Kokoro Connect: Michi Random and Nekomonogatari: Kuro Review

This is review number one hundred and ninety nine. I’ve basically run out of anime at this point and I didn’t have any in reserve. I decided to do a bundle blog. It’ll be two posts in one. The anime is part of the Winter 2013 lineup. I’m covering every base before Spring 2013 ends. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Kokoro Connect: Michi Random and Nekomonogatari. They are both four episode anime and I figured I’ll combine them to make one number. I’m already cheating my reviewing 5 minute anime and I might as well bundle them as well from now on. I’ll give these two a total score of five though since they are both being judged by how they connect to their main series. Ok, let’s read on.

Kokoro Connect Michi Random

Story

The anime is about another weird phenomenon by Heart Seed where he would make the five friends be able to transmit their emotions to each other. It will reveal their deep feelings towards each other and leave them super vulnerable. The group is determined to face this problem together though hoping that Heart Seed would give up once he see them unfazed by this event. One of them is extremely bothered by this one though and it eventually takes a toll on their friendship.

Taking the Pants Off

My experience with Kokoro Connect is a bit lukewarm. I love the first five episodes that pretty much covered the first phenomenon about the body switching. It had a strong story that I felt the rest of the anime cannot measure up to. The second and third arc all felt forced and it was basically beating an already dead horse. It cleaned the slate of the first arc to make the second and third more appealing. The problem was that it was really just about the group and their friendship being tested and put through different challenges. An arc ends with a peaceful resolution that another arc would violate one more time. Apparently the power of friendship is a temporary solution. The anime still had some value though but only if you really care hard enough. So I wasn’t really excited trying out Michi Random. What is there to prove, really? If I remember correctly, the original anime was affected by some weird bullying claim of a mishandled event by the studio and it had to save face. I don’t really know the details and I don’t care. Michi Random was supposed to be part of the original episodes though but got pushed back. It aired three months later in the Winter lineup. I’m just honestly hoping to find resolution from the show. The anime did end a bit hollow and unsatisfying so I hope Michi Random can actually change my opinion of this anime. Hopefully, it can change that lukewarm feeling into something more positive.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the original anime so I’ll be spoiling it plenty in this review. First of all, the anime is about five friends being harassed by an unexplained plant like alien because he just basically wants to. In the anime, he forced them to switch bodies randomly, made them become little kids at specific times and made them act on their internal desires in a random fashion. Heart Seed isn’t really important though. His origin isn’t explained and he is really just a plot device rather than something to represent the supernatural aspects of the anime. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the various incidents test the five close friends. They slowly learn about each other, learn to trust each other and even grow to love each other. This was the main focus of the anime. It’s about the five friends weathering any storm and coming out as better individuals. Michi Random has once again applied the same concept with a new phenomenon: they can hear what the others are actually feeling in random times. This came at a time where some romances where recently established. In the anime, there was an awkward love triangle that happened between Inaba, Taichi and Nagase. They are close friends yet the two girls are hot for one guy. You can just imagine how that sh*t would go down.

Along with the mushy story about friendship, the love triangle was a heavy feature in the anime. Again though, the arc basically violated the peaceful resolution the anime ended with. In the original anime, Nagase accepted that she had friends she can depend on despite having a “fake” personality because of her awesome yet traumatic childhood. This was thrown out the window in order to build a new arc with the same conflicts and status quo. The first two episodes are actually pretty annoying because it was denying the development of the anime. It was as if nothing really happened and everything was just hollow formalities that drove the story to a happy ending. Once again, their friendship is tested. Once again, another one of them is failing to realize that the five friends are close knit and they can trust each other. Once again, the same personal conflicts are being utilized despite being resolved some odd episodes before. It’s been a good year since I’ve seen this anime but I still remember all this sh*t and I find it a bit insulting the anime was denying those developments.

I can forgive all those questionable plot setups though. It’s fine because the story was really good. It was able to draw strength from the characters and it actually took the time to build everything up. The pacing was slow at first but it was to ensure that the anime had a proper progression and it eventually pay off once you‘ve seen the third episode. All the wheels are in motion and the story was taking a life of its own. It’s pretty good despite my initial concerns. One of the things I particularly enjoyed was the way the love triangle was being addressed. In the anime, Inaba forced Nagase to date Taichi but then confessed to Taichi which led Nagase to push him away which led to Michi Random. The initial climax of the anime was satisfying and the events leading up to the ending was really good. I personally love it and then I realize exactly how good the anime is. It’s certainly not as good as the first arc of the anime. That ship sailed a long time ago but it was close. Michi Random gave the anime a wonderful closure this particular show desperately needed. It was also able to resolve some of the problems of the anime. It still left certain things open though but overall, it was satisfying and that’s the important thing.

The characters are pretty much the same. The original anime ended with very little development so there’s nothing much to note here. It was the characters that carried the anime in the first two episodes though where the story needed time to grow. I actually miss them and they left a small mark in me despite the ridiculous amount of anime I’ve seen. The way they interact is certainly the main reason why they are fun to watch. They’re friendly while nicely addressing the conflicts within the group. There are moments of comedy and drama that nicely balances out the group. They’re a flexible bunch of people that makes you want to tune in to every miserable and happy time they go through. Of course, the additional flirting is a bonus. Once again, Inaba and Taichi take center stage. They were basically the main characters in the anime and they were main once more in Michi Random. They were the ones that run after one of their friends when they see them troubled. In Michi Random though, they are focused as well and their personal relationship is put in the spotlight. The rest of the cast are pretty much supporting characters that does add some value to some of the moments of the anime. The show was smart by incorporating a subplot about a club presentation to give some of them some decent screen time. There are some new characters as well. They did little but they are also important to the story. Michi Random needed some antagonists and these new characters took that particular role.

I wanted to watch Michi Random to see if the anime can change my initial opinion of it from lukewarm to something more positive. It does. It certainly does. The anime was smart at presenting the story and it made sure the characters are very much involved in the progression of it. This anime ended on a very satisfying note and I couldn’t have hope for a better one. This was a great way to end the anime. The way the conflicts was resolved was also pretty wonderful. It’s amazing and I’m glad I tried it despite my concerns. As a reviewer, it’s always fun being wrong and seeing something actually entertain you when you expect it to suck.

Sight and Sound

kokorow14

The character design is pretty much the same. You still have those K-on like designs with the cute faces but with a more mature look to it. The girls look adorable. The way they blush is pretty cute and the way those petite mouth moves really adds to the cuteness. They uniform is a bit normal though and it often make the girls look unflattering at times. Maybe it’s just me though. The guys are pretty decent. They have a normal build and they look cool if they just stand still. They don’t stand out much though but that’s alright.

The animation is decent. There’s not a lot to talk about here, really, it’s the same as the series. The movements are simple but they aren’t as detailed as I’d hope they’d be. There are some fight scenes in the anime but they didn’t have the awesome high quality animation I hoped it’d have. I don’t really expect much from Silver Link (the studio) though. It was good enough to tell the story and that’s fine by me. I’m a fan of the girls blushing and acting out of character though. It made the entire experience pretty sweet.

The anime’s OP is “Kimi Rhythm” by Masaki Imai. The song is about friendship and I guess there’s a bit of romance in it. It’s a lovely song. Masaki’s voice is really amazing and it was able to capture the same aura the original OP of the anime had. The OP sequence is pretty much the same with a Montage of the five characters but there is also a slight hint of mellowness in it. It ends with all five of them lineup and Taichi grabbing the two girls hand’s just like in the anime’s OP.

The anime’s ED is “I Scream Chocolatl” by Team.Nekokan [Neko] featuring Lia. Something with chocolate on the title is supposed to be cute, right? This song is a bit dramatic with a mellow beat. Lia’s voice is amazing though. The song pretty much reflects the anime. It’s about finding the real self and something sad slowly consuming people. It’s really good and I love the subtle idea it has. The song is wonderful as well with a nice beat and Lia’s voice hitting some high notes. The ED sequence features Nagase and her internal struggle. It’s basically a summary of the anime in an artistic light. It’s really good.

Overall Score

4/5 “The visuals took the most hit but the story and the characters definitely deserves a 5/5.”

If you’ve seen the anime then you should watch this one. It was able to give the rightful ending the anime deprived us off and shame on them. Next time, they better not let news about bullying affect an anime. This is great. I recommend it.

Nekomonogatari: Kuro

Story

The anime is about Araragi and the cursed cat. Hanekawa is the mild mannered girl that is a class mate of Araragi. Her huge boobs stir something inside him. Upon getting close to her, Hanekawa clearly has some issues that needed to be handled. The whole situation turned upside down though when the girl suddenly got possessed by a cursed cat. This cat is now out to create some trouble and Araragi is now out to stop it. It would seem that the cursed cat and Hanekawa’s issues are one and the same though.

Taking the Pants Off

Here I thought the monogatari series ended with the Toothbrush sex. Apparently, the entire series is going all the way. There are more Bakemonogatari to come including another season and a movie. For now though, we have a four part episode monogatari special called Nekomonogatari. This anime is about the events that happened during the Golden Week when Araragi encountered the Cursed Cat possessing Hanekawa’s body. I’m a bit confused though because I’m pretty sure the cat arc was covered in the original series. It was the last arc featured in the anime so I don’t really understand why it’s being featured again. It’s also been a good three years since I last saw that anime so the details of that particular show are lost on me now. I do remember the starlight date between Araragi and Senjougahara though because it was sweet. Anything else is blurry though. In Nekomogatari though, Senjougahara isn’t here or any of the girls from Bakemonogatari. It’s apparently the prequel before Bakemonogatari.

The status quo up to this point is that Araragi saved the loli vampire by letting her suck his blood. He became a vampire as well though that is invincible in a slight degree. He also met Oshino, the guy with the upside down cross for an earring, at this point. The anime focused on the events involving the Golden Week where Tsubasa Cat was in. Nekomonogatari pretty much told a much detailed story of Hanekawa. It tells of how she turned into a sexy cat and the conflicts that surrounds the incident. I’m not really convinced to trying this anime at first because it feels like its just filling certain gaps. There is one reason to watch this anime though. Actually, there are three. In this prequel, the sisters are featured and the other guy in the series, Oshino, as well. So in a sense, this is Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari told in just four episodes.

I’m pretty sure you already know what Bakemonogatari is about. Araragi meets some girls who happen to be involved in some incident concerning an oddity. Araragi would consult with Oshino and try to save the girls before it’s too late. This was the case here in Nekomonogatari. Araragi was out to save Hanekawa. In true Bakemonogatari fashion though, the story is really simple but told in a highly needlessly complex way. The anime starts out with a long winded background of the supernatural events concerning the arc and Araragi would discover certain things related to the root of the problem. The story about Hanekawa and the cursed cat is actually really good. The setup was nicely laid out and the build up to the initial climax was pretty exciting. This anime, like the rest of the franchise, is very dialogue driven though. Most anime would talk about a certain things then apply that to the story. It doesn’t happen here. The dialogue is solely the reason the anime progresses and every single detail is spread throughout. Every single stupid scene may not seem much at first but there are some slight details in the long winded conversation regarding the main story. You will get confused when you watch this anime because too many theories and ideals are thrown out that, at times, oppose each other. It took me a long time to realize that everything was actually layered out. In any other anime, they would’ve delivered it straightforwardly. The crucial details for this anime though are thrown out like puzzle pieces and you have to put it together yourself.

I am actually a fan of this style of narrative. The anime is mostly composed of nothing but conversations and they put weird things while you watch it so you won’t get bored at the back and forth verbal action. The way it progressed is really smart and the more you watch, the more you realize exactly how wonderful the story is. It just went through a lot of crazy filters. I’m a fan of shows that require some thinking and that’s one of the reasons why I’m a big fan of this franchise. To be fair though, it is still pretty confusing. The part that took a big hit the most was during the climactic scene and an arguable logic of the oddity being both real and not. You’ll really have to connect the dots. Remember the backstory of the oddity, Hanekawa’s personal conflicts, Oshino talking about things like the virtuous man story and that little idea of why the little vampire looks like a loli. They all connect into the main focus of the story and it’ll certainly be a challenge figuring things out. It was hard to take it all together but it’ll slowly make sense and it’ll be an enjoyable experience in the end.

The characters are pretty much the same. Araragi is the same helpful guy with a pretty perverted demeanor. In Bakemonogatari, I remember him as a reserved guy with the girls just suddenly throwing themselves at him. His good guy nature was prominent though because he genuinely cares about the girls. In Nisemonogatari though, he was a pervert that indulges in perverted activities with the girls around him and openly embracing his incest personality. His sisters are in this anime and the very first scene of the anime involves some incest fanservice. Like, seriously. I am not a fan of his disjointed personality. One moment he’ll be acting on his perverted nature and then he’ll become serious. It was hard to take him seriously and his clever personality that was heavily featured in Bakemonogatari seems a bit muddled here. I do know he was a pervert in the first anime but nothing as shameless as the one he became in Nismonogatari. As it stands, the main character feels nothing more than a plot device to move the story forward.

I missed Oshino though. Nisemonogatari was greatly missing him because he provided the supernatural background that really makes the story profound. I still remember the events of Nisemonogatari ending in huge disappointed because it just lacked a certain supernatural element to it. It was missing Oshino. He doesn’t do much though but tell profound backstories about the supernatural enemies. He has a way of making them interesting though and slightly puzzling. The main focus though is on Hanekawa. I do agree that she had very little role on the original anime simply because she already knew Araragi. It was interesting to finally see her side of the story and discover just how big her problem is. Her personality isn’t much but it was one of the main topics of the anime. Hanekawa is a normal girl and her life sucks. To what extent is explained by Nekomonogatari.

This was a wonderfully story that nicely captured the whimsical supernatural storytelling of Bakemonogatari while possessing the perverted and highly incest nature of Nisemonogatari. Its two worlds combined featuring all the positives and negatives. It’s a great story for Bakemonogatari fans that is worth highly recommending especially if you want to see some incest and a cat girl in panties. Actually, yeah, go see it for the incest and the cat girls in panties.

Sight and Sound

This had the same style as the original anime. Character design is simple and there are very little details to them. It doesn’t matter though because the anime employs rather distracting methods while you watch it. The anime is dialogue heavy so it went wild on certain scenes. One thing you’ll definitely notice are the certain odd positions the characters would be in when they talk. They’d be spread across a table, hands in the air and their head falling back. There also some slight parodies in the character designs and certain scenes cutting away to shadow figures and such. There are also the ever intimidating split second words and phrases that flash on the screen. Some people pause it so they can read them but they don’t really mean anything. It’s just a way to keep certain attention spans on the anime. This also explains the use of super bright colors and unnatural CG to certain backgrounds without any human element in it. Most scenes only have the characters that talk and I think it’s done on purpose. I’ve seen this particular style way too many times now and I’m really a fan at this point. Akiyuki Shinbo actually has a smart artistic sense of humor nicely translated in his anime.

The anime’s OP is “perfect slumbers” by Tsubasa Hanekawa (Yui Horie). This is a pretty mellow song. I love the acoustic start and the nice build up to the chorus. This is also the first time I heard Yui Horie not being cute and it was pretty refreshing to hear her voice in a calm slower pace as oppose to all the songs where she goes “gurugu mawaru”. The OP sequence features Hanekawa in a rather mellow mood and an artistic sequence of events follow that ends with Araragi kneeling before her in a field of roses. It’s pretty grim yet comforting a weird way.

The anime’s ED is “Kieru daydream” by Marina Kawano. This is a pop rock song with a nice beat to it. Marina’s voice has a mature yet cute vibe to it that I really adore. The song itself is pretty ordinary though and I didn’t really care much for the verse. The chorus was decent because of the impressive instrumentals in it. The OP sequence features a black stage with a cat spinning 180 that slowly transforms into a girl. It’s pretty awesome.

Overall Score

5/5 “Bakemonogatari’s unique and smart supernatural stories coupled by Nisemonogatari’s overly perverted nature makes up Nekomonogatari.”

This is a great show. Make no doubt about it. The story was nicely told in just four episodes and while it has some confusing elements to it, the overall presentation was pretty incredible. If you’re a fan of the series then you should definitely try Nekomonogatari. Again though, if you’re into incest and cat girls in panties then yeah, try this one. I recommend it.

One thought on “Kokoro Connect: Michi Random and Nekomonogatari: Kuro Review

  1. Actually, alot of LN readers were surprised that Nekomonogatari was released before Kizumonogatari, since Neko in many ways was the denouement of many of Kizumonogatari’s unresolved issues.

    In actuality, Neko has a direct sequel too (Neko White/Tsubasa Tiger), set after the events Niso and Bake – it seems like that for some long running LNs, there’s always that volume that focuses exclusively on the main female protagonist (arguably, Senjougahara and Tsubasa Hanekawa are co-main female protagonists), and Tsubasa Tiger/Neko White is probably one of the best examples of that- Ararangi doesn’t even appear until the end of that arc, thanks to the fact that it runs concurrently to multiple season 2 Arcs. I’m looking forward to Neko White.

    Season 2 is epic, but my fear is that it’s going to be rushed, even with 24 episodes.

Thoughts~

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