The "love and teen pentagonal comedy" follows the strange phenomena at the Yamahoshi Academy's Cultural Research Club, starting with the five male and female club members switching bodies with each other. Kokoro Connect focuses on five people—three girls and two boys—who deal with strange phenomenons like randomly switching bodies with one another or having their innermost desires unleashed. They learn that the reason behind this is a mysterious entity that goes by the name 'Heartseed'.The series deals with how people would react to being able to switch bodies with another, what they would do if they were switched to a body of a different sex, and the types of shenanigans and complications that might arise from such a situation and the ramifications on the people themselves would be, on their personality, their problems and how they might try to fix each others failings and complexes when they find out about them.(Source: My Anime List)US viewers can watch this show legally on Crunchyroll or Hulu.The original light novel series currently consists of ten volumes, two of which are side stories. The author has announced that there will be one more side stories volume serving as an epilogue after the conclusion of the main story.
Vol. 1 Hito Random *
Vol. 2 Kizu Random *
Vol. 3 Kako Random *
Vol. 4 Michi Random *
Vol. 4.5 Clip Time - Short Stories
Vol. 5 Nise Random *
Vol. 6 Yume Random *
Vol. 6.5 Step Time - Short Stories
Vol. 7 Asu Random (I) *
Random Tomorrow (I)
Vol. 8 Asu Random (II) *
Random Tomorrow (II)
The light novels have a fan-translation here.The anime, by Silver Link, ran for 17 episodes. A new arc covering the material from one of the books starts every few episodes. The series is separated like this:
Vol 1 - 5 episodes
Vol 2 - 5 episodes
Vol 3 - 3 episodes
Vol 4 - 4 episodes
A PSP (non-canon) Visual Novel, Yochi Random, has also been released on 22nd November 2012, featuring an original story taking place in an alternate timeline after the events of Hito Random, with different, serious arc based on each of the 5 main casts' perspectives, as well as a number of comedic side arcs.We have a Character Sheet right here.Please revamp the main trope pages by moving all character tropes to their respective characters.
Adaptation Dye Job: The eye and hair colors of some characters differ slightly between the anime and novel art.
A Date with Rosie Palms: In episode 4, Taichi tells Inaba a secret that he hoped to take to the grave with him after she reveals that she worries a lot and can't trust anyone. He said he masturbated to pictures of her, as well as Iori and Yui. Inaba seems shocked at first, but then starts laughing. At the end of the episode, she also reveals one of her secrets, she did the same thing with his picture.
Adults Are Useless: Averted, but the stuff the main characters go through is so weird they figure no one would believe them if they asked for help. It also doesn't help that the supernatural entity toying with them leaves no evidence to work with.
All Love Is Unrequited: Oh boy, is it! We have Aoki for Yui initially, Fujishima for Iori, Watase for Fujishima, Shiroyama for Iori, Setouchi for Shiroyama (initially, but she managed to win the guy few months later in the novel) and for a brief time, Taichi would qualify this for Iori during the Michi Random arc.
Similar scenarios occur in the PSP visual novel, 1) when Iori was about to get hit by a truck and 2) when Inaba was plummeting onto the ground off a cliff.
Bland Name Product: Bazkin Robin ice cream, Inaba's VAIA laptop, Cola-Cola, Sontory (Suntory) and Melpis (Calpis) drinks, and a Seike (Seiko) clock all make appearances.
Blue and Orange Morality: Heartseed's methods to interacting with the club members can seem rather strange to most people including the main characters, such as the random warping into different bodies, and especially episode 5 when he takes over Iori's body and throws it off a bridge into the river below.
Breaking the Fellowship: The various character's problems cause them to avoid each other in episodes 7 and 8. In episode 9 and 10 however, they largely make amends for the strife they caused the group.
Brick Joke: In episode 9, Aoki requests Yui dress as a bunny girl and she refuses. Come episode 17...
Covert Pervert: Inaba. She's cold, logical and aloof but when it comes down to it, the vast majority of sexual comments in the series are made by her, she's definitely gone farther than any main character with her sexuality (sure, her desires where unleashed at the point, but so were everybody else's). She also seems to be the most frequent masturbator, too.
Credits Jukebox: If the endings are anything to go by, each arc has its own ED theme.
Cry Cute: Inaba really turns on the waterworks in episode 10.
Does Not Like Men: Justified, double subverted, then reconstructed with Yui — She was a victim of attempted rape in middle school and, as a result, developed androphobia. She seemed to get along alright with the male characters, but people closer to her are somewhat able to tell she has a fear of men. Taichi then gives Yui a little push to start overcoming her fear.
First Kiss: Taichi gives one to Iori while she's in Inaba's body in episode 5, because Iori was going to die, and she wanted a memory from him before she went. Later, Inaba gets upset that he stole her first kiss, and threatens that it'll "cost" him big time.
First Name Basis/Last Name Basis: The other four main characters all call Taichi by his first name. Aoki and Inaba are almost always called by their last names. One can be forgiven for forgetting that Taichi's last name is Yaegashi, or that Aoki and Inaba's first names are Yoshifumi and Himeko, respectively.
Five-Man Band: The main characters. A possible interpretation of them:
Heroic Sacrifice: Taichi is willing to make sacrifices to help others, but his friends are aware that this trait of his can also lead to his undoing.
Hidden Depths: Arguably everyone. For example, Yui, who loves cute things and is usually the quiet one, is actually a karate champion.
Idiot Ball: The reason why Taichi and Aoki thought it was a good idea to take cute pictures of themselves while controlling Inaba and Yui's bodies. Also, they did so in the Cultural Society's clubroom of all places!
Is That Cute Kid Yours?: Various people ask this question in episodes 11 and 12 when 4 of the 5 members start reverting to a younger age from noon till 5pm.
It's All About Me: Inaba gives Taichi "The Reason You Suck" Speech in episode 5, and berating him for always trying to be the good guy in situations like these. He then lashes out a bit at her, and says that he hates to see people around him suffer, and wants to suffer their pain so he can understand what they're going through, and so endure his own pains.
And he takes it even further in episode 8.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Iori runs away, Taichi chases after her, but doesn't know where she went. He asks Fujishima, who says she saw Iori run through the front gate, then gives him the key to her bike lock, and tells him that he's the one she needs right now.
Inaba also attempts to invoke this trope for Iori and Taichi, but ultimately subverts it herself.
Lighter and Softer: The anime distilled and toned down some of the harsher elements from the novel. For a few examples:
Hito Random, Taichi was swapped out of his body and was prevented from reaching out for Iori as she plummets into the river.
Kizu Random, the anime distilled some of the casts' darker desire during their individual BSOD moments, such as Taichi smashing things in his room, Inaba shoplifting etc. And Inaba also appeared to be much less of a jerk than she did in the novel.
Love Confession: Aoki has given several to Yui, who also has repeatedly rejected him.
Played straight with Taichi towards Iori in episode 5. She smiles when she hears it, but then her body is taken over by Heartseed, and he apologizes, and throws her body down the river.
Inaba gives one to Taichi in episode 10. While he appreciates the thought, he tells her he's currently in love with Nagase, but Inaba says she already knew that. And since they're not dating, she figures she still has a chance, and tells him that both Nagase and herself agreed to compete for him fairly.
Yui gives one to Taichi in episode 12. However, she just said it as an example of her current issue of avoiding the subject, which she's been doing the entire time since her attempted rape and how she used to be strong and now relies almost solely on everyone else.
Chihiro gave one to Yui near the end of Nise Random arc during their sports event, which caught Yui completely off guard and lost to Chihiro's team, as he had planned.
Love Epiphany: Inaba has one with the help of Heartseed of all people.
Love Hurts: The main reason why Inaba was skipping out on club activities around episodes 7-9 was because she was in love with Taichi, but didn't want to act on her impulses with him as she believed that it would destroy the group's friendship if they find out, and more importantly, Iori's feelings, which causes the latter to lash out at her in episode 10 for burdening herself like that.
Male Gaze: A couple throughout the series towards Inaba and Iori.
Not So Different: Despite having drastically different personalities the Cultural Research Club members get along quite well due to being able to relate with each other's circumstances.
A more serious example, Heartseed claims Taichi to be this with him in Yume Random arc.
Not What It Looks Like: Having experienced a body switch (with Iori, no less) for the first time, Taichi checks his 'new body'... by touching his newly acquired assets. Then the class representative walks in on Taichi... and offers to help 'her', much to Taichi's horror. No wonder Iori was absolutely furious with Taichi when she found out...
Episode 6: Taichi's reaction to Inaba having her inhibitions suppressed and coming onto him. Right before Aoki and Yui walk in.
Oh Crap: Taichi gets this expression when Inaba tells him that will be reprecussions when he kisses Iori in her body. She gives him a Slasher Smile and laughs evilly.
Setouchi has this look after an angry Iori finds her in episode 16 after the latter finds out the former was indirectly responsible for destroying everything her friends had been working hard on.
Poor Communication Kills: The whole drama in the Michi Random arc might have been averted had Iori been more open to her friends or her friends been more intuitive to catch on to the cause of her angst.
Also played with in the visual novel, where one of the scenes, depending on the player's choice of action, Taichi will end up groping ANY one of the other 4 members of the cast. To fuel the tease, besides the endings with either Inaba or Iori, the game also features gag endings with Yui, Aoki and Fujishima. And then there is that "harem route".
Sadistic Choice: Heartseed gives the group the choice of which personality will die with Iori's body.
Sacred First Kiss: Inaba does not take it well when she hears from Iori that the latter shared her first kiss with Taichi in the former's body. To fuel the Ship Tease, technically both girls had shared their First Kiss with Taichi.
Inaba's grudge is played for laugh in the PSP visual novel. In one of the side route ending, Fujishima stole a kiss from Iori. Inaba and the rest of the club try to comfort Iori, but as soon as Iori starts lamenting that it was her first kiss, Inaba immediately shifts to a nonchalant attitude and said: "You gave away your first kiss already... with MY BODY! This is what you get for using someone else's body without care!"
Scandalgate: "Auditiongate", in reference to Hisako Kanemoto and Takuma Terashima allegedly hazing a rookie voice actor with a prank related to the anime adaptation. This becomes a subversion when you realize that those involved didn't have the time to plan the stunt properly. Oh, and the voice actor in question? He's actually going to be on the series—and this time for real—during the second half.
For those that are curious about this incident, here are some linksthat provide some background to this. And this is an example of why Internet Counterattack can be quite brutal.
Second Love: Between Yui and Aoki, it turns out that Aoki used to love a girl similar to Yui.
Inaba is this for Taichi
Secret Keeper: Taichi is usually the go-to guy for the various characters regarding their issues. Then in episode 11, No.2 forces him to keep the current situation a secret from everyone else, lest he wants all of the club members reverting to a younger age for the rest of their lives. And then when Inaba and Iori wonder how long their current situation would last, he lets it slip that it shouldn't be long. Which then causes both girls to start grilling him about exactly how much he knows.
Shaped Like Itself: Heartseed is using vague mind-control to make the gang act upon impulse. In Iori's case, no one notices a difference.
Inaba: They seemed to write it off as Iori being herself.
Iori: That was the worst part! If everyone thinks I'm being myself when I suddenly shout "Yahoo!" in the middle of class, what does that say?
Taichi: That you're the sort of person who likes to shout "Yahoo!" in the middle of class.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: In episode 2, when the class rep asks Taichi what his relationship with Iori is, he proudly boasts that they're dating. Cue a shocked Inaba looking at him making that proclamation. In actuality, Inaba and Taichi had switched bodies, and Inaba claimed to be doing it to help move their relationship along, as well as get the class rep away from Iori. Taichi was not happy about it nonetheless.
Taichi's response when his sister calls Iori his girlfriend in episode 6.
Shipper on Deck: Inaba for Taichi and Iori. But for some reason, Inaba seems to be acting too supportive of the two that it's actually a little bit suspicious... and then there was that certain episode...)
Split Personality: Or personalities, for that matter. While not as potent as a Jekyll and Hyde case, it's arguably just as bad— when she was younger, Iori began assuming any persona she felt was necessary to please or placate a person or situation. Now that she no longer needs to assume a persona, she never really developed her own sense of self, and as a result, she worries that she'll lose the definition of who she is. Her dilemma is made that much worse with the Freaky Friday Flips.
However, in Episode 5, Taichi successfully argues that her making personas is no different to anybody else adapting to a given scenario.
Not as successful as you would think. By the events of episode 14, she began to be aware of her darker feelings, and mistakes those as her true self while dismissing her friendly persona as yet another facade, not realizing that they all define who she is.
Status Quo Is God: Iori tells Taichi in episode 6 that they should put off a relationship for now due to Heartseed screwing with them, which would likely complicate matters. He agrees to it.
Inaba tells Nagase she wanted to put this trope into effect as to why she was trying to hard to get her and Taichi together. Nagase gives her a good tongue lashing regarding that.
Stop Helping Me!: Several of the characters invoke this trope while suffering through a Heroic BSOD. Despite that, their friends still do whatever they can to help them.
Tempting Fate: In episode 10, while taking out some trash on the field trip, both Inaba and Taichi notice that the garbage collection area is right in front of a steep cliff. Taichi mentions reading that he was going to have bad luck today according to his horoscope, but assures Inaba the only way he'd fall was if he jumped off deliberately. Cue Heartseed showing up later in the episode to tell Inaba that Taichi had a little accident and fell...
Thanks for the Mammary: Taichi to Inaba in episode 6 after she got her lust unleashed. Fortunately, Yui and Aoki arrive at the scene before the situation got any further.
Invoked in episode 10, when Heartseed takes over Nagase again, this time to tell Inaba that Taichi had a little accident and fell. She immediately fears the worst, and wonders if Taichi really did fall off the cliff they saw earlier in the episode. Then its subverted again when it turns out Taichi only fell a short ways from a small tree while trying to rescue a cat.
Taichi gives one to Inaba, harshly berating her for running away and abandoning their companions. A tear can be seen in Inaba's eye before she walks off and he snaps out of it.
Heartseed essentially does this to Inaba in episode 9. He tells her about her insecurities and trust issues, and how her attempts to hide her true feelings for Taichi is causing strife within the group that she also is trying not to break up.
Iori also does this to Inaba in episode 15 when the latter tries to dig into why she's going through her Heroic BSOD and doesn't seem to want anyone's help. Iori then flat out tells her she hated how Inaba kept pushing her to date Taichi, and when she finally considered it seriously, Inaba then decides she likes him too, and messes things up as a result. Then when Iori rejected him the second time he confessed to her, she also hated Inaba getting on her case about that as well.
Wham Episode: Episode 5, which takes a very dark and dramatic turn in contrast to the fairly lighter earlier episodes.
Invoked in episode 10, when Heartseed once again shows up to tell Inaba that Taichi fell. She thought he may have fell down the cliff from earlier, but it turns out that he fell from a small tree while trying to rescue a cat. Both Taichi and the cat were okay, but Inaba imagined the worst.
Episode 16, Iori going on an rampage of fury and then Inaba being kidnapped at the end.
What the Hell, Hero?: Happens a few times throughout the series, but they immediately regret what they did, such as Yui beating up some guys, or Taichi accidentally knocking Iori over and causing her to hit her head on a cabinet while arguing with Aoki.
Which Restroom Dilemma: Happens when members of the club switch bodies with the opposite sex. Also leads to some hilarious moments when they forget and go into the wrong bathroom. Inaba asked the rest of the club which of them had made that particular mistake, and all four of them raised their hands.
Would Hit a Girl: Taichi in episode 8 though his inner desires were unleashed at the time when arguing with Aoki and afterwards he deeply regrets it.
You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Nagase does this to Inaba in episode 10 when she finally puts the clues together as to why Inaba has been avoiding the club lately, as well as spending time with her friends.
You Are Not Alone: Nagase tells this to Inaba in episode 10 when the latter confesses about having always been alone, and why she was trying to get Nagase and Taichi to date.