Thoughts on Kiznaiver


If you’re someone who likes THE POWER OF EMOTIONS, you will definitely like Kiznaiver.

The mighty Trigger, the studio responsible for instant classics such as Kill la Kill and Inferno Cop, have come forth with another original work in the form of Kiznaiver, a series about seven kids who are joined together by a scar that allows each of them to feel the others’ pain. The best part? It’s all involuntary. The audience gets to watch as these members are kidnapped and tormented with tests pertaining to their new “ability” in order to grow closer to one another, despite the intentional choosing of seven completely different personalities.

The premise is deliciously noteworthy and the studio behind it has a tendency to go crazy upon execution. It has enough of a push to make anyone curious. Unfortunately, Trigger seemed to have tied their own hands behind their back, as after the first two episodes, the series becomes slow, tedious, and lacking in the energy that Trigger has shown to have in the past. In fact, it almost becomes the opposite of what Trigger series normally has. Broody, dark, serious, and oh, so angsty. I would almost go as far as to say Kiznaiver is “emo entertainment.” Lots of screaming, crying, questioning the impact of emotions and friendship on other people, and lots of confessions and dark desires. It’s a perfect blend of everything that makes pre-teen scene kids want to go on Tumblr and write cryptic poems about their horrible lives.

Moodiness isn’t always necessarily a problem, though. If the pacing is good, the characters are deep, and the situation is right, it could make a very powerful viewing. Kiznaiver has none of these. I’ll say right now: Kiznaiver should’ve been a two-cour series. With only twelve episodes to work with, and a premise as monumental and world-changing as the series tries to build it up to be, and the giant cast of characters, the pacing becomes sonic speed. It is rushed, rushed, rushed. The first few episodes introduce the concept of the Kizna system, which allows a group of people to feel each other’s pain, then tumbles into a slice-of-life/dramatic character study for… a few of the characters among the main cast. I can see it, the assembling of a much bigger and much more impactful story based around the strength of the characters and their inner passion. But it’s too soon! The focus is too scattered! The development of certain characters take too long! And by series’ end, everything feels random, abrupt, and it ends for the sake of wrapping up a failed project. It’s already suffering, let’s just put it out of its misery.

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Basically, lost potential. So much potential, only to have it poured into a series that isn’t sure what it wants to be or how to convey it. The debut episodes were interesting, but everything afterwards felt like crawling up a bumpy hill without the use of your hands, only to reach the top and immediately spiral downward into a ditch.

Even the art is tame. A specific character named Nico is the embodiment of Trigger’s suppressed creativity and whimsy, and she shows to be the Kiznaiver-equivalent of Mako from Kill la Kill… for a time. Even she falls prey to the overwhelming broodiness of the show’s latter-half tone. It’s sketchy for the most part, and can even come off as pretentious. Lots of images shown that don’t really mean anything or have any emotional impact for the viewer. The characters all look unqiue, but that’s all they really have going for them. It looks like Trigger without the energy. That wraps it up nicely.

There’s not much I can say that’s already been said. Lost potential, through and through. The ending episode was hilariously cheesy and the insistence on exuding emotions to solve the world’s problems is almost childish. The characters don’t feel like they’re ever really together and some of the characters aren’t even really there. The anime plays favorites with its cast. Most of all, the energy and fun shown in other Trigger shows decided to take a vacation. If this is all they can do without it, I won’t be so keen on checking out anything else they decide to release.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.