Kokoro Connect: Asu Random, Part 1

By Sadanatsu Anda and Shiromizakana. Released in Japan by Famitsu Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Molly Lee.

Here we are, folks, the final arc of Kokoro Connect. (There’s another short story book after this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s more of a victory lap than a plot mover.) This one is big enough to be divided into two books. When you finish it you will see why. Everything that the Club has been doing for the last year and a half – every victory, every heartwarming moment, every time they managed to win out and not completely lose it – has now turned into a liability, as it turns out that they’re simply TOO STRONG for Heartseed. And so there are new dangers on several fronts: other students are now suffering bodyswaps/emotional rages as they once did; people are finding out about the Club’s real activities, particularly their families; and there are now FOUR Heartseeds, some of whom are (supposedly) good guys now, and some of whom are determined to erase everyone’s memory of the last eighteen months. Even if that means destroying lives.

These books have always had a high amount of teen drama, and this one is no exception, though for once our main heroes aren’t actually part of it. By design. (Actually, I was rather surprised that the two main couples didn’t reflect more on the fact that their budding relationships might soon be completely undone, but to be fair they’ve got a LOT going on.) Indeed, all their secrecy is now coming back to haunt them, as it’s fairly easy to see them as the cause of the problem. There’s also a lot of brainwashing in this book, to a disturbing degree. Everyone has heard rumors of the school vanishing, but no one knows where from. The teachers don’t seem to care that everyone’s skipping class… or not there at all. Even Iori’s mother and Taichi’s sister, tho literally go to the school to investigate, end up being influenced. And then there’s Misaki, who serves as the test case for what’s going to happen to everyone – after talking with the Club, she loses her memories, and is mow merely casual acquaintances with her former best friends. It’s scary.

If this sounds a bit over the top and unrealistic, well, the Club points that out as well, as to how big an undertaking it will be to do this and not have the world notice. What’s also interesting is that they have not one, but TWO former enemies seemingly on their side – I say seemingly merely because Heartseed, as always, is deeply untrustworthy, be in the first or the second one. But they admit what I’ve been suspecting for a while – the reason they’re doing this so much is to see the emotions that humans have, and the Club has been influencing them more and more to try to retain their observations and emotions. As I said, the Club is simply too good at being emotional wrecks, in both good and bad ways. Now the entire school is in anotehr dimension, along with most of the first and second years, and it’s up to our heroes to rescue them.

Will they do it? Probably, though if any series was going to play with a tragic ending it would be this one. We’ll see what happens in the 2nd part. In the meantime, get reading for a shipfull of feels. (Speaking of ships, is it me or does polyamory feels REALLY natural with these five?)

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