「せっかく繋がりあったんだしさもっとお互いわかりあおうよん」 (Sekkaku Tsunagari Attanda Shisa Motto Otagai Wakari Aou Yon)
“Now That We’re All Connected, Let’s All Get to Know Each Other Better, ‘Kay?”
This week’s all about the friendship baby.
Four episodes in, and Kiznaiver still hasn’t really established a general plot moving forward, but this isn’t entirely a bad thing. Sure the pacing is a little stilted and there’s practically no sense of momentum, but right now, it’s just fun getting to see these characters play with one another.
This week, the gang began adjusting to the inclusion of their seventh member. Despite some rough chemistry and stolen affections, Hisomu blends in pretty seamlessly with the crew. His sultry disposition and sensuous humor make for an enjoyable time, though going forward, I’m more looking forward to how he’ll be taken more seriously as a character. Despite his smooth transition into the group, he remains the odd man out, and for good reason I presume. Hopefully the show will touch more upon this in subsequent episodes.
In general, it was great fun seeing our main cast interact with one another. The big question this week was what the nature of their relationships were. We see them joke and tease one another on a pretty consistent basis, but how do they relate to one another as people? Do their bonds extend beyond the requisite humor? Can we consider these guys to be “friends?” The episode’s meandering plotlines and seemingly nonsensical developments all aim to make clear their overall dynamic. It’s never an easy task to balance this many characters on screen at once. It’s hard to allot each individual an equal amount of screen time and dialogue. So far Kiznaiver has done a surprisingly good job of doing this, as each individual carries with them a clear and vibrant personality.
More than this though, episode four makes remarkable strides of progressing towards a legitimate friendship between the protagonists. Throughout the episode, we truly got the impression that these guys are growing closer to one another. Yuta and Maki shared some honest moments between one another. Despite his flamboyant façade and his superficial ego, Yuta is a surprisingly perceptive fellow. He exposes this side to Maki, allowing them to partake in some legitimately intelligible observations about the Kiznaiver program, as well as the potential role of their newest recruit. They exchange honest commentary about themselves and about each other, conveying a sense of progress and familiarity between the former strangers.
The concluding moments shared between Tenga and Chidori were especially poignant. These are two characters that could not be more different—prior to the series, I doubt they ever even thought about being friends. However, by the end of this fourth episode, Tenga has finally caught on to her feelings towards Katsuhira, and generously offers his help on the matter. Though Chidori is quick to reject any notion of affection, she eventually relents and comes to him in a shocking moment of vulnerability. Both are now good friends enough to come together on a private and sensitive situation—it’s quite the step in their relationship. Moments like these filled the narrative this week, and illustrated the steady progress these forced acquaintances are making towards genuine friendship.
That being said, the series is suffering from a lack of focus. Despite all these great moments of character, there’s little indication of any driving plot. All we’ve really gotten are the faintest of flashbacks eliciting some larger backstory to the matter at hand. Furthermore, the titular Kiznaiver mechanic isn’t incorporated very well into the narrative—at least in recent episodes. I’m hoping that it plays a larger role in the plot—both in the catalyzing events and the character interactions. It’s looking like all this will change as the series goes forward, as the concluding developments throw a wrench into the mix of things.
Overall a strong contribution to the developing character dynamics. However, the series is in dire need of a more momentous plot and direction going forward.