This episode felt so weird. Like there were things that felt needlessly dramatic and talked about as if they were a foreign concept and I could only tilt my head and ask why. They definitely needed another cour to really flesh this arc out and give it a natural pace because you can tell that things are progressing really fast and really unnaturally. There were some good to come out of this episode though. However, out of all the episodes, this episode was probably the one I like the least.
It’s honestly weird how they treat friendship and bonds in this episode. Like, I know the characters of the main group have never experienced true friendship, but they make it sound like it’s such a foreign concept and no one has ever experienced it before. It was honestly really weird to me how Nico had to explain to Katsuhira how friendship works. And MAN, when they started “feeling” Katsuhira’s pain and legit didn’t think they could feel those things outside of the Kizna, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Have you people never felt empathy before??? I don’t even know how to fully explain it, the writing for it just felt so bizarre to me. It was as if sympathizing/empathizing with someone wasn’t normal. I know you kids haven’t had a friend for a hot minute, but is it really that weird to feel for your friend???
To make matters worse, it just felt like they kept shoving Sonozaki down my throat in this episode. Almost as if they were bashing me over the head with a neon sign that said “FEEL BAD FOR HER.” But… I just don’t. Most of it being because it feels like we weren’t given proper time to get to know her naturally and then having others constantly tell us about her. Why was Sonozaki always alone? Was she just a permanent member at the facility? There are so many questions about Sonozaki and it feels like we never got to really know her. I can understand why she’s so desperate to be connected to others because she’s been alone for so long… but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough. But then she makes things more dramatic than it needs to be by basically having a hostile take over of the city in an attempt to not let the Kizna project end.
What I did like about the episode was allowing Katsuhira time to mull things over to come up with his own conclusions. Something he never would have done at the start of the series. He’d always just go along with what others said, but now he’s taking more initiative and taking the time to actually think for himself. As he is the one to try and talk things out with the others and bring them all back together. Even going as far as WANTING to connect with others and is frustrated over the fact that he can’t feel the pain that the others feel. THIS. This is something I’ve been wanting from Katsuhira and I’m glad that he spoke about it to the others and wasn’t just purely with Sonozaki. And it shows that he does treasure the others as his friends and wants to be able to empathize with them. I just wish we got to see him interact with the other characters in the group more. As I really liked seeing him talk one on one with Honoka, something I don’t think we’ve seen in this entire series. But alas, there just wasn’t enough time to see the dynamics each character has with each other individually.
I also really like the detail of them being okay with being called out in class since at the start, some of them didn’t want their classmates to know they were associated with the others.
Glances over at Yuta and Honoka. Just shows how far all of them have come in accepting the others as friends despite not voicing it.
And just as I had suspected, Katsuhira had always treated Chidori more like an afterthought and never truly valued their friendship. Which is honestly really sad considering everything that Chidori has done for him. However, after seeing his old friends, he was finally able to understand the pain that Chidori must have gone through after the experiment robbed him of his emotions and pain. It makes me really wish we got to see a flashback of Katsuhira and Chidori interact as kids. Anyways, I appreciate that Katsuhira properly apologized for hurting her by not understanding her feelings. Even going as far as to finally thank her for all the things she had done for him up to this point. Which I believe was a long time coming and needed. I also like that Chidori finally came to terms with the fact that she’s only ever been thinking of herself. Never trying to understand what the others must feel and realizing just how terrible her words must have been towards Tenga in the previous episode.
This is definitely where I felt like the writing took a nose dive and overall I just didn’t like this episode. There were definitely things I liked, especially in the case of Katsuhira’s development, but I think it just shows I prefer it when the series focuses more on the group dynamic rather than Sonozaki. A lot of the content being talked about felt like it was being overdramatic and I just wasn’t able to really vibe with how it was portrayed. It just felt so silly making common knowledge seem like it’s the biggest conclusion that no one has ever thought of before. Like, I love you Kiznaiver, but please…