Kiznaiver spoilers ahead
Kiznaiver was one of the animes that I enjoyed a lot. It did take a while to force myself to watch it because the images I saw form it looked like something I wouldn’t be interested in. Man was I wrong. It was everything I am interested in. The characters are all characters that I can relate to though for different reasons for each. It caused me to cry a few times at the emotions that it displayed so well. I liked the animation as well though I am mainly reviewing the story. The character designs were great, same with the setting though it did get strange a few times.
The premise was simple. Seven different characters were connected through wounds on their wrists in an experiment. These connections are called kizna. The kizna connect them through pain and throughout the course of the experiment it begins to connect the characters through different types of pain such as those caused by negative emotions.
The characters were all based off of a cliche though not an anime cliche specifically (as in they appear in western fiction as well). Chidori is your typical anime girl that is in love and cares for the main character. Tenga is a tough guy who threatens everyone at the smallest offense. Yuta is your typical high school popular kid who refuses to hang out with anyone who could threaten that reputation. Honoka is the quiet girl who refuses to get close to anyone. Nico is the eccentric person who tries to be as different from everyone else as she can possibly get. And Hisomu is the crazy, reckless kid who always throws himself into danger for a thrill (though this is a stretch as he just gets high off of pain).
The two characters who I didn’t go over in the last paragraph I found unique because they are not based off of a cliche like the other six characters. Instead I found that they were more based off of the two sides of a struggle with pain. Katsuhira feels no pain at all and because of this he finds it hard to connect to other people who do feel pain. He is always in a state that I will compare to him being drugged with a sedative without going unconscious. He is the seventh person with a kizna in the experiment.
Noriko on the other hand is outside of the group. Also rather than feeling no pain at all, she feels way too much. She feels all the pain from 18 other people which makes them completely pain free and like if not worse than Katsuhira. All this pain forces her to put herself under a sedative in order to function which makes her also act in a similar way to Katsuhira with the same monotone voice. She also can’t seem to connect to people though that is more because of her past than all the pain she bears.
The struggle represented with these two characters is how much is too much pain and how much is too little. They represent the extremes. In Katsuhira’s case he feels so little pain that he can’t connect with other people and gets hurt a lot because he doesn’t avoid dangerous situations because whats the point if he can’t feel the pain. He can’t understand why Tenga is defending him or why Chidori is always so worried for his well being. Noriko represents someone having so much pain that they have to medicate themselves to function but they also lose that connection with people.
Since this is a show about connecting people together this conflict is bound to be resolved later on and it does. Katsuhira gets his pain back and Noriko gives up all the pain that she has locked up inside her.
One of the best parts about this series is how it tackles the internal conflicts of the characters. For instance with Honoka none of the other characters knew why she refused to share her secret at the beginning or why she was isolating herself from everyone else. The backstory that was revealed because of the other people with kiznas trying to save her was heartbreaking. It was a weight on her heart that caused her to fear getting to close to other people. She blamed herself for the death of her friend because she pushed away at the last second and when the other characters knew this the weight was lifted off of her heart though she still needed time to recover more. I watched this right before church and I had to try not to cry throughout the whole service. At least no one asked me what was wrong. I would have had to tell them that I was crying over an anime character’s inner conflict. This internal conflict and depth that some of these characters reach is amazing.
Though some characters aren’t that deep like Nico and Hisomu. Nico just wants to be different while being friends with everyone. She brings a lighthearted aspect to this series when otherwise that part of the show would lie completely on Chidori who has a lot of depth herself. Hisomu just really loves pain and is the source of a lot of comic relief in the series such as when he allows a Gomorrin to beat him up and when Yuta finds him he pretends that he tried but was defeated or when Katsuhira jumped off a bridge to allow the other kizna to catch up to him. His expression of pure bliss in this last scene was hilarious. These characters do add to the show though I wish that they had been more developed.
The only other real issue I had with the series was the setting. Yeah it is supposed to be an experiment city but I did not understand what the Gomorrins were supposed to be or who they were. I know they were supposed to be employees in suits but why? What do they provide other than a bit of extra weirdness to a show that didn’t lack in it? I would be okay with the setting if it lacked the Gomorrins because I found them too weird.
Kiznaiver is a series with a lot of high points and low points though not in the quality of the show. I loved how the whole premise was based off of being connected through pain and as an empath it seemed so much ore real. The characters were well designed though some lacked depth. The setting was interesting despite the weirdness added through the Gomorrins. This show was able to be depressing at times and really happy and lighthearted at others. I cried as much as I laughed. I would recommend this series to anyone who really enjoys stories that are based off of deep concepts such as connection and anyone who wants a good laugh or cry.