Saturday, 28 July 2012

Kokoro Connect - Episode 4

After all that worrying about Yui, it seems as if Inaba is the member of the gang that everyone should really have been concerning themselves with judging by her collapse at the end of last week's episode.

Although she recovers and is back up and running in no time at all, albeit seeming a little sluggish compared to her usual self, there's clearly still more to Inaba's problems behind her mature and snide facade - not that she has any trouble side-stepping such questions by pushing Taichi's worries directly towards Iori by hinting that the has problems of her own that need resolving.  Given this outburst, Iori has no choice but to share her secret with Taichi, as she recounts a life with numerous "dads" as her mother moved from man to man for various reasons, while also explaining what this constantly shifting backdrop to her life has meant for her personality.  In short, she's become something of a "chameleon", changing her behaviour and personality to best suit and placate those around her to the point where she's seemingly lost sight of who she is as an individual.

With Taichi's assertions that she is who she is no matter what, our thoughts can turn back to Inaba, with a body swapping incident between her and Taichi proving that she's in a far from healthy state, and not just physically either.  Ultimately, Inaba can't hide the truth any more and pours her thoughts out to Taichi - despite going through these body-swapping incidents with her best friends, put simply she can't trust them, with a combination of over-worry and control freakery causing her anxiety to the point of illness.  Against her better judgement, Taichi persuades her to share her concerns with the entire group, who prove to be more understanding than she expects them to be - almost as understanding as Inaba herself is to Taichi's confession of a rather unconventional secret of his own.

In the short term, I have to admit that I've been warming to Kokoro Connect of late - its body-swapping antics seem to know when to take a step back and allow the human drama to take centre stage, and thankfully that drama this week is all something I can relate to (as both a control freak and something of a social chameleon myself).  The biggest problems with the show at this point are two-fold - firstly, any drama has been short-lived, and brushed off with far too much ease with little more than a friendly "it'll all be okay" (or a friendly kick in the balls in last week's case) that kills any dramatic tension in its tracks, and secondly, it doesn't feel like it has enough substance to continue to be entertaining along its current lines.  Hopefully the series still has some shifts and tricks up its sleeve, because right now I'm not sure what else it can do with its characters and their situations as they stand without simply diving into "boring love comedy-drama" territory.

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