「好きな気持ちがむくわれないかもなんて重々承知の上だろ？」 (Suki na Kimochi ga Mukuwarenai kamo Nante Juujuu Shouchi no Ue daro?)
“You Knew Very Well That Your Romantic Feelings Might Be Unrequited, Right?”
Kiznaiver continues to impress with its latter half. The past couple of episodes have provided easily the series’ strongest emotional content. The titular mechanic has finally been put to good use, most clearly exampled in last week’s episode, which shook the foundation of the entire social dynamic. Physical pain was bad enough, but the openness and vulnerability that came with the exposure of deep, personal feelings proved too much to handle. Everyone seemed to give up on trying to make the best of the experiment—on being friends.
Now, at the end of summer, there seems to be no hope in repairing these fractures. The Kiznaiver program is over, and with it, any chance of being friends again. Each member of the cast is left emotionally eviscerated—especially those directly involved in the revealed feelings. The burden of forging true, transparent bonds is too frightening a prospect for these youngsters.
However, Katsuhira seemed less eager than everyone else. The devastating events which tore his friends apart was arguably catalyzed by himself. He needed to find a way to mend these broken bonds—to save his friends. It was up to him to fix things, even if he seemed the least qualified.
When Katsu discovers the secrets of his relation to Sonozaki and the experiments conducted unto the two as children, we learn of Sonozaki’s pivotal role in his life. She is his inverse, the way each of them interacts with the pain of the experiment is completely unlike the other. Sonozaki takes on others’ pain to an amplified degree, and thus must null her senses and emotions. Katsu, however, starts off in the way of the latter, and is trying his hardest to anulldequately carry the emotions of others—to understand and empathize on a fundamental level.
All this is learned in tandem with another crucial event—Tenga and Chidori’s meeting. As the latter is confronted by the former, she makes clear the kind of fear that all of the main cast is suffering from—the fear of transparency. Of vulnerability—of taking on the feelings of what is not yours. Really being friends involves offering up not only your own bare self, but also receiving a modicum of dark and twisted emotions—or taking on another’s pain. But why should we be burdened with what isn’t ours? Why should I share a little bit of your pain, especially when my own is bad enough? This is the kind of egocentrism which perhaps inevitable when becoming friends. However, they must all realize that it is a necessary and ultimately emotionally fulfilling exchange.
In the episode’s closing scene, Katsu witnesses the kind of life which this selfishness can produce. The other children of the experiment did not partake in sharing any of the pain—in keeping to themselves (not intentionally, I know, but within the confines of the experiment’s errors). This lines up directly with the decisions of the main cast—to keep to themselves and opt not to share each other’s feelings. With the kids, though, their isolation still entailed a mass amount of suffering for another individual involved. This shows that no matter what, it’s impossible to cut off ties cleanly. People still retain and hold onto their emotions. Merely cutting off those involved won’t do any good—in fact, it can often make things even more painful for those involved. Plus, those who choose to live in emotional isolation become hollow shells—represented in the soulless individuals who use to be Katsu’s friends. Without engaging in emotionally fulfilling bonds—without friends—we are left empty and silent. In realizing the importance of this emotional, two-way relationship, Katsu is overcome with emotion—the first time in the show’s history. He has finally taken his first leap in understanding friendship and empathy. His final cries are uncannily similar to the wailings of a newborn child—he has been reborn with the raw messiness and stupor of emotion. Now he’ll have to utilize these newfound faculties in repairing his friendships