Now with Sonozaki trying to link herself to everyone in Sugomori, it’s bound to end up too much for her and most likely destroy her from the inside out. Though I still can’t quite understand how this is supposed to save the friends from the institute. I understand why Sonozaki craves for connection, but man, at this point it’s just so hard to care.
I hate how Sonozaki’s story and reasoning is just told to us even if some of my questions were answered. So we only get to learn about her second hand rather than from the person it’s concerning. Which is honestly infuriating, especially since they’re just cramming all of her issues into our faces all at once. Which just fuels my indifference towards her. And I feel like everything that Sonozaki went through and felt are all very interesting in terms of a backstory, but it’s portrayed really poorly. Especially since I feel like a lot of pain and strife characters go through have a bigger impact when spoken aloud by the actual character and/or shown in a flashback to give us first-hand experience. So whenever Urushi talks to us about Sonozaki, it just feels like a school lecture. But if Sonozaki told us WHY she wanted the Kizna experiment to continue herself, I think I would have cared more about her as a character. Just a little bit. Though I’m still scratching my head at WHY she was alone for basically her whole life. Again, there is great potential in Sonozaki’s character but I feel the series failed to properly convey it so that I’d genuinely feel bad for Sonozaki’s situation. But I digress.
BUT NICO SAYS THE REALIST LINE THIS EPISODE. “Nico honestly doesn’t care about Sonozaki-san, no matter how tragic she is.” Took the words right out of my mouth! I also like the fact that all of them really don’t care about her either. ESPECIALLY Honoka who probably received the worst amount of torment because of Sonozaki. But they’re still willing to help out because they’re doing it for Katsuhira, not for her. The group finally comes together again after a while of being fragmented and I’m glad that they all seem to have accepted the other as friends despite Honoka still being resistant to the idea. Represented by how she’s on the opposite side of the bridge from the others at the start but then as the scene goes on, it shows them spreading out as if to bridge the gap and have invited Honoka into their circle. I love little details like that.
Katsuhira confronts Sonozaki while hanging onto the side of the bridge after an unnecessarily dramatic car scene. But BOY was the shot of Katsuhira looking up at Sonozaki while red light shone behind her just makes for a great shot while also just having a lot of different meanings. It reflects the beginning of the series with the brief flashback of little Katsuhira looking up at Sonozaki as she stands at a precariously high place. Not only that, but to Katsuhira, Sonozaki was always someone he just couldn’t wrap his head around and she was always far beyond his reach in a metaphorical and literal sense. While I don’t care for this ship, the framing of this shot is just too good to ignore.
After a back and forth between what the Kizna system brought, the rest of the ex-Kiznaivers show up to talk some confidence back into Katsuhira. I like how they bring up the role of the Kizna system and how it wasn’t specifically what made them friends. It was the thing that brought them together, however, it was through each individual’s efforts and struggles that the group ended up genuinely becoming friends. The Kizna system wasn’t the be all end all, it was the trigger. The inciting incident if you will. Not to mention Honoka being the one to bring up how she came to view them as friends was rather touching as she was the most aversed towards the sentiment. And I love how it keeps flashing to Yuta and Nico during her talk as they were the two who tried to reach her heart the most. I’m glad that it allowed her SOME moment to show her character development.
Also LOL at Nico basically throwing Yuta under the bus to take the brunt of Honoka’s insults. But also “heh” at the fact she singled him out in terms of where Honoka’s feelings were directed at. ¬‿¬
But goodness… The ship that takes the cake of making me annoyed is Katsuhira and Sonozaki. I can understand a sense of intrigue towards Sonozaki from Katsuhira, but I honestly wasn’t convinced of him falling in love with her. During the whole dramatic scene of Katsuhira crying out about them learning how to empathize with each other, I was just staring at the scene wondering when and how did Katsuhira even to love her. I can understand him liking her when they were little, but Sonozaki has given us so little about herself personally, I find it really hard to see the reasons of him loving her now. The only time I think we actually got to see the real Sonozaki, albeit briefly, was when she was wincing in pain and saying she can’t understand all of these feelings. That was literally the only part in this whole freaking series where I got to see her as a person. And wow I could not take that scene where they both plumetted to the water below seriously with them yelling “ow.” I know it’s a big deal for them to feel pain after so long, but they really chose the silliest way to express that. Though I will say that the only thing that I like from this ship is that Katsuhira isn’t afraid to call Sonozaki out on things he believes are wrong.
Though I did like the meaning behind the scene where Katsuhira catches Sonozaki before she falls, finally reaching her after she was beyond saving for so long and she won’t be alone. Which seems fitting that the two end up falling together.
The last few minutes of the episode basically gives some time for certain pairs. As someone who doesn’t like it when series basically pairs everyone in a group together of course there would be only ONE ship that I give all my attention to. With that in mind, of COURSE the ending scene between Yuta and Honoka is the thing that really captured my attention. As I’ve stated in a previous post, there has always been a dividing line between Honoka and Yuta whenever they’re alone together, showing where they emotionally stand when it comes to the other. At the start, Yuta was always hovering very close to the dividing line, as if trying to push himself into Honoka’s space while she sat the furthest away from it. But over time, Yuta slowly started giving Honoka more space and in turn, Honoka was the one who slowly drifted closer. And in this brilliant final scene between the two, Honoka is the one closest to the dividing line between them and is the one to FINALLY cross over. She initially crosses over by passing the crepe over to him before fully crossing over onto his side. Which is just… NGHHHHHHH… It’s so good!
While we don’t know exactly where these two stand, I think it’s safe to say that Honoka is at the very least willing to be open about the possibility between the two. To which, shows a lot of her character development. In her relationship with Ruru, she ran away and cut the friendship off because she was afraid of getting hurt. But here, she’s allowing herself to be vulnerable and give Yuta and her a chance, even if it means risking possibly getting hurt again. Yuta has become something of a safe space for her and the two genuinely seem to enjoy spending time together with how casually they chat. Yuta even throws out a flirty line about the indirect kiss, but it feels so much more relaxed and teasing instead of being forced and pushy. Which also says a lot about their relationship as while he’s still very much interested in her romantically, he’s not pushing his feelings onto her anymore. At this point, he probably would have just been completely content if their relationship stayed as strictly friends. He’s content to just be himself around her. So the fact that Honoka takes the initiative between the two means so much for where they could potentially go. It’s just so funny how Honoka can be blunt yet indirect at the same time. GURL PLS. UGH, I love these two so much.
Also I just love how when she didn’t know how to respond, she looks over at Yuta, who just gives her a reassuring smile. Very similar if not exactly like the one she gave him in episode 8 which just makes it ten times sweeter.
Now it’s time to talk about a ships I don’t like, starting with Tenga and Chidori. I didn’t talk about Tenga in the last episode, but I am still so annoyed with him over his attitude in regards to Katsuhira and Chidori. I understand him being frustrated with Katsuhira, but at this point it just feels like he’s acting out of jealousy rather than actually thinking about the situation as a whole. What Katsuhira did was stupid, but he also wasn’t fully aware of what exactly he did wrong and no one took the time to really explain to him why it was wrong. So when Tenga talks about not having fully forgiven him, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Not to mention that what he did to Katsuhira felt like it warranted more of an apology than what Katsuhira did. To which he already apologized to Chidori over. So I wasn’t particularly happy when the series basically forced her to return Tenga’s feelings. Now, I don’t doubt Chidori could eventually reciprocate, but it just felt a little too fast in this regard. Especially since there wasn’t any indication of her thinking about Tenga prior. But I also think she needs more time to process Katsuhira’s rejection and not move on so quickly. Especially with how long she’s held feelings for him. Though I personally never liked this ship’s dynamic since I’m always pretty iffy on ships where it feels like the girl always scolds the guy as if they’re their mother. Them as just friends would have sat better with me, but to each their own.
I feel like Tenga and Yuta share a similar role in regards to the girls they care about. Both of them are often putting the others’ feelings in front of their own where they don’t want to see the other hurt. However, unlike Yuta, Tenga will often put Chidori’s feelings above everyone else’s, will only ever think of how Chidori feels and never seems to acknowledge how anyone else feels about the situation. Not to mention he never calls her out on her crap as if she doesn’t do anything wrong. It drives me crazy that he always tries to tiptoe around her pain and try and make it so that she doesn’t get hurt. And I appreciate that Hisomu rebuttals it by saying that sometimes it’s good to really dig deep into what is hurting you and understanding it. You can’t always prevent someone from getting hurt, they are bound to get hurt one way or another. However, sometimes, we can learn things from that pain and move on from it, making us stronger. And as the saying goes, no lesson is painless. Also I think what Hisomu describes is just therapy lol. Which all these kids definitely need.
But poor Nico… literally feels like she got the shortest end of the stick. While I’m glad she’s more than willing to allow Tenga and Chidori’s feelings to flourish and she cares more about the overall happiness of her friends, it just feels like she didn’t get any closure. Especially in regards to Tenga. Which just makes me really annoyed at Tenga all over again since he still never acknowledged her feelings for him. I understand the direction they wanted to take with her character, having her go from this desperate attention seeker to a selfless girl who just wants her friends to be happy… Still doesn’t mean I can’t be unsatisfied with how things ended with her.
Also I am very unsatisfied that Yamada never paid for his terrible actions. He especially was probably the worst out of everyone in this series and he got away scott free. :/
The series then ends with the group meeting at Katsuhira’s hospital bed, happily together again… with Sonozaki also there. I’m not sure how I feel about she seems to have been forgiven so easily. Especially after what she put Honoka through. I don’t mind them acting civil towards her for Katsuhira’s sake, but I don’t like the idea of them bringing them into their group so easily. So the fact the last shot was Sonozaki smiling… I’ll digress while I’m ahead.
Despite my gripes with this series, I still absolutely loved it and remains one of my favorite anime of all time. It’s just such a big shame it couldn’t have been better. It was definitely a very ambitious projects and they had a lot of good ideas… mixed in with some not very good ones. As someone who really likes media depicting friendships, I absolutely loved the concept of these lonely losers forced together to eventually form genuine bonds with each other. And even when I have mixed feelings for some of them, overall, I still love them. I’ll just pretend that last arc didn’t happen before they got ruined. What this series also did really well was the foreshadowing and symbolism. It felt like each scene and shot had purpose and meaning and I loved picking out the details that were tailored to each character.
I really love this group of misfits and having them essentially sidelined for most of this final arc in favor of Sonozaki frustrated me. Especially as I’ve already stated that I do not care for Sonozaki as a character and I’ve grown so attached to the main group. And while they’ve done other central character focused episodes, the group still had a BIG part in it with them trying to help Honoka. While here, it’s just Katsuhira and the others ended up just being there to support him. Which honestly felt a lot less impactful considering how this series started. And while I can respect the fact this is a really big character moment for Katsuhira to be the one to take initiative for once, I still don’t like how his relationship with Sonozaki always took priority over his growth with the others. I feel like they could have done so much better with that final arc if they had laid the groundwork for it better and give it the breathing room it needed. I hardly felt any emotion during the climax and it’s a shame because the ideas were there, it just needed to be properly executed. But alas, this series was cursed to only being twelve episodes. Definitely not enough time to tell everything it wanted to.
I think the series’ greatest strength was it’s characters and their relationships. Sonozaki and Hisomu aside, the rest of the main cast was fantastic and I absolutely adored them despite their flaws. Just seeing where they started and how they ended was seeing night and day. I’m happy to have been able to witness their journeys to become better people. Yuta, Honoka and Chidori especially. Those three probably have the most interesting development out of the group.
While Yuta’s character arc was subtle, I still loved watching him go from this playboy wannabe to a boy who genuinely wants to bring a smile to a troubled girl’s face. He just became so lovable by the end and it’s honestly no wonder how he became my absolute favorite character in this series. I’m also happy to see that his efforts garnered Honoka’s gratitude and attention since she also deserves to be loved and Yuta just seems like the type of guy to shower the girl he truly cares for with endless love and affection while also being mindful of space and boundaries Honoka needs. He was absolutely sleazy in the beginning with how flirty and forceful he was, but once his real self started shining through, I really got to see how wonderful he was. He definitely deserves more love and attention that he gets.
Honoka was a character I didn’t expect to like as much as I do. She was this closed off and incredibly toxic person who didn’t want anything to do with the group at first. However, it was pretty evident early on that she was a lonely individual who DID want friends but was so afraid of getting hurt again that she would always put up a wall to protect herself. Her arc was the most compelling part of this series and I loved watching the others slowly break down her defenses and pull her out of the stress and depression she had been stuck in for years. Seeing everyone’s genuine efforts (especially Yuta’s) to get to know her and want to help her was very touching. And her smiling and laughing for the first time really gave her arc a satisfying end. I just wish we got to see her efforts in being more open with the others more. It felt like there was an attempt, but plot had to happen so it was sadly cut short. I’m just glad she at least got some spotlight in this last episode and openly admitted that the group are her friends.
Chidori feels like a very controversial character to me. On one hand, I feel for her, but then on the other, she’s extremely frustrating to watch. Especially with just how fake she felt at the start of the series and her overwhelming jealousy towards Katsuhira and Sonozaki’s relationship. She was so selfish and constantly put her feelings above everyone else’s, but by the end of it, she eventually realized her faults and how many people she hurt. And when she said that she wants to save Sonozaki, that was probably the most genuine I’ve seen of her. Her fake politeness and intense jealousy were dropped. She was finally showing us her real self and it was glorious. I do wish we got to see more of her moving on from Katsuhira, but of course, time restraints. So kind of like Honoka, we didn’t really get to see too much of her moving forward, but it seems she’s on the right path.
Revisiting this series was an absolute blast, especially with taking away a lot of new things I either forgot or discovered for the first time. While there were things that just felt weird like how it portrayed empathy as this foreign concept, overall, this series was a joy to watch. And I can only hope you also enjoyed my endless rambles about the positives and negatives of this series. It’s a shame that this series wasn’t given the time it needed to fully explore everything it wanted to, but I suppose I shall be content with what I got. I’m just sad that Trigger just seems to forget about this series and constantly sweep it under the rug in favor for their others series. Kiznaiver deserves more love despite its flaws. Until the next time I decide to rewatch you, Kiznaiver.