This episode is literally the embodiment of PAIN. I had been dreading rewatching this episode because this was the moment where all of the poor kids just hit rock bottom. Emotions are running rampant and friendships are broken because of it. It’s just a terrible situation brought on by Sonozaki and the rest of the people involved with the Kiznaiver project.
Things get especially messy when the rest of the group gets chased into a particular room where Yamada shows them a live recording of Katsuhira and Sonozaki’s conversation in the gym. But before I get into that, I do want to bring up how I’ve always disliked how Katsuhira never quite felt like part of the group. He was always more so on the sidelines just watching them rather than being too involved. Not only that, but because of his inability to feel the pain of others, it feels like he just isn’t capable of connecting with the others on the same level as they all could with each other. Which always pushes him to be more interested in Sonozaki, which honestly drives me crazy. Because of that, it always makes it seem like Katsuhira doesn’t care about the group and only cares about interacting with Sonozaki. And as someone who prefers friendship based relationships than romantic ones, watching Katsuhira ignore his supposed friends in favor of Sonozaki just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And like I previously stated in the last episode’s post, I understand why Katsuhira is so drawn to Sonozaki, but I still don’t like it. It also doesn’t help that the two are so devoid of emotion where whenever they interact, it just doesn’t spark any interest in me. And again, I UNDERSTAND why they’re like this, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Chidori is a very conflicting character for me. Ultimately, I do care about her and it does pain me to see her hurt in this situation. However, I do take issue with how she views her relationship with Katsuhira. I honestly wish we got to see a flashback with them as kids so we could see how they were interacting with each other before Katsuhira lost all his emotions. Because of that and Katsuhira’s lack of emotion, it doesn’t feel like the two are especially close and feels more one-sided on Chidori’s part. Chidori has a really strong attachment to Katsuhira and has a sense of entitlement towards him. Especially when she admits that she believed she knew Katsuhira more than Sonozaki because they were childhood friends. But after the reveal that Katsuhira and Sonozaki were childhood friends as well, Chidori felt like she lost all of her advantages. To which just feels incredibly messed up when shined in that light as it feels like Chidori viewed Katsuhira as a prize to be won. It’s an extremely selfish love as it feels as if Chidori believes she is owed Katsuhira’s feelings because of how long they’ve known each other and how she had always stuck by his side. And I appreciate that the show is like: This is not healthy.
Though I wish there was an option that doesn’t lead to Sonozaki.
I think the major problem of the point of the experiment being “world peace” was that we literally don’t see the issue the world is facing. While I’m sure it can be assumed that the issues the world is facing is the same as the real world, I really wish that something more was going on to put a bit more urgency in why the experiment was implemented in the first place. Since it seems like everything is fairly peaceful and the experiment is just there to make these poor kids suffer out of curiosity rather than necessity. Which makes it all the more terrible to me and what this experiment has put so many innocent kids in the name of “world peace” when the world doesn’t even seem to be that bad off. Not from what we could see at least.
Katsuhira finally remembers being part of the initial Kiznaiver experiment and all the other kids who were part of it… for some reason. Due to the time restraints of this series only being twelve episodes long, it feels like there wasn’t enough build up for this to be happening to Katsuhira. Especially since just talking to Sonozaki caused him to remember fairly quickly. And when Katsuhira hugs Sonozaki after remembering who she was and that they’ve been connected all along, I felt absolutely nothing for this moment. Nothing was satisfying about this whole scene to me and I could really care less about their relationship. I feel like it could have worked better if one of them had more emotions and had a better build up to Katsuhira remembering rather than it happening kind of randomly.
Things go from bad to worse when the third level of the Kiznaiver bonding starts broadcasting their thoughts to each other. It’s especially bad when their thoughts start shouting out their inner most feelings that they are outwardly contradicting. But man, I love the effects for this one. It feels almost suffocating whenever it happens. It’s so much slower than the other two pain reactions where it feels like it lingers. And the red lighting that happens with it gives it such a foreboding feeling as if saying: This isn’t good, things are getting bad. I really like the levels of pain shown in different colors with the physical pain being this blueish green and the emotional pain being yellow. The physical pain being like: this is fine, they can take it. The emotional being: a bit questionable but they should still be able to bear it. Then the voice of each others’ hearts: CANNOT HANDLE TURN BACK NOW.
But boy, was it disgusting how Yamada was basically cheering on how far the experiment was going, even though all of them were in emotional turmoil. Even Urushibara sensed this was going too far and that they were going to end up breaking at this rate. Though I do feel like her concern for them felt a tad too late and abrupt since she had no issue with putting them through terrible situations before and had no issue in kidnapping and blackmailing the two bullies. We don’t even know WHY she’s so attached to Sonozaki in the first place. Though I guess we hardly know either of the two teachers’ reasons for supporting the Kizna experiment. Not to mention why Yamada is the one the most keen in continuing it. I’m glad that he at least got a shot to the nads though.
This is when things start falling a part for everyone. Everyone’s emotions are too high and their feelings are running rampant. The darkness in everyone’s hearts start coming up to the surface and even conflicting with what they were actually saying. It was terrible because it made almost everyone out to be a hypocrite of some kind. Which just ends up hurting everyone even more upon hearing the hurtful things in each others’ hearts. And man… that was a terrible way for Tenga to confess his feelings about Chidori.
This is when my opinion towards Tenga kind of soured. Not only is he getting mad at Katsuhira who in no way is obliged to return Chidori’s feelings and forces him to go after her, but he ends up showing to be quite hypocritical. I’m so glad that Yuta calls him out on it when he doesn’t follow through with his demand of Katsuhira to run after Nico after her feelings for him got outed. It just shows how he only seems to care about Chidori’s feelings rather than anyone else involved. Which felt incredibly unfair to both Katsuhira and Nico. And it pisses me off how he had the audacity to get angry at Katsuhira for unintentionally hurting Chidori when he freaking TOLD HIM TO GO AFTER HER IN THE FIRST PLACE. And what was the nail on the coffin for me was him just beating up Katsuhira because he was frustrated that Chidori didn’t like him the way he did for her. A that point, Tenga became no different from the bullies who beat Katsuhira up. Which honestly felt incredibly tragic because Tenga was there to save Katsuhira in the first episode and Katsuhira even admitted to liking Tenga being around with him at the apartment. Which honestly makes me wish we got to see more of their growing relationship prior to this. But gosh, that scene just left such a sour taste in my mouth in regards to Tenga’s character. Especially with how selfless he’s been up to that point.
And then Nico.. poor Nico. She didn’t deserve what she was put through. Not only did SOMEONE ELSE tell Tenga of her feelings for him, but he seemed to also just ignore them in the end (similarly to what Katsuhira did to Chidori in the previous episode). She already knew Tenga had feelings for Chidori and was prepared to be properly rejected. So it felt incredibly unfair for Sonozaki to be the one to expose her. Not to mention it wasn’t even her place to. Ticks off another reason for me not liking Sonozaki But man, it was honestly really painful to see Nico try to keep the group together while her heart cried out for Chidori to give Tenga to her if she didn’t want him. She was made out to be the biggest hypocrite of them all and that’s honestly really sad. However, even then, I feel like that says a lot about Nico’s character in general and is a foil to Chidori. Unlike Chidori, who constantly acted on her feelings selfishly, despite Nico being selfish on the inside, she never acted upon it and even was willing to forgo them because she respected Tenga and Chidori’s feelings and didn’t want to force them to bend to her will. And I do like how her feelings started out selfish, slowly turned to worry about them remaining friends, showing what was truly more important.
However, it was sadly Honoka who basically was just the nail in the coffin. I honestly wish we got to see her interact with the group more before this happened since it felt like she was just starting to open up to everyone and be more involved. Though it still hurt hearing her saying that they really can’t be friends after all even though she really wanted to. Made even more depressing when she essentially backtracks on her development because she’s getting hurt by the people she let get close to her again. And it’s just so heart wrenching when she turns away from the light and back into the shadows where the others tried so hard to pull her from. All the while giving such a sad smile. She WANTS to be friends with these guys, but is just scared to commit to it after what happened to Rui. And now with the group falling apart, she’s running away again because she refuses to get more hurt than she already is. It breaks my heart to see how far Honoka has come, only to retreat back to her former ways. I JUST WANT HER TO BE HAPPY DANG IT. Everyone was already reeling from their own pain and sadness and because Honoka’s inner feelings are just so powerful, is the thing that pushes everyone over the edge.
As much as I have issues with some of the characters, I just felt terrible for all of them in this moment. The overdose of sadness, pain, betrayal, disappointment that they were all experiencing through the connection was basically suffocating them. These poor kids never asked for any of this and were forced to take part in this unfair experiment that always seemed to be rigged against them in some way. Hearing them repeating that it hurts while just writhing on the ground absolutely broke my heart. Everyone just felt so helpless as they literally couldn’t think of anything else but the pain that they were all experiencing together. And once the storm lifted, they all just looked so tired and defeated… And the soundtrack… oh man the soundtrack. It did so well in expressing the mood and show just how hopeless everyone felt at this time. UGH…
Objectively, Katsuhira was at his worst this episode as well. He was making progress over the past few episodes, but it felt like he backtracked a bit this episode. Not only had he ignored Chidori in favor of Sonozaki, but he had also unintentionally hurt Chidori by going after her and hugging her. Mostly due to the fact that he was back to just doing what other people told him without putting much thought into it again. He had gone after Chidori because Tenga told him to and only hugged Chidori because he thought she was telling him to. And while I do believe he needed a wake up call about thinking more about the others’ feelings and that his actions have consequences, I don’t think beating him up was justified. It went way too far especially when Katsuhira didn’t even mean to hurt the others nor even understood WHY it hurt them. Though I appreciate that they do address the problem I have that Katsuhira as a level of separation from the others and he actually feels troubled by the fact that he can’t feel everyone else’s pain. Even expressing a level of guilt that we haven’t seen before. He DOES care about them and in his own way he is distressed over seeing all of them in this situation. And I really wish the series took the time to explore Katsuhira’s relationship with the group as a whole. Especially since he has a lot of trouble fully understanding how others feel and I believe it would have been a good plot thread to chase for Katsuhira’s development. Since I feel like interacting with the group does a lot more for his character than his interactions with Sonozaki that often takes away from the focus of the group.
At this point, you can definitely tell Mari Okada was the one to do the writing for this show because a lot of her works almost always involves a love hexagon between a group of character. The one most notorious being Anohana and you can tell that Kiznaiver’s group was essentially based on Anohana’s cast of characters especially in regards to the relationships. Almost all of the main group’s characters in Anohana can be reflected in the Kiznaiver cast on a surface level.
Since the Anohana characters are a whole level more messed up due to trauma. Though personally I do like the Kiznaiver cast way more than I do the Anohana cast.
This episode is DEPRESSING as all heck. Honestly, I’m not a fan of when series has all members in a friend group be in a relationship with each other. glances at Seven Deadly Sins Especially when it just ends in heartbreak and relationship drama like this since it just ends up breaking the friendship between the group. And it just feels weird to me that everyone in a friend group just somehow ends up getting together within said friend group. Though out of all the characters in this situation, Yuta was probably the only one who was the most stable and did his best to try and hold everyone together. He constantly tried to stop Tenga from getting physical with the others and wasn’t afraid to call him out on his hypocrisy. But not even he was able to stop the onslaught of pain everyone was feeling at the time. But gotta give respect to the dude who tried to be the rock in this messy situation. Which makes me love the Yuta and Honoka ship even more because their relationship isn’t the cause of drama and aren’t directed at each other like the freaking mess of a love pentagon going on with Katsuhira, Chidori, Tenga, Nico and Sonozaki.
After that horrible of an experience, they’re all officially freed from the Kizna experiment for better or for worse. Though it’s obvious none of them got out of it unscathed considering just how beaten down and tired they all looked at the end. But I think when they were flashing to all of the characters, my heart went out to Chidori the most because she just looked the most miserable out of everyone. Though I can hardly blame her because she did end up going through the literal most. Though I think the saddest thing out of all of this is that the Kizna experiment literally brought them together only to break them apart at the end. They were all essentially friendless at the start and actually started viewing each other as genuine friends. But because they were all in such close proximity, feelings for each other just ended up ripping them apart, leaving them hurt, betrayed and bitter. Is it so wrong to just want these poor kids to be happy?