Kokoro and SOA 5, Space Bros 19, and goodbye Campione! …

Sword Art Online 5 drops the standalones and gives us probably a two-parter, basically a murder mystery.

First we have to re-introduce Asuna, that girl in the credits whom we haven’t seen anything of since. Now she’s the leader of a top group and a rather ruthless one, which means when she gets together with Kirito, it’s going to be cute. I wonder if anyone else in that world could convince her to take a nap and lay herself open to attack (we get a bit of clumsy exposition about duels “fought” when one of them is asleep), knowing somehow that the other would protect them? It’s a bit obvious where this relationship is going, but it’s still cute. Asuna is driven. Kirito wants to smell the roses. Nice couple. Then we get the murder mystery.

It’s a good one. A guy named Kains gets impaled and hung out of a window for good measure. No sign of a duel, but you can’t PK in cities, we’re told. The closest witness was a girl named Yoruko, and thanks to her own story and the source of the murder weapon … we get all sorts of possibilities. I thought at first Yoruko was the culprit, but circumstances changed. Now it looks like it’s some guy named Grimlock, out for revenge. But to me it doesn’t add up. Why would he use his own weapons? Why was Kains hung out the window, and could wispy Grimlock even do that? Why did Yoruko nearly go insane beforehand? What is the point of the revenge, anyway? Well, if Grimlock went mad with grief there’s your answer. Well, I hope it isn’t him, because then the story turns from a mystery to a chase, and I rather like the mystery angle.

Heartseed’s doing, not Lori’s.

There are times where Kokoro Connect feels like a lighthearted gimmick show where our kids learn about the people around them and themselves, and then we get an episode like #5 where they become innocent pawns for forces that don’t give a shit about them. The kids have absolutely no defense against Heartseed, and while when he first revealed himself he seemed simply bored we now see him as cruel as well. To send Lori to her deathbed and then tell the others to choose who will die in her body is as nasty as anything in Bokurano (come to think of it, this week’s Space Brothers episode also has characters having to make a cruel decision …). And at the end, to justify his manipulations by saying they all learned something from it, a smug, self-satisfied excuse for causing pain, makes me want to torture him with lots of blades and pointed things. Sadly, that wouldn’t do any good.

In fact, I was so into thinking of various ways to murder Heartseed without killing off that teacher, rather the way I felt about Dung Beetle, that I wasn’t really able to connect with how the kids reacted to this. Of the goodbye scenes we only get to see the one with Taichi, and it plays out the way you’d expect when you consider he’d just confessed to her when she switched. More interesting is the argument between Inaba and Taichi. For the first time we see Taichi’s desire to bear the pain for everyone he meets as pathological. And Inaba, quick to condemn his white knight tendencies at first, seems to realize that the boy is as messed up in his own way as everyone else. No one special. Finally, I was interested that after this fiasco no one switches bodies for a while. And there’s no preview. I actually checked, but ANN says this is a full season show. I guess this marks sort of a halfway point. What will Heartseed throw at the kids in the second half? And most important, will they get their revenge on him.

They’re STILL in that pod, but Space Brothers 19 eases up on the doubts, suspicions, and mind games and gives us more uplifting scenes. First we visit Group B and find that everyone there is happy and hunky-dory. I’m trying to figure out how. I know Makabe came to a positive decision last week but that doesn’t say why everyone else in that group, excluding the jerk, is suddenly so friendly with one another. It’s the same with Group A. Maybe they see the light at the end of the tunnel, only two more days. Mutta brings everyone together by making Udon with them, (where the hell did that extra food show up from?), and while they’re kneading he learns that everyone knows and is a fan of his Aunt Sharon. It’s one of the most touching scenes I can think of in this series, not for the ego-stroking, but because he realizes that everyone in that room are people who would have been his best friends as kids. So now while they all want to get out of the pod, he actually feels he’s going to miss them. But one more cruel act before they do–choose who will be an astronaut, though I believe JAXA is going to do the actual choosing …

I’m dropping Campione!. For what it is, it’s not a bad show, but there’s nothing new in it, and I don’t find what it does to be all that compelling. So good luck with your battles and your Harem, Godou! I’m rooting for Liliana, myself, even if she seems to be doing things for the bad guy now. The Shrine Maiden would be okay, too. Erica presses too hard.

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