Welcome friends and foes of anime! I you recall, in a previous blog I mentioned that I switched out Cerberus for Kiznaiver, since Kiznaiver was just so much more substantive. Although the fourth and fifth episodes were not as fantastic as the third, this series still proves itself to be a solid watch.
Since I have yet to have the chance to talk about the opening, it seems appropriate to bring it up now. This opening is easily one of my favorites of the season, and captures the complex swirling emotions this anime has to offer. The semi-psychedelic images, flashes of memorial scenes, and individual focus fully reflects what this series is. The song itself is super catchy, yet simultaneously calming. Really, this opening is just great, not just for the anime, but also just in general.
Moving on to episode 4! After watching the entirety of the episode, I think it is better to give a whole episode analysis as opposed to a play by play.
Although this episode doesn’t do all that much about the characters themselves, it focuses much more on developing the relationships between characters. We start with a series of scenes that introduce Hisomu, who missed the rest of the introduction with the bulk of the group. From what I can see, Hisomu essentially lies on the opposite side of the same spectrum as Katsu. Hisomu derives his pleasure, and has an obsession with feeling pain, while Katsu could care less about feeling pain and considers it to be inconsequential to his being. Additionally, Hisomu and Nico are in a state of competition for being the biggest weirdos, as they both have an eccentric personality. In general, this series has paired up the characters, as shown above, except Katsu goes with Sonozaki.
I would like to tip my hat to the detail in cinematography and to the production in general. Kiznaiver is good at making use of it’s colorful, bold animation, and takes advantage of character expressions. This scene was not necessary to display the characters exchanging information, but the production crew took advantage of this chance and pushed the envelope. In this scene we get to see even more of the characters’ personalities than what what we would have gotten otherwise from a side view. Here, we get to see their personalities amplified.
Another detail I have to tip my hat to is the framing and use of angles in the scenes where the group hikes out to their destination. The animation allowed the anime to capture some of the emotions that radiate from the couples. For example, Hisomu and Nico are more adventurous, while Yuta and Honoka act far more concerned (over Hisomu). The emotional interactions between Chidori and Tenga, as well as Katsu and Sonozaki, are much harder to peg as one emotion or another.
Another thing this episode excelled in was creating specific relationships between couples by using creative animation and taking advantage of the odd mix of personalities. Obviously, Hisomu and Nico are both eccentrics, so they fit. Yuta is willing to accept/roll with Honoka’s terrible personality, which makes them pretty perfect. Katsu is sensitive and interested enough to realize that Sonozaki should be included, even if she isn’t a Kiznaiver. So that leaves Tenga and Chidori right? Nope. They are not just left together, they also fit quite logically. Tenga is perceptive enough to see all of the little things that Chidori does, which makes him interested in her. Chidori, although granted she does not like Tenga (YET), sees him as someone she can rely on, as shown by how she accepts his offer for help.
Episode 5 was a step up from the previous, in that it reached into the emotional domain that Kiznaiver has so graciously developed.
The first interesting thing that happened this episode was Honoka’s breakdown and the realization of Yuta’s disorder. Needless to say, all the the characters in this series are off by one degree or another. Yuta and Sonozaki, with exception to their minimal oddities were the most normal characters. Anyone who knows an actual human on a deeper level will know that humans are never “normal” and they they will always have a qualm or two. Let’s start with Honoka.
Honoka suffers from a condition of self loathing. It is not that she doesn’t care about herself at all, but rather her condition/personality is a result of her inability to love herself. Since Honoka is unable to love herself, which is the baseline for the ability to love, she is also unable to love anything. Even though Honoka passes her condition off as simply “not caring”, she is actually in great pain. The opposite side of love is hate; there is no in-between. Honoka essentially hates herself, and is trapped in an incurable circle of sabotaging herself, as shown by her attack on Yuta. Her actions translate to the notion that Honoka is trying to make herself “happy” by deriving physical pleasure, which is fleeting and unfulfilling.
Yuta is very similar to Honoka, except he has come up with a way to conquer his self-hatred. Yuta is unable to love himself when he is chubby, and even goes so far as to starve himself so he can be skinny and love himself. Honoka points out something very important, which is that Yuta took the time and care to prepare the food that he would not be able to eat. Yuta avoids troubling other people, and sneaks into the kitchen after hours. Despite how he comes off, Yuta is actually quite considerate of other people. Although this is not exactly the most amazing example of love, it does show that Yuta has compassion for others. The best example of Yuta’s self-love is when he is able to deny Honoka’s advances. If Yuta was as insecure and full of self-loathing as Honoka, he would have accepted and built upon her actions, all in the name of physical pleasure. Instead, he rejects her and is able to differentiate love and pleasure.
I would also point this to one of the reasons why Yuta is inherently unable to stand Hisomu. While Hisomu steals Yuta’s fan club and puts the group in potential danger, Yuta actually has a much deeper reason to dislike him. Hisomu relates to objects and other people solely through physical pleasure, which just happens to be pain for him. For Yuta, who was able to overcome his sole desire for pleasure (in the form of food) for the pursuit of love and happiness, Hisomu must come off as a pathetic human being. However, Hisomu and Honoka differentiate in a very specific, and very important way. Hisomu has accepted physical pleasure (or pain in his case) as the best good he can achieve. Hisomu could care less about pursuing love because he is satisfied with mere pleasure. On the other hand, Honoka’s personality (unnecessarily cruel and hateful) leads me to believe that she is not satisfied with her condition. Yuta is able to accept Honoka because she has not settled for her state of mind, and instead is caught in a vicious cycle of self loathing, that no doubt Yuta was once caught in. Alternatively, Hisomu is able to accept his condition, which was something Yuta was never able to do (as shown by his past and continued diet). This angers Yuta because he feels inferior to Hisomu for his lack of ability to accept the circumstances.
If I am being honest, the rest of the episode was either uninteresting, predictable, or contrived. Though I enjoy Tenga as a character, and love the way this production is making full use of his personality to help a sister out, Chidori is simply not a very interesting character to me. While the rest of the characters are very human-like in that they suffer from legitimate human complexes, Chidori just seems so dry in comparison. Also, the teachers don’t add very much to the story (with the exception of a plot device). I need not mention how pointless the two guys (ones who bullied Katsu) were to this storyline. Granted, that scene with Chidori and Katsu was supposed to be big and emotional, those two buffoons really could have been anyone and the effect would have been almost identical.
I hope you enjoyed my analysis on Kiznaiver this time around! I will be back next time with more writings on Kiznaiver for you! Happy anime hunting 🙂