Lightning and thunder resonate when it rains, although when a bolt of spectacular strikes, then it likely means the coming of another episode of Kokoro Connect – an event always unmissable and beautiful indeed.
As per the previous episode, everyone’s been knit back together enough that they’re at least within the same circle of presence – a class trip had been decided, and this chapter gets straight into it, starting right from the relevant point of interest. The subject of the hour is immediately brought to light – our crew are apparently hiking up a mountain, and Iori begins whining in moe fashion towards her beloved Taichi for him to carry her. All the while, Inaban is merely withholding her inner-pain.
For a solid while, the series only gradually paces forward – it’s situation awkward, and the story superbly manages to very precisely position all where desired. Inaban is kept under the limelight as the series exhibits to us how well she’s able of sustaining her composure post-incident with Heartseed.
Inaban is notably aware, now visibly more sensitive in her actions as she’s unable to shy away from her love for Taichi even if she tries – however, she does still attempt to keep a sort of steel fortress of personality, not that such proves particularly effective. After several amusing scenes, we’re led to one which doubles with substance – Inaban has a cut on her finger, bleeding slightly, likely acquired during an earlier moment of desire to sadistically chop vegetables unleashed.
Taichi notices the meager injury, although takes it quite seriously – and heavily insists upon Inaban properly treating it, a moment which prompts some slight Taichi and Inaban physical intimacy.
Putting up her usual tough exterior, Inaban however heads off – going to a spot within the camp where she thinks she’s alone, and seemingly, starts to appreciate the tenderness of the one whom she admires. She places her lips upon the portion of skin which Taichi was in contact with – and silly as some may think of it, this is actually quite lovely to see in that it’s a legitimate expression of Inaban’s feelings.
Now with that said, Inaban was not as isolated as she thought – Iori witnessed the meager gesture, and now, she’s seemingly become fully aware of the truth of the matter. And indeed, Iori confronts Inaban as to whether or not she loves Taichi. Confidentiality is shattered, as Inaban is left with one secret less, she dashes off feeling that her world is now ruined – devastated at the thought that now perhaps, she’s on the verge of losing something dear and significant, a friend.
Yet Iori sets a teary-eyed Inaban straight after the two finally settle face-to-face – Iori vehemently rages with speech, although it’s not that she’s angered or jealous of Inaban, she’s upset that Inaban had such a skewed ideal of herself and others. One should already be familiar with Inaban’s belief that her romantic interests may wreck her friendships – however, more than that, Inaban seems to have incredibly low self-esteem, thinking negatively of herself.
Iori sets Inaban on the right path – if Inaban thinks she’s such a worthless person, then what does it mean of those who happen to admire that same Inaban? She’s somewhat surprisingly proved to be a fragile and delicate female on the inside, or rather, a human being – however, that’s to be expected. Iori truly brings down a hammer of love and humanity upon Inaban – and ensures that Inaban no longer ever thinks lesser of herself.
One must then begin to wonder whether the pain they feel is the result of having been struck with too much magnificence at once – or perhaps it is merely the impact of the captivating emotions just exposed now starting to seep through to the soul. There’s few scenes in Kokoro Connect which one can’t consider “heavy hitting”, every second has proved a transcendence indeed – yet of course, no matter how much such an unprecedented caliber of animation is expected, that of course never makes it predictable or passable.
The rush of Iori and Inaban’s discussion is a level of its own – the voice acting is empowered, and the tears poured with meaning. The characters are understood on every level – and the saccharine manner in how the matter is handled is a whole other tier of excellence in itself. Iori clearly takes friendship to the heart – and it’s wonderful to see both she and Inaban now become on terms of mutuality.
Heartseed intercedes in the moment and contributes in his own way. As mentioned in the past, whilst it may seem he’s the “bad guy” by nature, his actions actually aide the group of friends in getting across aspects which they otherwise may not have been able to – or in other words, he’s giving them a slight push in their complex scenarios faced. Heartseed takes over the physique of Iori to tell Inaban that Taichi has fallen – and as the series earlier did reference a fall to one’s death, Inaban was left thinking the worst.
Upon arrival to Taichi’s resting place however, it turns out he has only a few scratches from falling off a tree – at which point she begins to sob in a much deserved moment of self-expression. Her love is safe, she has friends, and the impulses are now gone – contrary to the conclusion of the previous arc, personality switching, the world truly seems to be at peace now minus that, of course, there’s two females and one Taichi.
With both set on giving a fair and powerful fight, it seems Iori and Inaban have agreed that Inaban will share her true feelings with Taichi – and indeed, she lets him know of her love, complete with a kiss, only missing a moment of masturbation, although that will likely come later.
In the episode’s final seconds, one can see that Inaban is certainly more vibrant than ever – filled with immense cheer as there’s simply nothing interfering with her ride on cloud nine. She’s gone from a slump, to living a brilliant life – and there’s left only two notable concerns to still be wary of with the episodes to follow. The first of which is, of course, just what will Heartseed subject our characters to next – and the second is who will Taichi ultimately select to share his affection with?
All the characters of this series are lovable, yet it’s the Inaban and Taichi pairing which one can’t help but think feels more fitting. However, in terms of appropriateness, Taichi did originally pledge himself towards Iori – and Iori of course is certainly deserving and worthy, an upstanding partner as well.
Regardless of the love connection however, Kokoro Connect has solidly established the fact that it does not let down – thus whatever awaits from here, it may shake a bit in the face of some unforeseen issues, although the ending is inevitably bound to be something of true majesty.