「てんな異常事態力ソタソに飲みてめんならバリウきバケツ二杯は軽く余裕芒つつ一の」 (Ten’na ijoo jitai-ryoku sotaso ni nomite men’nara bariuki baketsu ni-pai wa karuku yoyū susukitsutsu ichi no)
“If You Can Swallow a Bizarre Situation Like This So Easily, Two Buckets of Barium Shouldn’t Be a Problem”

An effective, if on-the-nose, introduction for our main cast and things to come.

Last week I raved on about the storytelling and character potential Kiznaiver showcased in its initial outing. That put the impetus on the show’s sophomore episode to deliver on that promise, and really give us a taste of what’s to come. I’m happy to report that, for the most part, this week’s Kiznaiver mostly makes good on this.

Fun Cast

First and foremost, this episode means to familiarize us with its main cast. Last episode, we only got brief glimpses into their personalities, but now we’re granted a little deeper insight into how these characters function. The episode’s “mission”-structured narrative allows for some quick-paced revelation about some these guys’ most shameful secrets. We learn that the tough and macho Tenga is deathly afraid of dogs, the dashing Yuta was once a pudgy, unaesthetic blob of a child, and so on. In each case, we’re introduced to both the character’s outer personalities, as well as their secret insecurities. We get to know about these characters pretty intimately because we’re exposed to a side of them they don’t let show to anybody else. From Tenga’s inner weakness to Yuta’s petty image-problems, we get to see them when they’re most vulnerable. The episode’s premise allows for easy access into the depths of their personalities, allowing us to quickly become comfortable with them.

One might however suggest that this level of familiarization felt a little too fast-paced in the episode—that the development wasn’t occurring organically. While I did get this vibe every now and then, I actually think this grants an impressive level of immersion. These characters are forced to pry open their facades and expose their true selves—not a comfortable process by any stretch of the imagination. Individuals contrived into exposing themselves, leaving others in the room feeling a bit embarrassed at getting to know strangers so quickly. The viewer in turn feels unnerved or awkward when this occurs, drawing us right into the tone of the episode and the feelings of its characters.

The Revelation

The episode’s third act is especially powerful in this regard. Kiznaiver’s first episode made pretty blatant Chidori’s tsundere sensibilities towards Katsuhira, which undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows. What’s a girl like her see in a void of a person like Katsuhira? How long will they stretch this arc out until it gets truly unbearable? Will this inevitable love confession become the season’s climactic moment? This week’s episode answered all these questions by blowing them out of the water.

In a move that I absolutely did not see coming, Chidori confesses to Katsuhira in just the second week of the show’s run. Not only this, but the confession entailed more about the Chidori and her inner turmoil than you could expect. Instead of pining for Katsuhira’s baseless, wimpy personality, she professes her feelings for his former self. This realistically established the attraction she felt towards him—as one of longing for a person that once was but no longer is. She remains attached t him on hope that the individual she fell in love with will return once again. It’s really a powerful testament to her character and her personal tendencies. The whole scene completely laughed in the face of my expectations for yet another clichéd and unconvincing romance—not played up for romance, but solid character development.

Katsuhira’s development also resonated greatly this episode, despite a lack of screen time. Chidori’s confession struck a chord in the guy—finally he realizes that he’s an important person in someone else’s life. Someone has found their existence within him, which is to say that someone relies on him in defining their own self. Prior to this, Katsuhira mentions that the only time he’s been physically close to someone before is when they were beating him up. The only form of intimacy he’s experienced is one based in hostility and alienation. Thus, Chidori’s revelation finally ignites some level of happiness and emotion in him at the prospect of positive, emotional intimacy with another person. He’s vilified—no doubt the first step towards fleshing out his character.

Expressive Visuals

I once again have to bring attention to the phenomenal animation Kiznaiver once again showcases—it played a crucial part in painting the personalities of these characters. Visual quirks and flairs add a whole ‘nother level of characterization and color, complementing perfectly the narrative developments.

The Verdict

A really strong way to deliver on the promises of the first episode. Kaiznaiver’s second installment features a promising cast of characters, allowing for deeper insight into their personalities and true selves, while still leaving the door open for further development. The tone and narrative structure was far more concrete and the show’s future from here on out was far clearer. Was the episode’s premise a little too direct of an approach to introduce its characters? Perhaps, but the method was effective nonetheless. Following the episode’s cliffhanger, I’m nothing but excited for what’s to come.




  1. I’ve had Barium multiple times, and let me tell you, it’s not a walk in the park in any stretch of the imagination. So this title is just plain epic, in my opinion. The best title I’ve seen in years.

    Besides that note, excellent episode, great execution in my opinion, good character development, and can’t wait for what happens next week!

  2. I didn’t like it cause it was fast-paced. I didn’t like it because they injected comedy into segments that shouldn’t have been played up for comedy — Yuta’s especially was so trivial and unemotional. It feels like Trigger is purposefully making this show wacky, because it’s Trigger and they feel obligated to make it as weird as they can.

  3. This whole episode gives me flashes of The Breakfast Club. I am warming up to the cast! 😀

    I really wish that girl would have more emotion. She isn’t interesting in the slightest and just seems like she’s included to advance the story for other characters, and her being the reason for this entire plot happening only makes that more important. Right now I wanna smack her upside the head.

  4. The colorful cast of characters, the emotionally charged storytelling, the gorgeous fluid animation, and the good sense of comedic timing make this show a no brainer to enjoy. I’m so excited!

  5. Feels like some great animation and music and some pretty good VAs being let down by some a plot that can’t decide if it’s drama or comedy.

    It kinda feels like the protagonists are that girl at the bottom of the hole who doesn’t want to put on more lotion in Silence of the Lambs.

  6. I’m actually wondering when they’ll reveal the whole purpose of setting up the Kiznaiver system. The content still seems aimless at the moment and I was hoping that this episode would look into it after the lackluster first ep. :/

  7. I get a Kokoro Connect vibe from this (doesn’t mean this is inferior, this could be much better). Some younguns get thrown into a series of plot device to make a literal forced drama, which let them interact much closer and show their hidden sides to each other. The only difference is that this time it’s scifi shenanigans instead of magical shenanigans, and this one might have an actual man made purpose.

    I’m not sure if I like this or not from the first episode, but the second sold me. I hope it will keep getting better, but so far I think it has the potential depth needed for it. Only the execution remains.

  8. I can´t belive how they pull off this second episode, the first intrudoctions were pure comedy gold: the strong guy that is secretely a coward, the cuculander that turns out to be an even bigger cuculander, the cassanova with some serious self-steem problems; then things get really emotional with Chidori breaking apart and giving Katsuhira some light to fill that void that he has become. But because all that was not enough Honoka drops the bomb at the very end.

    P.S.: Makes me wonder who is the one that will restore Katshira´s humanity, because I don´t think I can call him completely human as he is right now, Chidori would be safest bet but the crazy Exdeath expy seems to know a few things about him as well.

  9. The fact that this system doesn’t necessarily grant them special powers and they’re still your ordinary average teenager just kinda makes it all interesting where it would go. I’m also sold by the animation and colourful visuals as mentioned.

  10. Sorry, I don’t do well with dictator-like “Tell us your secret secret or else everybody gets punished.” I’m picking up Saw (the torture movie series) vibes. The mayor looks like the dictator too when he says “Hurry up and make our perfect world.” You can’t force people to be nice, lots of experiments have proven that. You’re exerting an outside force on an inner personality. You can put them under surveillance and negative reinforcement all you want, but as soon as the control slips the real people are coming out.


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