You don’t even know how long I’ve been wanting to talk about this anime for. I was definitely a bit late to the party on picking this anime up, however it became one of my most favorite series of all time. And yes, this series… isn’t the best. Far from it actually. It has A LOT of problems, however, the subtleties and character writing immediately caught my attention. I’ve just been DYING to talk about it because I feel like not many people look too deeply into the series and kind of push it to the side because of its faults. I haven’t watched this series in a while so this gives me an excuse to revisit it again.
Funny story before I get into it. I was actually actively avoiding it for a while since I was being dumb and avoiding Trigger produced anime (for reasons I don’t even really remember) and I was told by a friend that it wasn’t really good. However… I made the mistake of looking at the characters and when I saw one specific character I was like: Oh… I’m probably going to like you. And thus I started reading tv tropes for the series and characters and ultimately ended up watching it. Though I didn’t watch it normally at first. I literally only watched scenes that focused on Yuta and Honoka. To which, it was a pleasant experience. However, afterwards I decided to just sit down and watch the entire series (which I honestly should have just done in the first place lol)… And then several more times after that. So I have a lot to talk about.
While Trigger stories are typically hit or miss, they are almost always on their symbolism game with just fantastic visuals. Even from the first scene with little Katsuhira running to this “mysterious girl,” the contrasts in the shading and colors are just so eye catching and appealing. Not to mention the cinematography and the camera angles were unsurprisingly top notch. Kiznaiver may not be the best series, but on a technical standpoint, they knocked this series out of the park with all the symbolism and interesting shots. They really put everything into their visual storytelling in this series.
I’ve talked about it in my previous posts but I am a huge fan of the concept for the “Seven Deadly Sins” used in media. Heck, I didn’t even know Kiznaiver used those themes for its characters and when I found out about it I was absolutely ecstatic. Considering this story focuses on relationships with others, having the seven sins as a theme felt rather fitting as each sin affects how you treat others. All of our rather colorful cast of characters represents each one of the sins in some form or another. While some are obvious at first glance, the others show up more prominently later.
For some odd, mildly convoluted reason, the six of them have been chosen to partake in a city experiment… against their will. Not gonna lie, the fact that they were kidnapped, put unconscious, underwent surgery all without their consent… really dubious. Sonozaki wants to show how people who wouldn’t normally get along bond with each other after getting to know their pain through the Kiznaiver experiment is… a weird start. But an interesting premise not gonna lie. Though it is pretty messed up how they’re all linked to each other now and can feel whenever the other gets hurt whether they like it or not.
However, the way the scene was set up with them finding out just what being a Kiznaiver entailed was 10/10. And that pan shot of the Kiznaiver scars glowing was phenomenal. Trigger really flexing their animation prowess with those super difficult camera shots.
What I absolutely love about Kiznaiver is the subtle characterizations of the characters. They lean super heavily into showing and not telling. While yes, the characters do talk a lot, but how they say or react to things shows a lot about them rather than them telling us how they are. Katsuhira for instance is shown to be completely devoid of really caring what happens around or to him. Not only does it extend to his apathy towards being bullied and would rather just comply with their demands, finding it more troublesome to resist. But he also doesn’t seem particularly aware of who his classmates are as when Tenga and Sonozaki talk to him, he acts as if this was his first time ever seeing them despite them being in the same class for at least a quarter of the year.
Just like typical Trigger I find it hilarious and amusing how they will constantly recycle their character designs. It’s pretty obvious that Tenga is based off of the legendary Kamina with his overall design and attitude. Chidori is another Yoko expy. Yuta seems to be based off of Inumuta from Kill la Kill. Nico also seems to be based off of Mako with her over the top cheery demeanor. Honoka is kind of one of the only characters that doesn’t remind me of a previous Trigger character. Though if we take into the fact the script was written by Mari Okada, the same person who did the script for AnoHana, her looks and demeanor are similar to Tsuruko. And with that in mind, nearly the entire cast does feel like the AnoHana cast to a certain extent but in a different setting. Though I think it’s more fair to view them as a base rather than them reusing the same characters. And while Katsuhira’s design doesn’t seem to be based off a previous Trigger character, his design was most likely recycled to make Shiro from BNA.
Moving onto the other characters, we are given a small introduction of the “modern sins” they represent. Though it is nearly impossible to really know what some of the sins are at face value. But as time goes on, they become more obvious so I’ll probably talk more about them in depth as we REALLY get to know them. As for first impressions… they aren’t the best lol.
While Chidori means well, she can be pretty impatient with Katsuhira and takes what he says a little too personally and will lash out at him, leaving him confused over the whole thing.
Yuta… oh Yuta. The guy comes off as incredibly superficial and mildly sleazy with how he constantly tries to hit on Honoka despite her extreme disinterest. And while he probably had one of the worst first impressions, when I first saw him my first thought was: You look like a character I will like. And I will leave it at that for now lol.
Honoka comes across as haughty and standoffish with how quickly she shot down Yuta’s initial advance all the while roasting the girls that he was with. Not to mention she was the first one to dismiss the whole Kiznaiver situation and walk out.
Nico is just kind of weird with her fascination with fairies and whatnot. She vandalized a school statue in order to summon fairies and stopped in the middle of a rather creepy situation to look for them as well. Though I am impressed that she didn’t get in trouble from vandalizing.
Out of everyone, Tenga probably had the best first impression (save for that one part where he “threatened” to touch Nico’s chest) with how fast he came to Katsuhira’s rescue and demanded that the bullies give back all the money they took from him. But the fact that Tenga came out of the stall… leads me to believe that the guy was pooping before attacking the bullies… ew. Otherwise, he seems like a decent guy who takes things a bit far at times.
And then there’s Sonozaki… Right off the bat, I do not like her. I’m not a big fan of the emotionless/cold girl demeanor, so already I wasn’t a big fan. Despite that, there is also an air of presumptuousness. Especially in regards to the experiment. She didn’t ask for any of their consent and went about it as if this were something that they should naturally accept. Not to mention pushing Katsuhira off a flight of stairs to test whether or not the sharing of pain effect would work. GURL YOU COULD HAVE KILLED HIM.
But yeah, while a bit slow, the episode introduced us to a rather interesting premise with a bunch of interesting characters who already have a bit of intrigue attached to all of them. Not to mention Trigger’s 10/10 animation and cinematic shots. I can’t wait to talk about all the things I noticed on several rewatches and to relive the journey that is Kiznaiver.