike.  Congratulations, Kokoro Connect, you are the winner of this dubious honor.

I gave it a chance, I really did! The premise did seem incredibly trite (if you grew up on a steady diet of 80s Hollywood movies as I did, you’d have received your recommended allowance of body-swapping flicks to last you a lifetime), but I figured that it would be more interesting in this scenario since 1) five people are switching personalities, not just the usual two, 2) the swaps occur randomly, 3) the swaps only last approx. 30 minutes at a time. How wrong I was. I was bored by the second episode, and it’s taken a herculean effort for me to finish episode 3.

Let me start picking this apart… As a comedy, there’s not a lot of things that they’re doing so far that’s laugh-out loud hilarious. The couple of scenes that could’ve been potentially funny came out of the two male characters suddenly realizing that they were in a girl’s body and thinking “oh yay, boobs!” Even when the two boys made the videos of Kiriyama and Inaba on their cell phones, that’s something that I’d expect two hornball boys would do. I’m actually surprised that they didn’t go anything raunchier.

Speaking of the girls, I’m really frustrated with all of them so far. Kiriyama, the karate expert, appears to be another example of a broken girl. She’s been traumatized from previous sexual assault perhaps that she shakes each time a man gets close. Grr-eeat.  And she doesn’t think this is a problem that could possibly affect all of her future social interactions? And Inaba, with her perpetual PMS-constipated combo, is another gem. From the get-go, she’s been grumpy and seems to think that she’s too good for everyone else in the club. Have you ever heard of anyone getting kicked out of the computer club for fighting? I think I was scowling all throughout the beginning of episode 3 when she and Taichi were talking about how he should take charge and pursue Nagase before Fujishima beats him to it. She was melodramatic, angry, and aggressive for no good reason. She’s unnecessarily bitchy all the damn time. I know that I’m not the target demographic for these types of series, but I’m having a difficult time finding these two characters to be relatable.

Kokoro Connect wants me to care about its characters, to feel bad that they’re switching bodies with their friends, and how this could cause future psychological damage down the line. And don’t get me started on the budding amateur psychologists on personality and identity that this show has spawned. Personality is such a complex, multi-layered field that intersects with neuropsychology, endrocrinology, cognition — the anime is covering such a small scope of it and I actually feel that it’s not drawing people’s attention to the right questions that should be asked.  Maybe if the approach was more metaphysical, that is, using the concept of soul instead of personality, the types of conversations among anime blogs would be different, but I guess it is what it is.

I think this is a sign that I can only watch one moeblob anime per season, and since that’s slot has already been taken by Tari Tari, I should’ve stopped while I was ahead.