It has been a few months since I last reviewed a volume of Kokoro Connect, with publisher J-Novel Club having taken an extended break between Volumes 6 and 7. This month we’re back on track with the release of Volume 7 and I’m eager to find out what our lovable cast of characters are up to now. Let’s take a look!
As we return to Kokoro Connect we find that the second years of the Student Cultural Research Club are beginning to think about their futures and what they want to pursue. This already turbulent time is made worse when Heartseed appears before them with what it claims is its “final” phenomenon.
This time around, Heartseed is only targeting the five second years, so Chihiro and Enjoji are exempt from the supernatural being’s meddling. This time, the phenomenon grants Taichi, Inaba, Aoki, Yui and Nagase the ability to see visions of the hopes and dreams that people around them have. This power seems fairly harmless but it’s not long before deciding how to handle it splits the group and cracks begin to show in their relationships.
On one side we have Taichi and Yui, who want to use the power to help people’s dreams come true. This mostly comes down to people wanting to confess their love to someone and if Taichi and Yui know both sides are interested in one another, then they want to bring them together. On the other side is the rest of the group, led by Inaba, who does not want to act on the vision at all. She believes that holding that kind of knowledge and influence can only lead to ruin and for a do-gooder like Taichi, maybe that’s true.
The interesting thing about this volume of Kokoro Connect is both how it divides the cast and how it pushes aside the two new characters, but more on that later. Normally when a new phenomenon begins, the CRC members band together, determined to beat Heartseed, and then crumble under the pressure. This time the issue is less with Heartseed and more the personalities of the individuals. Everyone is so close now compared to the start of the series (Inaba and Taichi are even dating) but even the best of relationships can break if pushed too far.
In trying to help everyone around him, Taichi neglects Inaba. He hates himself for it but he also believes that the work he and Yui are doing is important and the right decision to have made. Inaba is frightened of the power, how it begins to change Taichi and how it shows the worst side of him. This also creates a similar rift between Yui and Aoki, but it’s not quite as bad as what happens to Taichi and Inaba.
As briefly mentioned above, I find it interesting that Chihiro and Enjoji are sidelined for the majority of this volume. They still pop in here and there, but they feel like they were downgraded from the main cast to side characters. Perhaps author Sadanatsu Anda simply wanted to move the spotlight away from them (after Volume 6 being their story) or maybe readers didn’t respond well to them. Either way, it will be interesting to see what happens next time in regards to the two.
Chihiro and Enjoji aside, I loved everything about this volume of Kokoro Connect. It focused on my favourite characters and gave us the kind of emotional drama we haven’t seen for a while. Chihiro’s breakdown in Volume 6 was fascinating to read, but it wasn’t as soul-destroying as watching Taichi and Inaba fight. This volume left me a sniffling wreck by the end of it and that’s a testament to the strength of Anda’s writing. The cliffhanger at the end of this volume is sure to make your blood run cold, too.
There are only four volumes of Kokoro Connect left and with the next volume (8) being short stories again, it’s clear that the remaining entries will be setting up for the end of the series. With Heartseed proclaiming that this was supposedly the group’s final phenomenon, I’m looking forward to seeing how Anda fills three more volumes after the short stories.
This release once again comes to the West thanks to J-Novel Club and has been translated by Molly Lee. The translation reads well with no problems to note.
Overall the seventh volume of Kokoro Connect is one of the best yet. The stakes have never been higher as the relationships built up through the books so far are put to the ultimate test. This series continues to be one of the more engrossing, thrilling stories in the light novel market right now.