Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kokoro Connect - 12

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.17_[2012.09.22_10.15.29] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.48_[2012.09.22_10.25.14] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.20_[2012.09.22_10.31.46]

No matter what it does, Kokoro Connect can’t seem to escape the cloud of scandal that’s settled around it.

OP2: キミリズム(Kimirizumu) by Masaki Imai
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[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.08_[2012.09.22_10.10.20]We have a new OP, and a new OP with only only TV episode remaining – and in the middle of an arc, at that – was obviously not something in the original plans.  Presumably Eufonius’ composer Kikuchi Hajime’s very bad month (inflammatory Twitter comments about Momoi Haruko and his role in the KC bullying disaster) led to the change, and this comes on the heels of the first BD/DVD release being delayed by a month to try and put some distance between it and the hazing controversy.  It’s not as though the series was on track for good sales before all this happened but it’s still sad to see that its legacy will likely be defined by scandal, and not content.  As for the OP, it’s forgettable musically but does have a few interesting visual moments, including Taichi seeming to grab two hands instead of one.

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_01.56_[2012.09.22_10.12.08]As for the penultimate TV episode itself, my reaction is a somewhat unusual one for Kokoro Connect.  Generally I’m either quite riveted or sort of pissed off – without much middle ground – but I think this was the first episode of the series that didn’t make me feel much of anything.  Part of it was possibly due to the focus on Yui and Aoki, hardly the most interesting cast members, but more than anything I think it comes down to what I’ve decided is the critical factor with whether an episode of KC works or not: was it natural?  When this show works, the drama feels organic and flows from the characters.  When it doesn’t, it’s usually because there’s a rote quality to it – actors reading lines and not much more.  When a show relies on heavy drama every week it’s probably unavoidable that everything will come down to that factor, but I can’t recall too many series where it was obvious as it is with this one.

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.33_[2012.09.22_10.14.45]I don’t deny that Aoki and Yui being background characters up till now is part of the problem, and once again – as it did with Taichi being referred to as a Knight – the series plays with this openly, as Yui disparaging refers to herself as a background character.  But while acknowledging it is fine, it doesn’t make an episode focused on them any more compelling, and though I’ve long hoped we’d see such as episode in the end it mostly left me cold.  Everything, starting with Yui’s manufactured conflict with her old rival Mihase (Uchida Maaya) to Aoki’s silly Shinkansen journey for a two-minute conversation with middle-school crush Nana, felt very artificial to me.  I’m just not buying into the emotion with these two, and it seemed like there was an awful lot of development crammed into the episode because it was necessary for the plot.  I just don’t think you can make a character interesting in a 12th episode after they’ve been two-dimensional for the first eleven.

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.01_[2012.09.22_10.18.13]On the plus side, at least we weren’t subjected to scene after scene that appeared designed to do little more than pander to viewers with over-the-top cuteness, which was the biggest flaw in last week’s otherwise pretty solid episode.  There was a brief bit with a toddler Nagase (a scene which proved once again that this show isn’t very good at comedy and shouldn’t even try) but apart from that and Aoki’s reversion at the very end (why is it that he always seems to revert to the same age?) nobody was younger than fourteen.  The fact that Aoki remembered who Yui was is probably the most interesting plot element here, implying that by sorting out his issues he was actually capable of influencing how the reversions affected him.

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.08_[2012.09.22_10.19.20]It’ll be interesting to see just how much Silver Link decides to actually make next week’s ep a finale, given the looming BD/DVD arc.  Regrettably Taichi seems more irrelevant than ever – he hasn't been anything like a knight this arc but a babysitter at best, and he still sits meekly by as Iori and Inaba passive-aggressively fight over him like a piece of meat.  I don’t suppose that we’ll get anything definitive in that triangle, but to be honest I don’t much care at this point – I just want to see Taichi actually become a real person and not a plot device.  Whether that happens next week, in the BD arc, or not at all is going to go a long way in determining Kokoro Connect’s final grade as a series.

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.33_[2012.09.22_10.22.45] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.41_[2012.09.22_10.22.53] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.40_[2012.09.22_10.24.05]
[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.45_[2012.09.22_10.25.10] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.28_[2012.09.22_10.25.53] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.29_[2012.09.22_10.25.54]
[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.51_[2012.09.22_10.27.16] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.58_[2012.09.22_10.27.23] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.58_[2012.09.22_10.28.23]
[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.00_[2012.09.22_10.28.25] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.17_[2012.09.22_10.29.43] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.40_[2012.09.22_10.30.05]
[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.58_[2012.09.22_10.30.23] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.17_[2012.09.22_10.30.43] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.50_[2012.09.22_10.32.15]


8 comments:

  1. If you pay attention, it isn't Taichi grabbing the hands -- it's Iori. Look at the sleeve colors. Red coat (Taichi) grabs blue coat (Iori), then black coat (Inaba) grabs blue coat (Iori).

    (And in a surprise ending, Inaba and Iori ditch the middleman and ride off into the sunset.)

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    1. YURI for the win!

      Seriously, this was one of the weaker episodes of the series, as it focused on the weaker characters, no doubt. Hopefully the show ditch this arc ASAP and start on a new one within the remaining 5 episodes. BD/DVD only episodes? That means they won't be available for months. Ay caramba....

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  2. '' Presumably Eufonius’ composer Kikuchi Hajime’s very bad month (inflammatory Twitter comments about Momoi Haruko and his role in the KC bullying disaster) led to the change''

    It's hard to imagine any other reason for it. A shame, since the older OP was nicer, but at this point ...

    ''this comes on the heels of the first BD/DVD release being delayed by a month to try and put some distance between it and the hazing controversy''

    Um, well, the delay was due to the BD/DVD releases containing a certain '' special features'', in this case called ... um, the Ichiki Mitsuhiro Tochirandom live event footage, which contain rather ... electrifying footage that I'm sure were deemed to be inappropriate in light of recent events. So ... yeah.

    In a sense, I think this was the better outcome of these sad events. I mean can you imagine if they did actually release that on the BD and people bought it and then done the investigate work then? Oh boy ...

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  3. I just don't know what to think of this series overall. I generally enjoy the episodes we're given, but... do I enjoy them enough for the last arc being DVD only to be a good idea? I kind of feel like by the time those episodes start materializing I won't give a crap anymore. Of course I am usually like that with DVD only episodes even for shows I like, unless I happen to see if posted on a fansub group's page I don't really go out of my way to remember when they are coming out or try to find them. I understand that they want to sell more DVD's by putting bonus content on them but the truth is that most shows simply aren't good enough for me to maintain interest in them months after they've stopped airing. I reckon Kokoro Connect is going to fall into that category too. If the DVD only eps are put right in front of me I'll probably get them but I'm not gonna be like "OMG, ONLY ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL A NEW KC EPISODE! WOO!"

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  4. I liked the new OP song better. The song by Eufonius never did anything for me, being entirely forgettable with no hook nor excitement.

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  5. Mmh. I'd be careful about accusing the OP change as being due to certain outside events - I seriously doubt the expense of paying for the composition of a new OP *and* making an entire new OP animation with rather lavish scenery makes sense, regardless. It's a possibility that this opening was planned for the BD/DVD episodes, but moved forward due to the controversy, but I very seriously doubt it was made just for the purpose of displacing a eufonius OP.

    As for the episode itself, I felt it was rushed but fine. I somewhat suspect that the episode itself just didn't resonate with you. I know the Aoki bit didn't really work for me emotionally, although I got the point intellectually; but Yui's apparent inability to move forward and how it really was all her own fault was definitely something I could personally relate to. I suppose it's a case of YMMV?

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    1. It was the opposite for me..I felt Aoki finally got some well deserved development but Yui seemed to flounder about as usual so does her "development" in terms of writing..

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  6. Honestly no one will care about this anime 3 years down the line anyway. It's hardly a classic in the making.

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