Kokoro Connect kicked off in a manner of smooth sailing, a solid watch thus far – yet this third episodes decides “splendid” is not simply as acceptable as “spectacular” which it manages to become.
Seen within the previous episode, our protagonist Taichi, as well as the female lead with quite a fearsome attitude, Inaba, found themselves in a fairly awkward instance of volunteering as personality switching put one of them in a position of picking up garbage which they’d have preferred to avoid – and it’s quite easy to see who. Yet this simple situation proves much more interesting than some bickering over park refinement – Inaba is notably in quite a contemplative state as she presses Taichi through discussion.
Inaba has her sillier moments, and despite her cute and cuddly appearance, she may not always act particularly kind or caring – yet she is honestly concerned about herself and others, and this is made all so evident within the scenes to transpire.
First of all, it’s interesting how she engages Taichi – she sparks a conversation with him regarding himself and his habit of taking burdens upon himself for the sake of others. And while she may seem somewhat hostile, it’s clear her direction is something more like “tough love” than simply spite – an element of compassion is present between herself and her friends, Taichi and otherwise, yet it’s particularly strong at the moment as she’s worried that the personality switching will be corrosive to their identities, in which there lies a greater issue Taichi is not picking up.
Contrary to Inaba, Taichi’s something of an optimist – his character is truly fascinating, just as his friends mention, in that he’s “clueless”, or modest, about himself. He doesn’t have any fabulous superpowers – yet he overlooks barriers that would normally leave many at an impasse, and as result, he manages to achieve, however, he also fails to notice certain things. Regardless, it’s not for himself that he seeks to accomplish – he’s “selfless”, pouring effort into the assistance of others from a natural desire to help, a scarcity in today’s grim, greedy, and selfish society.
To this, Inaba loses a screw for a moment, becoming quite emotional in a rage as to how Tacihi is remaining his easygoing self whilst they face a group crisis – yet she apologizes afterward. Her momentary outburst is backed by a reason understandable – and our protagonist realizes this. She’s not incorrect in what she says – and further, one can tell that she’s aware Tacihi’s way isn’t wrong either, she’s merely frustrated.
Note how this discussion all sparked on a mention made by Inaba that “facing adversity to save someone” fits Taichi perfectly – which was preceded by her attempting to pair him with Inori, the adorable and energetic girl with a mole.
This episode is providing a foreshadow of impeding tragedy – Inaba knows that Inori is in a rough spot, and thus, she’s attempting to get Taichi to figure this out. Yet being the fellow that he is, he’s not noticing that a girl whom he’s best of friends with is currently a complete emotional wreck under her feigned smiles. Our protagonist just isn’t picking up the evidence – however, one honestly can’t blame him, the matter is complex, although that means a horizon of personal horrors await for a certain few of our characters.
Upon the conclusion of the recycling bit, the transition met takes us to a scene at school in which a darker aspect behind a certain character is learned – the group which makes our Kokoro Connect five may simply play around in their club, yet in actuality, the reality of their lives carries some harsher respects they keep out of their daily festivities with friends.
Never would one have guessed, yet the blonde haired bishoujo is afraid of men – and while this may be a subject sensitive enough in itself, the instigating factor is far more cruel. Before that however, take into account how a contrast is made between the blonde bishounen in how perceptive he is of the girls – and how hopelessly lacking even a hint our protagonist is.
Even if he’s not an eagle in spotting others in need, our protagonist is however quite a hero. When it was figured that the blonde bishoujo fears men, she ran off – and the air turned heavy as one would expect. Then later in the day, the personality switch conveniently took place between her and Taichi – and when Taichi meets someone in trouble, he’s not going to leave them be. Meeting in a park amidst the night, Taichi hears the tale of how Kiriyama was nearly raped by a man long ago – and while she can’t bring herself to ask for assistance, Taichi will not abandon her so.
And with that, the title of the episode, “Jobber and The Low Blow” makes a world of sense – a “jobber” is a wrestler whom is set with the role of accepting loses, among other things, for sake of another wrestler’s reputation. As for the “low blow”, it’s the technique Taichi shows Kiriyama which can defeat any man – and as Kiriyama experiences all first-hand, she comes to understand indeed.
Kiriyama has been healed of affliction – which as result, seemed to have made her significantly closer to Taichi, and to the point even, one has to be curious if she’s developed any romantic feelings for him.
Aside from the beauty of the problem being met with a solution, it’s truly wonderful how it all transpired as well. Emotions are not to be taken lightly in Kokoro Connect – and one can’t even treat them as such regardless as they’re portrayed so powerfully, whilst simultaneously being intertwined with each respective characters’ personality. Taichi’s fix to Kiriyama’s woe was something taken from his daily life – he loves wrestling, and that’s something he picked up from it which worked for his purpose.
Taichi didn’t go on any ridiculous adventure to achieve – he simply did what he admires, he took from himself for the sake of others, and the “other” in this case is an important friend. Seeing how this was presented so magnificently, the captivation of Kokoro Connect becomes inescapable as result – a happy ending well-deserved makes for a teary-eyed moment one must cherish, yet the series steals attention further through a shift unexpected.
After Kiriyama was rescued from distress by our protagonist, all looked well – yet he’s confronted by Inaba, and whilst she speaks, she spontaneously turns lifeless, something which is an obvious reason to be immensely worried. Unfortunately however, Kokoro Connect keeps our apprehension twirling as the episode concludes off the side of a cliff – leaving Inaba’s fate uncertain till the subsequent episode.
Again, whilst she may seem rather “mean” at times, Inaba is actually quite a considerate person – and she’s been pushing herself, yet putting up a scary facade to hide her own gentler side, which makes it difficult for one to so easily figure her out. The fact that she’s overexerting herself will likely be only one of several other personal problems she’s keeping locked in.
It appears Kokoro Connect will be the journey of these characters building a mutual acceptance, and finding a fix for the woes of one another, amongst some other more intimate developments – which if is to all unfold in the exquisite caliber seen within this installment, one can be certain this series shall become legendary.