Connecting Hearts (心をつないで Kokoro o Tsunaide) is the seventeenth and last episode of the anime series.
SynopsisThe episode begins with Inaba, bound, gagged and held hostage in an isolated warehouse. Her three captors discuss what to do with her since Inaba knows they vandalized the Cultural Society's clubroom and one of them informs their client, Setouchi, who is on her way. Inaba telepathically transmits her location to the others, who set out to save her. Meanwhile, Iori tries her best to sleep, choosing to ignore Inaba's cry for help.
Iori tosses and turns in her bed, unable to stop recalling what Inaba and Taichi told her about living her own life and being her own person. Iori realizes how even though she's not perfect, what's important is to be herself. At that moment, Iori receives a sentiment transmission from her friends and their feelings of determination to save Inaba. Tired of feeling sorry for herself, Iori springs to her feet and runs to aid her friends, determined to start living life freely.
Taichi, Aoki and Yui arrive outside the warehouse and identify Inaba's captors, as well as Setouchi who pleads with the thugs to let Inaba go. Blaming her for them ending up in this sort of situation, one of thugs lashes out at Setouchi, knocking her to the ground. Inaba glares daggers at her captor, but before he can do anything, Taichi, Aoki and Yui burst in.
One of the thugs warns the group not to get involved, but Taichi and Aoki respond by punching him out of the way in perfect synchrony. The other two thugs charge in only to be defeated by Yui with ease. Thinking they've won, Taichi moves to release Inaba only for the first thug to hold her at knifepoint. A dangerous look in his eyes, the thug warns the gang not to take another step forward. Taichi backs off and tries to talk the thug down, but he doesn't buy it, warning Taichi to leave before he does something everyone will regret.At that moment, Iori enters the warehouse, haughtily commenting on the stalemate and putting her persona changing to good use. She offers her assistance to the lone thug, claiming the enemy of her enemies is her friend. All the while, Iori mentally begs for a telepathic transmission to activate. Her friends spout their disbelief, horrified to see Iori betray them, but Iori, sticking to her act, silences them. She closes in on the thug, seductively luring his attention and dropping his guard. At that moment, Iori's transmission activates and she orders her friends to attack. Without a moment's hesitation, Yui charges in and knocks the thug out. Taichi unbinds Inaba who gratefully embraces him, her ordeal over. Iori falls to her knees and cries, relieved everything worked out but also admitting to have been terrified the whole time. Yui hugs Iori, glad to see her friend returned to their side.
The gang, with Setouchi in tow, leave the warehouse to talk near the riverbank. Inaba summarizes that Setouchi acted against Iori and the StuCS because she has a crush on Shiroyama, who Iori hurt. Setouchi confirms and admits what she did was wrong before apologizing to Iori. Iori decides to take her revenge on Setouchi by giving her a light slap. Unfortunately, she's too strong and accidentally knocks Setouchi to ground. Iori helps Setouchi to her feet, saying that they are now even. Knowing that she is a good person at heart, Iori apologizes for everything that she herself has put her former tormentor through and Setouchi admits she only acted tough to impress a boy she liked. Seeing their similarities, Iori offers to be friends with Setouchi, surprising everyone.
Later, Iori reflects on how she spent so much time worrying how a normal person should act that she forgot to be herself.
The sun rising, Iori's friends express how impressed they were that she would forgive someone who caused her so much trouble. Yui takes the opportunity to apologize for putting so much pressure on her the last time they spoke and Iori forgives her. Inaba comments how no normal person would forgive people as easily as Iori, but Iori states that she's done thinking about what's normal and plans on living and enjoying life however she wants, echoing what Inaba told her before. Just as the group begin thinking their troubles are over, a lone thug from the warehouse manages to chase them down and attacks Inaba with a pipe. Taichi shields her from the blow.
Taichi begins having a lucid dream where he and Iori stand in the middle of oblivion. Iori asks him if they were really in love, and Taichi believes they were, though it was an immature love. Taichi apologizes for only seeing Iori's ideal self rather than her real one and Iori states that even so, she was glad he fell in love with her. Iori asks for one final, selfish request: for them to start over. Taichi apologizes himself, admitting that, looking back, he let the idea of being in love go to his head. Iori blurts out how embarrassing their conversation is and only in this dream could they possibly share their feelings like this. Taichi suggests they have the phenomenon to thank, but Iori refuses to agree. The two depart from the dream with one last line each: "I'm glad I fell in love with you."Taichi awakens on a bed in the school infirmary, his head bandaged and a worried Inaba at his side. Inaba fights back tears, grateful that Taichi is alright. She offers to call Taichi an ambulance if he's not feeling well, but Taichi declines the offer and sits up. Inaba begs Taichi not to push himself, musing that if anything were to happened to him, she wouldn't know what to do with herself. At that moment, Inaba's sentiment transmission activates, transmitting all of her feelings of love to Taichi, much to her embarrassment. Without a second thought, Taichi asks if Inaba would go out with him. Inaba flips out, randomly asking if she looks cute, which Taichi patiently confirms. Taking a moment to regain her composure, Inaba looks Taichi in the eyes and agrees.
Elsewhere, Iori gazes out a window, reflecting on all that's happened, when she is suddenly greeted by Heartseed. He declares that the phenomenon is over and Iori accuses him of deliberately transmitting her thoughts at the worst possible times to tear her from her friends. Heartseed neither admits nor denies such an accusation but suggests it was because of his phenomenon that Iori learned something. Taking his leave, Heartseed bids Iori farewell as the young Cultural Society president looks on.
The next day at school, Setouchi makes her debut, her hair cut short and dyed black. She is greeted by Iori who compliments her earrings which Setouchi has chosen to keep on. The class is surprised by Iori and Setouchi being civil to one another and many approach the pair warmly, glad to see both with better attitudes. Fujishima looks on, proudly declaring this result was all part of her plan.
Later, the StuCS, having rebuilt their project, give their club presentation. All the girls dressed in cosplay, the club proudly presents the many attractive spots around the campus, including a cafe perfect for couples, citing Taichi and Inaba as reliable sources (much to their embarrassment).
Afterwards, Gotou tells the group how impressed he was with their presentation and, unable to pick a winner, decides to continue being an advisor to both clubs. Infuriated that they worked so hard only for the result not to matter, Inaba puts Gotou in an armlock.
Taichi narrates how, together, the StuCS managed to once again overcome a phenomenon.
Taichi mentions how Aoki would later take his make-up exams, which he diligently prepared for with Yui's help.Settling at a familiar cafe, Taichi and Inaba enjoy their first date. Inaba wonders if Taichi is sure she was the right choice, but Taichi assures her he needs her the same way she needs him, so there is no doubt. Touched, Inaba proudly takes a seat at Taichi's side and rests her head on him, despite Taichi's protests that they're in public. Taichi also narrates that Iori would start calling Inaba, "Dereban".
Iori, her popularity amongst their class revived, has found a new friend in Setouchi. Fujishima also informs Taichi that, with Inaba's help, her father took care of the thugs Setouchi conspired with.
Later, with the new school year starting and many 1st years joining Yamaboshi High, the Cultural Society wonders if they'll have any new additions to their group and also whether they've truly seen the last of Heartseed.
Differences Between Novel and Anime
- In the novel, the StuCS did not cosplay for the presentation. Instead, Nagase, as compensation for the trouble she caused, performed a show involving her quickly changing through costumes.
- In the novel, unlike the anime, the epilogue is narrated by Iori not by Taichi.
- As of this episode, each of the main characters have had a one on one encounter with Heartseed.
- The thugs that kidnapped Inaba were from the same school as the ones that Yui attacked to save a girl in episode 6. Not said in the anime, the school those thugs were from are known to have many delinquents.
- Future members Enjouji Shino and Uwa Chihiro from the next novel arc make a short cameo during the epilogue.
- During the final scene of the epilogue, Iori's hair is still tied in her usual pigtail. In the novels, she has already stopped wearing her pigtail at this point.
- This is the final episode of the OVA