At this point in the series, this is when the writing gets pretty wonky. Which is such a shame since Honoka’s arc was really well done. Guess they looked at the time, panicked seeing there wasn’t much left and tried to cram so much into this remaining arc without enough build up. Not to mention they just start really shoving Sonozaki into our faces and at this point I just did not care about her. I think she still needed more proper build up, especially since she hadn’t made up for what she made Honoka go through a couple episodes back.
After actually saving Honoka without the prompt of a mission, the group ends up going on an outing together. Which was honestly really cute since this would be the first time they’d be spending time together because they wanted to and not because they HAD to. Even going as far as to take those cute photobooth pictures together. Don’t think I didn’t notice that picture of Hisomu making a heart with his arms around Yuta and Honoka. ¬‿¬ (The blush on Yuta was absolutely adorable). Sadly their time just hanging out casually was cut short when they get freaking kidnapped again by the Gomarin. Because these kids just can never catch a break being part of this freaking experiment.
This series up until this point have been pretty good about showing and not telling, however, seeing the time constraints, we just get a gigantic lore dump in this episode where they explain why the Kiznaiver experiment was started in the first place and how it evolved over time. I typically don’t like sci-fi settings since there’s always some sort of scientific explanation that goes over my head and this was no exception. I will just nod my head and pretend I understand. Not to mention that the lore dump in this episode was just kind of boring to sit through. It drives me crazy when series try to explain things and have it feel like a school lecture without anything visually interesting to go with it. Doesn’t help that they literally just sat the group down in a classroom to teach them about the Kiznaiver experiment.
After the experiment going not so well when they used adults as the test subjects, they moved on to using kids. It’s honestly really messed up that the parents were okay giving up their children to be test experiments. That doesn’t make it any less okay! Especially since Yamada makes it sound as if it was okay that the parents made the decision to do so, but the kids literally had no choice in the matter. Whenever there is a plot point of children being in peril in any form, it makes me so uncomfortable. Which is why I was never able to watch Promised Neverland because that premise sounds like a nightmare for me personally. So the fact that they treated these kids as test subjects and then tried to justify it was absolutely disgusting to me. Made even worse when it’s been hinted that Katsuhira was most likely one of the kids experimented on in the past, which could contribute to why he doesn’t feel any pain. Which also paints his parents in a pretty bad light considering they allowed this to happen to him. Though I guess I understand why they decided to use teenagers for the current experiment as they are the midpoint between children and adults. As they aren’t fully developed like adults while also retaining a little bit of innocence as kids do.
The kids are left in yet another precarious situation by being trapped in the school because of a typhoon and of course a bunch of Gomarin are running around to make sure they’re put in stressful situations. Though I guess in this case, they were trying a different approach. After seeing out how positive emotions have started being shared aside from pain from the Honoka situation, Yamada and the others start trying to stir up feelings of “love” between the group which… honestly just seems really weird and contrived. Not to mention the fact that they literally spell out the relationships between the characters as if we haven’t been paying attention made me roll my eyes. I love Kiznaiver, but gosh there are points in the series where you can tell that they didn’t know what to do with the series.
But man… the fact that they literally had to spell out the fact Nico had feelings for Tenga just felt so unnecessary and lazy. While Nico’s feelings up to this point have been very subtle there were still hints here and there. Such as her becoming aware of Tenga and Chidori’s relationship back at the camping house (which is why she briefly celebrated that her chest was bigger than Chidori’s) and also why she there was a bit more focus on her noticing the head pat Tenga gave her in the previous episode. There are several more hints sprinkled through out the episode, but I think you get the point. The hints were there, but they were SUPER subtle. Almost a blink and you’ll miss it kind of thing. Though I do admit that they were a little TOO subtle especially if those interactions didn’t illicit any questions. Especially since you could have just chalked it up to Nico wanting to be center of attention as per usual. I just wish we got a clearer picture of WHY Nico ended up developing feelings for Tenga. I honestly had to read someone’s analysis of why Nico liked Tenga, which was because he was the one who constantly tells her that she is fine the way that she was and didn’t need to keep acting like someone she’s not. Even in this episode, he makes it a point to tell her that she looks better when she’s not trying to stand out. It makes sense, but my gosh NO ONE was gonna catch that on a first viewing.
BUT NOW LET ME TALK ABOUT THE SHIP THAT I ACTUALLY LOVE WITH ALL OF MY HEART. Yuta and Honoka were literally the ENTIRE reason why I even ended up watching this freaking show. I have been RESTRAINING myself from gushing over them since episode one but now I am finally free to express my love for them as a ship. Granted, I don’t think Honoka is ready to get into a relationship right now, but future-wise, there is definitely a chance there. The two started off TERRIBLY with Yuta flirting with her only because of her looks. However, over time, Yuta started viewing Honoka as a person and took the time and effort to try and get to know her. He put aside his own feelings to put hers first. His feelings for her became genuine. And through out this episode, he seemed so attentive to her without forcing his feelings on her. The way that he was facing her direction in his seat when they were being lectured, how he quickly came to her rescue when the Gomarin went after her and was quick to express concern and protectiveness when she got hurt.
Speaking of which, a little detail I noticed was Honoka tends to freeze when something shocks or scares her. The first example of this can be traced all the way back to episode 2 when the guard dogs burst from the window, she’s shocked and doesn’t move. Another example was when the Gomarin’s burst through the camp lodge with weapons, she doesn’t move. Another thing I noticed was that Yuta had a habit of cowering behind the others when a problem like this arises and is always the first to seek escape rather than fight. Like in the camping episode, he was always shown to be in the back of the group when the Gomarins were coming at them. Not to mention in the second episode where he was shown to be right in front of the window where the dogs would eventually break through and when they do, he is NO WHERE in sight. And while he does seek the quickest escape route at the start of the chase in this episode, when Honoka was in immediate danger, he was quick to bash the Gomarin in the head without hesitation. The fact that he looks so proud of himself afterwards makes me lose it lol.
However, this one part of the episode made me really not appreciate Hisomu. We actually got to see Honoka attempt to make steps in getting to know the others better and even asked what made Hisomu the way that he was. Something she never would have done prior to her arc. But then he goes on to basically mock her for trying to act on her newfound feelings to connect better with everyone. That honestly made me so angry especially since he only did it so he could feel her hurt. Also the fact that the episode literally just calls him an enigma makes me so annoyed that they acknowledge that he’s just THERE without a purpose. Why is he even here??? He contributes literally nothing!
Thankfully Yuta did go after her to try and reassure her. He’s so protective of her feelings now, it’s honestly really sweet. And I really like that while he cares deeply for her feelings, he’s also still willing to call her out on things. Especially when she goes on to say she’s a terrible person. Though her saying that much have been such a twist of a knife to the heart because Yuta literally called her a terrible person in an early episode when he didn’t put too much thought into her feelings. But now this adorable bean is just trying his best to console her when he notices her trembling. Though, WHY HE GOTTA SLINK OVER TO HER LIKE THAT??? Every time I see him do that weird step to get closer to her makes me lose it every time. Why he do that???? But UGH, he’s so freaking adorable. When she senses (without the Kiznaiver acting up mind you) that Yuta was going to try and hug her to try and comfort her, she immediately stops him in his tracks. The giant blush on his face is just so adorable, especially when he was caught red handed. Honoka has always been portrayed as someone who isn’t comfortable with physical intimacy, which was why she basically told him to stop before he hugged her. However, the smile she gave him afterwards just shows she appreciated the sentiment and his respect to her boundaries which was really sweet. She appreciates him and acknowledges his feelings. The smile he gives in return is just too adorable, I gush whenever I see it. Yuta is just too cute and I love how much he cares and respects Honoka~ I also love that their relationship is the only one that has no drama with each other.
Now that I’m done gushing, I suppose it’s time to move on to the ship I don’t really like. The situation between Katsuhira, Chidori and Sonozaki is SO MESSY. When I first watched this series, I got this sense that Katsuhira wasn’t paying as much attention to the other Kiznaivers as opposed to Sonozaki. To which, I can understand to a certain extent since she has a striking similarity to the girl in his memories. However, I just hate how it feels like Katsuhira only really responds to her rather than the others. Now, I do think he was still watching and observing the other Kiznaivers as he was able to voice certain opinions in situations such as how he felt about Nico telling Ruru’s parents not to blame Honoka and also saying that he likes Tenga’s presence in his apartment. However, I HATE how he straight up just ignored Chidori’s confession in favor of going after Sonozaki who he just happened to sense was nearby after having this random vision. Granted, I don’t think now was the best time for Chidori to confess her feelings but I do believe she had a right to be heard. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why I just do not like or care for the Katsuhira and Sonozaki ship. The fact that he just straight up ignores the others in favor of putting all his focus on Sonozaki is honestly so frustrating. Even after eight episodes, I don’t get the feeling of Katsuhira being particularly close to anyone in the Kiznaiver party. He’s just been kind of there.
I have so many issues with Sonozaki where I just cannot stand her most of the time. Despite her deadpan front, she still comes across as incredibly presumptuous and the fact she has no problem putting her classmates under such stressful circumstances just so that she can get what she wants rubs me the wrong way. I understand she has her reasons but goodness, when it comes to expense of others and only realizes she messed up because her love interest called her out on it just frustrates me. And of course, we find out that she too is a Kiznaiver… woo. A character perfectly sums up my feelings for Sonozaki, but that doesn’t happen until later so I shall hold my tongue about it for the time being.
I love Kiznaiver, but my gosh the writing just takes a DIVE after the Honoka arc. Which is such a shame because the intrigue is there, they just didn’t have enough time to fully explore and flesh things out a bit more. Not to mention we don’t even really get to know any of the other Kiznaiver’s backstories besides Honoka. I would have loved to see flashbacks of all the characters to see first hand why they became they way that they are. Things are definitely going to get messy, especially in the relationship department because hoo boy… Next episode is gonna be a doozy.