By: Jim Nelson
Silver Link is one of the most underrated animation studios out there. First they gave us Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, which I rated at 9.5, and then they animated Watamote, a fan favorite of the 2013 summer season. This time, we flash back to 2012’s summer season, which gave us another Silver Link show, Kokoro Connect. Does the Silver Link-Sentai partnership go 2-for-2?
Kokoro Connect chronicles the daily lives of five high school students: Yoshifumi Aoki (Clint Bickham), Yui Kiriyama (Emily Neves), Taichi Yaegeshi (Greg Ayres), Himeko Inaba (Luci Christian), and Iori Nagase (Monica Rial). They have a problem with involuntary body-swapping at seemingly random due to a character named Heartseed. The five classmates’ misadventures, how they can keep their body swapping secret, and also, how to stop it while also learning about themselves and each other in the process are all part of this 13-episode romp.
The main five characters are fantastically portrayed, showing that Sentai brought their A-game to this show. Important to the whole show is that when characters swap bodies, many things change. I’m pleased to say that whether it’s a character’s demeanor, mannerisms, speech patters, etc, every one of the actors nails it.
Chris Ayres wrote and directed this script, and he was clearly the best guy to do it. Everyone in the cast delivers, showing incredible range and ability required for a tough show like this. I can only imagine how tough this show was to do, given the character knowledge needed to pull off the personality swaps.
As per usual from Sentai, the show comes on two Blu-Ray discs, with nine episodes stuffed onto disc 1, while disc 2 has the remaining four. The video quality is once again very good, as the show seems to lean towards more angular lines. With almost no action, there are a lot of still moments that don’t tax the disc at all.
As more of a supernatural slice of life and romance show, there isn’t a lot in the way of action, giving way to a lot of talking and exposition. However, there are deeper themes of identity and what makes a person, not to mention heartfelt relationships. The “personality swaps” as the show calls them, are handled very maturely, even though there are plenty of opportunities for comedy that are capitalized on.
There are some truly gut-wrenching moments in this show. I won’t spoil any of them, but needless to say, this is more than just your standard romantic comedy with a plot that I swear I’ve seen before in H-games. Because these are the only five characters we focus on in this show, individual episodes are given to them, and we get to learn so much about them that you get to know them very well, although the main characters seem to be Taichi, Nagase and Inaba.
Even funnier is when entire episodes are spent with the characters body-swapped. It’s a good way to misdirect the viewer and also force them to pay attention, but even the most attentive viewers will lose track of who has swapped into whom. This is a series that will require multiple views to keep track of it all between the body swaps and the relationships.
Kokoro Connect is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Sentai Filmworks. The light novels and manga remain unlicensed.
Kokoro Connect is a truly heartfelt show that has a lot going for it. Mostly due to excellent character development, good pacing, and an excellent English adaptation, it’s easy to recommend this one to fans of any kind of romantic comedy or just a good series in general. This is why Kokoro Connect gets an 8.5 out of 10.