Kiznaiver – 01 (First Impressions)

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Hmmm…now this is more like it: a bold, brash, imaginative, absorbing counterstrike to the comparatively staid, restrained Kuromukuro. Space Patrol Luluco isn’t all Trigger is up to this Spring; in fact, that’s just an appetizer for this, the main course…KIZNAIVER.

Rather than beating around the bush, Kiz gets right down to brass tacks: this is a story about youth, pain, and the ability or inability to fell and share in it, as part of a larger plan to eliminate interpersonal conflict in the world, which has been around since we were in caves.

Rather than a literal cave, Agata Katsuhira inhabits an figurative one that protects him from physical pain at the cost of not feeling any emotional pain either, to the consternation of his friend and classmate Takashiro Chidori.

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His insulation from the work and from true bonds with other humans makes him a ripe target for bullies, since he offers no resistance to their blows or demands for money.

One such instance of this happens immediately after Chidori storms off (disgusted by Kocchan’s passivity) but another classmate, the Kamina-esque Tenga Hajime, steps in to rescue him unsolicited with the kind of stylish action Trigger is known for.

It’s here where Tenga learns Agata literally can’t feel pain, and starts having fun successfully testing that claim…when a striking, silver-haired class prez type appears.

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Agata comes to on a roof with the girl, one Sonozaki Noriko, who asks him if he’s heard of the Seven Deadly Sins. He has, of course, but she believes those sins have evolved along with humanity since their inception in biblical times.

Rather than pride, greed, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, and sloth, she names new-style sins such as “The Cunning Normal”, “High-and-Mighty”, “Goody-Two-Shoes”, “Eccentric Headcase”, “Musclehead Thug”, and “The Imbecile (g/udon)”.

These aren’t just “sins”, they’re the actual personalities of five other classmates: Yuta Tsughuhito, Maki Honoka, Chidori, Niiyama Niko, Tenga, and Agata himself. The show does not shy away from specific, elemental personality types because it is the uniting of those disparate types that is to be Kiznaiver’s core dynamic.

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“Everyone wants to carve their scares into someone else…connect with someone else,” says Sonozaki. Agata’s inability to do so to this is the reason he’s…the way he is, but that’s about to come to an end.

In Agata, Sonozaki has found the missing piece in her plan to make the union of personalities official. She does so by shoving Agata down a flight of steps, an act of violence he’ll likely feel, even with his formidable pain threshold.

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After the town mascot “Gomorins” wheel an injured Agata through a disco ball-festooned hospital, he awakes to find Sonozaki, along with all of the five “sinners” she “quickly and precisely secured” (i.e. kidnapped) and performed identical operations on, installing something called the “Kizuna System” into their bodies.

She goes on to inform the other six that Sugomori City has always been an experimental testbed for the system, but she is implimenting it for the first time here and now. Kizuna System allows separate people to share one another’s pain. She says Agata only survived his fall because the pain of the trauma was spread among the other five.

She hopes that if pain and wounds were divided evenly and everyone could feel the pain of others, it could lead to peace in a battle-ridden world. The six she’s assembled are the first step. Notably, it doesn’t seem like she’s a part of this union.

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The other five subjects take off, unwilling or unable to comprehend what Sonozaki has told them. But when Niko suggests she’s just having a weird dream, and Tenga threatens to grope her, she smacks him with all her might, and all six subjects feel the sting of her strike, including Niko herself. After a couple more tests, it’s clear: they are now sharing their pain. This is no dream. “All for one and one for all” is their new motto.

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Not only that, but Agata is feeling pain now, something a girl in the very red cold open told him would come to pass one day. That day has arrived, now that he and the other five have the Kizuna System within them, making them…KIZNAIVERS.

The combo of Trigger and Okada Mari is an auspicious one, it’s fun to hear Boom Boom Satellites score an OP again (their OP in Xam’d is still one of my favorites), and the cast is stacked with talent.

Brisk, funky,stylish, and full of beautiful lighting, settings, and animations, Kiznaiver is a top Spring pick out of the gate, and may well bump a couple shows off my list going forward.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

15 thoughts on “Kiznaiver – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. Question: If pain is distributed and divided up evenly among more and more people? Wouldn’t it eventually come to a point where no one would feel it, thus negating the whole project?

    1. that’s what i said. Something like a slight pinch being divided among six people should have felt like a tiny flick if but a breeze in the wind. Anywho, it feels to me like the show is already fumbling it’s premise. And how exactly does this pain thing work in the first place? Katsuhiro hadnt gone through the surgery yet when the chick pushed him down the stairs..so how exactly did his pain get shared with them? (unless the procedure was already done but when). I kinda also didnt like how the show felt the need to explain everyone’s character dtraits, especially the MC’s, or why him not being able to feel is problematic. Is allowing viewers to read between the lines not an acceptable form of storytelling anymore?? All in all, i feel sort of mixed about this series. Nice animations here and there and a unique concept but the script, directing, and execution could use some work. here’s hoping a couple more eps will iron out those problems because this has potential to be a really good series. Really enjoy Boom Boom Satellites by the way. The sound of their music always varies; it’s a standout quality about them

      1. no wait; the surgery was done on katsuhira during the time he was passed out thanks to tenga..but then that begs the question how the group werent aware of the pain sharing until the climax of the ep? execution man….but yea all of my other critiques still stand

      2. I felt the premise held together as well as it needed to, and I was sufficiently engrossed in the stylish presentation to keep my brain in standby mode. :)

      3. I guess because they were under they didnt feel it but the lab reports could confirm the transfer of pain. I dont that would be the best way to test it though

      4. i guess that’s why noriko tazzed katsuhiro at the end to make sure it was actually functioning

      5. I think I understand what Kiznaiver is trying to say, They are just picking the most unsubtle and slightly pretentious way of doing so. One of the reviewers on ANN put forth other problems that this idea put forth in being some kind of solution for world peace. One being that not all pain comes from violence, and if the system is so all encompassing as to include all pain, then it’s already failing at it’s objective for trying to stop violence. Also, you’ll have issues if somebody who’s hooked up happens to be a masochist.
        I don’t like the girl over this at all, and I hope she gets what’s coming to her. But I’d like to see how all these tropes get along with each other. Sort of like a sci-fi anime version of the Breakfast Club. Lol

      6. Anime Breakfast Club…I love it! There’s a tinge of Sense8 in this too…I’m wondering if the six Kiznaivers will not start to see themselves as a different kind of human being, or if those around them start to notice they’re different.

    2. yeah… sonicsenryaki kinda gets to the point here: it’s best not to try and make sense of the details and just take it on face value. for better or worse

  2. Where Kuromukuro feels like a competent-but-dull attempt to mash popular mech-genre series together wholesale to make a new and entirely unoriginal show, Kiznaiver strikes me as a hyper sophisticated attempt to mash unrelated top shelf show to make an entirely new, but possibly still flawed series. It has the psycho-analisys via female character of the ‘gitari franchise, asylum-disco mascots, scifi mystery and a big quirky action cast like… well half the anime running this spring.

    Kiznaiver is extremely stylish, top-shelf quality animation, weird, quirky, charming and full of mystery, which should make me like it.

    Kiznaiver is also overburdened by concepts: 7 deadly sins in modern Japanese form, sharing pain as a method to achieve world peace, sharing pain as a Scifi platform, psychedelic comedy, secret government experiments, 6 mysterious character backstories that will no doubt somehow relate and high school slice of life. Too much is going on for any one aspect to really connect, and as other commenters have said: the scifi feels hand-wavy regardless.

    In short, we’ll have to see where this is going but I have serious reservations

    1. I’m kind of the opposite. I’ll take the simplicity and yet interesting potential of Kuromukuro over Kiznaiver’s weird oddness any day, but maybe that’s because I’m not really that enamored with Trigger as I’ve seen a lot of the anime community be over the studio. I’ve only seen Kill la Kill from them, and while pretty good, wasn’t my favorite show ever or anything.

      Also, I guess I’m a bigger mecha fan than a fan of lofty concepts with psychological symbolism. Honestly, I really only tried the show out on a whim and I don’t have that many expectations for it. I’ll see where it goes though.

      1. Also, while Yukina doesn’t do much in the first Kuromukuro, it’s not like she CAN do all that much yet. I daresay I like Yukina more than any of the Kiznaiver cast so far. She’s a very affable, relatable teenager.

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