Kokoro Connect (2012)
The five members of the Cultural Research Club - Taichi Yaegashi, Iori Nagase, Himeko Inaba, Yui Kiriyama, and Yoshifumi Aoki - encounter a bizarre phenomenon one day when Aoki and Yui switch bodies without warning. The same begins to happen to the other club members, throwing their daily lives into disarray. At first the five students find some amusement amidst the confusion, but this unwarranted connection also exposes the painful scars hidden within their hearts. As their calm lives are shattered, the relationships between the five students also begin to change...
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'.
- The series starts off with a pretty slow introducing each of the 5 main characters, having a seemingly peaceful school life. All of these main characters are introduces as people who really didn't set any perfect goals and consequently, having no specific interests became only members of Cultural Research Club (CRC).
The first episode sets off with a normal talk between them in the club room, but when 2 of them Kiriyama Yui ( Kanemoto Hisako) and Yoshifumi Aoki (Terashima Takuma ) enter they set of a surprising shock to others. By virtue of their explanation of what happened to them the night before and soul swap between Nagase Iori (Toyosaki Aki) and Yaegashi Taichi (Mizushima Takahiro) the CRC members including the above 4 and Inaba Himeko (Sawashiro Miyuki) come to realize the baffling problem-souls randomly switching bodies. It was observed when soul swap occurs it can happen between any number of members and the soul retains their own memories and personalities. Puzzled as to what set of the event the members seem a bit panicked-but of course try their best to lighten up. just when they seem to have a bit of fun the main problem setter makes his entry into the club room in the form of their moderator Gotou/ Gossan (Fujiwara Keiji). It introduces itself as 'Fuusen Kasura'/'Balloon Vine' (Fujiwara Keiji) -an extraordinary being who has taken an interest in these members and decided to make their life interesting to watch.
The club members take up on the challenge while going through many ups and downs. On a smaller scale as well this phenomenon sets off many other events where the dark sides of their lives are revealed. But finally they all solve their problems-thanks to the selfless freak-Yaegashi Taichi. And after solving the last problem of Nagase Iori, Taichi confesses his love to her by a bridge. But suddenly Balloon Vine takes over Nagase's body and drops her off the bridge. However, this accident was later known to be caused by Balloon vine only to set up things between the members at right pace, and finally all members make out of this soul swap maze successfully.
But this only makes Balloon Vine more interested in them and he projects another problem to them. This time their desires will be unleashed at random, causing their bodies to act on impulse. Yet again, the CRC members face tougher problems. The first one to receive a strong impact was Yui, causing her to become a shut-in. Gradually, the other members also start separating from the club just in hope that they don't hurt each other, until the last one remaining in the club was Iori. Even the the pro-wrestling fan Taichi, suffers a heavy blow after hurting Iori, because of his inner feelings being unleashed. But the circumstances around him give him a good lecture about the importance of remaining with friends even if it causes pain rather than not getting hurt by staying away from them. Thus taking the spotlight from Iori of uniting the members again he somehow manages to bring in all members except one- Inaba. she finally unites after being reprimanded by Iori, who now seems to have Inaba as her competitor for Taichi, and promises to have fair competition with her.
The next mystery problem for them to solve-members at random will turn into kids (no age limit but less than their original age) between 12 pm to 5 pm. They observed that they don't really remember about the period in which they turn into kids but when they turn back to normal their memories for that age period remains fresh, and can confuse them with reality.Also, 2 irregularities showed up- Taichi never had his age regressed nor did Balloon Vine show up to explain the problem statement. Later, Taichi was contacted in secret by the problem creator in the body of his little sister (Yaegashi Rina)- a second Balloon Vine calling itself The Second-and instructed to keep these facts a secret. First emotional blow was dealt to Aoki, who mistakes his love for Yui to be a replacement to Nishino Nana's (Tomatsu Haruka)(Aoki's elementary school crush) past love. And the second blow was to Yui who thought of herself as a replacement to Aoki, and things fired up when she met with her old karate rival who pressurizes her to join karate again. But finally both Yui and Aoki see out of their problems-Yui overcomes her fear of men and gains back her never loosing attitude & Aoki confirms his love for Yui is untainted. Meanwhile, Taichi by mistake rolls out the truth about 'The Second' and in turn as punishment Second removes the time limit on age regression and Taichi also starts suffering from the age regression problem. On the other hand, Iori starts facing her own family problems as one of her many fathers who is a bit violent turns up. Iori, in panic happens to repeat the same history but is stopped and encouraged by her fellow members and best friends to retry it together. Iori, runs to her home with Taichi and Inaba, to find her second father crashing down her place, But before she could do something she has her time regressed, and thus the 3 of them run away form there only to be confronted by the original Balloon Vine in Gotou's form. Balloon Vine confirms that this wasn't his doing and on a happy note he would offer his help to them to solve their problems. the only help he offers is to Nagase-chan to help her go back in time to solve her problem from scratch. But she refuses it, and agrees to correct whatever mistake she has made because they help them define herself at that moment. Later on at her home the 5 of them meet with Iori's mother, who reveals her true motive to bring the second father back was to help Iori fight her past. After that her mother does a complete 180 on her personality and drives the second father out. With that and Iori asking herself whether she loves Taichi or not the mystery sees its end.
Yet another mystery grips hold of them, this time the problem setter being the former Balloon Vine, and the problem being, transmission of inner thoughts from one person to a set of other members at random and only them knowing as to whom & what is transferred. This time Nagase turns completely into a cool, harsh beauty thanks to a misunderstanding between Taichi and Nagase when he tries to push a bit forward and the feelings transmission which for some transferred only her negativeness to others. On top of that, now they also have to compete with Jazz club who share their moderator with CRC. Nagase hurt by others failing to understand her true self completely cuts of with them while CRC members, after repeatedly counselling Nagase to her former self, decided to sit out, as of now, and concentrate on the competition. This time however the problem doesn't confine to the club but affects other classmates because of Nagase's cold attitude towards others much conflicted to her previous outfit. Thus it sets off a temper tantrum from one of the classmates-Setouchi Karou (Uesaka Sumire)--who destroys the club's preparations, with just one week in hand for the finals. Seeing her favorite place destroyed Nagase looses her temper and sets of to kill Karou only to be stopped and lectured by Inaba and Taichi and Nagase finds herself if a twist between her ideal self and real self. She finally comes to a conclusion to live freely while saving Inaba from the thugs who were ordered by Karou to destroy CRC.
In the aftermath of the rescue, Karou realizes all this doing is because of her projecting herself as a false being, much similar to Nagase's problem at small scale and finally is invited by the now cheerful Nagase to join her friendship circle. Moments later while returning back one of the thugs manages to drag himself and injuring Taichi in a head assault. At the hospital, Taichi manages to telepathically contact Nagase due to the emotion transmission phenomenon and hold of their dating by saying to each other"..glad that i fell in love with you.".when he wakes up he finds his other lover waiting impatiently by his side. Taichi thus takes the opportunity to ask her out, which she comically accepts. Later on, Balloon Vine is seen to take his leave from Nagase, Yui and Aoki, and thus the fourth mystery comes to a fitting end.