Volume 7 of the light novel series Kokoro Connect left us with one of the most painful cliffhangers in the entire series so far. However, before that’s resolved, the series returns with a collection of side stories! Let’s jump in and find out if they prove an entertaining read.
The collection begins with a story set before the beginning of the series, where we see how the Student Cultural Research Club came together and how all the members felt about it. Initially, all of our cast had wanted to make their own clubs and were brought together due to a lack of interest from other students. This story explores how a group of individuals with no particular interest in one another became the best of friends (and in some cases a little bit more).
Meanwhile, the second story focuses on Inaba and Nagase, exploring the story of how the two become as close as they presently are. To begin with, they don’t get on at all, be it because Inaba sees Nagase as ‘fake’ and a ‘popular girl’ or because Nagase sees Inaba as an ‘ice queen’ for her reluctance to let anyone close to her.
However, being in the same club, Nagase confides in Inaba when she gets into an uncomfortable position and believes she has a stalker. As much as Inaba wants to ignore her and tells her to contact the police, she can’t ignore someone in need and ends up rushing to her aid one evening when the situation escalates.
The third lengthy tale follows Inaba, Taichi, Yui and Aoki who are talked into going on a triple date with two of their classmates. This is a fairly happy-go-lucky set-up and allows our cast some time to chill out and enjoy one another’s company. The date might even give them the chance to learn something new about each other and deepen their relationships.
There are two other stories included in this volume, but for the most part, the three I’ve described make up the bulk of the book. While the previous short story collection (Volume 5) was a bit hit-and-miss in terms of the content, I think Volume 8 does a good job of having more consistent quality.
It’s always nice to see more of the characters outside of the stressful situations Heartseed puts them in. Not having them be involved in a phenomenon also means the series has the opportunity to focus on some of the side characters, like Fujishima, whom we rarely see otherwise. I’m not sure any of the stories are all that memorable compared to the rest of the series, but they’re fun and that’s what’s important here.
The only sad thing about this volume is how little we see of Chigiro and Enjoji. There is one shorter story about them included, but beyond that, they’re just present in passing for the most part. After being completely sidelined in Volume 7 I’m left wondering if they just weren’t a hit with fans of the series. Either that or their late introduction made them more difficult to slot into short stories. Hopefully, they’ll be back for Volume 9, but we’ll have to wait and see!
Kokoro Connect Volume 8 has been released in English thanks to J-Novel Club and continues to be translated by Molly Lee. The translation reads well with no issues to note.
Kokoro Connect Volume 8 offers an entertaining read that fans of the series will enjoy. While I’m eager to find out how that cliffhanger from the previous volume will be resolved, I think taking a break for some light-hearted fun was the right move. This series continues to offer a great read.