With the release of Kokoro Connect Volume 9, we’re now in the final arc of the series. After a collection of short stories to help break up the drama of the last few instalments, it’s time to return to Yamaboshi High School and find out what’s in store for our cast…
As we reunite with the members of the Student Cultural Research Club, everyone is in high spirits. However, although the group isn’t currently involved in a phenomenon, strange things keep happening around them, such as being unable to hear conversations happening right next to them.
On top of that, Taichi and the other second-year members are beginning to have lapses in their memory, forgetting who their friends are and why they’re in the Student Cultural Research Club. As the group worry that Heartseed is back and up to no good, they begin to investigate the strange goings-on among their classmates – but the things they discover could be about to change their lives forever.
In a shocking twist of fate, Heartseed approaches Taichi and the others and reveals that he isn’t behind the phenomena. Instead, there is a new enemy known as The Third, who wants to toy with the students and then erase all The Student Cultural Research Club’s memories of Heartseed’s many trials and their memories of one another. With their friendships on the line, Taichi and co must fight their hardest if they don’t want to lose the relationships they’ve spent so long building up.
As far as final arcs go, this story seems like a fitting one to finish off Kokoro Connect. The one thing that has kept our cast going throughout everything has been their bonds with one another. To lose those means losing the people they are today. Their personalities, values and futures will change dramatically.
If that wasn’t enough, our characters are so shaken by this possibility that their families begin to catch on to the fact something isn’t right. Now they have to not only deal with The Third but also come to terms with the fact they might have to open up to their parents and siblings.
The stress on the group is immense and it’s not long before Inaba and Taichi begin to crack, wondering if there is even a single thing they can do to win against The Third. It’s the kind of emotional drama I find captivating and something Kokoro Connect has always made one of its selling points. No matter what happens, the story is always solid and the characters are lovable.
Although there are still two volumes left after Volume 9, it appears this story will continue into Volume 10 and possibly 11 as well. It’s a little disappointing that author Sadanatsu Anda continues to sideline Chihiro and Enjoji in favour of just focusing on the older club members for this final arc. They only ever got the opportunity to shine in their introductory story and ever since has been little more than plot devices. It’s a shame that a lot of what’s happening in this volume doesn’t involve them, but I’m also not particularly surprised to see them sidelined again.
Volume 9 of Kokoro Connect comes to the West thanks to J-Novel Club and has been translated by Molly Lee. As always the translation is problem-free and reads well.
Overall, Kokoro Connect Volume 9 begins the series’ final arc in style. With an emotional story that could change the lives of the cast forever, this is shaping up to be a fantastic conclusion to the beloved light novel series.