Posted on 28 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kiznaiver, Reviews by AidanAK47

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort to take a step towards world peace a system was devised to allow people to feel the pain of others as if it was their own and thus these group of people must learn to coexist with one another to complete missions given to them throughout the summer. This is the premise sadly lost in this show as it eventually gets lost in a love pentagram, excessive teenage melodrama and angst over the past. Kiznaiver is a polarising title in that it has elements of great worth and characters, while not particularly deep, that have good chemistry. However while it had a vague idea on the themes it wanted to touch and what it intended the characters to be, it purely gets lost when it comes to presenting those idea’s. What we are left with is a series which doesn’t know where it is going and wastes more than half its runtime in reach of a goal. Though once it finally decides on its direction it sacrifices all it has set up and it’s greater elements for forced drama and soap opera like developments. All to end on a climax with feels undeserved and rushed.

Kiznaiver is a bad story with excellent presentation as while the story developments are confused and lack focus, the presentation could fool you otherwise. Direction is particularly excellent in giving emotion to certain scenes and the visual aesthetic is quite appealing. The anime also sports a great opening with what may be the last song by the excellent band “Boom Boom Satellites”. The OST has some notable tracks and sound direction is spot on. The characters are quite likable and at times the comedy can work well but it falters when it sacrifices the comradery of the group for the cheap thrill of over emotional outbursts and vocal preaching. The plot gives special attention to certain characters only to abandon them to the sidelines afterwards and at times changing characters to fit what is demanded of the plot only to double back and have them return to how they were. At the beginning Kiznaiver was aiming to be zany and fun like any other trigger anime but halfway in it decided it was going to be Kokoro Connect. Then reaching its endgame without really deciding on which of the two it would prefer to be.

The show tries to act as a character study and tries to get across a deeper insinuation about the nature of feelings and connecting with other people but when examined it comes across as shallow and simplistic. Mainly resorting to a traumatic past as the cause of someone having communication issues instead of taking into account that maybe their are those of us who simply can’t connect with others. Or simply don’t want to. Two character get more focus in regards to this and one has their development more or less negated within two episodes of coming out of her shell. The other remains rather enigmatic and when it comes down to it, all that we truly learn of her is that she has a contrived tragic past. If it doesn’t affect you then sadly she has nothing else, besides acting as a love interest. Despite this it has moments; in both the forced drama and zany antics there were points when it comes across as genuine and heartfelt. Though this does make me lament just what this series could have been if had better planning. This is Trigger trying something different and as an experiment it is interesting. I would like to see Trigger tackle something like this again but if they do I hope they hire a better writer.


Posted on with categories: Kiznaiver

This was certainly pure narrative confusion at it’s zenith and in that regard I don’t mean that the events depicted were hard to understand but rather a general confusion on what mood it wants to go out on. In this episode we had comedic, drama and climatic showdown all hastily weaved together to try and make something work. In that regard I may have succeeded on small fronts but failed as a whole. So Noriko has gone full supervillain out of nowhere and is attempting her own version of the human instrumentality project. The story tries to explain away her motivations by having Mutsumi lay out that Noriko has somehow gotten it into her head that in order for her to give back pain to those deprived by the Kiznaiver experiment, she needs to take on everyone’s pain and somehow that will fix everything. Or something about wanting to connect to others through pain…honestly I have lost all interest to truly dissect it at this point. Basically the logic is akin to saying the best way to heal a bruise is to break your arm. But who cares, the show only cares that Noriko needs to be stopped and the only way to do so is to have Agata give her a good talking to. Thus through the power of love and friendship and all that complete utter bull…um sorry I mean he’s going to snap her out of it with a good scolding. It’s clear that Kiznaiver wanted to have a big climax and that I am not really supposed to question the machinations of it too much. For if I do, awkward questions show up like isn’t Noriko forcefully abducting an entire city and performing dangerous surgery on them? Did she get away with this scott free, like no repercussions whatsoever? Where did she get that legion of followers who do her every bidding? And the big one, just what is this supposed to accomplish?

All the while this deathly serious stuff is happening, there are random jarring moments of comedy sprinkled in with little regard to the tone. I just say when you cut from Norikos sister telling Agata about how lonely Noriko was and how he needs to save her to two of those weird mascots sumo wrestling in the park, well it’s clashing.At this point the KIznaiver things is basically magic and Noriko’s big terrorist attack is stopped once Agata tells her to just let things go and badda bing badda boom, everything’s solved. The other Kiznaivers didn’t really have a point here besides chucking in their two cents on the situation. Giving speeches that solemnly remind me that these people haven’t really hung out long enough in front of the audience to give them the “nakama” card. Also for some reason the bullies come back and are unceremoniously booted off screen again. Seems their sole purpose was to act as an exposition device for the other Kiznaivers so they know what is going on. Well once Noriko comes to her senses it’s time to settle the shipping in the epilogue because that truly is what was given primary focus this series. Yes I am somewhat glad that Kamina 2.0 and Yoko 0.5 got together but personally I would be most interested in seeing more of Luluco finding Nova in the background.

The ships are pretty much what was decided in episode 4 with Noriko and Agata, Chidori and Tenga, Yuta and Maki with Nico doomed to forever alone status. Unless her and Hayame kick something off. Truthfully this all felt forced as while I can get why these characters could go for each other, I find it far too sudden with it all happening in such quick succession. As I see the gang all together again I find somewhat of the feeling that gave me hope for the series in the beginning. The characters do play off each other well and I do find their interactions amusing. (Particularly Noriko’s comment that she and Agata will have a pure relationship…until Agata pushes her down.) This is strange even coming from me of all people but perhaps Kiznaiver would have fared better if it left all this Kiznaiver experiment stuff to the side and just had it be about the characters playing off one another.

Looking over it all Kiznaiver was a confused series that spent too much of it’s start wasting its time and pushing for a dramatic climax as it reached it’s end. Some say that perhaps with a two cour season it could have shown more of it’s potential. It certainly could have but seeing as the writer couldn’t build a series for one cour I doubt she could do it much better with two. I blame the majority of Kiznaivers failings on the writer as speaking in terms of presentation it’s fairly remarkable. In much lesser animation studio this story wouldn’t nearly have been what it is and I see it as a testament of just how much Trigger can really do even with lacking material. If there are those of you who have lost faith in Trigger due to this series I say watch the short series that aired alongside it this season. Space patrol Luluco is shorter, more in tune with triggers style, had a far more satisfying climax and is overall a much better show than Kiznaiver. Most of all I truly look forward to that Little Witch Academy TV series they announced. Kiznaiver ultimately wasn’t what I hoped but I am certain Studio Trigger has more bullets to fire.


Posted on 18 June 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

I believe I finally figured out something much like Agata of this episode did. Over the course of watching Kiznaiver something in the back of my mind bugged me about it. It was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on but after watching this episode I believe it’s finally hit me. I now know what’s wrong with this series and it’s truly it’s most evident here. For you see, I don’t think Kiznaiver was truly planned out. I think they had an idea of the themes they wanted to touch and knew what the quirks of what the characters were going to be. I believe they had a vague concept of how they were going to go about this but didn’t actually plan it out. So they took these concepts and just stuck them together and hoped the end result would make a tuned out narrative. For looking at just how this show has conducted itself and now seeing the endgame I truly see that it’s was floundering around for a concrete plot. This all feels unplanned and not thought out with how it sets up foreshadowing of future developments only to disregard it entirely. But let us cite some examples.

Take Hisomu for instance, he was given an episode to be fully introduced which highlighted his tendency for masochistic behavior and moral ambiguity. Taking into account how the series showed him in the beginning, one would assume he would be taking an antagonistic role. After all he is an outsider from the original group gathered and purposefully brought in by the project supervisors. His masochistic tendencies gives him good reason to incite discord among the group and stand as prefect example of why forming bonds with people can be dangerous. Because some people want to hurt you for their own pleasure. However then Hisomu proceeded to have no bearing on the plot at all, only bring discord when he pointed out Maki being selfish. Now in recent episodes he is doing the exact opposite of what his introduction suggested and is playing a supportive role in bringing everyone together. This truly feels like they didn’t really know what to do with him once they introduced him.

There’s also the male teacher who at first was playing the role of a supporting comic relief character before being shoved into an antagonist role and now suddenly he’s acting as Noriko’s support. Shouldn’t that role be for Noriko’s sister? His motivations just seem jarring because if his role was to help Noriko then why was he so antagonistic last episode towards the Kiznaivers? Maki, started off as someone with a dark past, spent two episodes getting her out of her shell and two episodes later they shove her right back into that shell. Niko, started as comic relief, then a foil pushing the group together, then shoved into a love triangle out of nowhere and now she’s back to comic relief? Now we have Noriko, started as a well intentioned mysterious girl, then acted as a love interest, then pushed in a victim to be saved and now she’s a full blown antagonist. If you look at all the characters they all have haphazard character arcs like this with the only consistent ones being Agata which has focused on him getting back his emotions and Chidori which has been all about getting together with Agata. This really does feel like the writer has been throwing ideas against a wall and looking to see what sticks. That’s why I wasn’t able to see where this show was going, because the show itself honestly has no idea where it’s going.

I probably went on about that too long as this should be about the episode itself. Though maybe that’s because this episode was rather uneventful. It mainly detailed about Agata thinking a lot and then just gathering everyone together to tell them to all be friends again. With lots of speeches about feelings which I find somewhat irksome. For you see most of the expression through this episode was done through dialogue and let me tell you something. For something like Books and Manga, expressing emotion through dialogue is somewhat of a necessity, however it is a fact that 55% of human communication is through body language. Anime is a visual medium and there should be no need to rely so heavily on words yet most anime forget this. They have the characters make big speeches on how they think and feel, basically articulating their emotion to the audience in painstaking detail which isn’t right. For some of the most powerful emotional moments of cinema and anime are points where the characters don’t say a word. That’s the problem here, characters are telling the audience how they are thinking and feeling when they could simply show it. As an experiment try this, in this episode it showed three characters saying out inner monologues to themselves in sequence.(Those characters being Maki, Yuta and Tenga) At that scene turn off the subtitles, turn off the sound and tell me if you really need that monologue to understand what the characters are feeling. There’s power in motion to show emotion so to disregard it and focus on conveying through words loses half the impact. I think I will leave this with one last thing, took you long enough Chidori. You selfish idiot.


Posted on 14 June 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

Upon reading reactions to this episode I have come to the conclusion that my consensus on this episode is likely not a popular one. After all this episode was aiming for the “feels” and those who don’t get the “feels” don’t quite hold the same opinion as those who do. As I have said before, this kind of drama is hit or miss. If it hits then it hits hard and lets you forgive any missteps it took to achieve the emotional payout. But if it misses then you are left to question the threads that lead to this conclusion which to me doesn’t bode well. I equate it to a poorly written but well executed twist. Upon seeing it you might be applauding it but then you sit down and think about it only to find in retrospect that it doesn’t really make any sense. This episode didn’t blow me away but it certainly did make me question the quality of writing. For when Space Patrol Luluco provides a better emotional gut punch than the series actively aiming for one, I really need to reassess its quality. I admit that I am enjoying Space Patrol Luluco a lot more than Kiznaiver right now. Maybe perhaps because it still knows how to have fun when Kiznaiver is weeding out all the fun it has in favor of love pentagram and drama. What makes it most amusing is that Luluco is dealing with almost the exact same problem the Kiznaiver group is dealing with, namely a broken heart, yet she has broken out of her stupor when most of the Kiznaiver group continues to wallow in it. A fourteen year old girl is more emotionally mature than a bunch of teenagers. I suppose when you think about it this isn’t really that much of a surprise. But let us push Luluco to the side for a moment and let me try to articulate just why this episode’s emotional drama didn’t resonate with me.

Sadly, just as predicted, the entire Kiznaiver group basically angst the summer away. The first offender of this episode is the teacher who starts the episode by being pointlessly antagonistic. I don’t even get his reason for doing this, the group isn’t Kiznaivers anymore so he has nothing to gain by riling them up like this. But the big part that really annoyed me is how he tripped Tenga, giving him a bloody nose. Ladies and gentlemen, do you have any idea what this would mean for a teacher? They would be fired within a week. These days a teacher can’t so much as cough in a student’s direction without being blamed for abusing his position. Sure the school seems to be connected to the Kiznaiver project but I certainly think they would have a hard time quieting down the angry parents. Even disregarding this, just why is he doing this? Simple, because the show wants you to hate this character, so they will have them act as ignorant as possible to achieve that. The second offender is when Nico, Agata and Hayato make a trip to the secret lab under the school and are found by Mutsumi. Who proceeds to sit them down and outright spout exposition at them. This is lazy exposition of the highest caliber not only is it lazy but the majority of it is information which has already been confirmed. There was an experiment involving children that went wrong, Noriko and Agata were part of it, it’s the reason why Agata lost his emotions and all of this is information we already know. The only thing we learn is what went wrong with the experiment and that is because Noriko was accidently linked up with the pain of all fourteen children which caused her immense agony. She was then drugged in order to dull her senses to give her relief which lead to her detached and kuudere personality. As Agata wails over the pain and suffering Noriko had to experience I was busy thinking to myself. Just how goddamn incompetent did these scientists have to be to cock up this badly. Truly I am flabbergasted at just how they managed to accomplish a failure of this magnitude.

Despite Mutsumi sitting our characters down and throwing exposition at them, she keeps fairly vague about the actual process of making Kiznaivers. However based on what we seen so far we can assume that making Kiznavers involves embedding some kind of device in the subjects. After all it can project holograms and seems to require some minor surgery. So i ask this, isn’t there so method to disable it? It’s clearly wireless and they can use it to monitor a subject’s emotional wavelength. Why is it that drugs were the only method of preventing Noriko from suffering? Why couldn’t they just perform surgery and undo the process? Are you telling me that these idiots performed surgery on ninteen children, after countless animal and human tests, and had no backout plan? Look if you are just going to sit down and shove exposition down our throats then address all questions. Why are you describing transferring pain like it’s cutting up an orange and handing people parts? Pain is a signal and if you can transfer and split that signal then you bet your ass you can disable or even redirect that signal. Why the hell are you hooking up fourteen kids to “Lessen” the pain? The pain should be the same for all of them regardless of how many you hook up. Nor can you somehow drain emotions from people either and turn them catatonic. If you can intercept the signal then you can negate it. You say that a kid presses her foot on the ground and that impact is multiplied by fourteen and transferred to Noriko? How does that even happen? Is the signal passed through the kids one by one and hits Noriko last? But by the diagram you make it that the signals hit Noriko all at once so there’s no point were the pain would multiply per say. She should be feeling individual impacts from each child. Not one impact times 14. This makes no sense. You can say they could be good reasons for all this, but those good reasons were not presented here. When it comes to something like this you either put in the work to explain it or you just don’t draw attention to it. You don’t half ass it for the sake of throwing out a cheap emotional climax. At this point Kiznaivers have no scientific grounds whatsoever so it’s essentially magic. You should have taken the route of Erased, which simply didn’t bother to draw attention to it’s time travel aspect and simply used it as a plot device.

My last problem deals with just how they people are dealing with the fallout from last episode. Surprisingly Nico and Tenga are going about things in the right way by trying to bury the hatchet and move past the fight to become friends again. I appreciate this. I just wish that Maki and Chidori wouldn’t be such selfish killjoys because apparently no one can understand their pain so they won’t even try to move past this. Chidori is the primary offender in this case as when Tenga went up to her asking for her to reject him so that he could push himself past this and move on. But Chidori couldn’t even give him that much. Instead she made it all about herself, asking how this would make her feel better. Sure you could write this as her being used by Tenga for Tenga to feel better about himself but honestly that’s just a selfish perspective. Chidori, you asked what would make you feel better, well Tenga is showing you how. Confront the person you love and make them give you a clear answer. But you won’t do that, because you can’t take being rejected and want to just stand there complaining about how you can’t understand people’s feelings. Get over yourself. A large amount of the aspects I originally liked this series for the character chemistry and comedy it had in the beginning but as of now those aspects are barely present. Their a mild bit of comedy as Agata tries to find Noriko by peeking at girls panties under the staircase, as he knows she wears polka dots.The character chemistry was only present here with Hayato, Nico and Agata which was a nice reminder of what this series used to have. I have heard that this series was originally intended to be a school battle anime and I wonder just how that would have turned out. Sure it may not have been original but I think it would be fun and that is Triggers real strength. Anime school life dramas are a dime a dozen, a insane fun Trigger anime is a much higher rarity.


Posted on 6 June 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

This episode happened to confirm one of my biggest worries about this series from the very start. With the advent of the love triangle I was cautious that the melodrama would escalate into a shouting match. Thus here it is, rain, shouting match and a big fallout because no one likes the person who likes them back. The comedy? Whatever scraps of plot? Thrown to the sidelines to deal with excessive melodrama between the characters. It’s rather disappointing honestly as that’s not what wanted from this series. What I wished for was more a better executed Kokoro Connect but now it looks to be falling into the same pitfalls that did. Basically what this episode is the fall before the climax. Where our heroes are brought to their lowest point so as to rise past it. However while their are part of this episode presented sell, this development doesn’t feel earned. It doesn’t feel like previous episodes were building to this point but rather a revelation that they just spent the past 8 episodes messing about and now that the end is near they need a climax. An example of this is that in the previous arc we spent two episodes developing Maki to accept the Kiznaivers and at the end of this episode at the first sight of trouble she regresses right back to how she was. I get what this episode is aiming for and that’s the message that remaining so close to someone who can see and read you like an open book is difficult as no one can truly like having no privacy with their thoughts. But if this is the case then shouldn’t the past episodes been used to strengthen the bonds between the group. On conversation it felt like the plot was more focused on setting up couples than improving friendships. As Nico recalls that all they had accomplished together I find it’s surprisingly little. Considering the dramatic fallout we have here, this truly doesn’t feel deserved.

The question at the end of the episode remains the same as it was from the beginning. What now? I hope we won’t be spending the next episode with all our characters busy moping and angsting over love. I don’t want to spend an episode waiting for someone to step up to snap everyone out of their funk. I have long since gotten tired of seeing anime characters wallow in self pity when simply talking things out is far more productive. Sure you can argue it’s realistic but it’s not enjoyable and this series doesn’t have the episode count to indulge such fruitless time wasting.I never cared for Chidori’s little crush because I never saw it as being remotely achievable and Nico’s feelings even less so. If this is the story from now on then I would have preferred that the animation budget that went into this would have been transferred to Space Patrol Luluco as it at least presents something that I can’t find in a dozen other anime series. I am 27 years old and I have long lost the romance for these shy first loves with no progress so I say to those with achievable love, quit the beating around the bush, put yourself out there and get together. To those desiring a love damned from the start, cut your losses and settle for something within your reach. Sure it’s not a romantic notion but damn it, it’s practical. Besides you are a teenger and your first love is hardly going to be your only chance at it.

It looks as though the previous Kiznaiver experiment failed when some event caused all the kids to be crippled with emotional pain which looks to have been caused by Noriko. This very same thing looks to have happened to the gang here though the cause is more our chain of unfulfilled loves. The indirect cause might be the same though as this time was more or less orchestrated by the school teacher who is pushing for more results regardless of the cost. This certainly didn’t really help as I see it as the same results as before where negative emotions are being transferred easier than positive ones. In this case it wasn’t so much the voices of their hearts that was transferred but rather their deepest most selfish desire. Otherwise Nico’s desires to keep the group remaining as friends would have come across as well as her desire for Tenga. I do like the contrast as she spoke of her selfless desire while her true selfish desires interrupted her. I love the deep red and static effect as the characters inner voices are heard. I do think that this episode is for the most part presented well but as stated before, I don’t feel this fallout was built upon properly. It feels hasty and flimsy so while I can appreciate the direction of this episode, I cannot approve of the shoddy foreshadowing.


Posted on 31 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

In my last post I assumed that this episode would be about Tenga as the episodes title seems to suggest but it turned out to be more an episode about Agata than anything else. It basically confirmed my previous assumptions about Agata and Noriko being involved with the previous Kiznaiver project when they were children and the episode ends, at a rather inconvenient time, when Agata realises who Noriko is and regains his memories. The end of the episode was certainly the best part for me as it was done marvelously but I do feel bad for Chidori as she’s outright ignored while confessing. I am not sure what triggered Agata’s flashback to the past and cause him to start running to Noriko. The last scene was a little unclear on just how he got to her. It seems to suggest that he ran from the front door to the courtyard and pushed Noriko out of the way of a falling statue.. As for the reason why he ran to Noriko, I like to believe that he and her are still connected to each other because of the last Kiznaiver experiment. But there may be more meaning behind what Noriko said at the end about Agata being inside herself. Chances are it’s simply her mentioning that they knew each other in the past as she theorised in the first episode about wanting to see yourself in others. However to go off the rails a bit, what if she was saying that when the Kiznaiver project ended, her and Agata’s personalities somehow got switched? It would be rather interesting if the reason Agata changed was because he had his traits switched with Noriko and in turn Noriko inherited his. After all, Noriko despite her appearance is very confident and brash whereas Agata became more shy and reserved. Seeing Agata in the past this could suggest that his consciousness may have swapped with Noriko’s. It’s unlikely but I would find it quite fascinating if that was the case.

It’s truly a fourth wall breaker when characters within the show start shipping characters together. For the most part the pairings are as you would expect except for one. To some this may not be as much of a surprise but to me I found it was something that came out of nowhere. Namely that Niko has feelings for Tenga. Now when I heard this I assumed this was just the project managers making a mistake but the rest of the episode seems to suggest the same thing. As far as I can tell, there have only been three signs that indicated this development. One, when Tenga groped her in the first episode. Two, when Niko was pouting over Tenga lavishing attention on Chidori. And three, when he patted her on the head in the last episode. Other than that this seems as out of the blue as that romance between Hulk and Black Widow that nobody should have wanted.(I see absolutely no reason why people thought they would be interested in each other in the first place.) I see more evidence to suggest that Niko likes Maki rather than Tenga. I don’t really like what this brings as we now have a long line of crushes which might lead to unnecessary drama later on. Niko likes Tenga, Tenga likes Chidori, Chidori likes Agata, Agata likes Noriko and nobodies with who they want to be with. Before I felt like this whole thing could work out as Noriko and Agata seems pretty mutual and Chidori’s feelings for Agata feel more like the remnants of a crush rather than genuine love. Things could have easily been resolved in a nice little bow but now we have a third wheel to the party. Oh Niko, if Chidori’s love is doomed to set sail, yours is doomed before it can even be built. If Niko manages to get together with Tenga then by all means I will be very surprised but as far as I am concerned I say the only thing that awaits her is a jealous hissy fit and a forever alone. I certainly don’t want that to happen to her but really it’s the usual fate for these types. What makes me not in favor of this development is that it sucks the fun out of Niko and then she could fall to the fate of many a comedic character that falls in love. They get too serious and stop being fun.

We have gone over the halfway point of the season and what concerns me is that I still don’t really know what Kiznaiver is striving for. Certainly things have happened over the past 8 episodes but if feels disjointed and unorganised. When looking it over I fail to see a connecting narrative, instead a series a events with no defined goal or purpose. For example, we had an entire episode devoted to Hazama and yet after that he has had no real purpose within the narrative. It’s possible they might start using him for something like here to rile up the Kiznaivers but I fail to see the purpose of devoting an episode to him joining when he could have just been in the group from the start. The only thing that seems to have dominant narrative purpose is romance which I think is a poor use of the setup. The sharing pain aspect hasn’t had much of a definitive purpose besides giving them a reason to interact with one another. While I do not consider the past episodes bad it does feel rather directionless. I think if this continues I will look back on the series and find that it didn’t really feel like anything happened.


Posted on 24 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

To some this may be the strongest episode of Kiznaiver to date. However to someone like myself I find myself mixed on what I just witnessed. I have said before that what I like about this series are the aspects which are distinctly Trigger which would be it’s sense of wacky humor and character chemistry. However this episode didn’t feel like Trigger, no this felt like Okada. A particular fear I had for this series is that Okada was helmed as the writer and Okada is very fond of melodrama. Too fond I would say. People acting ignorant for the sake of heightening drama, characters launching into emotional outbursts over the most trivial of details, arguments in the rain and teenage angst. These things are distinctly Okada and perhaps because I happen to be rewatching an older work of hers, Toradora, this episode didn’t quite hit the emotional high it intended for me. This is the particular problem with soap opera drama, if it hits it’s mark it’s emotional and riveting. However if it misses it’s hackneyed and contrived. While I certainly am not saying this episode was a failure, I think it lost value from me because I am able to see the strings Okada is trying to pull. So Maki blames himself for her friends death because her friend was dying of a terminal disease and she pushed her away for fear of getting hurt before she died. I can certainly see why that would be upsetting but you really made it out to be a much greater issue before. It’s a little irritating when a character makes such a fuss over an mysterious trauma from their past only to have it be something so utterly minor. Everyone is making a big deal out of this and I find it a little distasteful. As to why, let me put it this way. This episode was about Maki and Makis feelings so nothing else really matters. I look back at the opening of this episode as Niko, very out of character starts telling Ruri’s parents to care about Maki’s feelings which while she is admonished for, is pretty much the attitude the episode takes. At the end of the episode Maki’s issues are resolved and she can move on from this to make new friends. Meanwhile Ruri’s parents are free to wallow in despair over the death of their daughter because they served their purpose in resolving Maki’s issues. For we all know that a friend you had for about a year or two is far more important than parents you knew you for your entire existence. So hey Ruri’s parents may destroy themselves out of grief over their daughter but who cares? Maki’s happy and that’s all that matters. You may understand now my particular lack of being emotionally moved by this character arc.

I do like what is presented here though as Maki and Ruri’s relationship is an interesting one. They bonded by combining their talents to create a manga and over the time became so close that it potentially could have become romantic. Maki makes it clear that she stopped herself before she reached that point but not because she didn’t swing that way. Rather because she didn’t want to be devastated by her lover dying on her. I find it nice that the relationship between them isn’t really sexualised which it could have very well been considering this is trigger and that had no issues doing Yuri fanservice before in KIll la Kill. Rather just their feelings lining up and maki pushing her away once Ruri made a big advance on her. In regards to this it’s difficult to determine whether Maki is gay or bisexual as her feelings for Ruri definitely insinuate that she was romantically interested. As for the rest of the Kiznaiver they seem preoccupied with finding out about Maki behind her back and decide to become her friend in order to solve her issues. Yuta ultimately ends up the main savior her as he lets her know that Ruri wrote a different final chapter to the one she proposed to Maki. One that effectively showed she had no hard feelings about what she did. For some reason they all play in the water because Maki suggests it and I am a little confused on what Maki was trying to accomplish. It seemed to say that she was looking for inspiration to write a new manga chapter but honestly I say it was a flimsy excuse for an emotional scene. That said it’s a pretty heartwarming scene as all the character run into the water and start messing around. I also just realised that Yuta runs like a girl, I just find that immensely amusing considering his front he put up. Then we have Maki admit to her feelings and decide that the other Kiznaivers are closer than friends to her. Honestly I am more interested in how she will conduct herself from now on as her mysterious emotional baggage is cleared up. Perhaps will she develop feelings for Yuta, or in a strange twist of fate become attracted to Niko? Either way it looks like we will be moving on from Maki and dealing with Tenga next time around where he’s likely going to bring up feelings for Chidori. He’s got a pretty big chance too seeing how much she blushed when he was going around topless.


Posted on 18 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

This week we have focus on the problems of a specific member of the Kiznaiver, that member being Maki.Well my assumption about Maki’s problem turned out to be incorrect though I did think compensated dating is a bit too serious for the tone of this show while proposing it. Her actual problem turned out to be a big surprise as she is really a fairly famous shoujo mangaka who co created a popular work with another girl who died. While it isn’t confirmed how she died, it’s suggested by the opening scene that she committed suicide in front of Maki. While the opening scene shows Maki stopping her from falling, the breakdown she has where she has a flashback back to that moment seems to suggest that she didn’t actually make it in time to stop her falling. Why she killed herself is up for debate but the content of the manga (unfulfilled love, bullying) does suggest that she was dealing with some major issues. Either way Maki’s claim that she killed someone is just as suspected and it looks like she’s just blaming herself for her friend’s death. This looks to be the first part of resolving her issues as she faces the problem of her editor pushing her to allow a documentary to be made of her. She has obvious reservations because of her co writers death and her desire to keep her status as a mangaka secret. I must say her emotional breakdown as she’s put on spot at school was truly excellent visually. The scream she lets out as her pain is conveyed to the others sent a shiver up my spine. Naturally it looks to be the power of friendship which will save Maki from her issues and help her come to terms to her friend’s death which is rather cliche but suitable. The documentary staff were acting pretty antagonistic though which I found too blatant. It’s clear they were meant to play the role of a villain but I wish it was subiler about it as they acted slimy and purposefully arrogant. This is the kind of attitude I would accept if they were reporters but considering their role is to make a documentary with Maki it’s not beneficial to put her on the spot like that. It would’ve worked better if they were confused and accidentally put her in a bad position due to misinformation from her editor. Though this does give the KIznaivers a chance to each chase them off.

This doesn’t look over though as Maki finds out that they helped her as part of a mission and theirs big hints that this whole thing was set up by Noriko which causes Nagata to seek her out. Thus we end the episode with Nagata telling Noriko that he’s “disappointed in her” which as Noriko pointed out, is pretty powerful words to come from the emotionally stunted Nagata. We don’t get a chance to see her reaction but I am fairly certain those words cut hard as based on previous episodes, Nagata is the Kiznaiver Noriko has the biggest attachment to or some personal history. Meanwhile we have Niko who looks to be trying her best to help keep the gang together and I am fairly certain she’s going to have an episode when the topic of what everyone plans to do once the experiment is over comes up. She’s the most attached to the group and I am fairly certain she doesn’t want it to end. for fear of everyone going their separate ways. The love triangle has been put to the side for now though when they are discussing about their emotions getting shared besides pain, Tenga does make a small mention of something he wants to keep hiding. I am fairly certain I know what that something is. Yuta looks to be still trying to woo Maki and I think he will play a large part in resolving her problem. The question at the moment is just how powerful the Kiznaiver bond will get as now the group can feel Maki’s pain over her friend’s death. For now it looks like the bond shares just pain, be it physical or emotional. But will other emotions be shared among the group? I for one would find it most amusing if Maki began caring for the group and that feeling being shared much to her dismay. There’s likely some comedic potential in that.


Posted on 10 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

Off to the woods we go and with it we have our characters get along better. Tenga looks to be playing full wingman for Chidori and attempts to get her and Agata closer together but Chidori’s own reservations are getting in her way. Tenga and Chidori seem oblivious to the fact that feelings are blossoming between the two of them and I hope they wise up to it soon as I find Chidori’s situation to be far too predictable. As Yuta put it, he’s too “heavy” and emotionally charged for someone like Agata who is more relaxed. Tenga is a better match because he’s as emotional as she is while being able to interact with her well. Her feelings for Agata are more or less shown to be the remnants of a crush as she did say that she was in love with the person he used to be. Not the person he currently is. Plus this is a love which is by very nature doomed. Chidori, you are his childhood friend, and the childhood friend in anime rarely wins the main characters heart. Even if they happen to be the best girl. When looking at it from that front all these scenes teasing this relationship just feel like empty promises as I would be very surprised if those two ended up together. I would very much like this aspect of the show to disappear as soon as possible as it’s bringing in Okada’s bad habit as seen at the end of the episode. As Chidori offloads her feelings like a death metal vocalist shouting into a microphone I can’t help but see the various examples just like this in her previous work. I remember plenty of shouting matches in the likes of Sakuranbo and Anohana, those of which never fail to sound unnatural and be forced drama. I am going to articulate my feelings perfectly into a impulsive emotional rage! There are quieter way to resolve conflict, ways that don’t require a character to shout a prepared monologue like an idiot.

On a smaller note Niko looks to be living up to her title of being envy as when Tenga lavished attention on Chidori, Niko was looking to be quite jealous. This likely isn’t due to any feelings for Tenga but rather her desire to be the center of attention. Maki on the other hand looks to be up to strange antics as she heavily comes on to Yuta. This is pretty amusing as Yuta previously mentioned that Chidori was too “Heavy” for guys to like yet the girl he is most interested in has much more severe emotional baggage. This is purely speculation on my part but I believe Maki’s sudden advance on Yuta is a product of that phone call. It sounds to me that Maki is being pressured into compensated dating and due to her guilt relating to the person she “Killed”. She seeks to punish herself but is reluctant due to being a virgin. Thus she attempts to seduce Yuta whom she mistakes for someone experienced in such matters. Much to her surprise, Yuta isn’t keen on the idea of simply jumping into bed with her and would prefer something more genuine. As she pushes further she even gets him to reveal that, despite having girls fawning over him, he is still a virgin. Unlike the drama of Agata’s little love triangle, I find this relationship much more engaging as Yuta and Maki’s interactions are much more mature than the rest of the cast.

The interactions between the cast remain fun and we have a usually bout of trigger madness as they are all chased by the strange mascot characters in a odd test of courage. We learn a few things in the process of this. One is that the school counselor and the teacher are both part of the Kiznaiver project. Two that the teachers faction looks to be aiming for a different agenda in the project. And three that the Kiznaivers share more than physical pain as Chidori’s pain of heartbreak and over Agata getting bullied is transferred over to all the others. Considering this upgrade it’s possible that other emotions will get transferred as their bond grows and perhaps the goal of the project is to achieve a level of hive mind between certain individuals. So far Kiznaiver has been a fun show but it is lacking something to push it into great status. I believe some idea of direction is needed in order to get an idea of what this show is going towards. Right now I am clueless on just what is coming next which makes it difficult to get excited for.


Posted on 4 May 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kiznaiver

There are certain advantages to keeping your plot in the dark when storytelling. In the beginning stages when your audience is most attentive, if you manage to present questions they are interested in seeing answered then it provides a reason for the viewer to keep watching. However this tactic only continues to work as long as you provide a steady stream of answers throughout the series. If you don’t well then people are going to get tired of chasing a carrot on a stick. This essentially is the problem with Kiznaivers plot. We are given a mystery(What is the purpose of the Kiznaiver program) and the that mystery is left to the wayside despite the many efforts of the characters to inquire further about it. The things we learn about the Kiznaiver system in these last few episodes has been insignificant and it isn’t helped by Noriko being obnoxiously tight lipped about the subject. So in regards to the plot, we know that these people were chosen for some reason to participate in an experiment with ill defined objectives and no clear procedure. Essentially we know absolutely nothing besides a goal to survive the summer vacation. Survive what? Who knows? So here stands the the issue, how to get engaged to a story whose stakes, objective and difficulty are unknown. I am of course not asking to be spoon fed all this but I would like to be able to gain some footing on where this all stands. I haven’t even been able to decide which genre to attribute this to. My biggest fear is that the matter of shared pain is going to get sidecast in favor of just hijinks.

However when the plot falters it is then carried by its cast. I am not sure what to think of out new addition as I hope there’s more to him than his Machoism gimmick. But the banter between the Kiznaivers is delightful. They are a colourful bunch that they bounce off each other well and keep things from getting dull. What I really like to see is the small hints to characters. For one the two main teachers of the series look to be involved with the Kiznaiver project and seem to have a level of combat background. The guidance counselor pulling out a machine gun while suggesting to her students that she could advise them on how to kill someone hints at her being some kind of hitman. There are also small things with the characters, namely I believe Niko doesn’t have friends so she considers the Kiznaivers her friends. When Maki shoots her down for suggesting it the matter really hits Niko hard. I am pretty sure Maki’s past has to do with he being thorny around matters of friendship but I get the feeling that Niko may in fact be a very lonely girl. Thus her extraneous efforts to be eccentric are a means to get people to notice her. I like how she got everyone to exchange contact info as a means of getting back at Maki. Speaking of which I must mention that scene where Niko pops in in one frame out of nowhere. That’s definitely trigger mixing animation saving techniques with humor as the characters themselves seemed just as shocked as the audience when she teleported out of nowhere. I also like how they changed the characters clothes while still keeping to a certain style of the character. It’s often something we take for granted in fiction but often characters stay in the same clothes throughout the show and yet here we have characters changing into something new. It might be a one time thing as school is over so they no longer need their uniforms but it’s admittedly refreshing.

Not a lot happened this episode but something has started to gear up and that is character shipping. Nothing is quite as telling as our group splitting up into individual boy girl pairings. Romances are beginning to kick up whether we like it or not. Noriko and Agata have a Kuudere dynamic going on though Agata looks to have just an interest in her in general than romantically. Noriko on the other hand gives the impression of being much more interested in him. Chidori and Tenga bring a smile to my face even if the situation is cliche. Chidori is getting jealous of Agata growing attached to Noriko but she’s also warming up to Tenga. It’s just me but I like to think of these two as the reincarnation of Kamina and Yoko which is helped by their similar designs. It becomes rather heartwarming to see Chidori go all tsundere on him then. Niko and Hisomu haven’t had much interaction besides her being annoyed at him because she doesn’t want a bigger weirdo than her in the team. Yuta and Maki are the more mature couple with Yuta being interested in her despite her cold personality and Maki shooting him down with no remorse.(That breast jab at Yuta. What a burn.) The two play off each other well but I think he is going to need to crack her secret before he can melt away her armour. Honestly I am not sure on what to think of this pairing up of characters as it does feel manufactured with how they perfectly match up but I am not opposed as long as Okada doesn’t start revving up the teenage angst. It looks like the bullies are joining in as temporary Kiznaivers next time so perhaps these two are a new obstacle for the group to face.


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