「ひゃっほい, 合宿だぁ! 鹿のフン踏んで枕投げしてゴーゴー!」 (Hyahhoi, Gasshuku Daa! Shika no Fun Funde Makuranage Shite Go Go!)
“Wahoo! It’s a Training Camp! Let’s Step in Deer Poop and Have Pillow Fights! Go! Go!”
A lot of things going on this week—I’m just hoping it’ll all come to pay off.
This week, Kiznaiver finally decided to dial up the melodrama and deliver some more ambitious storytelling. At the core of the narrative lay the confounded romantic feelings of Chidori’s. As established at the end of last week’s episode, the girl has now teamed with Tenga in the pursuit of Katsuhira’s affections. This made for some fun comedy here and there, but eventually culminated into a surprisingly powerful finale. What was especially intriguing was the new aspect of the Kiznaiver mechanic that weaved itself into the narrative: the transfer of emotional agony.
This provides a whole bevy of storytelling potential for down the line. It was used wonderfully in this episode, though, to develop Chidori and Katsuhira’s relationship. As Chidori’s concluding speech made clear, the transfer of pain allowed her to understand and empathize with the suffering of her friend. It was the only way in which Chidori could directly empathize with Katsu. With the emotional empathy the Kiznaiver system now allows Katsu to break his callous exterior and truly understand the emotional care and hurt which Chidori expresses towards him. It was a surprisingly clever way to weave the show’s titular—and thus far underutilized—mechanic into the narrative. I can’t say I’m entirely pleased with catalyzing event being a simple, dumb misunderstanding, but nonetheless a strong and emotionally resonant development for these two characters.
If anything, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more interplay between Chidori and Tenga—their partnership is one that could shed a lot about both characters. I hope their little joint venture will continue for the coming weeks.
However, amidst the strength of the core storyline came a difficult-to-interpret flood of new information and developments. For example, what is the significance of the high school staff’s involvement in the story? They just sort of showed up, but no one was shocked or taken aback. Then the teacher started getting chippy with Tenga? What was the point of that, especially when we know literally nothing about his character? I realize that the show is revealing a little more behind-the-scenes with their inclusion—and that’s really interesting—but their introduction felt somewhat rushed and sloppily handled. Hopefully more will be made clear in coming episodes.
Furthermore, I understand that the writers are slowly building towards Maki’s big reveal—whatever it may be—but her erratic shift in disposition this week just felt really contrived and awkward. I think it’s especially disappointing because it throws a wrench in the really genuine friendship and connection that was starting to form between her and Yuta. I hope the writer still at least try to steer this development back on course.
Also, the rising action towards the series latter half definitely felt phoned in. I understand the need to raise stakes and excitement, but did the scene really serve any functional purpose? What exactly was the point of that test, especially because it really didn’t serve any actual physical threat? Was it all just to scare Chidori into an emotional confession? Did the teachers really plan for the confrontation between her and General School Bully #2 (who received a surprising bit of development this episode)? The plot just seems to nonsensically fall into place, with little to no explanation, rhyme, or reason.
Honestly a pretty cluttered episode. At its center sat a genuine, engaging narrative, but it was surrounded by so much noise—so much activity. I hope most of it pays off as the series continues, but for now, I’m hoping the narrative continues more focused and coherent. Hopefully other characters will get more attention.