Honestly, this body-swapping, gender bender genre isn’t something new nor original, since the most recent anime that had this feature was most likely Natsuiro Kiseki just last season (I didn’t watch it). However, I gotta say that I’m really entertained by the opening episode of Kokoroco not solely because of the theme (which is still uncommon to see in anime but less so in mangas), but because of the various small little details.
Now I wasn’t too impressed with the opening scenes because it gets really confusing as to who is who since the proper character introductions aren’t done just yet. Past that point, things started to pick up quickly after the main characters established themselves and the part that surprised me the most was the amount of comedy that was present throughout the whole episode. Before I touch (pun intended) on the body-swapping portion, I want to expand on the under appreciated fact that the female cast is like totally awesome, not totally actually but close to it.
- Nagase Iori (Toyosaki Aki) – Your typical genki (energetic) type of schoolgirl who is basically that one person who never fails to make things lively when she is around. Anyone who is into anime and to that further extent seiyuus should know who Toyosaki Aki is, and she is back with her trademark Yui-esque voice from K-ON (similar character designs by the way) which is probably the role that propelled her to fame.
- Inaba Himeko (Sawashiro Miyuki) – The 90% tsun 5% yan 5% dere type of schoolgirl who has the sharp tongue and speaks bluntly in that regard. Reiterating my former point, Sawashiro Miyuki is a veteran seiyuu and she is finally using the voice that I am most familiar with (since she has so many voice sets), that makes Inaban a character that is 10 times more entertaining to watch, with her going on her rants and stuff like that.
- Kiriyama Yui (Kanemoto Hisako) – Probably the hime-sama (princess) type but at this stage it is too early to determine. For me this was the hidden gem of the whole adaptation, Kanemoto Hisako is not a well-known name, even for me. However upon realization that she played the role of Tomonori in Zombie Desu ka? I went YES!! If you have no idea who or what the hell Tomonori/Zombie is, check it out.
- Unfortunately the other two male leads, Yaegashi Taichi (Mizushima Takahiro) and Yoshifumi Aoki (Terashima Takuma) aren’t anything out of the ordinary for me and they sound generic so far so nothing much to say about those two.
Even with a stellar cast, that doesn’t mean much if they can’t flesh out their roles well due to the settings and all, this is where the body-swapping of Kokoroco comes into play. Keep in mind that with all this gender exchange going around, it will be an absolute blast to hear the VAs go wild with their lines since they are essentially playing another character with the same voice. For example:
- In this episode, the victims of the strange phenomenon were Iori and Taichi. It was hilarious to see the both of them getting confused with their identity, names in the short scuffle that occurred because Iori or should I say Taichi got caught red-handed. Since Inaban isn’t too convinced, Iori or should I say Taichi is forced to confess the last adult film he borrowed from Aoki – all these coming from Iori’s VA.
This is the true beauty of watching a series that has elements of gender exchange – hearing VAs play a different role from their original ones. From there the possibilities really start to multiply. Think of Inaban trading places with a guy; or a cheerful girl like Iori etc. Get the drift?
While Kokoroco does have most of the things going right for it, I have to point out that the production values, in particular the animation can look sloppy in one instance and top-tier in others. It boils down to mostly distant shots vs. close up shots though, the backgrounds aren’t the most detailed but at the same time it isn’t totally lacking as well so I’d say it’s decent overall.
In the grand scheme of things, there is also the question as to why exactly is this happening, not forgetting that despite the comedies, body-swapping does have many implications. I’m not going to list them out, just imagine. I predict that the next episode or two will revolve around the different swapping combinations that can occur between the five of them, and how they are going to deal with the said implications. To wrap things up, Kokoroco is definitely my favourite episode #1 thus far at this point (barring Dog Days’ and Horizon II but I feel neither can exceed this), and I really hope that the subsequent episodes will be as awesome if not better than this.
- A peek for only 120 yen? Sounds reasonable.
- The dreaded: “Who would you rather see naked between the two of us?”
- Every guy’s first basic instinct upon realizing that they’re in a female’s body would be to do this.
- I wonder what did Inaban tell Iori to cause such a reaction.
- I can’t wait for Inaban and Yui to switch places!