In a nutshell, Kokoro Connect focuses on the daily, but not-so-normal lives of Taichi, Iori, Himeko, Yoshifumi and Yui and their encounters in their Cultural Research Club. Up until recently they thought that they lived normal lives. This changes when a mystery being called Heartseed starts to intervene with their daily lives.
Five students at Yamaboshi Private High School decide to form their own club, since there are no clubs that interest them. They form their own Student Cultural Society, which is primarily a social activity, which involves publishing newsletters, from time to time. The members of the club are as follows: bright and friendly Club President Iori Nagase, calm and logical, but actually a bit clumsy Vice-President Himeko ‘Inaban’ Inaba, selfless problem-solver Taichi Yaegashi, former karateka Yui Kiriyama, and Taichi's friend and everyone's mate Yoshifumi Aoki. The five go together like salt and pepper and are enjoying their lives, however, one day, they start finding themselves randomly body-swapping with each other for 30 minutes at a time. They soon learn a mysterious being that calls itself Heartseed is somehow able to swap their bodies and cause the five friends many other troubles only because it finds it funny to cause them troubles and see how their relations change, depending on the problems they need to solve together. With the course of time, the Heartseed comes up with new ideas to trouble the five friends and sometimes these ideas are a bit too ‘drastic’.
Body-swapping stories are not something new for the industry. Though, this staple mostly used in anime to add a comic relief, Kokoro Connect, however, takes a different approach. Body-swapping here is mostly used to make the viewer anxious. As it has been stated before, Heartseed is the being responsible for what happens with the friends and the moment they get used to what is happening, start to trust each other, Heartseed intervenes and causes some real troubles. And this was really interesting to watch, while, indeed, the focus of this series is sci-fi, it felt realistic. What I mean is the way characters interact felt real and that the storyline tries to show how their attitude towards each other changes in such situation the five are in; the story-line focuses only on what is important, it never touches upon the Heartseed, what it is, why would it try to ruin the lives of the five, or maybe help them, if you would call it so. All in all, my only complaint is that it feels too slow sometimes, but I would not call it that much of a miss.
Kokoro Connect is well-designed and well-animated, and there is never a point where this show looks or sounds anything but pleasant. There is a bit of fan-service here and there but nothing annoying that would annoy, or distract you. Sound wise, it has an enjoyable OST, great Japanese voice acting and a solid English dub.
As I have already said before, characters is the main focus of the series. And I must say Kokoro Connect does manage to implement its ideas. It offers good character development and five totally different from each other friends, with their own characters, fears and, desires. Anyways, Nagase Iori is the president of the Cultural Research Club. She sets the mood for the club members, with her carelessness and readiness to help friends in need. Himeko Inaba is vice president of the Cultural Research Club. She excels in gathering information and analysis, has great wit, but fails to understand people and suffers because of that. Taichi Yaegashi, just like Iori, cannot rest when one of his friends needs help. Kiriyama Yui is very active and expressive karateka. Aoki Yoshifumi is that kind of people that wants to be a friend of everyone and have no enemies.
Anyways, while the characters might sound generic, they all have a big secret about them. And this makes this series that interesting. It is slow sometimes, some of the characters do seem a bit annoying, at first glance, but when you see more than a half of the series, you actually start to understand them and the series looks pretty interesting for you. I will not hide from you, I wanted to know more about the Heartseed, the secret behind his power to control people, but that is not the main focus of the series. So, while I do admit I am somewhat disappointed, to asses this series unbiased, it does everything it should do and does it pretty well. There are, of course, some minor mistakes I will not touch upon, but overall the series is a pretty good slice of life that is never boring, drama that is never forced, comedy that actually makes you giggle a bit and helps lighten the overall mood, and romance that is never annoying.
All in all, quite enjoyable series to watch, if you can call yourself a patient viewer.