I feel as though there’s a sense of deja vu when watching this episode. You could sort of see everything unfold as you might have expected them to. Taichi telling Iori that he’s a selfish freak? Haven’t we been here before? Taichi and Aoki discussing the nature of altruistic acts in front of a sunset? Hmm. Aoki telling Yui that she’s a good person so her desires not to hurt innocent people will likely win out? Again, it feels like we’ve discussed all of these issues to death and we’re just now waiting for the anime characters to play catch up. There’s something very staid about a good 75% of this episode’s running time.
Nothing feels new until the teacher and thus the Heartseed makes an unexpected visit to Inaba’s place, but even then, they’re not exactly covering new grounds. Yes, Inaba’s in love with Taichi, but she doesn’t want to feel as though she’s betraying Iori. There’s nothing revelatory going on here besides the ludicrous fact that Inaba is only now aware of her “true” feelings for Taichi. Yeah right, I really bet she’s been sitting in her room everyday and staring at her ceiling without having the slightest hint as to why she’s frustrated around Taichi and Iori. In fact, it’s a bit of a slap in the face when the Heartseed claims that he’s there to shake things up. Where?
I’m not trying to call this a filler episode. Really, I’m not. The main plot is progressing, so right from the very start, this is not a filler episode. It is, however, very obligatory. When I previously mentioned the idea of the characters playing catch up with the audience, I really mean it. Think of how unsatisfying it is to watch a murder mystery and discovering the answer waaaaaaaay before the characters onscreen do. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? At first, you just feel like screaming at the characters, but they obviously can’t hear you. As a result, you sit back in your chair, resigned to the fact that you have to watch the wheels slowly turn just the way you expect them to.
Kokoro Connect isn’t a murder mystery, but it does present a problem to solve. The problem is that most of the audience has solved it episodes ago. The ninth episode is dull and unexciting because all we can really do is sit back and watch the characters literally talk it out. Literally literally. In the previous arc, the story would at least throw a few curveballs to keep us on our toes. We had Yui kicking Taichi in the balls. It was ridiculous, but at least something happened. The Heartseed would also spice things up by throwing Iori off of a bridge. Now he just shows up to Inaba’s place to have a conversation.
For a show that began with body swapping, things have gotten really tame and ordinary. We’re just told that there’s something exotic underneath it all. Case in point, friends fighting over some snack is a daily occurrence, but in Kokoro Connect, the characters have convinced themselves that they’re undergoing an episode of unleashed desires. I mean, c’mon…