With Volume 4 of Kokoro Connect, we’re finally at the end of the content adapted by the anime. With my excitement for the series at an all-time high, it’s about time we checked in with the Yamaboshi High School Student Cultural Research Club once more!
In this volume of Kokoro Connect, love is in the air for Valentine’s Day, but the festivities don’t come without yet another supernatural phenomenon. Having been through so much already, the club think they can deal with whatever Heartseed has in store, but when one of the group cracks under the strain, the after-effects might prove to be too much for the friends to overcome…
This time around, the phenomenon affecting Taichi and co. is quite similar to one we’ve seen before. Back in Volume 2, Heartseed made it so the students would act upon their innermost desires without any restraint. In this volume, the strongest thoughts and feelings of the group are transmitted to each other. The thoughts aren’t always heard by everyone within the CRC, but you can bet that the one person they don’t want hearing particular thoughts always will!
Inaba and Taichi reason that the Student Cultural Research Club members already know so much about each other and their feelings that surely this should be easy to overcome. However, unbeknownst to the others, Nagase has still been hiding her true self behind a mask and the fear of this being exposed throws her over the edge – especially when Taichi once again confesses his romantic feelings for her.
Volume 4 is the first time that someone has completely cut themselves off from the group and lashed out at those who tried to help in such a volatile manner. Usually stubbornness and perseverance from the other CRC members goes a long way, but not this time. Nagase is simply dealing with too much. With the remnants of issues she’s been having within the previous three books, Nagase finally hits her breaking point full force.
This utter breakdown gives us perhaps one of the most emotionally driven stories thus far for Kokoro Connect and its pay-off is incredibly satisfying. I love these characters but secretly I’ve been waiting for this moment with bated breath. Author Sadanatsu Anda is so good at depicting these emotionally charged scenes that they’re incredibly compelling and impossible to look away from.
Ultimately, I’ve grown fond of how Anda only focuses on one or two of the characters per book. Everyone is always present and has a role to play, but each phenomenon tends to hit just one or two of the cast the hardest. At this point, everyone has had a turn in the spotlight, so we’ve been slowly circling through them story to story – but that’s okay. Despite how many times Nagase has been hurt or close to breaking because of Heartseed, it never gets old for me as a reader because Anda has created such a likeable cast of characters. At this point I’m so heavily invested that I just want to make sure these kids are going to be okay for evermore.
This volume once again comes to the West thanks to J-Novel Club and has been translated by Molly Lee. The translation, as always, reads well with no sign of errors and Lee does a great job at giving everyone distinctive voices – which is especially important when the perspective shifts from character to character quite a lot! Kokoro Connect Volume 4 is available as an eBook and includes colour pages at the beginning.
Overall, Kokoro Connect continues to impress and never falters. This is perhaps the most emotionally charged volume yet and showcases a moment we’ve all been waiting for. I’m eager to see if any future books in the series can top this one for the impact it had on me!