If you’ve read my previous review of Kokoro Connect then you’ll already know how fond I am of the series. With a renewed interest in the franchise thanks to J-Novel Club licensing and releasing the light novels, I’ve been eagerly awaiting each volume. Today I’m here to check out the second instalment and see how things are faring for the members of the Yamaboshi High School Student Cultural Research Club.
As a general note there are spoilers for the previous volume present, so if you haven’t already read it then click away now!
In this volume we rejoin the group after the events of the body-swapping incident. Having lived their days peacefully for a few weeks, a new phenomenon is suddenly upon them and threatens to break our characters down even more than before. This time around our cast must cope with their innermost desires being unleashed. For example, Taichi’s drive to help his friends, at the cost of himself, is put into overdrive and he ends up hurting the girl closest to him – Nagase.
As with the body swapping, the time the group’s desires are uncontrollable is limited, but even five minutes is enough to punch someone, steal, confess your love or perhaps even worse. Unable to contain their feelings, who will break from the stress? And are the bonds between the five CRC members strong enough to survive Heartseed’s new game?
I must admit that one of the reasons I’m smitten with this volume of Kokoro Connect is because it focuses on my favourite character: Inaba. The last volume was mostly focused on Nagase and Kiriyama and that’s great, but I have a real soft spot for Inaba. This time she has the most to lose from this strange turn of events and that gives us a chance to see her character in a new light. The truth is that Inaba has a crush on Taichi, despite having pushed him together with Nagase. Inaba is scared that she’ll be caught off-guard and end up exposing her feelings for Taichi, ruining the friendship between her and Nagase and potentially with everyone in the group.
The writing on offer here is incredible. Mixing such sci-fi ideas with an average high-school setting is difficult to pull off, but author Sadanatsu Anda does a great job of balancing it. The characters are realistic and down-to-earth despite the supernatural circumstances they find themselves in. I feel praise is also deserved for the fact Anda is coming up with a new idea for each volume rather than sticking with the body-swapping. It keeps things entertaining and gives us the chance to explore the mental states of each of the cast in a fresh way. They’re in impossible situations and vulnerable, with only each other to rely on. It’s a thrilling read and leaves you wanting to see the story through to the end in a single sitting – a difficult task if you read it weekly on the J-Novel Club service like I did!
This release comes to the West thanks to publisher J-Novel Club and is available as an ebook. The series is also being released weekly on the J-Novel Club website for subscribers. This volume of Kokoro Connect has been translated by Molly Lee (who also translated the first volume) and reads extremely well.
Overall, I’ve once again found myself enjoying my time with Kokoro Connect. This volume succeeds in making you care about Inaba, a character who hasn’t previously been given the spotlight, while also offering an incredibly compelling read. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens in the next volume and so should you!