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Kiznaiver – 09

「万事休す……かしら」 (Banjikyuusu……kashira)
“It’s All Over……I Think”

Reason is a slave to the passions.

This week’s Kiznaiver delivered on all the goods. The series paid off on several previously developing character dynamics for an emotionally profound episode. Furthermore, the events were both narratively and thematically tied into the titular Kiznaiver mechanic—finally playing an integral part in the story.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the most fascinating aspects of these character relationships is how forced they are. Now I don’t mean this in a bad way at all—I’m in fact praising the show for poking and prodding at the conventional relationship developments.

Usually shows will attempt to progress their friendships and romances at organic, and realistic rates. However, with the show’s central Kiznaiver mechanic—and general scientific experiment context—these characters are refused this privilege. Higher powers will frequently forcefully expedite or guide the advancement of their bonds, attempting to control many facets of their connections. As a result, the series brings up many critical questions concerning the way in which we grow close to one another. And in the story, we get to see how many of these incidents play out, as characters emotions are completely scrambled—played with, thrown to the winds of fate. In more recent episodes, it’s made for some intensely engaging television. However, much of it has neglected to integrate the central mechanic in a critical way.

This week’s installment taps into that same quality of storytelling, while also finally incorporating the Kiznaiver function in a thematically resonant manner. The episode starts off by blowing all romance-conventions out of the water, as the Kiznaiver mechanic (and Sonozaki) forces feelings an confessions out in the open, breaking the group apart and sending all emotions into flux. If in any other situation, these burgeoning sentiments might have had a chance. The other party in question could’ve very likely come around if the right moves were made and the proper signals were broadcasted. But they’re thrown out into the open, they’re doomed for failure, and characters are forced to deal with this awkward, stilted flow of relationships.

What was most fascinating, though, was the newest feature of the Kiznaiver distribution system. Now instead of mysterious, discreet moments of emotional or physical pain, the characters now explicitly come in contact with each other’s deepest, inner feelings. Nothing is hidden anymore—everything is completely out in the open.

This leads to particularly interesting encounter between Katsu and Chidori. An arguably key component of interacting with people is the amount of risk involved, especially in the case with romance. When we endeavor to make a joke, or even a move, we are taking a risk. The logistics of this involve weighing the potential reward—connecting with this other person—over the possibility of cold, rejection. It is on the agent to consider these variables before deciding to go through with his action. It is this sometimes quick, but occasionally thorough and drawn out thought process that perhaps justifies acquiring the benefits—making a friend, getting the girl, etc.

However, as Chidori’s feelings are clearly telegraphed to Katsu, does he deserve whatever connection he receives from her by making entailing actions towards her? By knowing everything the other individual is thinking or feeling—by eliminating all risk—can we justifiably make connections? Is this sense of “risk” merely an antiquated convention? If this transparency is achieved in the future through advancements in technology, can relationships develop organically? Interesting questions to think about.

Well as Chidori’s subsequent sentiments make clear, peoples’ hearts are not bounded by any sense of rationale. They never know what they want—they’re never appeased. As Hume once said (uh oh, pretentious writer alert), our reason is subservient to our passions. Our feelings never operate under any notions of logic. Even as Katsu embraces Chidori (as she seemingly desired) she reacts with further disapproval and rejection. The heart doesn’t know what it wants—it doesn’t know what’ll make it happy, even when it stares it right in the face.

By the end of the episode, nothing is hidden anymore with these characters. They’re broken and torn as conflicting feelings rage infernos in their hearts. They can’t take this kind of openness—this vulnerability. However, I think the series is trying to tell us that true friendship is defined by this kind of all-encompassing transparency. Connecting with another person entails opening yourself up to them—making a risk and revealing an often hidden or vulnerable side of yourself. The Kiznaiver has done a hell of a messy job accomplishing this among the main cast, but now there’s nothing about them that any of them doesn’t know about. This is what it truly means to bonded to each other.

However, it’s often not a fun time. When you put yourself—you’re true self—out there, you’re risking it all. You’re putting yourself on the line. You’re committing and investing your own emotions in another person. You’re far more susceptible to hurt and pain when all facades come crashing down. As Sonozaki explains, “The rain is almost over.” Friendship—true friendship—isn’t a grand ol’ time in the sun. More often than not, it’s a gloomy and all-encompassing downcast, as people come to grips dealing not only with their own despair and pain, but another’s as well. Characters like Maki give up in despair and conclude that such friendship cannot persist—too frightened, weak, and scarred to continue.

However, as these characters reach their lowest low—as they come to grips with each other’s anguish and brokenness—they must rise again. They must realize that entrusting yourself to other people is an unrivaled emotionally fulfilling experience. That’s perhaps how Katsu will go on from here. In his past experience with the program, Sonozaki catalyzing the devastation of their social circle. Katsu has done the same this time around, but he must learn from Sonozaki’s mistake and overcome his emotional callousness. If he had been more cognizant, maybe he could have better handled Chidori’s unrequited feelings and prevent this whole debacle from unfolding. I’m not entirely sure quite he might accomplish this, but it’s time for to come through and revive his group’s messy, but genuine friendship.

 

Preview

June 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm
27 comments »
  • June 4, 2016 at 2:42 pmyoloalchemist

    I turned into such an emotional wreck at the end of this episode that I had to watch an episode of Shokugeki No Souma (my favorite recent comedy anime) afterwards.

    Where is this gonna go from now on? I have no idea.

    • June 4, 2016 at 2:55 pmyoloalchemist

      Not that it wasn’t good. It was spectacular.

  • June 4, 2016 at 2:51 pmPega

    This was the strongest episode so far, well played Trigger.

  • June 4, 2016 at 2:57 pmLyfe

    It’s a shame this series will never get the acclaim Kill La Kill received. It’s arguably one of the strongest anime shows of the Spring season. Easily top 3 for me.

  • June 4, 2016 at 5:22 pmsonicsenryaku

    Im sorry….but this episode was sooooo mediocre in my opinion. So much forced melodrama; so much poorly executed angst (angst is not bad if done right); bland mc’s emotional connection with bland esdeath does not make for any type of emotional resonance with me; and that scene in the end with everyone’s heart constantly screaming it hurts…was that supposed to the apex of this emotional climax??? that was the last straw for me. I think what bumps me out most of all is that mari okada has not evolved as a writer. Her attempts at character depth all come off as sophomorish attempts at seeming intelligent. It’s almost as if she has a hard time writing earned character drama. Oh well; im sure im in the minority on this one. I can see why people would praise this as a phenomenal ep but it just didnt work for me at all

    • June 4, 2016 at 6:33 pmyoloalchemist

      Fair enough. Though I think you are not in a minority, because even though I quite like what Kiznaiver is doing, like Mayoiga from this season (also written by Okada), I think this series also tends to be a hit-or-miss with its plot, because I myself don’t like Mayoiga.

      To be honest, unlike Katsuhira, I think so far Sonozaki hasn’t had any merit in terms of her character. So when you say “bland mc’s emotional connection with bland esdeath does not make for any type of emotional resonance with me”, perhaps she is to blame in this case, because as far as I can tell, Katsuhira’s development is great. Perhaps her character’s purpose isn’t for personal development unlike Katsuhira, but for advancing the plot as was displayed in this episode, and I admit that’s not such a likable tactic for her character, especially in such a character-driven story.

      But other than that, it’s hard to say whether or not all this emotional turmoil will have a satisfying payoff in the end. We’ll to wait and see because episode after episode, the series keeps reminding us that the end result will be what matters most. Though hopefully the end result will be one that will shut down the project forever so that no one else will go through what these people did.

      • June 4, 2016 at 6:44 pmsonicsenryaku

        hmmm, i guess we’ll see; you do make some good points tho. If anything, this ep at least clarified (with a sledgehammer over the viewer’s head) why the kizna system can be unpredictably erratic and perhaps not the solution to world peace and human understanding that some thought it would be

    • June 5, 2016 at 6:10 amMarty

      I think I agree with your assessment on this. I’ve come to think of this show as okay, but this one was just pushing all the wrong buttons for me. It felt even more melodramatic then usual and this episode’s usage of the character thanks to green haired sensei made me really feel a disdain for this whole experiment (I’ve felt so before, but now even more so).

      And yes, Tenga was insufferable as well with his hypocrisy, but at least I can buy that, because that was the whole point.

      This should have felt like one of the emotional highlights, but as stated before, it dropped the ball.

      Only good take away I can think of is what somebody else already mentioned, in that due to the nature of the experiment the usual status quo is broken through all the time.

    • June 5, 2016 at 7:46 amcapcrunch

      If you like the premise and want something executed a little better, in my opinion, you should check out Kokoro Connect. Personally, I think they overdo everything here, but I suppose that’s sort of Trigger’s modus operandi.

    • June 12, 2016 at 12:17 pmRequiem

      Yeah, I too felt like there was plenty of forced melodrama, not to mention most of them stem from feelings of unrequited love, which I feel is stupid as hell (probably because I’ve never been in love before so I can’t relate at all). I’m still pretty disappointed with this show and enjoy Mayoiga more as that’s entertaining. I just hope the show actually explains how this whole kizna experiment actually helps/promotes/leads to world peace or something because I have no idea how having everyone connected or understanding each other’s feelings will lead to peace.

  • June 4, 2016 at 9:33 pmAzsurance

    Did anyone else felt as though it was Anohana all over again?

    Even after the supposed climax episode of the series, I still had zero idea how the kiznaiver project attempts to “promote peace”?

  • June 4, 2016 at 9:52 pmBBQ

    That was a good episode. The scene when Chidori’s heart called Kacchon cruel for holding her was especially powerful. Really nothing Kacchon could have done as he was in a lose-lose situation.

    Also not too happy with Sonozaki intentionally hurting everyone for the sake of the Kizna experiment. Hope Kacchon gives her a piece of his mind again.

    • June 4, 2016 at 10:30 pmcryarc

      This time it’s clearly the green haired cold hearted teacher’s fault, both Sonozaki and Urushii tried to stop it. It won’t be that bad if that guy didn’t peek and deliberately shown Sonozaki and Katsuhira’s conversation to everybody else. I can also state that this time even Sonozaki is a victim, it’s clear that she’s not planning any of the chaos happening here, she’s not asking that teacher to show their conversation and she doesn’t even know Katsuhira looking for her.

      • June 5, 2016 at 10:27 amBBQ

        It was from my understanding that she knew exactly what she was doing.

        Last episode after being told that Kacchon had romantic feeling for her, she clearly said that she was going to head over to give a little push to ensure the experiment succeeds. By heading over there she instigated the chain of events which eventually resulted in everyone being able to hear each other’s hearts, making the experiment a success. Sonozaki appeared to be much more interested that they could hear each other’s hearts then the melodrama unfolding before her.

  • June 5, 2016 at 2:34 amdanny

    No matter how other people may feel about this show: love it, like it, meh it or hate it, the way it is dealing with stereotypical love polygons is absolutely hilarious and ensures I’ll forgive it for the drawn out melodrama of the “it hurts” scene.

    This ep just sledgehammered through those delicate glass constructions and makes me want to see how they’ll all deal with it.

  • June 5, 2016 at 2:36 amKabble

    Tenga was insufferable this episode.
    I get all the talk about feelings being irrational and whatnot, but what the hell was that this episode?
    His hypocrisy is killing me. Jealous Chidori likes Katsu instead of him (even though he knew this in advance) while entirely ignoring the piss out of Nico even though she likes him.
    Yet he berates Katsu for ignoring Chidori’s feelings.
    Le sigh.

    • June 5, 2016 at 9:31 amSpike

      That’s kinda the point. Tenga gets pissed at Katsu for hurting the girl he loves but his hypocrisy becomes evident when its revealed Tenga is hurting Nico. The show is trying to make the point that first and foremost even in relationships we are thinking about ourselves and not coming to a full understanding of others. That’s what the Kizna plan is trying to remedy.

      • June 5, 2016 at 12:57 pmKabble

        Considering the show is a giant ball of melodrama I do know that’s the point.
        Doesn’t mean he isn’t insufferable. Le sigh

  • June 5, 2016 at 5:00 amricz

    I’m really enjoying this series

    Still kinda curious on what really happen w/ kacchon and sonozaki in the past

    I guess next episode is for them to fix their problem and the last two will focus w/ the two..at least that’s what I’m hoping

  • June 5, 2016 at 5:44 amdean

    So, could it be that the female teacher has a thing for Sonozaki?

    • June 5, 2016 at 10:49 pmEcho

      I was given the impression or from what was implied that Nori-Chan was her daughter.

  • June 5, 2016 at 9:04 amstarss

    Since when did anyone ever have feelings for Tenga?? I must’ve missed all the signs.

    • June 7, 2016 at 6:26 amdefunkt_bots

      I agree, that ship was safely stowed in the harbour as far as i could tell. They gave Nico and Maki more dev time…

      I sense it was put together in order to drive home the fairly sizable plot bludgen about emotional hypocrisy..

      that said, I feel what most characters… (while spending an age berating Katsuhiro) have failed to observe his almost total blank zone when dealing with emotional interaction. They are all pushing their emotions onto him and he doesn’t seem to understand. The fact that none of them seem to see this is tantamount to DUUUUUUUUHHHHHH!

  • June 6, 2016 at 6:31 amarya

    the music this episode was amazing

  • June 7, 2016 at 11:33 amhaseo0408

    After all the destruction of this episode I have to say that I hate Sonozaki more than ever, she broke them apart for her own selfish ends, like guinea pigs and justleft them there. I don´t care if she has a good reason for it, I don´t care if she suffered a lot in the past, she´s absolute scum.

  • June 7, 2016 at 8:54 pmsealouse

    I still don’t get it. This show is so predictable too. Anyway I hope there will be a fitting end for the people behind such a cruel experiment.

    • June 8, 2016 at 11:30 pmhaseo0408

      And I hope that includes Sonozaki, no matter what her reasons are nothing justifies this much suffering.