# Teetering on the Brink (Kokoro Connect episode 8) Four episodes ago I said Kokoro Connect was walking a tightrope with aplomb. For the last three that's remained true. This time I'm not so sure. The characters are still believable teenagers, their emotions still tender and fascinating to watch. The tragedy of their situation remains undeniable. But the hand of the author rests heavily on the tiller, and something's starting to crack. Yui (#3 female) has pretty much opted out, not appearing in this episode at all. (Female lead) Inaba is also staying as far away from the action as possible. So it's left to (#2 female) Iori and the two gents (Taichi, the lead, and Aoki) to carry the episode, with a bit of help from a background girl whose only characterization before this has been her lusting over Iori. And none of them's really up to the job. Taichi's character - self-sacrificing, masochistic even - only really works with someone to play off against. Aoki gamely engages him in shouting matches, but he doesn't know how to hurt Taichi the way Inaba can, and the two of them wind up looking more similar than different. Without Yui around, Aoki's own character is weaker than ever; aside from fighting Taichi he did very little this episode. Inaba's continuing desire to isolate herself puts her at odds with Iori, and the resolution that will put the two of them at close quarters with Taichi (and the aforementioned background character) felt rather forced. Some of my fellows have been warning of this from episode 2. The very premise of Kokoro Connect is arranged quite crudely to force the situations the author wants - which is fine by me. Better to declare your assumptions up front, where the viewer can choose whether to accept them. Even the coincidences of the guy next to Taichi wanting to work with the background girl, or, later, the teacher turning up at the worst possible moment, are fair play. But for Taichi to leave Iori alone while she's waiting for him, as happens in the next scene, stretches credibility - and if it doesn't have its characters then Kokoro Connect has nothing. This episode more than ever, in fact. It felt like a holding pattern; Yui and Inaba end the episode exactly where they stared, and the other three aren't far behind. If the only purpose was to force a situation where Inaba, Iori and Taichi are forced together, surely that could have been accomplished with less effort. But the only other thing I got out of this episode was the shouting. While I guess that goes to show the characters are serious, and there's a hint of realism in the slow pace, that's not what I look for from Kokoro Connect. It's already given up any claims to realism with the premise. Give me plot! [Home](/) <div id="disqus_thread"></div> comments powered by Disqus