We get the aftermath of the disaster that transpired in the previous episode and it’s so depressing. The whole situation with everyone is just incredibly sad to me. Not only does it feel like everyone just kind of shut down so that they wouldn’t feel anything anymore, but they also decided to not interact with each other anymore in case emotions start to rise again. On one hand, that’s definitely a safe move, but then on the other, this group had grown so accustomed to each other and were the only friends that they had. The fact they were forced to separate like this must have made everyone incredibly lonely. Especially since to go back to the previous loneliness they originally felt must have been terrible for everyone involved. The scene where they were all just walking away as the group texts voicelessly flashed across the screen just made it feel all the more lonely.
Now that the summer is over, everyone has lost their kiznas but are forced to be in close proximity to each other again due to being in the same class. As if Yamada wasn’t already terrible. He went above and beyond to torment these poor kids about how their friendship fell apart. It was absolutely disgusting how he essentially mocked them about their experiences and made light of all of their feelings. Basically just rubbing salt in all of their wounds just for the fun of it. And poor Chidori was the most effected by his taunts and seemed like she was on the verge of breaking down again. Despite their messy falling out, Tenga still stood up for her. Even if it ended with Yamada tripping him and causing him to get a bloody nose. To which, someone get this guy out of this school as he obviously has little care for his students.
It was absolutely heartbreaking for me to see Yuta try and go up to Honoka again to talk to her about the whole thing. I honestly forgot about this scene and boy did it hurt. Especially since Yuta had become so comfortable talking to Honoka about serious topics and is literally the only person who is able to be on the same wavelength with him. The fact that he approached her to talk shows his own loneliness in a way since before becoming a Kiznaiver, he was never shown opening up to others or wanting to just have a meaningful conversation. Always hiding behind a haughty and flirtatious exterior. And the clear hurt in his voice when she walked away was just… UGH MY HEART. I understand she’s doing this to protect herself, but it still hurts. Yuta also must have approached her because he was worried about her after what Yamada said. He cares so much about her and is just trying his best TAT. This boy makes me WEEP.
I think this was the only time where I actually appreciated Hisomu being around. Though it still annoys me that we were never able to really explore his character outside his masochistic ways. Especially since it clearly shows there’s more to him. We just don’t get to delve more into him as a character. Out of everyone, Hisomu was the only one to take initiative to stay by Katsuhira’s side and offer him company since the ones closest to him (being Chidori and Tenga) aren’t on speaking terms with him currently. Especially since he had nothing to do with that emotional breakdown and was more or less just on the receiving end of everyone’s emotions rather than adding to it. Which is probably why he seemed the least affected by it and held no ill feelings towards anyone since he personally felt no reason to.
But UGHHHH NICO. I think Nico infinitely grew on me more from this episode. I already liked her, but I really came to appreciate her so much in this episode. After being given the time to really mull over her thoughts and feelings away from the others, she still came back to try and be friends with Katsuhira and Hisomu again. From the little backstory we got from her, we can surmise that she was essentially friendless and the fact that despite the terrible things that happened in the previous episode, overall, she STILL had the most fun with our cast of misfits in her entire life. Which is both incredibly sweet, but also really sad too since she went literally seventeen years without a real friend. These poor kids never made friends before this QAQ. And it was just so sweet how happy Nico was when she held hands with Katsuhira and Hisomu after being accepted as their friend. And I think it says a lot about Nico’s character how she’s still able to get back up and smile after that whole ordeal.
To which, I’m still not happy with Tenga. As I previously stated, he’s STILL only really thinking about Chidori’s feelings and never about Nico or Katsuhira’s. While he did say that Nico is amazing, he never cared to answer her feelings for him by kindly rejecting her. But then he goes to try and make Chidori feel better by suggesting she just reject him so that she wouldn’t have to hold onto the baggage that comes with being confessed to. It’s like, on one hand, Tenga is very considerate in that regard. But then on the other hand, he only does it specifically for Chidori and that rubs me the wrong way since I personally hate it when romantic relationships are always held as a higher priority than friendships. This is one of the reasons why I just do not care for the Chidori and Tenga ship since it just feels so messy to me. Especially with how just too self-absorbed Chidori can be and also not taking anyone else’s feelings into account, always placing hers above all else. Both of them aren’t taking in account others’ feelings.
But man, this episode really made it evident how unfair and one-sided her and Katsuhira’s friendship was. She did a lot for him, going as far as to make his meals for him everyday and he never seemed to outwardly express any sort of gratitude. When he rushes out to the balcony to see if Chidori was there after hearing a noise, I feel like that was the first time where it showed him actually wanting to see Chidori. I know he cares about her since he did take what she said at the summer cabin to heart but it does feel like he has been taking her for granted. And as the term often goes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. It’s at this time where it seems Katsuhira really has to face the consequences of his actions. However, I feel like it’s mostly short-lived as he goes to find out more things about Sonozaki… I honestly wish he could have marinated a bit more about the whole thing. But nope… apparently Sonozaki is always the priority… rolls eyes
We delve into more Sonozaki drama and I really cannot be bothered to care for her as a character. I always take issue whenever series feel as if they’re trying to force you to sympathize with a character or feel sorry for them. It’s hard to explain exactly how that happens, but I think it has to do with the pacing of it. In this case, the pacing was incredibly rushed where I already didn’t have that much feelings for Sonozaki in the first place and then they just dump her backstory on us and expect us to feel bad for her. Sure, she was pretty much a victim along with all the other kids. But the problem was that we never really got to learn that much about her or her actual thoughts. We were just told about what she went through second hand. It didn’t feel like there was a natural progression.
I wish we got to see her struggling with the pain before injecting herself with the numbing serum or just something that had a little more substance behind her actions. I think they left her to be a little too mysterious until it was too late. Before her backstory dump, the only thing we really knew about her was that she’s desperate to keep the Kizna project going and that she most likely met Katsuhira in their childhood. Which was confirmed in this episode. It’s hard for me to pinpoint just exactly what problem I have with Sonozaki and what the series could have done to have integrated her better. But I think one thing that could have helped her integration a bit better if they had more episodes that built up to this arc a bit better.
We get the confirmation that Katsuhira was involved in the initial Kizna project and was one of the kids that were “given permission” to take part along with Sonozaki. But because the bond ended up being unbalanced, all of the kids’ pain were going back to Sonozaki x19. To which, yeah, that’s pretty terrible. Especially for a kid. Which answers why so many of the adults in the Kizna project cared so much about Sonozaki and why she’s so deadpanned all the time. But it feels like it mostly stems from pity and guilt over what happened to her rather than genuine care. Because Sonozaki was taking all of their pain answers why Katsuhira doesn’t feel any because it was always being transferred to her. Which makes how Katsuhira let himself get beat up be all the more messed up because in a way, he was allowing Sonozaki to keep getting hurt because he didn’t care enough. Sure he didn’t realize they were connected, but thinking back on all the times Katsuhira got hurt in this series and probably for whatever years, all of that was transferring to Sonozaki. And from that perspective, I do feel bad she has to feel all that for so many years.
It makes me wish we delved into Sonozaki’s character after the main group’s drama since it feels like her arc is overshadowing what transpired between them. Which also adds to my frustration because at this point I care more for the group than I do her and her arc is taking screen time away from them. Especially since Sonozaki IS an interesting character especially since they could have leaned into how she dealt with the unbearable pain mentally and emotionally. Since it was obvious the pain was so unbearable at times where she tried to end it all. But the pacing and the way she was handled made me not care for her.
While Katsuhira breaking down and showing actual anguish after seeing how unresponsive his other friends are from the experiment was a really sad scene, the fact that it cut into him ruminating on the fallout between the group made it not hit me as hard. Again, pacing issues. And it doesn’t get any better. At this point, I care about the group’s situation than Katsuhira’s past with Sonozaki and I always lament over how this series didn’t get enough time to really pace things out well. And it sucks that I didn’t end up being that emotionally invested in their backstory because it is really tragic and sad. But considering what I’ve talked about in this post, my attention obviously was focused on the present kiznaivers.