A little over two-years after J-Novel Club started publishing Kokoro Connect, we find ourselves at the end of the series. Now it’s time to say goodbye to this much-loved cast of characters and find out what this last instalment has in store for them.
Volume 11 of Kokoro Connect is another collection of short stories to tie up any loose ends left behind by Volume 10. The book begins light-heartedly with Nagase declaring that the members of The Cultural Research Club should visit Taichi’s house. While the group have visited some of each other’s homes before, this is the first time they’ve gone to Taichi’s place. Of course, our protagonist is dreading the event , knowing that his little sister Rina will want to be involved and no doubt embarrass him!
Taichi neglects to tell his sister that his friends are coming over and prays that she has plans with her friends on the day. Unfortunately, she doesn’t and instead tries to crash the get-together. Although she’s chased away by Taichi, she still manages to cause plenty of chaos, interrogating everyone to make sure they’re worthwhile companions for her precious older brother.
Elsewhere in this volume, former class president Fujishima Maiko arranges a ‘Couples’ Battle Royale’ across the school, which might even lead to some development in her own love life. In this contest, students must pair up and take part in contests to win flowers and the couple left standing at the end wins. Since the students can pick how they compete, this leads to some interesting and hilarious events, especially among the main characters.
While these first two stories are fairly light, the other two are more meaningful, as they focus on the future of The Cultural Research Club, as well as what the cast intend to do after graduation. This is especially meaningful when it comes to Nagase, who so far has been the most directionless of the group and the one most changed by their encounters with Heartseed.
The nice thing about Volume 11 is that it feels like a fitting place to say goodbye to these characters. We’re given the opportunity to both spend time with them in some funny tales but also firmly understand what happens next and how they each reach their respective happy endings. I think a string of short stories was the best way to do this, as opposed to a longer tale.
It feels as if author Sadanatsu Anda got to cover and convey everything she wanted to. I’m mildly surprised by just how satisfied I felt after finishing this book; it’s not a feeling I’m used to, since a lot of light novels rush their endings or simply continue forever. Things have clearly ended on Anda’s terms and I appreciate that since it doesn’t feel padded or too short.
Kokoro Connect had plenty of ups and downs throughout its run, but in the end, it’s difficult to hold any of them against it. None of the issues I’ve had with the series over its run would prevent me from recommending it to anyone. If you’re looking for a slice-of-life/drama series then you should check this one out; you won’t be disappointed with it.
Volume 11 of Kokoro Connect comes to the West thanks to J-Novel Club and has been translated by Molly Lee, who once again does tremendous work. As always, this release includes colour pages, which perfectly capture the antics of the cast. Throughout this series, illustrator Shiromizakana has done great work conveying the world that Anda has created.
Overall, Volume 11 of Kokoro Connect brings the series to a wonderful conclusion. If you’re as invested in the characters as I am, then you certainly won’t be disappointed by the time we get to spend with them throughout this book. Perhaps most importantly, by the time you’re finished reading, you’ll feel completely satisfied with the series.