Anime Review: Kokoro Connect, Sands of Destruction, The Cat Returns

Kokoro Connect

Five students who don’t know each other and don’t really care what they do when they enter High School end up joining the same, non-existant, school club called the Culture Society – which consists of them just sitting around talking and having fun. When we join the story they have all since become friends through the club. Things begin to go wrong for them when an unknown entity decides it is board and starts to play games with their lives, beginning by making them randomly swap bodies. The club members fight their way through this bizarre phenomenon as they learn to deal with their individual pasts and problems. Finally things seem to be going better for them after the entity tells them they will no longer be swapping bodies – but things are only just getting started.

The show is technically clean. I have found that it is easy for me to dismiss certain things by telling myself you see the same thing at the beach, or on TV commercials, or even now-days at the supermarket check-out stand. This show has, that I can recall, two incidents in which nothing is technically shown but falls into that category of “nothing bad really happens but still shouldn’t be approved of”. One incident involves one of the ladies partially undressing and crawling over a table. The other incident (I don’t want to ruin the story so just go with me on the assumption that nothing naughty is going on during this scene) is with a different girl “coming to” without wearing anything up top, the shot of her as she stands up has her covering herself with her arms and is very brief.

Kokoro Connect introduces some interesting concepts into what is essentially a high-school comedy/romance story.  What makes a person a person? To paraphrase one of the characters in the story: A person, the essence of who they are, is defined as a combination of their unseen self. Their soul, personality, past events in their life. Yet we identify individuals by physical attributes. When we think of a person we think of their physical appearance, not their intangible attributes that make them who they are. So if those unseen characteristics are removed from one body and placed in another body, who is that person? Are they still the same person or are they somebody else?

A different concept proposed by the kids in this story is specifically to do with one’s past. When something important happens, wether good or bad, to us as people it is fresh in our memory and hearts. We remember vivid details about what physically happened and we feel very strongly about the emotions caused by that event. As we grow older and “move away” from the event, those memories and feelings dull and fade, but they still color our future choices and actions. Someone may fall in love with another person because that person reminds them, on some unconscious level, of a childhood sweetheart they once had. What if this person is returned to his youth for a brief period of time, a time when his feelings for this sweetheart were at their strongest. When he then returns to his current age all those feelings would be once again fresh in his mind, and in his heart. Does he really love this new person in his life, or is it just because she reminds him of someone else? What if the latter is true, what then…?

I enjoyed this show because it brought in some of these interesting discussions as part of the story. It didn’t present them as a “sit down and listen to us talk philosophy” but rather worked them into the story of their lives as they try to cope with these strange events. While the show itself covers things like love, fear of others and things of that nature, the same conversations can be applied to our faith. To my own faith. When I accepted Christ all those feelings and emotions were strong and front-most in my mind. Over the years they have dulled and paled as I have grown older. How would my life change, how would I change my life, rather, if for 3 hours I was returned to that point in time where I had just accepted Christ and then came back to my current self with all those memories and feelings fresh?

Summary: Enjoyed the show, wish it had been longer to explore in more detail some of these (somewhat) philosophical ideas.
Seasons: 1
Season length: 13 episodes (I just checked and 4 more episodes were released 3 months after the series “ended”, but I have not yet watched #14-17)
Episode length: 22 minutes
Content: Mostly clean, see full description for the discussion of the “unclean” parts.
Language: Japanese with English subtitles

Sands of Destruction

Sands Of Destruction

In a world where men serve beasts. In a world where beasts rule as men. In a world devoid of hope. This is the world Kyrie lives in. This is the world Kyrie survives in. He is a human who poses as a beast in order to survive and live peacefully, and that is all he wants is to live peacefully. Morte, also a human, is bent on destroying the world. Not just ridding the world of beasts, but ridding the world of everything. Complete and utter destruction. She believes that the world is such a terrible place that it does not deserve to exist anymore. Morte, the sole member of the World Destruction Committee, accidentally exposes Kyrie’s beastman disguise while trying to escape from the World Salvation Committee. Kyrie has no choice but to flee with Morte rather than be killed by the beastmen, as such he is labelled as a member of the World Destruction Committee and unable to return to his peaceful life.

Shortly after, they meet Taupy, a dwarf bear (teddy bear) who happens to be a bounty hunter, who ends up joining with them because of a misunderstanding as well. Neither Kyrie nor Taupy want to activate the Destruct Code, which has the power to destroy everything, but they join with Morte in an attempt to keep themselves alive as well as to try and reason with Morte and dissuade her from destroying the world.

Through their adventures they make some friends and make some enemies. They all are exposed to people who give them reason to want to activate the Destruct Code as well as some people who give them reason to want to save the world instead. Will Taupy and Kyrie be able to change Morte’s mind, or will they finally come to agree with her and together destroy the world?

As recommended by reader Devin, Sands of Destruction is a pretty good show. It is completely clean with the most risqué part of the show an episode where Morte’s dress rips slightly (showing absolutely nothing) and both Kyrie and Taupy spend the episode trying to repair it and keep it from ripping more, as Morte is un-aware her dress is ripped. There are a handful of “soft” curse words. The show itself is a little on the slow side, but not so much as to be boring. It is really a matter of taste. It is an action-adventure story, however. If you are expecting the kind of action that Fairy Tail brings every episode you will be disappointed. If you are expecting a good wholesome show with action sequences instead of all “story”, you should enjoy this show quite a bit.

Summary: Good clean show that offers 13 entertaining episodes with a story following 3 people who are trying(?) to destroy the world.
Seasons: 1
Season length: 13 episodes
Episode length: 22 minutes
Content: Completely clean, I always hesitate to recommend anything for kids without parents watching first, but I think it is clean enough to do so.
Language: English

The Cat Returns

TheCatReturnsHaru is a young girl that is bored with life. And like all school girls, at-least all school girls in movies, she has a crush on the most popular boy in her class. While walking home from school she sees a cat that is about to be hit by a truck and manages to save him. To Haru’s surprise he stands up and thanks her for rescuing her, and promises to repay her shortly after he has completed an important errand which he is currently on. Her life is about to get much more interesting.

Haru shortly learns that the cat she saved is the prince of the Cat Kingdom, and his father insists on thanking her by having her join his kingdom: by marrying the prince. Haru must escape the kingdom and return home before sunrise or she will be forced to remain a cat forever, but does she really want to go back home? Her only hope of escape is a cat figurine come to life called The Baron as well as his overweight friend Muta.

While obviously a kids’ story, this actually had a lot of fun moments that I think adults would enjoy as well. The story is well done and provides kids with “that’s funny” scenes while at the same time hinting at some more inside jokes that adults will appreciate as well. I really enjoyed the movie. For the most part I have been happy with the Studio Ghibli films and TV shows, there have been a few that I turned off but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule with them. I have more on order in my Netflix queue from them. For those that are familiar with the Miyazaki film Whisper of the Heart, you will find that The Baron is a familiar character. In fact Whisper of the Heart was so successful that fans wanted another movie that centered around the cat character, with this being the result.

Summary: Clean movie for kids with enough entertainment for adults as well.
Movie length: 75 minutes
Content: Completely clean, another kid movie that is very appropriate to watch with the kids.
Language: English

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