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Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 7, 2013 by  



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“Kokoro Connection” is a series about friendships and the five teenagers being tested by unknown entities.  Will these five friends work together and help one another in conquering their fear or personal problems?  Find out in “Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series”!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2012

DURATION: 325 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

Release Date: October 22, 2013

Originally Created by Sadanatsu Anda

Original Character Design by Toshifumi Akai

Directed by Shinya Kawamo

Series Composition by Fumihiko Shimo

Music by Yasuhiro Misawa

Character Design: Toshifumi Akai

Art Director: Koichi Monma

Anime Production: SILVER LINK

Featuring the following voice talent:

Takahiro Mizushima/Greg Ayres as Taichi Yaegashi

Takuma Terashima/Clint Bickham as Yoshifumi Aoki

Hisako Kanemoto/Emily Neves as Yui Kiriyama

Aki Toyosaki/Monica Rial as Iori Nagase

Miyuki Sawashiro/Luci Christian as Himeko Inaba

Asuka Ōgame/Brittney Karbowski as Rina Yaegashi

Atsuko Tanaka/Molly Searcy as Reika Nagase

Ayane Sakura/Tiffany Terrell as Anzu Kiriyama (secondary)

Keiji Fujiwara/David Matranga as Ryūzen Gotō

Shizuka Itou/Carli Mosier as Maiko Fujishima

The five members of the Cultural Study group that meets in class 401 have spent a lot of time wondering what it would be like to be in someone else’s shoes. But they’re about to learn that there’s a huge difference between thinking about it and literally BEING in someone else’s shoes! That’s exactly what happens when, suddenly and inexplicably, they each find themselves inside the body of the girl – or boy – next door!

What happens next? Well, besides bringing a whole new meaning to the term “exchange student” and the to-be-expected freaked-out runs to the bathroom, it’s not hard to do the math: take one wrestling geek, the resident cool girl, the class clown, the popular chick and one sultry maid of mystery, scramble thoroughly and divide, and you can bet that pretty soon they’ll be answering ALL of the questions they never wanted to know about the opposite sex in ways they never anticipated!

In 2010, writer Sadanatsu Anda and illustrator Shiromizakana released their light novel series titled “Kokoro Connect” (which translates to “Hearts Connect”).

Since 2010, the duo have produced a total of 11 volumes published by Enterbrain, two manga adaptations and in July-September 2012, a 13-episode anime TV series adaptation aired on television followed by four OVA’s.

Sentai Filmworks has released the TV series on Blu-ray and DVD  in Oct. 2013 which will be followed with an OVA collection to be released on Blu-ray and DVD in December.

“Kokoro Connect” revolves around five teenagers and together, the five form a club at school known as the Cultural Research Club:

  • Taichi Yaegeshi – Taichi is a teen who is always wanting to help people and a big fan of pro wrestling.
  • Himeko Inaba – Himeko is the vice president of the club and often seen as cold and abrasive and tends to distrust others.  But she also has feelings towards Taichi but pushes Iori to go for Taichi.
  • Iori Nagase – The president of the club, she lives with her mother and has feelings towards Taichi but doesn’t want  to be in a relationship until the phenomena is over.
  • Yui Kiriyama – Yui was heavily into martial arts but has developed a phobia towards men (androphobia) due to something that happened in her past.
  • Yoshifumi Aoki – Taichi’s best friend who is carefree and not serious about anything.  But he has fallen for Yui.

As the five students try to become a cohesive club, something unusual happens to them when Yoshifumi and Yui switch bodies temporarily while they were about to sleep.  As the two try to tell the club members of what happened, the other three are skeptical until Taichi and Iori switch bodies.

Now believing that something unusual has happened, the four try to convince Himeko who is still skeptical until the following morning and Himeko, Yoshifui and Yui switch bodies.  And it affects them at school which worries their teacher Mr. Goto.  While the three revert to their original bodies, Taichi and Yui end up switching bodies and in the process, their teacher Mr. Goto swaps bodies with a mysterious entity known as Heartseed, who tells everyone that he is responsible for switching their bodies.

And as the five being switching bodies, they learn more about each other especially Yi’s androphobia, Iori’s family problems which begins to bring the five closer together.  But when Heartseed switches bodies with Iori and has her jumping into a river and nearly dying, Heartseed appears in Mr. Goto’s body and warns everyone that Iori’s body will die in 30 minutes, unless the other four decide who’s soul will die and they can easily switch with Iori to die in her place.

Will the five find a reason to Heartseed experimenting on them and find out what his main intentions are?  And through this experience, will it bring the five closer together or cause problems in their friendship with each other?

Find out in “Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series”!

VIDEO:

“Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  While a colorful series, there are scenes that have banding and even a with some artifacts, but for the majority the series, it’s a colorful series that looks good on Blu-ray.  Art backgrounds are nicely painted and character designs are also well-done.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  The series is primarily dialogue-driven, so the soundtrack is appropriate for the series.  Voice acting for both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-done and dialogue and music is clear and primarily a front-channel driven series.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series” comes with the Japanese promos and clean opening and ending animation.

As I finish watching “Kokoro Connection”, I can’t help but think about how this series had potential, how it reminded me a little of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” but somehow this series felt incomplete.

The anime series revolves around five high school students who are club members who begin experiencing phenomena.  From switching of bodies with one another, to reverting to a younger version of themselves, these five start to work together and help each other out through their transformations but also by knowing more about each other, being there as friends to assist them during their time of need.

While I enjoyed the relationship between these five friends, this is a series that obviously needs more episodes to bring in some closure or some answers of who Heartseed is and why there are two of them. And why are these two mysterious entities putting these five students into these situations.

Fortunately, these five and their strong friendship despite having their fair share of obstacles and the manage dealing with each other’s fears.  May it be Yui’s phobia, Iori’s problems at home, Himeko’s problems with distrust, Aoki’s carefree attitude and while noble, Taichi’s insistence of helping anyone in need also becomes problematic for the group.  But together, they are there for each other.

So, while the anime series focuses on friendships, the series ends and left me feeling, “is that it?”.  Fortunately, an OVA release is coming soon and I believe the OVA’s will conclude the series and it’s storyline to tie up some loose ends.  But at the same time, I wish the OVA’s were included with the complete TV series collection, so viewers can receive some sort of closure.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality was good with some mild banding but it’s a colorful series with beautiful art backgrounds.  There are hardly any special features aside from the Japanese promo’s which is nearly two-minutes long and the clean opening and ending themes.

While I did enjoy “Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series”, I just felt it was an incomplete storyline because the problems were never solved and series just ended with not really much closure.  It could have benefited with the four episode OVA inclusion with this set.  But with the “Kokoro Connect” OVA being released separately on Blu-ray, I can only hope it gives viewers to the anime TV series some closure.

Overall, “Kokoro Connection” is a series about friendships and the five teenagers being tested by unknown entities.  Will these five friends work together and help one another in conquering their fear or personal problems?  Find out in “Kokoro Connection: The Complete TV Series”!






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