When I heard that studio Trigger, the creators of Kill La Kill and Little Witch Academia, had a new show slated for release, I was beyond ecstatic! Kill La Kill did not “SAVE ANIME”, but it was badass and hilarious! Little Witch Academia was cute, fun, and super magical. So when I started watching Kiznaivers, the classic Trigger visuals were there, which exuded greatness, but unfortunately that’s the only connection I made with this anime.
One day, in the city of Sugomori, Noriko Sonozaki, an extremely mysterious girl recruits Katsuhira Agata for the Kizna project. This program links several people together by a wound implanted in their arm, and makes it so everyone’s pain is distributed evenly between them. Agata, along with six others were chosen for the program. They come from all different, and have a variety of personalities, beliefs, and styles. The group has to learn how to work together to complete challenges that test their mental and physical states, all while trying to figure out why this happened to them.
Kiznaviers is driven by characters, and how they react, develop, and build relationships with each other. Their interactions with each other are great, and actually pretty funny and entertaining. Other than that, the characters are flat and basic archetypes. To get my point across clearly, it reminds me of The Breakfast Club. This movie is about kids being forced together who are completely different and seemingly have nothing in common, but in the end become friends by bonding. In The Breakfast Club we find out about each person’s past, why they are the way they are, and we thus understand them better.
In Kiznaivers, some characters get that. We come to learn Honoka Maki, the stoic and shrewd girl, had a troubling past including her best friend’s death. But to be honest, with all the other characters, they get one or two defining traits and that’s all. Tsuguhito Yuta we learn was fat as a child, and is the reason why he is a control freak and womanizer as a teen. There is also Yoshiharu Hisomu, who, I’m not joking, all we know about him is that he enjoys the feeling of pain.
We get one little snippet of each character, one “cause” in their past and then one “effect” in their present. It’s not just the lack of character development and fleshing them out that bothers me, but more the inconsistency throughout the story. Either have them all be flat or all complex, but Kizaniver never sticks to one.
I do have to say, on a positive note, the character concepts are intriguing. That’s one of the big things that initially drew me into the show. They look cool and their personalities are all fun and wacky. But depth is not this shows forte, and the reality is it’s all pretty shallow.
The plot is fairly predictable. I believe myself to be a very gullible person, and usually I never know what is going to happen in shows, but I did. Being linked by physical pain, and then emotional pain was pretty easy to spot. Also, Agata’s lack of pain being connected to Sonozaki and her strange obsession with him, knew that was coming.
There was just lack of mystery. Plot was overall alright, but like I said before, the show isn’t about mystery or story, more based on character interactions.
The world of Kiznaivers is beautiful, bold, and crisp. In my opinion, the best visuals in Kiznaivers are when it comes to their character designs. Every single character has a unique and interesting look to them. The way they are designed complements each of their personalities and how they carry themselves. You have Nico Niiyama who is the eccentric fan girl who is super colorful and wacky. A lot of people who watch anime will be able to relate to her look and personality, as she is the quintessential weeaboo. It was great being able to look at a character and get a clear and immediate idea of who they were!
The intro and outro for Kizanivers is SO GOOD! The opening theme is Lay Your Hands On Me by Boom Boom Satellites. It has an electronic/techno vibe while also sounding very empathetic(if that makes any sense). The animation played alongside is super trippy, colorful and saturated, and looks like a kaleidoscope. It gets you pumped for the rest of the show!
The outro is Hajimari no Sokudo by Sangatsu no Phantasia. The outro is perfect because compared to the intro, it’s a lot softer and serine. It’s a nice song to wind down the episode and makes you reflect on what you just watched.
Both of these songs mimic what the show is about, connecting. Either on a physical or emotional level, the songs hit notes about being intertwined with another person and the pain, happiness, and responsibility that comes along with that.
They were both just perfect and a real highlight of the show.
This review might be a little on the short side and I think that itself is where the issue lies. This show should have been 20 or 24 episodes. It would have had more time for character development. They had the right building blocks and ideas to make the show great, just not enough time to develop them. Even with that said, I was entertained with the characters, visual, and music, and the show was short enough where I didn’t mind watching it the whole way through. I would say watch Kiznaivers if you are between anime and need a quick fix with some laughter, since this show is pretty funny but besides that, don’t go into it expecting something deep.