Kiznaiver is so stylish and colourful that it is almost blinding. But behind Trigger's beautiful visuals, there just isn't a whole lot else besides an extraordinarily average, if somewhat enjoyable anime-- one that is certainly a noticeable step down from their previous work, Kill la Kill.
This should not be taken as an insinuation that all Kiznaiver has to offer is style without substance. There is value here, and Trigger has evidently tried to capitalise upon some of Kill la Kill's prior successes, particularly with regards to its characters. Kiznaiver tries-- it tries ever so hard-- but in the end crumbles under its own ambition. It
is an excellent premise that unfortunately never really finds its footing. Were it a full two-cours of content rather than the mere twelve episodes it actually is, the result might have been different.
Kiznaiver's characters are likely the first thing to catch one's attention. They are rich with personality, visually distinct from other characters in anime. There is no one that feels particularly bland (aside from maybe Sonozaki), but a number of them never go much beyond simply looking cool or being weird. Nico is a cute airhead suffering from a variety of mental illnesses (and quite possibly low IQ), while Yoshihara is an extreme masochist who orgasms at the very idea of pain, and exists largely as fuel for shounen-ai fanfiction and doujinshi. The protagonist, Katsuhira, is also a mopey emo kid who lets people beat him up without a care. This is about all that characterises them for the entire show. They are as one-dimensional as can be. It is bit of a waste, given how unique their character designs are. (And I do not only say that because I like twintailed girls named Nico.)
Some characters are more compelling than others. Tenga's dialogue in the original Japanese, for example, is fairly natural and feels like something that could come from an actual teenager's mouth. Chidori, as annoying as her scream-fests tend to be, is also pretty representative of how the average teenage girl handles their emotions. The writers of Kiznaiver know what they are doing and are capable of doing it well, but the problem is that the short episode count prevents these characters from ever realising their full potential. It throws a lot at the viewer, but never gives them time to digest it or room for the characters to breathe and relax. It is, almost invariably, the quiet moments that stand out the most in a story. There are no quiet moments in Kiznaiver.
I suppose it makes sense for something like Kiznaiver to be as short as it is, as Trigger puts a great deal of work and effort into each episode. It obviously shows. But that still does not excuse them creating a story and a cast of characters bigger than they could handle within the allotted time. For something like this, a more briskly-paced movie, perhaps a duology, would have been a better way to compress the story without sacrificing visual quality. But I suppose a movie or two doesn't make quite as much money as five or six over-priced BluRays would. Anime is expensive to make, and Trigger needs to pay its animators so they can eat and have a roof over their head. I get it, but it is still a bit disappointing to see business prioritised over artistic quality in this case. If Trigger saved up extra money for a year or two through smaller projects, and used that to fund an extra cour of Kiznaiver, we would undoubtedly have had a much more exciting product.
Some aspects of Kiznaiver, however, are less the result of its short episode count, and more related to lacklustre writing. Most of Kiznaiver's drama involves angsty, spoiled teenagers overreacting. Being rejected by someone you like is a sucky thing, there is no doubt about that, but it is not the end of the world like Kiznaiver tries to paint it. There are things far worse going on out there, and yet they're traumatised because someone they had a crush on couldn't reciprocate those feelings? Big deal. Give it a couple months and it will barely even cross their mind again. It would be one thing if these feelings were long-term, but for everyone excluding Chidori, they have had these crushes for a few weeks, tops.
Kiznaiver tries to create an absurdly complex set of romances. Every character is attracted to someone else, and often the one they love is interested in someone else entirely. With eight main characters and only twelve episodes, you can have a pretty good guess of how well these romances are handled. They get angry, scream and beat each other up when they find out the one they love is being treated poorly by one of the other Kiznaivers, only for another person to get upset in return, and another and another, it raining and dramatic music blasting all the while like the world is on fire and ready to explode. It is extremely difficult to care about their feelings for one another when most of these feelings (particularly surrounding Tenga) have been seldom explored and revealed only one episode beforehand, without so much as an explanation-- or heck, even a hint-- for why they like each other in the first place. Considering the experiment within the show is also manipulating these characters' feelings, the romance doesn't just feel lacklustre-- it feels artificial. Chidori and Katsuhira are about the only couple that make any sense. Everything else is just a big mess that the show could and should have done without.
It is also quite silly and cloying how emotional 'pain' is shared and hurts them all as well. One of the Kiznaivers is heart-broken, so, hey, that means everyone else must succumb to the feels and suffer from heart-break, too, because emotion is equivalent to physical pain and not at all psychological, or something. There are other scenes, like Chidori confessing to Katsuhira in the middle of a storm (weather in anime being the convenient device that it is), or Yuta and the rest screaming at the top of their lungs and jumping into the river (because that's how you deal with your anger?), that make it quite clear that Kiznaiver is not all too interested in appealing to adults. I can totally understand why someone who is around fourteen-years-old may enjoy and empathise with that sort of thing, but being twenty-three myself, it doesn't warrant much more than a sigh and some head-shaking. For how believable Tenga's and Chidori's characterisation can be, it is a bit disappointing to see the show stray so heavily into melodrama territory. At least Kill la Kill was aware of how blatantly over-the-top it was; Kiznaiver takes itself seriously all the time, and it wants you to take it seriously, too. It forgets how to have fun with itself, and that is perhaps the most disappointing thing of all.
I'll still give Kiznaiver credit for trying. Most of these issues could be resolved simply by the show having more episodes to develop its characters and their feelings in a more meaningful way. It would still not be an anime without significant flaws, as the copious amounts of melodrama make clear, but there certainly was the potential to, if not match Kill la Kill, at least come close to its quality. Kiznaiver looks and sounds so nice that it is easy to forgive some of its issues and enjoy the ride regardless, but, in reflection, there just is not much else to praise aside from that. I really, truly wanted to give Trigger's big new project a glowing review, but I just can't do it. It's not there, and it never gets there.
At the same time, not everyone is looking for the next greatest thing. Having charm and style alone can please most people, and merely being a standout title within its respective season is enough to warrant a viewing. And, you know, that's perfectly fine. I wouldn't hesitate to give Kiznaiver a recommendation if all the person wants is a few hours of fun and something a little bit different. Because, make no mistake, Kiznaiver is not a bad anime.
If you don't know what state your wounds are in, or where you're hurting; if you don't know that for yourself, then there's no point in trying to share it with others is there? -Hisomu
What makes an original?
Is an original a piece that spawns copies, or something that comes from within a creator; something that no one else has ever before thought? Have you ever had an original thought? What if, despite your thought that your idea was original, someone across the globe, someone with whom you have never and will never have contact with had your same idea and yet, weren't able to
act on it. Is it still original?
No matter your definition of original- Trigger continues to pump out quality writing and both new, heretofore unseen content, and new ways of presenting old ideas. This season, they pulled the trigger on a double barrel shotgun of new for the anime viewing populace with the zany Space Patrol Luluco, and the much more subdued Kiznaiver- and what a season it's been.
Kiznaiver is what I would describe as a new twist on an old classic. One of the interwoven themes is referenced in both my opening and ending quotes- the power of friendship. Had Trigger just stopped there, they would have produced a trite, unimaginative, and unfulfilling series much like those that crop up each season. Kiznaiver is not content to merely focus on the power that friends hold over you, but also delve into deeper concepts of pain and loss, the stages of grievance, and the ties that bind.
Much like the multifaceted Kill La Kill before it, Kiznaiver tackles these themes with depth and sophistication. Conversations that outwardly appear to be simple exchanges between friends often reveal much more about the characters and their mentalities. The characters themselves also outwardly seem to represent the kind of one note stereotype- Katsuhira the unfeeling, dull, mophaired main character. Chidori the tsun tsun. Nico the genki girl, etc. However simply the characters are presented in the beginning, throughout the course of the show, we watch them grow as people, friends, and characters. In the early episodes, we see the group forced together as part of some sick social experiement- a disparate group of persons from different cliques, if you will, thrown together and told to "become friends" (whether through traumatic shared experiences, which has been proven to form bonds between people who might not otherwise associate- such as in fraternity hazing, gang initiation, etc. or the typical socialization process that people go through.)
We get to know the person of the characters, what drives them, their insecurities, wishes, and failures. Each has their turn in the spotlight, and as the viewer, I felt like most of these characters, even though many had larger than life personalities, could have been real people. They don't have superpowers. They aren't infallible, neither are they perfect. They don't win every time, and the certainly don't all get along perfectly, kiss and make up after every little thing. Like real friends with disparate interests, they get on each other's nerves, hurt each other (in more ways than one) fall in love, fall out, make each other cry, and experience life together. Trigger, in all their savviness, also recognized the potential for relationships in the show, and makes moves for different character romances to happen, fall apart, and change. It's not your typical ensemble where the bland, self insert protagonist has color coded dereotype ladies throwing themselves at him for no reason. No, Kiznaiver takes a more nuanced approach, and the characters have viable, believable reasons (some are not pretty, just like life) for being interested in each other like mutual interests, pure pity, opposites attracting, and finding kinship.
The plot of the show takes a backseat to characterization in what's known as a "character driven story", which is also something of a rarity in anime these days. It's not all about some grand scheme or hero's journey, but about the interaction of the characters themselves that matter. As mentioned above, I think that the characters experience the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) throughout the show, as a theme. As part of the Kizna experiment (linking people through sharing pain), these kids in the story, through their own relationships and getting to know themselves and the people around them, experience these stages as part of their characterization. Each is in denial over some reason or another, whether it's "how could my friend have died?" or "this person loves me, they just don't know it", etc. This progresses as the story heats up- they're angry over their inner demons, and it spills out onto each other- until the voices of reason, Hisomu and Nico bring them all to their senses (bargaining). After the climax of the show, they all decidedly experience a strong depressive episode, where the characters decide what they're going to do with themselves, and about each other- having made themselves vulnerable and revealing their secrets to each other. Eventually they come to accept each other, and the story takes its final twist, which would be criminal of me to reveal. Suffice to say, it's certainly worth watching to find out.
The art of Kiznaiver is also excellent, with the flair Trigger has for small details, and making their characters look fresh and interesting. There are a lot of stylings of Little Witch Academia, especially the hair, but still very within the modern style. It's crisp, clean, and flows well, but the lighting is really something. Reflections, eyes, and anything lit look really great, drawing attention to details and adding depth to the shot composition. I applaud the casting director at Trigger, whoever they are- for they have done it again. Similarly to Kill La Kill, Kiznaiver is impeccably cast. The nuance and emotion (or required lack thereof) that was put into the performances really sells the drama and characters. The larger than life Tenga, fragile Maki, zany Nico, wacky Hisomu, hot and cold Chidori, stiff Katsuhira, and mysterious Noriko (and some nice performances from the supporting cast as well) all add up to a very well produced product.
tl;dr for my lazy folk
+ great characterization
+ fantastic art
+ a human drama, one that you can get behind, that doesn't descend in to pointless melodrama
+/- your favorite characters might not get together
Friends are soy sauce! The omnipotent seasoning! - Nico
Forced drama, what does it entail? Is it the act of searching for genuine emotion in a place that never offered it? Is it not understanding the limitations of your screenplay? Perhaps it comes from honest attempts to create something organic. Whatever the reason may be, when it happens, it doesn't leave a good aftertaste.
So which is it for Kiznaiver? Is it truly trying to craft something memorable? Is it seeking poignancy in the anguish of others? Is it studio Trigger trying to branch out into unfamiliar territory; a leap of faith, hoping their dedicated followers would comfort them when they fall on their
faces? And really, should I care, even if they did attempt something out of a place of honest effort? Well, short answer, fuck no.
I don't need to babysit a half-baked effort. I don't need to try to empathize with a failed project that slipped out of the creators' hands. As harsh as that mentality may be, it's the honest truth. I'm the consumer. The only thing required of me is to be entertained and engrossed by the project they put forward. And guess what? I wasn't. In fact, I was mentally drained by this synthetic try-hard and its relentless efforts to pull at my heartstrings; operating with as much subtlety as a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade trying to sneak down Central Park West. A good concept doesn't make a good anime and Kiznaiver embodies that very notion. The message it chose to convey was fine, but the way it went about delivering it was the problem.
In a sickeningly idealistic attempt to bring forth "world peace" and a greater level of understanding among humanity, the Kiznaiver project was created to combine the shared pain of its placeholders by linking their sensory output together. The more these placeholders are made to open up to each other, the deeper their connection becomes; experiencing everything from the surface-level physical pain, to more emotional-based pain, as the walls that separate them dissipates.
If the premise wasn't made explicit enough already, it's essentially one big character study and self-examination of human relationships. And it should go without saying, but whenever topics like these are made your primary focus, there are some prerequisites expected of it in order for it to function with any semblance of validity. You can't go swimming without a pool of water, and in the same light, you can't have a character study without characters. Notice I wrote "characters" NOT "caricatures," a distinction that Kiznaiver can't seem to make.
If Kiznaiver had an extended title, it would go something along the lines of:
"Kiznaiver: Forcing Archetypes to have Da Feels"
These color-coordinated caricatures are so cookie-cutter by storytelling standards that you could sum them all up with one-liners. They're basically human smurfs, each feeding into pre-assigned roles with little in the way of diversifying their default archetypes. Instead of swimming in a pool of water, Kiznaiver attempts to achieve the same feat with a pit full of dirt. A task that's not only nigh impossible but also painful to watch play out as well. Archetypes are meant to serve as default personalities to further build upon. To simply present them as is without building on who they are as characters is not only conceited, it's borderline delusional when taking into consideration the importance that the characters hold in the confines of this material. This isn't an action adventure where the world being trekked is the star attraction, it's a character study, a CHARACTER study. If there's one aspect of your screenplay that you want to shine the most, it's in this department. And yet, redhead tsunderes are pre-packaged in this anime in the same way every live-action movie and TV drama depiction of high school has the popular blonde cheerleader and varsity-jacket-wearing jock.
So when these non-entities are placed in a situation where they're forced to open up to each other, there's very little that could be done to divert the audience's attention from the obvious truth. That truth being that there's nothing to truly pull from these "characters" since there was nothing there from the beginning. The show desperately attempts to squeeze a modicum of emotion from this dirt pit, and when that plan fails, we're brought back to my original inquiry. This anime is strong-armed into producing something it never had to begin with; genuine emotion.
To be fair, there are transient glimpses of decent writing in this dirt pit of a cast, that coming in the form of one character, Honoka Maki. If there was ever a character in this show that Kiznaiver didn't butcher with its ineptitude, Honoka was it. With the introduction of her backstory, as well as the time dedicated to exploring her psyche, she stands out like a sore thumb, especially when placed in her vapid surroundings. Had the show handled its cast with the same amount of effort and care as it did with her, I would have been singing a different tune. But this sadly isn't the case, and just as quickly as Honoka's character focus brought hope to the show, it's immediately snuffed out as the artificial angst surrounding every other facet of the screenplay further plunges the material back to the subpar levels that it was constructed out of.
If I had to offer any other appraisal outside of this temporary moment of decent writing, it would be that of the art and animation department. Unlike the rest of the show, this area demonstrated the talent found at Trigger that they accumulated from their time spent at Gainax. The color palette used was radiant and immediately draws the viewer's attention. With storyboarding that kept a sense of flow in mind and a decent amount of consideration made in its use of color theory, there was clearly more effort here than what's usually expected out of typical studio projects. The same could be said (for the most part) about the character designs. While some were painfully by-the-numbers, others were quite expressive and easily identifiable. At the end of the day, these designs are wasted on cookie-cutter archetypes, but they're still appealing nonetheless.
One a side-note, for readers who've already seen Kizanaiver, the designs of the gomorin outfits take clear inspiration from the Maromi doll in Paranoia Agent. Perhaps this was done so as a tribute to Satoshi Kon, given his extensive work in the field that the show is trying to dive into. Whatever the case may be, it was a nice touch.
Another detail that, while not innovative, still deserves mentioning was the color of the characters' hair. Katsuhira's hair—which was supposed to show someone close to complete apathy—was represented with pure white hair overlapped with some brown, with the white representing an absence of emotion and the brown being the faint presence of it still left within him. The same could be said about Niko's hair, which obviously denotes to the flamboyancy of her personality given the diverse, bright colors. Again, pretty simple in how the hair color denotes their traits, but still worth noting.
As for the soundtrack, there isn't much to say. The only thing that sticks out is the opening theme "LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME" by BOOM BOOM SATELLITES, and rightfully so, given the infectious nature of it in accompaniment with the visuals presented. This could be attributed to the fact that sonically it has much in common with one of pop's more recognizable tunes "Take on Me" by a-ha. At the time of this writing, a quick youtube search of "Kiznaiver take on me" would bring you to a video that exploits this, merging the song with Kiznaiver's opening, demonstrating just how interchangeable it really is. That being said, BOOM BOO SATELLITES certainly delivered. Everything else in the sound department is forgettable by comparison. The only other thing worth taking note of is the sound effects used at times; like the glitchy noise made whenever the Kiznaiver device was activated, or the added sound effects given for objects when motioned. It was minor inclusions but still did something for the show than had it been excluded.
Now, what should have been excluded but ultimately made the final cut was a love heptagon. Not a regular one-way love, not a love triangle, but a full-blown love heptagon! And what happens when you involve a bunch of dimensionless smurfs in an ouroboros-like relationship? You get an embarrassing display of cardboard cutouts inserts pleading to each other. A potpourri of ill-advised confessionals that transformed itself into a deformed, blubbering mess. There's very little in the way of actual characterization for these mouthpieces with legs, so expecting them to divulge genuine feelings for each other just comes across as half-assed. Some characters don't even have much in the way of one-on-one interaction prior to these events either, and those that do get that time barely share any semblance of chemistry. This made what was suppose to be emotional climaxes in the story, into an over-bloated cringe-filled sob-fest. This was midday soap opera levels of awful.
The show steamrolls through all of this melodrama and artificial angst in order to deliver a message that no one needed help figuring out in the first place; getting closer to others runs the risk of eventually being hurt by them. This isn't exactly an eye-opening revelation, this is just common sense. But what's possibly worse than off of this is the fact that what Kiznaiver struggles to deliver in 12 episodes, is easily understood with just 1. This 1 episode I speak of is the TV pilot of Kino's Journey. Watch those 20 minutes and save yourself hours of seeing a show drown in the kiddie pool section.
I told myself, as well as a few colleagues, that I wasn't going to review this, due in large part to the fact that just talking about it made me feel mentally exhausted. But then I thought about what it would mean for those people that share my stance but can't quite articulate the reason for why they feel the way they do. I thought about our perspective going unheard in the frenzy of hype and unchecked evaluations. Letting Kiznaiver get off scot-free to gain unwarranted appraisal became far bigger of a burden than simply ignoring it to comfortably go about my way. And so, here I am, writing this review for all those, who like me, are tired of these empty vessels being filled with accolades it doesn't deserve. The only emotional response that Kiznaiver got right was that of frustration, as that's precisely what I felt while watching it.
Kiznaiver is fine until it gets into the character drama, and seeing that the whole show revolves around character drama, you could see how that leaves very little in the way of value. Had the characters been handled better, had the concept not been bare-bones, had the writers tried a bit harder, then maybe, just maybe, there would have been something here worth talking about. But that wasn't the case, and Trigger, once again, "saves anime!"
"The show wasn't that good, but the opening was so nice though!" How many more times do we have to make this statement before we let insufferable titles like these crash and burn? How many more times would we equate trying with being good enough? The only good that Kiznaiver can offer is serving as a future example of what forced melodrama looks like. With that being said, ignore this one if you haven't already, it's a practice in tolerance-control that would only serve as a distraction from watching something else that's truly worth your invested time.
Have you ever wondering how it must feel when one of your friends or loved ones are in despair? When they’re having a despondent day? Well, look no further because Kiznaiver portrays this theme, and I mean literally.
Kiznaiver is an anime revolving around bonds through pain and sentiment. The story circulates around that of our main protagonist, Katsuhira Agata, a modest, slow teenage boy that grasps no emotions within his hands, accordingly making himself a bullying target. However, the bullying that consistently approaches him from every direction is beyond his concerns and most notably, his pain. Him, alongside with 5 other teenagers’
wounds are connected through the Kizna system and are obligated to bond for the sake of creating “World peace”. And so, their journey begins.
Now, I must say, Kiznaiver is an anime I saw one of the brightest potential in, however, was abstracted by various divisions. Whenever it was character development or drama, the manner Kiznaiver executed this is what made itself abstracted from a rather good conception. Many like to say this is a character-based show so they are going to get more profound of the characters than any other department in the show, but even then, Kiznaiver fails abominably at this.
If I had to describe the characters using three adjectives, they would be “mild, archetypal, and caricatured” The characters were first given archetypical roles, initially seen as symbolism, which I had no concerns for, however, the characters just started to use that as their foremost individualities, never actually getting in-depth of the traits and explaining why they maintain such. Alternatively, this started to define the characters themselves and the purpose they bring to the plot. Niko and Tenga, for most of the series existed, only to slap in some eccentric yet cartoonish comedy in there, but only came irksome and unnecessary, leaving room for its incompatible tonal dissonance. Kiznaiver genuinely knew what they were doing, thus far were oblivious about the fact that it’s never going to work. Kiznaiver knew that it wanted to be witty at times, whilst simultaneously being serious, yet merely making the story paradoxical. The way serious scenes would modify itself into comedic ones was awkward and off. Kiznaiver couldn’t handle both, therefore making the tonal shifts cringeworthy.
The only characterized really are Honoka, Katsuhira (fairly) and Sononaki, yet they still don’t possess strong characterization. Katsuhira and Sonozaki were the only crucial characters of the show and would have still been proficient of creating a story with just the two of them. The rest of the cast didn’t live up to their significance, let alone nearly, and that’s what I found dissatisfying about Kiznaiver. If every single character were presented exactly like how Honoka was, this series would have left me with a different impression, potentially increasing its score from me. Hisomu was a random guy in the background educating a few life lessons to these youngsters but served no purpose whatsoever. The finale of Kiznaiver entirely explained the significance of our cast; A bunch of kids that just added their two cents to Katsuhira and Sonozaki’s association without it actually making that much of an impact, and additionally their personal issues being irrelevant, which brings me to explain the execution of drama in this series.
Kiznaiver must be an anime that secondly enthrals and is reliant on drama for its series, considering the fact that it’s a character-based show, however, even its drama was horribly done. Albeit, I can comprehend the fact that they’re just average teenagers so they are bound to create conflicts; it’s only natural for them to do so, however, not one speck of maturity was balanced with the juvenility of the quarrels. Example would be Chidori’s issues. Instead of it being a bunch of sixteen years olds arguing about their love interests, it was something that a bunch of twelve years old would be arguing about. Moreover, the love interests were either absurd, lacking or arbitral. Nico liking Tenga had to be the most illogical, a relationship that was barely transparent and developed. Kacchon and Chidori was a relationship that was hard to care for because they’ve barely exposed their relationship before the Kizna system. Instead, we’re just left to imagine and presume how strong their relationship must be.
Characterization and the character interaction within the show were born out of compulsion as a way to move the plot forward, merely making the characters plot devices. A great example of this is episode two, where the characters were forced to reveal a secret of theirs, which I found quite rough. Kiznaiver wanted to impatiently force development out of our characters and rapidly reach the good part of the story, thus giving a reason to these “required missions” or “served punishments if something is not achieved” As much as this made the story engaging, it just came redundant. The same results would have still been created if the characters were simply left to unravel their way out of the system or getting profound of each other. The secrets and authentic identities were proficient of unfolding itself but Kiznaiver were too impatient.
Kiznaiver already has an implausible conception, yet is very questionable. They’re already aware of the failure the experiment has brought prior to other children that initially were a part of the research, so why do they revive it again on other kids? Initially, the experiment became extremely hazardous and was nowhere near creating “world peace” from the looks of it, so why would it be smart to do it again? Moreover, Kiznaiver never gets in-depth of how connecting pain equates to world peace, but rather they just state it will. Kiznaiver doesn’t try to bring coherence to an already puzzling idea. I am very aware of the fact that the whole point of the show was to show the faults of the idea, but they never really try to fully clarify the agenda from the very beginning.
The effort put into Kiznaiver is very transparent and I support it for doing that. The distinctive turn they wanted to add to their story with the connecting pain and all boasted Kiznaiver up, however, ever so slightly failed itself from the inconsistencies. Kiznaiver prioritised the artistic merits in contrast to all the existing departments, just like what any average modern anime would do really. Not that it’s a problem with bring bigger significant to the visuals of the show, but to not show as much importance to the characters and story is what Kiznaiver performed.
The art was very satisfying yet aspiring. It had a very crispy and sharp design to it. The backdrops basically go by what I’m saying, very distinguishing and never felt boring. The character designs were fine, and I mean, really fine. Very distinguishable and was very defining. Each character has an exhilarating look to them and was pleasing to the human eyes. They looked exactly by their characteristics and their personalities were easy to presume. The colour palette was very strong and bright and the animation ran smoothly.
Well done BOOM BOOM SATELLITES and Sangatsu no Phantasia by genuinely going by your intended purpose. They rightfully went by what it means to create an opening and an ending, thus making it very appropriate. An opening is to grip you into the series and places a significant role by entertaining your audience into watching more; the Kiznaiver opening ideally went by that. An ending is meant to relax the viewer and conclude them that the episode was nicely completed; the Kiznaiver ending also ideally went by that. However, the only trouble I have with the opening is how unmemorable it is. As Zeph stated, the only unforgettable line in the opening is “LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME” Other than that, it’s fine.
Kaji Yuki, you shady monkey. His performance was not particularly extraordinary, but most definitely stood out than the rest. I absolutely love how Kaji Yuki can just adjust his voice in order to fit the character, completely making him distinguishable from his most popular roles. Kaji Yuki is like a person that can just hide behind characters without knowing it’s him. His voice was perfect for Agata and convinced me into liking it, a lot.
What to expect and personal enjoyment
But the real question is, did I enjoy this?
Not necessarily. It has to do with the fact that Kiznaiver vaguely touched upon its default genres, hence why I couldn’t get profound of it. It was hard for me to articulate the message that Kiznaiver was trying to depict because so many things distracted it. There were nothing for me to get in-depth with really, but rather I just started watching the show with enjoyment in my mind. Kiznaiver is fairly a dumb watch. If you want an anime for its exhilaration and fun, Kiznaiver is for you. If you’re looking for any perception of our characters and story, you’re not going to find that here
Kiznaiver should have been a 24 episode long series and more considerate with where it story and point goes. This show only wears the name of it being character-based and dramatic but it poorly conveys that. This show technically done what death parade done; a poor story in which its opening saves itself from hate and is seen as good in the majorities’ eyes. Kiznaiver is yet another anime that had potential, however just didn’t go by it.
• incompatible yet irritating tone dissonance
• Implausible and vague conception.
• Obligated character interaction and characterization
• Purposeless or one-dimensional cast
• Melodramatic, no maturity balanced with childishness
• Satisfying art and animation
• Appropriate music
• Kaji Yuki
Something something, anime is saved. Except that’s for Luluco.
Welcome to Keeeeeeeeeznaiver, the new full-length anime series from the meme machine known as Studio Trigger, where we come together and cut our pain into pieces. You might be thinking that this show is edgy. And it totally is. But then you watch red-headed Kamina punch someone in the face with his ass and then teabag him, and it’s reassuring that this is gonna be much more light-hearted than you’d expect.
Going more into detail about what this madness is about, it’s easily one of the lamest concepts presented in a while. It’s about seven weirdos who get
linked together through pain; as in, when one of them receives physical pain, it gets distributed to the other six. And then they’re tasked to live their summer vacations while getting thrust into some weird challenges and relationships.
Oh, but don’t cringe just yet, it gets even better! The Kizna system (which is the thingy that does the pain thingy) is deeper and more complicated, as the Kiznaivers (the weirdos with the pain thingy) eventually start to share emotional pain, or more specifically, heartache.
As terrible as this sounds, it’s presented and written pretty well. First off is that the characters and their interactions with each other are Kiznaiver’s bread and butter, not so much the system thing. While it certainly has an impact on them and the plot itself, I was undoubtedly watching Kiznaiver for the people, not the ideas.
The other thing that I respect is how the KeezNuts system is presented to the audience. A lot of series tend to sell you on concept alone, they’ll just throw their “brilliant” idea in your face and then spend the next eleven episodes on the different ways they can make it work. Kiznaiver gives us the idea in portions, acclimating the audience to reduce the amount of groans in the first episode as little as possible. I guarantee you that, if the “voice of the heart” thing was displayed in the first three episodes, this show wouldn’t have been as big of a deal as it is. (Unless you’re in Japan. Nice 600 sales rip trigger) But since the story spends time getting you hooked on the characters instead, they raise the bar when the time is right and make seem like it’s not as silly as it is.
And so, the series will more-or-less live or die by your opinions on the trope-y characters. The MC Katsuhira is probably the least amusing, being a walking bag of nothing. Literally. His personality is that he has no personality. Aren’t we off to a great start?
He actually isn’t some sort of self-insert light novel fuckboy, and there are good reasons for him to act the way he… well he doesn’t really act like anything, but you get the point. But it’s pretty easy to get bored of him, and even his bigger, more emotional moments rarely come through unless he does a full 180, unlike Nico.
Yeah, Nico’s the super-peppy girl with the candy-colored-hair that will probably come off as annoying to others, but for me I… actually found her to be the best. While she is one of those characters that apparently needs to say something at every waking moment, I’m surprised by how not excessive she was. And being the clumsy, ditzy, idiot character that she is, her big emotional moments DO come through, and in a very big way.
I won’t go into detail about everyone, but almost every character was a lot of fun in some way. While they don’t have much of a personality beyond their basic tropes, watching them do shit together was a blast. It actually makes me wish I was part of their group in some way, which is something I rarely feel. And it makes me remind myself that, oh no, I don’t actually have friends. Sasuga, Trigger. Perhaps if we were given more than twelve episodes, a lot more could’ve been done with the characters, but it is what it is.
But here’s the part that’s undeniably true: the production of this anime is fucking fantastic.
The character designs have a lot of… well, character. They’re colorful, they’re unique, and they have that “anime” feel without being over-the-top. Just look at the Gomorins. How can anyone hate these fuckers? Sometimes it feels that the models are a little off; dimensions are slightly distorted, hair is more like a twisty piece of metal than hair, but I more-or-less ignored that, as it adds to the overall nature of both the designs and the show. Not only that, but Kiznaiver takes place in a rather beautiful city, and so background art doesn’t lack any inspiration either. Good direction makes the visuals rather telling, with effective shot compositions and great body language and visible motions. On top of that, the animation, actual movement, is very smooth despite the complex aesthetics. All in all, it’s safe to say that Kiznaiver has a lot of ambition with its art.
But the underdog of Kiznaiver is its FUCKING AMAZING soundtrack. Holy shit. Much of it is electronic, whether at a driving pace or quietly lingering in the background, but the orchestral scores hit hard. VERY hard. And one of the most interesting things is how some parts will be reversed, as to compliment a dissonant scene where the emotions aren’t at a great place and relationships are breaking apart. No insert songs are found in here, just a beautiful composition that sounds perfect at every moment.
The OP and ED are no slouches, either. In fact, I daresay that A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ is the best OP of the season.
Alright, it’s actually Boom Boom Satellites and the song is called ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’, I’ll respect them since this is their last work. But lemme just say that I’ve never been a fan of these guys. They’re kinda out of my comfort zone, and I just think they sound like crap most of the time. But this one song here actually clicks; it puts you in a sweet, yet subtly melancholic trance as dizzying lights and incredibly smooth character animation arrests you visually. Put them together and you have an OP that feels unlike any other, whether you appreciate it or not.
And to close each episode off, a pleasant alt-rock song by Sangatsu no Phantasia, whoever the fuck that is, leaves a bit of a hopeful atmosphere right before the next episode’s preview, as we get more shots of the beautiful characters holding flowers. Because, why not. It has a bright tone with its crystal-clear vocals and vibrant piano and violins playing over the band. Yet, it doesn’t feel overpowering or generic, it strikes a nice balance.
So, uh. I bet a lot of people aren’t gonna agree with a lot of this, and I’m completely willing to admit that Kiznaiver is a flawed show and a lot of people will/do hate it, but I greatly appreciate what Kiznaiver set out to do and accomplished. This isn’t Monogatari or anything, but I’ll take it over most of the other shows that came out this season.
Story - 7/10
Art - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Characters - 7/10
Enjoyment - 8/10
Shipping - Teamblueallday/10
Overall - 8/10
Favorite episode - 5
Favorite character - Nico
Recommendation level - High
Why do we hurt each other? Have you ever walked by a couple on the street, bickering and arguing, and suddenly wondered why people are so keen on making each other suffer? Why is it that we feel so frustrated seeing someone get viciously angry in an argument, yet when we’re actually a part of the argument, we feel justified to do so? Why is it that when we witness conflicts revolving around things we deem insignificant, we think people are ultimately petty, yet we have arguments equally as petty all the time? Why is it that we feel so frustrated when someone talks behind
our backs, yet we tend to do the same to others? These are the common hypocrisies which are the unfortunate circumstance of not being able to truly understand each other. Everyone thinks differently, feels differently, loves different, and hates differently. You can’t expect to know everything that’s going on in someones head, and trying to base your friendships, conflicts, and discussions on assumptions like this will no doubt cause trouble.
But… what if we could? What if we could understand everything that someone thinks and feels? If we could get so impossibly close to someone, would we ever argue? Would we ever hate each other? I mean, how could we? If someone is basing their arguments on certain emotions that we can ALSO feel, how could we disagree? We can’t really agree, either, but when we manage to understand them on such a fundamental level, it’s hard to know what exactly would happen between us.
How about we take this a step further: What if everyone in the world could feel every bit of physical and emotional pain together. Would there be no wars? No conflicts? World peace? This may seem a bit ridiculous, but it’s the main idea of Kiznaiver.
Unfortunately, however, this idea is only cool on paper. What could have been an excellent character study turned out to be no more than a melodramatic trainwreck with very few redeeming qualities.
The thought of what Kiznaiver was trying to accomplish and the original ideas it had are still intriguing. It's incredibly interesting to think about what would happen if a group of people did share their pains, and if done with better direction, it could have been a fantastic anime.
Unfortunately, however, the show takes itself in the most boring direction possible. It's got a stupidly complex love story, it focuses on certain characters and leaves others in the dust, and some have nice arcs while others don't even get arcs. Maki got a very long arc yet Niko got absolutely nothing, and not only did Niko get absolutely nothing, she got development that was based around her unexplained love for another character. It can't help but feel like Kiznaiver would have done much better if it were longer. It's hard to develop that many characters in 12 episodes and that was the biggest problem I had. However, it does a pretty okay job of developing the characters it favors. Maki's and Katsuhira's backstories are the best parts of the show. It's sad to think that we could have gotten an interesting backstory on five of the other characters if the creators thought to lengthen the series. Disregarding the mini-arcs, the plot itself is unsatisfactory as a whole. The direction of the series towards the end wasn't as interesting as I had hoped, and the way they executed the final minutes feels like a cop out compared to what could have been.
A friend of mine praised Kiznaiver's "colorful" cast of characters and claimed they loved how different they are from one another and how much variety the creators put into them to make them stand out from each other.
Sure, I can agree.
Kiznaiver is full of contrasting characters, I didn't find a moment where I thought any character was similar and that's a very important part of the story. All seven are supposed to be incompatible or else this experiment wouldn't work the way the scientists hoped. However, them being different from one another does not make them good.
The cast is full of tropes. They may be different from each other and they may vary in personalities but they never stray outside of their tropes. They're trapped inside of their stereotypes and almost all of their actions are unsurprisingly predictable. Some characters got developed but even then a majority of the characters were never touched upon. Trigger plays favorites with their cast and anyone who watched the show would understand that. Specific episodes were made developing Maki and Katsuhira, yet not a single second was spent developing Hisomu. He was comedy relief and poor comedy relief at that. To make matters worse, the romance between the characters was the most frustrating aspect. The creators just forced every character to fall in love with each other in an attempt to create drama. There's absolutely no basis to these feelings and the characters seem to think "it was obvious that they were in love with you" yet none of it is noticeable besides from Chidori's love for Katsuhira. The characters have their moments and they're entertaining to watch, but as soon as the drama starts it all hits the fan.
Kiznaiver displays copious amounts of drama that originates from nothing logically sound. Characters will do things for no obvious reason, which creates problems that favors the writers ongoing story. Similar to what I said early, the forced romance induces forced drama which in turn makes everything unbearable. There are a lot of moments where a character will start a conflict because of their "love" for someone which in most cases, makes no sense. Tenga hated Katsuhira because of what he "did" to Chidori and at first it made sense but even after hearing all about Katsuhira's backstory, he was still pissed off for no obvious reason. There's also how Niko was so sad about Tenga loving Chidori even though there's is absolutely no reason for Niko to love Tenga. It is never explained and Niko went so far as to take drastic actions based on something that was never developed. How does that make sense? One episode Niko wasn't in love with anyone, next episode she was full blown in love with Tenga. The only parts of the romance that felt justified was Chidori loving Katsuhira, and Katsuhira loving Noriko. I would also count Yuta's fixation with Maki but that seemed more like lust than love in my eyes. It feels like Trigger really wanted every character to have a romantic interest so they just forced the romance onto everyone else. It was baffling and without a doubt one of the most annoying parts of the show.
You're probably thinking, "people do overly-dramatic shit for stupid reasons all the time"
This is true, however, if you ask any of these people they will always give you a reason. If you ask anyone in love, they will always give you a reason. Even if it's a stupid reason or over simplified, it's still what drives them. Kiznaiver makes absolutely no attempt to show or tell us why certain characters do the things they do, or why certain characters love the people they love. For some characters, you can deduce reasoning behind their actions, but for others you might as well guess.
Kiznaiver is beautifully illustrated and the soundtrack is likable, as expected of Trigger. Character designs look much different from your typical anime and the art-style itself feels much different than typical Trigger titles (which is what a lot of anime studios struggle accomplishing)
Kiznaiver felt like it was doomed from the start. When you look at a studio like Trigger and consider the idea of them making a science fiction drama, it seems a bit insane. If you've ever seen a Trigger anime, you would know that they're usually full of the most ridiculously goofy content in the industry. The titles that come out of Trigger are usually never meant to be taken seriously with the exception of shows like Kill la Kill, but even that wasn't serious most of the time.
Kiznaiver tries it's best to retain those goofy elements that made me like Kill la Kill, but it just doesn't work out well. It's hard to sit through a really dramatic scene and then half a minute later something unbelievably silly happens. It's seriously risky to mix drama with over the top goofiness and expect it to work out well. Some anime like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann do this very well, but it's a rare occurrence. In the end it feels like the creators of this show clashed with creative differences and had no idea what they wanted it to be. It often made me wonder if I should laugh at something or if it should be taken seriously.
There are specific scenes that seriously stand out from the rest, though. A few parts made my skin crawl and I felt goosebumps all over my body. Unfortunately, the immersion quickly breaks when something stupid happens.
Kiznaiver shines every once in a while but for the most part watching it was frustrating. It had moments where it seemed like it could be great but in the end it disappointed me beyond belief. The stupid drama, nonsensical romance, and underdeveloped characters took away any semblance of enjoyment that was present. For the most part, it's still worth a watch simply because the parts that shine happen to shine very brightly. The comedy is enjoyable and the characters spasms are always fun to watch, but once it gets to the drama it's usually unbearable. Kiznaiver would have worked better as a goofy slice of life rather than the melodramatic train wreck it became. Either that, or the writers at least trying to fix their mistakes especially since this show had an insane amount of potential.
Have you ever planned to watch an anime with no expectation then it impressed you so much? For me, Kiznaiver is the first anime in that situation.
I read the synopsis of it and found it interesting but thought it would probably be really bad. When I watched the first episode I was impressed and it was interesting. Then I continued and ''Now, this is really good.''
The thing that I liked most about the anime is everything fits the anime nearly perfectly. The art, the music, the characters, everything... Just give the director his award already!
Every episode I get sad because I think ''This probably
will be the best episode, I don't think they are able to make better episodes.'' then next episode I live the same situation. Seriously how can an anime get so much better in every episode.
First of all, I have to mention about Kizuna System. So, if I understood correctly, The main purpose of the system is ensuring peace. If people connect to each other and share their pains they will understand each other's feelings too. As a result, there will be peace. Am I right?
So a group of teenagers are connected to each other, and they share the pain and emotions under the name of ''Kizuna System''. I have to say the story is really interesting. The dominant part is the mystery, ''What is this system?'' ''What is the purpose?'' ''What happened to Sonozaki?''. These questions were the ones I was mostly curious about and I'm really happy they all solved. It is kinda slow pacing, most of the questions are answered at the end of the anime (I mean last 3 episodes) and before those episodes, the anime was full of character developments, comedy and drama. This anime is actually based on the characters and all episodes are plotting the characters and their feelings so about story being interesting is enough. And it's getting more and more interesting every episode.
I can't imagine a better art style for this anime. It could be just good for another anime but it gives you the feel like it is created just for this one.
I have to say, the first thing impressed me in the anime is the opening. When I first watched it, the animation and its style made me feel like I was reborning. So, did the music. I wanted the opening to last forever, I wanted it to never end. The ending is awesome, too. For me, they are the second best opening and ending this season. And the insert musics are also really good. Especially the final episode, you can feel the all thrilling and sad moments.
The characters are probably the most important thing to me (when watching anime), maybe even more important than story and I become so happy when I see the characters are developing. This anime has 8 important characters. They all are seriously MAIN characters. They all have feelings and past, and the anime is based on those. All characters are original and have so different qualities. One of them is even masochist. I said the main question was ''What happened to Sonozaki (and between Katsuhira)?''. So she was the key character. First episodes she was like an emotionless annoying character and people didn't like her, but last episodes (especially last scene of the 10th episode) she won our hearts. Nico was the most friendly and funny one, Chidori suffered a lot because of her feeling to Katsuhira, and Katsuhira was always brave. But still I think the most developed character is Maki (or maybe Sonozaki).
*Starts episode, the opening begins* - 10 second later - *The ending starts*
Seriously I can't figure out how fast it pasts. This anime can be so boring for some people (especially who don't like slow pacing, character-based animes and who like action) but I'm enjoying it a lot. And melodrama is strong in this one. I never thought teenagers drama could be sad. I think the tags should've been like ''Drama, Comedy, Psychological, Thriller, Sci-Fi''
- Too short. Some characters developed enough and well but we don't know much things about the others. Especially Yuta.
- We don't know Chidori's final thoughts clearly. So did she get over Katsuhira and decide to be with Tenga or not?
So, here is my thoughts about it. This is not kind of anime that most of the people can like, but I'm in the team of lovers. Some people think these flaws are enough to ruin an anime, but still I think it is amazing. Even I'm surprised that this anime became the top in this season for me :)
Ah Kiznaiver. From the studio that bought forth the crazy battle-centric Kill la Kill and supernatural battle school theme series When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace emerges this series. As an original title, I had some doubts about the show at first. Because quite honestly, the show’s premise invites a lot of questions. These may include what exactly is the “Kizuna system”, what’s its purpose, and why does it exist?
Coming into this series, I was a little intimidated at first. The idea of the Kizuna system brings a connection between characters (whom become known as “Kiznaiver”) through human emotions by sharing wounds and pain. These
emotions ranges from sorrow, regret, pain, and even love. As part of the story, we also get a deeper insight about the origins of the system. Apparently, the system was designed to explore human feelings and making characters more aware of them for world peace. The characters begins to realize these inner feelings and learns about their close peers and even themselves. From a story point of view, it opens up a lot of possibilities for characterization. In addition, Kiznaiver also does a neat job at crafting a thrilling theater that builds more and more as each episode progresses. Emotions also emerge throughout the series and there’s definitely to worry about. Considering that Mari Okada is directing the series, you should be prepared for some sort of emotional delivery. At times, I feel like the show is trying way too hard to get across the point. While other times, I think it comes out more naturally between the story and characters.
For what’s worth though, Kiznaiver take advantage of its premise quite a bit. From the first few episodes, we have a mysterious girl named Noriko who immediately takes interest in the main protagonists in particular Katsuhira. Their relationship can be described as strange but also familiar. This is because the two already seem to have history judging by the flashbacks and segments. And despite Katsuhira not knowing it, he feels a strange connection to Noriko. This also links a connection to the Kizuna system as we’ll discover a darker side of science. From an experimental point of view, the show makes it clear that the system is far from perfect. The kids who underwent experimentation are more like their former selves, kind of like a shell. In the meantime, the show will also explore how the Kizuna system influences relationships in the present.
And to be quite honest, relationship dynamics is an important aspect in the show. The main male protagonist Katsuhira has some obvious chemistry with Tenga and Chidori. So much in fact, there’s hints of romance that formulates into a generic love triangle. On the other hand, there’s a general melancholic-like mood throughout the show about relationships. Take a look at Maki for instance. Remember, the series likes to express emotions and sorrow is definitely one of those as well. Maki’s guilt (based on her background story with another classmate) shows a fragile side of her personality. One thing I do praise on Kiznaiver is the heavy writing to get the audience to understand more about the characters. From a personal view, it makes the characters more believable. Even Noriko, the most mysterious character in the show can be understood better once we see a deeper side of her story. Unfortunately, the series still relies a lot on its relationship angles especially when it comes to romance. In the latter half of the show, there’s some particular segments that makes you really roll your eyes about Katsuhira’s role.
As with most series from studio Trigger, they often tend to go overboard with its gimmicks. Kiznaiver isn’t an exception to that either especially with such a thrilling premise. But for what it advertises, the show itself falls between the lines of silliness, intimate, and emotional. In essence, the comedy is a hit or miss because generally, the jokes are often outstretched than what they should be. The emotional segments tries way too hard on many occasions in particular one climatic episode when the Kizuna system affects the characters at its peak. And finally, the show’s narrative often pushes the story in ways that becomes predictable or repetitive. The over-saturated exposition about the Kizuna system doesn’t really make strong impressions. In fact, the plot device is probably the least interesting part of the entire show.
In terms of artwork, Kiznaiver gives off a vibrant feeling. The characters look colorful with some generic traits to match their personalities. The setting itself has the feel of a futuristic world with more advanced technology. However, not everything looks very solid in terms of design. From a personal point of view, the characters looks rather cartoonish. From the various character expressions to their clothing designs, it seems that Trigger designed them to reflect their outer image. It’s important to also realize that feelings expressed in the show needs to be portrayed accurately and thankfully, Kiznaiver handles that well.
While the soundtrack is generally moderate, there’s more depth to the character voice mannerisms. Remember, the show is about expressing human feelings so the voice of the characters is a necessity to match their roles. While it gives off a decent first impression, there’s not much more that it improves on. However, I would like to praise Nico’s performance as a girl that can express both strong emotions such as sorrow and happiness. While she is childish on many occasions, the VA brings the best out of her as a character.
The bottom line is, Kiznaiver is generally a show that overhyped itself. This thoughtful and intriguing premise in the end turned into a mixed bag of sour storytelling. Although taking a closer glance, the characterization is fairly well done with what it has to offer. For Trigger, this show’s comedy doesn’t cross the line compared to some of its other works. However, it still takes you on a ride of electrifying shenanigans. And in the end, it will make your eyes roll.
Kiznaiver was the latest anime production by Studio Trigger, a studio who I really like and the one I am most anticipating whenever a new anime is announced from this studio. However, Kiznaiver, while not a bad show, was one with a lot of forced drama and it's characters felt more so like plot devices than actual people.
The main problem I had with this anime was the narrative and the characters. Now, on their own, I found the characters to be fun and likeable, and the interactions and comedy between them felt natural and genuinely funny. The only problem with the comedy was the timing.
Often, they'd combine the comedy with the more serious, dramatic scenes and it just didn't work, thus dragging me out of some scenes and made me lose immersion. As the show progressed every week, the narrative became weaker and weaker to the point that some scenes were too stupid and too silly to take seriously and as a result made some of the drama feel weak.
There is a lot of forced drama and character development in the series. None of the actions the characters take or their decisions felt natural and progressed in such a way that felt rushed and kind of tacked on. Many characters made stupid decisions just for the sake of pushing this drama and a lot of the characters felt more so like plot devices, written for a convenient way to push the story forward whenever necessary. Some development came too little too late and by this time I didn't care about the character since the show never gave me any reason to in the first place. Some of the character development (such as with Honoka) was handled pretty well and by the end, I actually liked this character but others were either forced or lacked any in the first place.
Many of the themes and ideas in the anime are far too apparent and pretty much are spoon fed to the audience, as if we're unable to interpret anything ourselves. It has themes, but doesn't really do anything with them and presents them in such a way as to insult the intelligence of its audience.
However, there were many things I did enjoy about this anime. For starters, despite the characters having forced drama, they're at least fun and entertaining to watch and the characterisation for most of the characters is pretty good. Also, the animation and character designs was also very well done, and the general look and feel of Kiznaiver was great. The sound, shot composition and music was all great especially in the climax of the ninth episode, which I felt was very well directed. It's just a shame that the story and character development doesn't hold up the rest of the anime.
Kiznaiver does try hard to develop its own characters and themes, while having a legitimately interesting premise but it seems to fall short of its true potential, which is a shame. There were many things I loved about the show but it would have been better if the script and characters were more fleshed out.
In conclusion, not a bad show, but far from perfect. Nico best waifu.
Anyone else looking forward to the TV series of Little Witch Acadamia?
Human emotions is a topic that has always proved to be challenging to present in any form of media. It is something very vast and the understanding of which completely varies from person to person, thus often leads people to having different perspectives towards the work in question. Kiznaiver stood as one of the shows to take this challenge upon itself but like most, was unable to deliver in a way that could be deemed worthwhile.
The concept and setting of the show is fairly interesting. It’s sure to grab anyone’s attention as the nature of the show holds a lot of potential for deep storytelling
and emotional scenarios. Unfortunately, the show does not manage to fully utilize whatever it had at hand, and how is that? Well, to make things simple, let’s consider both halves of the show separately.
The first half, right of the bat was off to a pretty poor start as most of the earlier episodes revolve around scenarios that could be considered as pointless time wasting. While it can be seen that these scenarios were meant to serve as development for both the characters and story, it still feels as if they were put out just to fill in for something that was necessary for the buildup of the series and would provide as a foundation for the events to come later. Because of which, they come out as generic slice-of-life events that you’d see in any other show but without having any unique appeal for itself. While some viewers might be able to find value within the enjoyment of these scenarios, others could very well end up considering them as something meaningless altogether. But even then there’s no heart put into them and just feel as if they were added to get the job done quickly so that the writers could start focusing on the other half of the story. Which was seemingly the main part of it.
The second half offers more backstory to some of the characters and some nice development while also offering a deeper take on the entire series… Or at least it tries to. The thing is, while the idea might seem very nice, the same can’t be said about the way it’s carried out. It feels rather vague and just doesn’t provide the proper kind of development that you’d need in order to truly feel for the more emotional situations that come later on. The progression feels very off and the pace by which the show goes barely even gives you the chance to care about any of the events. You can tell that it tries to be dramatic, but just doesn't manage to get anywhere with it.
Art and Animation:
Studio Trigger managed to do well in this regard as it mostly has in the past. The art direction is really well done and the sharp, bright visuals are very eye catching. The brightly colored backgrounds also added more depth to the overall surroundings and was altogether something nice to look at. The animation is also smooth for the most part but it can get rather inconsistent at times.
The soundtrack within the show is fairly nice but it’s still not something I would particularly praise. There were moments when the soundtrack fit with the show’s mood really well though and do stand as some nice pieces on their own but they don’t really effect the atmosphere all that much. At the very least, the right tracks were played at the right time and nothing in particular ever felt out of place in this regard.
I did however, enjoy the Opening sequence quite a bit. It’s nicely presented and has some very eye catching visuals and screenplay along with good music. Just a good opening overall. Really did impress me the first time I saw it.
Quite sadly, the character department was one of Kiznaiver’s weakest areas as not only did the cast feel bland to begin with, but also felt neglected for the most part. While the show does provide a reasonable amount of character development for a few characters, at the same time it disregards the others. Being a show with a main group of eight characters, it felt as if only a few in the group actually mattered and the others were there just to fill in space, a couple of ‘extras’. What also stems from this is that the chemistry between said characters felt extremely unnatural and forced. The characters do present themselves in a fun way and were entertaining at times with their quirky personas but felt limited to those personas and didn’t manage to go much further with their character (except for a very few). They felt extremely flat and whatever supposed 'depth' that was provided to us could barely be considerable, because of which these characters just end up becoming another generic cast that's easily forgettable.
This is where the show lacks the most. One of the biggest issues that Kiznaiver had was with its dramatics. Most of the time, the more emotional scenes aren’t carried out as well as they could’ve been and also due to the progression of the show and the nature of the characters, very rarely would the viewer feel any sentiments with the drama. The scenario execution is poor, which is sad, considering that there were a few moments for which I truly felt that they could’ve came out as something beautiful if portrayed properly but rather what we were presented with was an abundance of melodrama and forced romance. Also, because of this, nothing ever feels as important as it should. It lacks the qualities which makes a viewer care, whether that be for the characters or for the entire show.
Conclusion and Verdict:
Even though Kiznaiver offered a good concept, the lackluster presentation and writing held it back from achieving anything noteworthy. If you can look past the flaws and enjoy the show for its nice visuals or just manage to appreciate it for the concept itself then you just might be able to find something in it. Otherwise if you’re expecting a dramatic experience with solid writing then there are far better options within the medium.
What does it mean to hurt? What does it mean to love? What does it mean to be a friend? Kiznaiver, a Drama/SciFi manga adaptation from Studio Trigger (Spring 2016), takes a stab at a heavily character driven story and completely succeeds. The show uses it’s beautiful animation + soundtrack, objectively unique and strong characterization, and deep philosophical questioning of human connection to deliver a new twist on the plot of Rebirth and a meaningful re-imagination of anime’s friendship cliché.
Love or hate the show, there’s no denying Studio Trigger ‘showed up’ for the art of Kiznaiver. Each character has an identity, their looks reflecting
their personalities brilliantly, not to mention their body language. Simply watching the intro, we are given a grand spectacle which imprints an understanding of the characters early on, before we have even met most of cast (but I’ll be going more in depth on Kiznaiver’s OP on my blog at a later time). Each character is visually appealing and expressive, giving the audience little reason to turn away from the screen for a majority of the series. Even those with little emotion in the show are extremely interesting to look at, allowing the director (Hiroshi Kobayashi) to set up some genuinely funny and serious moments as a result. On top of that, the animation itself is phenomenal, making use of fluid dynamic camera angles and the works.
As far as audio goes for the show, it is great. The music rises and falls in a perfect flow for the narrative, and knows when to go completely silence to let powerful lines of dialogue hit hard. Yuuki Hayashi (previous works including: Haikyuu!, Death Parade, and Boku no Hero Academia) was in charge of music for this series, and did a terrific job. The music for the opening and endings are fantastic (the op being the thing that drew me in to watch the series in the first place), and the ed following up was a great touch to every episode (the ed being another thing I’d like to go in depth on at a later date). Going past the music, the sound effects were spot on. The fictional sound effects that was generated for group’s connected pain was intuitive and, for how often its heard, never gets distracting or feel out of place. Well done over all.
(Plot Summary will be kept to a minimum for MAL review guidelines)
Getting into the story, the plot revolves around seven main characters, the most prominent being: Katsuhira Agata (or Kacchon). Katsuhira is completely unable to feel pain, and is emotionally distant from the world. A glimpse into his past in the first minute of the pilot shows him at a young age chasing after a girl standing on a roof. While trying to talk her down, she grins and jumps. He cries out, reaches down to his chest in pain and his hair turns white (see: Marie Antoinette syndrome). This scene sets up a potent understanding of, and connection to, our protagonist as we view his behavior and hear his first few words. In this scene he is holding conversation with Chidori Takashiro, a close friend growing up. He asks why a cicada bothered coming to the surface: its safer underground and it won’t live very long anyways. Chidori replies, “Maybe it wanted friends, or something?” It is the brilliance of these lines, that expose us to the main ideas of the plot while giving an introduction to these character’s personalities and already starts to build a connection with these characters.
As the story progresses, Katsuharia meets a strange girl who we later find out to be Noriko Sonozaki. She tells him that people bully him because he doesn’t get scared, and doesn’t feel pain, meaning others “cannot find themselves within him”. As he processes these words, she suddenly throws him down a flight of stairs, knocking him out. Upon waking up he is in a hospital with 5 other individuals. They are informed they are a part of the “Kiznaivers experiment” and they are now connected by their wounds. If one individual experiences pain it will be divided equally between everyone connected, in an attempt to create true human connections. The others who are chosen for the experiment were selected under the criteria that they would have never met normally or got along with each other, as well as loosely fitting the definition of the seven deadly sins (or an updated version for modern japan). These differences in characters truly play into the strength of the show’s characterization as each one is unique. From their designs, to body language, to behavior; but it doesn’t stop there. Each character has very human flaws, insecurities, and desires; so when the characters get time on screen you to truly begin to understand them and connect. No character can simply fill an archetype, as they are all diverse and feel deeply human, and in their doing so: Trigger has made a colorful cast of individuals who you want to know more about. This creates an environment where every line and decision made feel purposeful and impactful to the group as they learn how to get along.
Lastly, the show taps into a deeper philisophical question, of how do humans connect? Human inherently are not perfect, and as a result of this connection with others is not always simple. Especially in our age of internet its easy to keep to ourselves. In context of Katsuhira’s cicada, why bother going outside where you have to open up and can get hurt? We die too soon anyways. We can see an argument formed through the show’s use of the Kiznaiver experiment, This creates a literal empathy between the characters, and over the course of the show we see these individuals grow, connect and change. They will never be the same people they were at the start. They’ve opened up slowly and they will get hurt along the way. The guy doesn’t always get the girl, others don’t always return their feelings, tragic events can completely destroy friendships, but as humans we keep on moving. The show doesn’t sugar coat the hardships, but it shows us the joy in making the connections, to being a friend to some body. Characters may not end up with who you want them to, and while this has been known to piss some viewers off, we should really see it as beautiful thing. That’s not how real life works, why should it in the show? Getting to know these people so well, you want these relationships to blossom as much as the characters themselves, so it can hurt when we get the truth, but in the end they come to terms with things and learn to live on. This is the re-imagination of the ‘friendship’ trope; we aren’t forcefed a “friendship concquers all” scenario, but instead are eased into a more human and compelling arguement of: “connection with others gives meaning to life”. The main theme the show is presenting is: people need to open up. It’s not easy, you will get hurt, and need to share that pain with those closest to you. But goddamn is it ever worth it.
+ Beautifully Animated
+ Deeper Themes to make you think
+ Strong connection with the cast makes dialogue feel purposeful, and decisions feel impactful
– Plot lags in the interest of character development
– It had to End
What better way to make friends is there than making them feel your pain?...Is most likely an accurate way to describe what this anime is about.
Kiznaiver is an anime that focuses more on the characters and their development rather than the story.Because of that,there is the imminent confusion to where the plot intends to go.
It starts with Katsuhira and his dream of a blue haired girl telling him that ''he'll definitely get his pain back''.Because of his lack of feelings,Kacchon is bullied and extorted money from.One day he meets a mysterious girl who pushes him off the stairs.The protagonist wakes up in what seems to
be an surgery room and the earlier figure who introduces herself as Sonozaki explains to him that he's been ''chosen'' to participate in an experiment with 5(later 6) of his classmates in which their pain is divided and felt between each other.They are put to make all kinds of tests to reveal their most embarassing secrets and missions to help each other whenever one is in torment.It mostly is that but then it's revealed that the experiment is not as safe as they thought and some were affected by it and while at it,the reason for Kacchon's lack of feel.And as the MC gains his feelings,he demonstrates a few things to Sonozaki too.
It's quite cute and it has an interesting sense of humour.I also like the bonds they formed between them and there are some ships to sail too.Felt quite heartwarming at times to me so that's why it gets a passing grade.
I dig colorful art like chocolates as presents.The characters are soo rainbow inspired(as most MCs in anime intended for younger audiences).I don't have anything to complain but it still didn't leave my mouth gaping,most likely because the only interactions it focused on was talking.
The op gave me a hypnotic high kind of feel and while I liked the ed,it didn't attract me especially.None of my favorite seiyuus but Nico's voice is too cute to ignore.
We have an emotionless MC and his emotionless love interest,an childhood friend,the macho guy,the narcissist,the energetic weirdo,the masochist and the girl who has a sad past so she doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone.They are characterised by Sonozaki as ''the seven deadly sins'' because of their obvious flaws that prevent them from making friends.All in all,the characters are lovable,even if they are not the most unique.Of course,that should be a given,as this focuses on the characters more.I could recommend watching this if only for the masochist's weird moans and reactions and Honoka's acidic remarks.
I strangely enjoyed seeing those teenagers going through their angst and misunderstandings,and the weird love octagon formed between them.This most likely is a representation of one of the questions which humans always asked themselves:how do you understand other people and the feelings they have?
Despite the mixed reviews this anime has,I liked it.Not most try do something besides the normal friendship formula so this was an intriguing take on what it means to be connected and have bonds.I would recommend watching this for the lols,the colorful characters and maybe if you want a bit of a change from what you usually watch.
This anime had an original idea, amazing potential, and good art, but it went downhill very quickly after about the fourth episode. Honestly I normally wouldn't rate an anime with a 1 unless I really, really disliked it, but this was definitely one of the most disappointing anime I have watched. A large part of the reason for that was all the unnecessary, forced shipping.
I know that a lot of people hated Chidori, but I actually liked her. She had a lot of passion for Katsuhira, and loved him deeply. Not to mention she was friends with him for many years, and even
tried helping him to the best of her ability. I felt like this anime basically spit on her feelings, and made them out to be completely unimportant. What ticked me off the most (I'm using nice language right now because God knows how much I want to curse), was when they force shipped her with Tenga. Uhm... excuse me? What? She's been in love with Katsuhira for how many years, gets her heart basically ripped out by him, and then goes along so easily with someone else? Makes absolutely no sense. I would have preferred her to end up with alone. Besides, Nico also liked Tenga, and I think she would have been good with him. Their personalities matched much better.
And now let's talk about Nori for a second. Besides the fact that she is a completely cliché character with absolutely no personality, AT ALL... she's just annoying in general. She tries to act all mysterious and such, but in reality she's just... boring. And the ending made absolutely NO SENSE. Nori has just been holding all their pain by herself for all of this time? Yeah, how convenient--honestly it was just a cop-out for them to not have to kill her. The plot would have made MUCH more sense if she had died, and I'm seriously not the type to want characters to die in anime--almost ever. If she had died, then of course their own pain could be returned to them. But no, they instead allowed her to live and somehow to even get with Katsuhira? It just makes very little sense. And that joke at the end about "We haven't gotten there yet"... way to completely step all over Chidori's feelings. It's been two years since I've seen this anime and it STILL ticks me off to think about this.
Also some of the plot was confusing in general and not relayed properly--I'm still not entirely sure what was going on towards the end there.
And, in case you didn't see what I said up there, it's been TWO YEARS since I've seen this anime. Literally two years. And it still irks me to no end any time that I think about it. Like it literally puts me in a bad mood, which is rather rare for me. So I felt it only fair to vent out my feelings here. I literally created an account for this reason.
Chidori should have gotten with Katsuhira, but really, there shouldn't have even been any romance added into this anime. There are two things about anime that I hate the most: first few episodes are good, with a great idea, and the delivery is awful (I'm looking at you SAO and Code:Breaker), and when there are forced ships that make no sense and that really weren't necessary for the plot to progress but which just serve as an easy way to further it. Anyway, over all this anime was a huuuge disappointment, which is pretty sad because it had great potential. Honestly they should re-do it with a lot less shipping, and a lot more focus on other emotions. Perhaps I'm also hyper-critical due to my being a psychology student and knowing that there's a lot more to emotions than romance, but there's my take on it and I doubt anyone will be able to change my mind.
The plot isn't mindblowing despite the originality of the kiznaiver project (although I really liked the idea) and there are some scenes that are "unnecesary" if you take them like real events, but they are metaphors used to get the messages across.
If you take seriously the points that brings to the table and think thoroughly about your memories, relations you had or have right now and... the human condition in general, I think that you can really comprehend what they wanted to achieve and see how well they did it.
I was skeptical and I though that it would be an anime just
good enough to entertain me on this week's bit of free time, but it really made me think about my life. It opened some wounds, I reflected on them and closed them again with a different point of view.
Maybe all of this is because i'm sensible today, but I can't help it but give it a 10 because of how much I enjoyed it :)
Kiznaiver's is a mess that devolves from a show with an interesting premise and wacky trigger-esq characters into a melodramatic, boring waste of time that fails to deliver any real depth and ultimately leaves you regretting giving it the time of day.
My biggest problem with Kiznaiver situates from its dialogue; the writing in this show is absolutely atrocious and towards the end of the show becomes downright cringy in its directness. Few of the conversations between the characters feel legitimate as the characters are screaming the situation at you and telling you how to feel. Dialogue is meant to be utilised to give the
audience a sense of the character's personalities, their feelings and their goals. However, in Kiznaiver's case the characters just downright tell the audience what to think and it leaves you unaffected as there is nothing to care about as the character interactions feel so forced. For a show that is meant to be about friendship and the importance of communication, the show does a horrible job of developing actual friendships as all the characters and their supposed friendship feels disingenuous.
The Kizna system itself, what is meant to be the entire focal point of the show, eventually disintegrates and simply becomes a gimmicky tool to advance the story rather than tell the story. This really annoyed me as the system, though pretty ridiculous as a concept, introduced some really interesting themes that the show could of discussed and developed. The show alludes to some of these themes but are ultimately overlooked in favour of furthering the idea of "friendship can overcome anything" motif. By the end of the show every bit of dialogue is just repeating and repeating this same fucking point until it begins to drive you insane. I FUCKING GET IT ALREADY- FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC! The show ends with the characters having some big "we're all so close" scene which is splashed in unearned pathos as I felt nothing for any of these characters since the show has used its time to simply tell us what to think and feel rather than develop the fucking characters and their relationships.
On the topic of character development: there is almost none. Most of the characters in this show don't development beyond their cliche's and those that do like Honoka end up just reverting right back into their cliche outside of the forced sentimental moments. I don't buy that the characters screaming "We are good friends now, just accept it" makes them friends, characters need to actually develop in order for that to be the chase which simply doesn't happen. That being said the show does have its genuine moments. Honoka's arc is the best bit about the show and I feel some of the conversations between Honoka, Nico and Yuta display moments of genuine growth and investment. However, once this arc finishes it almost just reverts back to normal and the characters don't act like they've developed at all unless the show calls for it but overall it just comes off unconvincing.
The only other thing about the show I can be assed mentioning is the soundtrack as the OP and ED are both good and the soundtrack is pretty solid throughout the course of the show.
Overall, this show has moments of greatness but falls victim to bad writing, horrible pacing and pathos that ultimately leave the characters "friendship" feeling major league unconvincing and unmemorable.
There are so many things wrong with this anime and its setting. The Kizna system in the end is just a plot device as a cheap explanation to have things make sense and fails at that. The warning signs were right there from the first and second episode. The protagonist gets pushed down some stairs, he's saved by having his pain shared among six other people (how the heck that works is anyone's guess), yet he and the six others right afterwards look and react totally fine, when the protagonist should at least have a couple broken bones and that pain should
have been distributed to the other six. However, only six of the seven are summoned together and have this explained to them. The seventh was purposefully left out to be another episode of the others finding him, which overall was just for episode count, because there was no underlying purpose to having him separated from the others in the main narrative. Of course, everyone had this change done to them without consent and were abducted by a horde of mascots that roam the city for some reason. The mascots continuously act as railroading personified throughout the series, and move the characters to where they need to be and dance to whatever narrative the plot needs them to.
Now, the main characters are forced into this experiment with a threat of a "bad end" if they don't. Their first task is completely nonsensical where they have to "introduce themselves", but really it's to share your most highly kept secret, and not telling will result in several traps bordering on death being activated to force it out of you. Yet in the midst of this highly controlled environment they were placed in, one of main characters manages to get separated from the others somehow in order to give a hint of her dark and troubled past, and later appears in a mascot costume for some reason once the task is finally cleared. Also, she gives her secret after their abductor already said they cleared their first task. Oh, and one character's most valued secret is that she loves the protagonist. She's also the childhood friend and next door neighbor. Yep, a huge guarded secret there, and the first hint at one of many of the forced romances this anime will later try to shove in the audience's face in the second half. So yeah, after that cluster of nonsense, this anime started out in the negative and future episodes would have to work to bring it up, which it never does.
The fault is in half due to it's worldbuilding. Few things make sense and that's due to vagueness and inconsistency. From what was told, this experiment was done once before, the city was constructed for that very purpose, with one third of the citizenry in on it, and ended in a huge failure. As a result, 19 kids that were the subjects were robbed of their sensory system; some can't even go out into society. That an experiment like this happened and not one mention of it was on the news or any social media not even as a rumor is ridiculous. I imagine parents would be outraged and/or distraught for what happened, especially the parents to the kids that were experimented on. But that's the issue isn't it? While parents are mentioned, rarely any of them are shown. The protagonist was a subject of the first experiments, yet he still gets the same cliche that his parents work overseas, when any caring parent after seeing what happened to their child would be with him no matter what. The only parents that do appear aren't even any of the main characters', but for a side character, and they only appear for a few minutes.
Once learning the protagonist was part of the first experiment, you ask the question "why was he chosen again?". It is never made clear. It may have been to get his pain back, which is necessary for him to start emoting again (but it's really not), but later we learn that another subject is willingly keeping his and all the other kids' pain in her, which is ridiculous and a contradiction to previous info (which I'll get to later), and the other subject's goal in the end was never for him to get his pain back despite earlier hints that's what she wanted, and starts off what is one of the most sorry excuses of a plot twist and final confrontation. It's all just a mess.
I look at the the two experiments done for the Kizna system, and they only have a few similarities. The first experiment as a whole is even more ludicrous than than one we find our main characters in. It started with a mistake that resulted in one kid out of nineteen was solely getting the pain out of 5 kids (jumps to all of them later for no reason). Gradually, the kids that were having their pain transferred became desensitized, not just physically but emotionally as well that carried over to the present. The current subjects didn't have these problems. For one, the current subjects' pain was distributed equally. Second, theirs had a time limit and were freed after summer vacation, contrasting the original that continues to the current time. If the researchers made improvements, how the heck did they test the modifications before the story starts? Did they just administer it to the current subjects, and it worked? But if they were able to fix the previous problems, wouldn't they be able to cure the first subjects? You're left wondering because it is never explained! It's instead used to set up one of the project members as some tragic character, because that person is the same kid that all the pain was transferred to. The girl's circumstances get contradicted too, making the attempt at sympathy ineffective. During certain moments the protagonist somehow is able to feel the pain of the girl through their Kizna link when from what was explained is impossible, even emotional pain in the last episode, when only the current subjects were able to advance to that level. In addition, as I mentioned before, she's also willingly keeping the pain of the other previous subjects, which in no instance beforehand was ever hinted to be possible. Her entire condition was because of a botch, and was something she had no control over. However, in the final episode, we're told she does have control over it.
Some may argue that the lack of consistency in the setting and it's rules is okay, because it would take away from the character interactions. However, if your setting is crap, why would the characters be treated any better. The answer is they aren't. Late in the story, the focus shifts mainly on the girl from the first experiment and the protagonist's forced romance to her, and away from the six other main characters. The seven are still in the midst of working out their drama, making this change in direction absurd. The anime is supposedly about theses seven characters' issues and how they bond through overcoming those problems. However, their friendship is mostly told, not shown. The times they are all together are limited, and when they split into smaller groups, it's always with the same people. There's no diversity. The reason is for the other forced romances that are again mostly told and not shown. How forced is it? They have to have side characters make a character sheet on who likes who, along with expressing how "obvious" it was. The romance is also the main source of drama, as if it needed it. Seven people are linked to their pain. They have no clue if these people that forced them into it will keep their word and release them after summer vacation, and constantly have to worry about each others' safety, especially when one of the seven is a masochist. However, none of these very reasonable issues are utilized. After their initial abduction and forced cooperation, the main characters just walk off what's happened to them and go home for the day. The next day, they continue on normally, which is not normal! They act as if they haven't become lab rats and had their human rights violated. Even when they find out their teacher and counselor are part of the project, they don't act realistically. Only one of them gets angry; the others are far more subdued and calm. What's worse is these two characters are only here to give exposition and act like giant scumbags. It becomes more inconsistent when the counselor suddenly has a change of heart late in the series and believes what they're doing is inhumane and immoral, when she was shown to be able to cross that line well before and not show an ounce of remorse.
Kiznaiver constantly tried to have it's cake and eat it too, even at the cost of situations and reactions being portrayed consistently. It wants this SoL drama along with an over the top setting and situations, but in attempting to do both, does neither one of them well. Seriously, in the end, why were none of the committee members arrested!?
Kiznaiver is a show with a fairly interesting premise and some actually quite good art and sound design, which is largely let down by a somewhat flat and rushed plot. To start with, the opening is a trippy experience with some slick visuals and a catchy song and the most memorable part of the show for sure, and I should note it has a pretty nice ED too. The character designs are for the most part pretty good and only Sonozaki is notably generic, and even then it actually works fairly well with her characters. The introduction makes her come off as rather crazy and
menacing and is actually pretty tense for what it is, basically just about revealing a secret about yourself, with characters getting decent starts: Tenga is the loudmouthed, fighting type who wants to live an exciting life and is a nice guy despite being a delinquent, Nico is the crazy girl living in a world of fantasy but is actually lashing out for attention, Chidori the girl with a crush who can't speak out, and so on. Our main hero, Katsuhira, has lost most of his ability to feel pain and so has difficult emphasizing with other people and has become dull of heart. Our heroes are made into Kiznaivers quickly: People who, through science, are bound together to experience each other's pain in order to develope a deeper connection.
The primary problem the show suffers is simply that the show does not really explore these characters in any depth for the most part, with only Sonozaki, Katsuhira and Maki getting any notable screen time. I feel like this is the fault of the episode length: Only Maki gets a true arc to her and she is notably the best character in the show for this, even if Tenga is pretty fun. Katsuhira and Sonozaki come off as incredibly obnoxious for the first 1/4th of the show, with Sonozaki in particular coming off as extremely evil, but they have backstory that does explain their actions: Katushira frankly still comes off as unlikeable and is my second least favorite character in the show, but Sonozaki's backstory is very reasonable for her actions and frankly it would be weird if she DIDN'T come off as crazy given what it entails, I kind of vaguely liked her in the end aside from some pretty conflicted feelings of parts.
Maki is notable for the fact she gets an actual character arc, which nobody else in the show does, and it is DEFINITELY the high point of the show, with a reasonably done backstory that for the most part does not feel overly melodramatic, is fairly logical and works into the themes of the show. I feel like if the show was about twice as long and had character arcs like this for all of the main characters, it would probably be actually pretty good. Well, maybe not everyone, since Katsuhira and to a lesser extent Chidori's are baked into the plot, but for characters like Nico, Yuta and Hisomu it would have been especially good. Hisomu I particularly feel the need to point out, as he feels quite out of place and pretty much a gag character with his masochistic shtick when he doesn't get any personal developement. Nico also is practically begging for a character arc that could have done wonders for the characters, but she is instead left a one noter. I also applaud Maki's backstory for having a tension/break between two same sex characters not surrounded around gay angst, but instead actual issues between the two, and in fact the show not even bringing attention to it.
Story-wise, the show isn't amazing, but it does follow logical progression and avoids making too many major mishaps...except in a way the ending. I won't get into it as it would be a lot of spoilers, but the latter 1/4th of the show I am very conflicted on and I feel like it was definitely not the BEST direction to take it, if nothing else it was definitely rushed. I do wish to give the story some props for doing some logical things that many other, better constructed stories I feel don't despite being good ideas: For example, the secret shadowy organization getting their government funding pulled due to being too conspicuous for their results and the resulting actions. Artistically, the show looks quite nicely drawn and rarely suffers off model moments, and I do want to give some sound design props for the cool noises of Kiznaiver effects activating and the like.
If you see more into the show's characters, then you will likely come to like it more: My personal issue was a lack of character developement and attachment to the characters in a series where such things are VERY important, the crux of it even, and some divided issues about parts of the plot. At 12 episodes, it is certainly worth a watch to decide for yourself, as it is if nothing else technically competent. If the concept was expanded on or redone, I can see something great comint out of it too, so that's a plus.
So what happens when 7 people, who knows almost nothing much about each other, are forced into a situation where they have to work together, know about each other's past, feeling each other's pain together (both physically and emotionally) and etc.? Well, Kiznaiver shows us how and they did a pretty good job presenting us how
One day Katsuhira, Chidori, and four other teenagers are abducted and forced to join the Kizuna System as official "Kiznaivers." Those taking part are connected through pain: if one member is injured, the others will feel an equal amount of agony. These individuals must become the lab rats and
scapegoats of an incomplete system designed with world peace in mind. With their fates literally intertwined, the Kiznaivers must expose their true selves to each other, or risk failing much more than just the Kizuna System.
The story of Kiznaiver is nothing new. High school students are forced to be together and they eventually learn about each other and all that crap. I've seen another anime that did pretty much the same thing called "Kokoro Connect". The only difference is they literally feel each other's pain and this is just an experiment while Kokoro Connect is some mysterious entity forcing high school friends to work together or else they suffer the "consequences".
The plot of the show is decent and much of the show is focused on developing each and every main character in the series. I guess you can say that Kiznaiver has a "Forced Character Development". While that may be a bad move for most series, for Kiznaiver, it's not. That's the whole point of the series and it magically works.
My review for this section will be short since I'll be focusing much of my review on the characters itself. Meaning most of my review will be on the "Characters" section.
I don't know what it is about Trigger's animation that I find so appealing and unique. Maybe it's because the way they draw their characters or how weird the visuals and some of the character designs look. Whatever, it doesn't matter because I weirdly love it for whatever reason.
Some of the OST's stood out like the theme that plays during the action scenes or scenes that has no action but is super intense but for the most part, the soundtrack is just average and not really worth mentioning. Now the OP and ED theme song(s)
The OP theme song is "LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME by Boom Boom Satellites". The ED theme song is Hajimari no Sokudo" by Sangatsu no Phantasia
I'm sorry guys but I'm going to be on the minority here and I will say that I hate the OP theme song. It's boring and I don't know what it is about the OP that people find appealing. On the other hand, I love the ED theme song. The singer has a nice voice and there are actual lyrics playing on the song instead of "Woahhh Layyyy Youuurrrr Haaaaands On Meeee!" which to me is not an actual song and more like a theme to something.
"Character Development: The Animation"
In my opinion, that title fits perfectly on what the show portrayed. When I first watched the series, I knew the character development would be amazing like Kokoro Connect and after 12 episodes, the show proved me right. Literally every single main characters here gets a screentime of their own and they will get a character development. It's like the Kizna Experiment is (not literally) stripping them down and exposing their main flaws and weakness that made them who they are today. Funny because I said the same thing when I wrote a review of Kokoro Connect.
Anyways, at first, the characters may come out as either super-cliche or just plain boring but as the series goes on, you'll understand why they're like that and you'll love these characters for who they are. Well, I did anyways. An example is Katsuhira Agata. When I first saw his character in episode 1, I thought he was going to be one of those silent and bland protagonists that we have seen a million times before. I don't know what it is about the silent types in anime that Japanese audiences find appealing but I'm tired of it. Except, he's not your typical silent dude. There's a reason why he's an insensitive and emotionless freak who doesn't feel any pain. They explained in the last 2-3 episodes and to be honest, those episodes were very emotional for me. To think how much kids have suffered just because of the Kizna experiment.
Kiznaiver has one -- if not -- the best character introductions I have ever seen in my entire f*cking life. If you check Chibi's episode 2 reaction to Kiznaiver, you can see that I left a comment saying the same thing and apparently, a lot of people agreed with me. Why the hell would I say that though? I'm going to explain. In my 1 year of watching anime, the way they introduced their characters is super boring and filled with expositions that makes it very hard for me to watch the first couple of episodes when I want to watch a new series. Kiznaiver is an exception. It's either introducing yourself to the party or you suffer the consequences. There's an exciting twist that makes Kiznaiver's character introduction so thrilling. Plus, during those character introductions..the experiment exposes that they may seem like your usual cliche characters that fits into one of the character stereotypes but there's a reason why they're even that way in the first place. The writers intended them to be that way and they have a reason why they're like that.
When it comes to character drama, not everyone will like it and it is evident (based on what I've read from people's opinions) that the community is split in half when it comes Kiznaivers character drama moments. 50% will like/love it and 50% will not like it because it's too melodramatic for them. If you ask me, I'm kind of on both sides. While I agree that the show's drama is so over the top, like the love triangles and how everyone in the groups loves someone in the group, I also disagree with the fact that Kiznaiver's drama as a whole is melodramatic. Besides the love triangle or pentagram or whatever , the show did a good job with its drama. The dramatic story that I want to use is Maki and her friend Ruru and their relationship. In my opinion, it was very well done. When Ruru showed her feelings to Maki, Maki didn't give her back the same feelings. Even though Maki is in love with Ruru, she didn't want their relationship to go any more further because Maki knows her fate. If she responded to Ruru's feelings, it would have hurt her more emotionally once she dies so she decided to just ignore her. This is actually one of those "Pick your poison" moments. If she responded to her feelings then she'd have to endure a more emotional pain once she dies while ignoring her would have caused her emotional pains too but not as hard or as painful as the first one. Their relationship also f*cking hit me right in the center of my heart which still hurts for whatever reason.
I don't follow Trigger nor do I follow any anime news. So my expectations were at 1% when I first watched the series but after watching the first couple of episodes, I was very surprised. It exceeded my every expectations and after watching Kiznaiver, I expect every author/writer to write an exciting character introduction instead of our usual boring-ass character introduction. In other words, I'm expecting changes.
Kiznaiver was an exciting series to watch and it's a series that I didn't even plan to watch for Spring 2016. It exceeded my every expectations. While the show's plot may be weak, which is the reason why the show's overall score for me is an 8.5, the character development, on the other hand, is amazing. I never expected I would get emotionally invested in most of the main characters, especially Maki and her relationship with Ruru. In my opinion, the show's weakest plot point is its love triangle and some melodramatic scenes. After being disappointed with Trigger's Kill La Kill, Kiznaiver is currently the best show from Trigger. This makes me gain hope for Trigger and makes me excited for their future works.
+Amazing Character Development
+Kiznaiver currently has one of the best character introductions
+Trigger's Unique Animation
+Most Character Dramatic moments are well done
-The Love Triangle Plot is completely melodramatic.
Kiznaiver is a show that has an absurd premise yet fails to deliver because it tries to take itself way too seriously with the melodrama. The main cast are a bunch of eccentrics, some stand out and some feel underwhelming. The stylistic visuals are nice to look at but any other show can uphold that characteristic. The Kizna System is an interesting concept that could have been used as a subversion of “the bonds of friendship” cliché, yet it tries to reinforce that very own cliché and even wander into romance territory.
The “sharing of pain” is not properly grounded. What if the other person
gets sick? Will everyone get sick as well? The limits are not really set yet the show tries to venture towards the emotional territory later on which gets really complicated. While it does try to promote empathy over sympathy, literally feeling another person’s pain or feeling is not a good way to demonstrate it. The main point of empathy is to understand what someone else’s feeling. This show just forces the character to feel something without really understanding why. Though they try to know the answer of the “Why do you feel that way” question, they don’t really achieve mutual understanding.
The show should have just focused on one type of pain and further explore that through frequent character interaction. The background of some characters is pretty good, but the story fails to transform that into good character development. The romance could have been done well if not for the very complicated love web the story presented. All in all, the show had potential if not for the bad direction of the story and the weak foundation of the premise. I could have given it a lower score, but the aspect of enjoyment is still there. There are some good standalone episodes and the show itself is a decent time-waster. I just really believed that the show could have been something greater
As an anime established around people and how those people interact with one another, Kiznaiver’s cast should be memorable and fleshed out. However, for over half the characters, this just doesn’t seem to be the case as they fall short when compared to other anime with similar goals such as Hibike Euphonium and Zankyou no Terror.
In fact, Kiznaiver flounders in almost every aspect aside from it’s stunning visuals and decent soundtrack. These strengths are made apparent in the anime’s opening theme which pairs a decent and memorable song with flashy visuals that catch the viewer's attention. I think this opening is also full of
meaning, focusing mainly on the eyes and reflections of the characters showing that the anime itself is about seeing eye to eye. However, after this fabulous opening, the show almost immediately becomes sour.
We are introduced to our cast of walking tropes from the airhead loli to the guy who is extremely cold because of some dark event that happened in his past and, like most anime that feature similar tropes, these characters (excluding Maki, which we’ll get to later) barely change from their original state. When we leave off, Niko is still as much an airhead as she was episode 1 and Yoshiharu is still as masochistic as ever.
Though some might fawn over “how unique this anime is making all these different tropes interact” there are actually many other anime that have something similar. This list, though extremely short, includes almost every generic harem that’s come out. It’s no stretch to say that, these interactions are in no way unique and a varied cast can be found in almost any anime made in recent years.
Not only can varied casts be found easily, but so can relationships that are deeper than the ones found in Kiznaiver. Many anime breath life into the relationships the characters have with one another and try to make them as human as possible to best connect the characters to their audience. Kiznaiver, on the other hand, creates empty relationships between its cast. These platonic bonds that were forced upon them through the Kiznaiver system quickly turn into romantic interests. Literally every character is romantically attracted to another, creating a confusing web of love. Though I don’t think a show doing this is necessarily bad, I do believe doing this in a fashion where there is no clear reasoning for said attraction is. Kiznaiver, though an anime about relationships, falls into the latter of the two categories, making this simple, yet devastating mistake.
However, these bonds are not the only problem this trainwreck of a cast has. The characters themselves undergoes little to no change throughout the series, the primary exception being Maki who has an entire arc dedicated to her. I found this arc to be the best part of the anime as it fleshed out and gave life to one of the it’s 8 main characters. If the anime had had arcs similar to this one for its diverse cast, I think it would have been much better. Unfortunately, Kiznaiver, most likely due to funding issues which only allowed them a meager 12 episodes, does not do this. It fleshes out Maki in her arc and gives Katsuhira a deep backstory throughout the course of the anime, changing the audience's perspective on him but leaving him relatively unchanged as a whole. However, the rest of the cast is left a mere reflection of their respective tropes.
As stated earlier, the one thing that does remain constant throughout this anime (besides the characters personalities) is it’s art style, bringing us beautiful characters and scenery which are by far some of my favorites. Not only does the art style and animation breath some life into is rather dull cast, but it also remains constant throughout the show. From the fast paced scenes such as when the characters first meet to the slower ones where they’re sitting on a train, I found the images before me to be as stunning and catchy as those presented in the opening.
The visuals alone are no reason to watch a show, however, and Kiznaiver fails to accomplish anything it was aiming for. It had poor writing, poor directing, poor relationships and most of all, poor characters and because it lacked these essentials, I have to say that Kiznaiver is in no way an outstanding show.