Kiznaiver Ep. 11: How to human

Kiznaiver - 1109

It’s a good thing this anime is so pretty, because the story is so stupid. 

— In the cold opening, Noriko narrates to the audience. She tells us how she used to be all by her lonesome at the testing facility, but one day, a bunch of kids showed up. We know, of course, that this story eventually ended in tragedy, but at the time, Noriko and the other kids became fast friends. Everyone played together, everyone ate together, everyone slept together. They had so much fun that, as a young child, Noriko wished that those days could last forever. Now, imagine this very same opening without her narration. Nothing would change. The opening still would have made perfect sense.

If anything, the anime would engage the audience even more, because we’d now have to pay close attention to the images and the dialogue in order to glean the same information. I’m suggesting that the narration is completely unnecessary, and this is just one of the many examples where less is more. As a medium, anime seems to have an over-reliance on inner monologues and disembodied narration for no particular reason. Like why is she even giving this narration? Who is she talking to? Is she talking to herself, writing in a diary, or breaking the fourth wall completely? Or maybe — just maybe — we could just rely on the images and the dialogue to tell the story? Just a thought.

— I like the framing here.

Kiznaiver - 1106

— On their way home from the facility, Nico makes a rather commonsensical suggestion to Katsuhira and Hisomu. After all, they’re no longer linked by the Kizna system. If they want to share their feelings, they have to, well, do it themselves. That seems reasonable. In fact, that’s what we’ve been doing since the dawn of humanity. But that’s the bizarre thing about Kiznaiver. The show’s production values and presentation make it seem as though the anime should be more poignant, more profound, more meaningful than it really is. But at its core, it’s just a story about a bunch of high school kids learning the true meaning of friendship and basic human empathy.

— I also like this shot.

— Later that night, Katsuhira leaves Chidori a voicemail. He finally understands how painful it was for her to stand by his side. Remember when he broke down crying at the sight of his former friends? He can’t help but imagine that she must see him the same way he sees those five catatonic human dolls. He now realizes how much she was trying to protect him. That’s great. He finally understands her feelings. But why does it have to be this difficult? Why do we have to cook up some convoluted scenario involving unethical experiments in order for generic emotionless anime archetype no. 274445 to finally put himself in generic childhood friend love interest no. 683456’s shoes?

Kiznaiver - 1113

— Shortly after listening to Katsuhira’s message, Chidori finally understands what Tenga was getting at in last week’s episode. Oh man, empathy is so hard.

— Hisomu’s character is not very consistent. When they were trapped in the school, he reopened Maki’s old wounds and hurting the girl just for his own pleasure and amusement. But now, he’s apparently an understanding and supportive friend for Katsuhira.

— Did he learn something from that tumultuous night? Or is Hisomu just not a well-developed character? Ever since the start of the anime, he’s been a wild card, and it’s no different now. He just does whatever the story needs him to do. The plot needed him to stir shit up a couple of weeks ago, and that’s what he did. And now, he’s like the best bud Katsuhira can have. It’s just silly.

— Elsewhere, the mayor tells the two researchers that they need to do something drastic. They’re outta time, blah blah blah, we don’t want Noriko and the other kids to be put on display to the world, yadda yadda yadda. Obviously, the mayor is just thinking about himself. After all, if the world finds out about the Kizna system, is it necessarily bad for Noriko and the other kids, or is it necessarily bad for the mayor? The answer is pretty obvious.

Kiznaiver - 1118

— The following day, Noriko shows up to school. Katsuhira takes this opportunity to have a private chat with the girl. He thinks she’s asking for his help, but she calls him an imbecile instead. She claims instead that what she really wants is for everyone to share their pain instead of shouldering it alone. Why not both?

— The anime is beautiful, but Tenga’s shadow is not beautiful. Sorry, bud.

— Afterwards, Katsuhira calls a meeting with the rest of his friends. He begins to talk, and it’s kind of a rambling mess, but don’t take that as criticism. The kid is being emotional for once, so I don’t have a quibble with this part. The takeaway is that they had already been friends since the start of the summer.

— But more importantly, he’s really, really sad that he had forgotten about his old friends from the facility. Seeing and hearing Katsuhira’s pain, everyone else starts to feel a pain in their chest as well. B-b-but I thought they weren’t connected by the Kizna system anymore! Uh, maybe it’s called empathy? Maybe it’s called being a human? I mean, holy shit, why is this a strange concept? Haven’t you guys ever seen a sad movie before and felt sad? It’s not because you were connected with the movie!

Kiznaiver - 1126

— And this is exactly what Urushi tells them. The Kizna system can’t keep them connected for a long period of time. So when they felt Katsuhira’s pain, they were just empathizing with him. And congratulations, she says, because they’ve proven that… empathy is possible even without the Kizna system. Haha, what? Like, what is this? Did the Kizna system somehow made them forget what it is like to feel other people’s pain, and as a result, they had to relearn one of the very basic things about being a human?

— Noriko might have heard one of those catatonic kids say something. Or maybe she merely imagined it. Who knows! Gosh, isn’t this exciting? All of a sudden, Noriko can be heard through the city’s speaker system. It’s the same as before: she wants everyone to share their pain. Look, don’t bear the burden of your pain by yourself. We’re a community! We’re family! We can help each other! So again, she climbs atop that structure, and opens her arms wide to the world. She invites everyone to bond with her.

— Again, Kiznaiver is lucky it’s so pretty, because it’s such a dumb show. Even little kids have basic understanding of empathy. Babies understand empathy. But somehow, it’s something these high school kids don’t quite understand. Instead, they need to slowly stumble upon it as if they’re unearthing some sort of grand epiphany.

Kiznaiver - 1128

— Semi-unrelated rant time: you could even argue that in our digital world, where information can be exchanged almost instantaneously, we’re sharing too much. Every little stupid thing that bothers me is now being broadcast to people from all around the world. And people who read my inane me-me-me rants proceed to tell me how they totally get me, how they totally relate to me, how they understand me. There’s a club for every weirdo out there in the world. So no, I don’t think the problem is that we don’t empathize with each other enough. It’s that we have too many people legitimizing our issues, big or small, and it’s having the adverse effect. We never grow as people, because every perceived slight is interpreted as a deliberate attack, so we just retreat to our safe and sterile echo chambers and hugboxes.

6 thoughts on “Kiznaiver Ep. 11: How to human

  1. Karandi

    You’ve nailed why Kiznaiver just isn’t going to be a great show. There is nothing to be gained from this story. The experiment didn’t teach them anything they couldn’t have figured out without a few moments of actual clear thinking or someone very carefully explaining reality to them. And they talk, a lot.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jona

    This show is a huge disappointment but I feel like it’s worth it with the hilarious reviews like this. I love how they are suddenly pretending everyone could not feel empathy without the system and making a huge deal about it. Okada has outdone herself this season.

  3. ioncarryon

    “It’s that we have too many people legitimizing our issues, big or small, and it’s having the adverse effect. We never grow as people, because every perceived slight is interpreted as a deliberate attack, so we just retreat to our safe and sterile echo chambers and hugboxes.”

    One thing we learned early on in Psych back when I went to college was that the then only fledgling notion of rampant “trigger warnings” was akin to blaring a car horn at an easily startled kitten– it’s abuse.

    The way for a victim of trauma to overcome their trauma (or as I call it, triumph over their trauma) is to slowly be exposed on a natural level to the things which legitimately trigger them. Over time, on even terms, they will eventually be capable of watching or reading even the most horrific tale without feeling the agony of scars long-gone flashing before them.

    It is healthier to NOT legitimize our issues in this way, giving power to the very thing you want to dis-empower, to weaken, until you are able to step over it. The more often to tell someone RAPE RAPE THERE’S RAPE HERE AND THERE AND IT’S RAPE RAAAAAAPE the more someone will begin to genuinely believe that rape is everywhere, in everything, and so
    1. the world is out to get them
    2. they must avoid absolutely everything
    3. when they DO come across something that does not align with their retarded (literally “held back/stunted”) sensibilities they will genuinely be hurt very, very badly
    It’s all that much worse when the people we speak of are people who have *experienced no trauma* and the issues they face are as petty and vague as *microaggressions*.

    TL;DR Hugboxes are psychologically dangerous and rampant trigger-warning are abuse to anyone who legitimately has PTSD, not to mention the vicious selfishness of those who cloak themselves in supposed victimhood just to gain attention (the next best thing to a soul devoid of affection).

    I agree with your assessment, at least in our generation today. C.S.Lewis once said


    Essentially that evil is merely a corruption or perversion of what is good. Empathy is indeed wonderfully good! However, today with the advent of publicizing as well as politicizing every aspect of our lives we find not sincere sympathy and empathy but the decay, the mold which so many attention seekers have taken to festering in. Worst part is, I have no idea what will stop it.

  4. Aegaeon

    “This anime is beautiful”
    Oh please. Sure, the director goes out of his way to try and make some interesting shots but a lot of the time you have unfinished, out of focus art (like with one shot with Noriko lacking shading during her conversation with Katsuhira) and people standing around not being drawn properly in the right perspective. It might be new territory for Trigger but they’ve fallen into the same traps as their last productions.


Please refrain from posting spoilers or using derogatory language. Basically, don't be an asshole.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.