Kiznaiver Series Review: Share Their Pain

This is part of a series of re-posts of older reviews on 100 Word Anime. The original review came out in June 2016 and can be found here.

When I first watched Kiznaiver I was overwhelmed at the end by a feeling of utter disappointment. Revisiting it two years on, the issue I found was that neither the emotional highs or the parts that didn’t quite work, managed to really have any impact. Without the novelty of being something new and shiny to watch, this show really did fall fairly flat and given I so rarely hear about it in chatter, I’m guessing most other people swiftly forgot about it. However, with a few edits, I’m pretty much standing behind my review from last time, so here it is.

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Review:

I’m going to admit, there are moments of Kiznaiver that are amazing. There are some superb emotional moments (that hit hard the first time at least) for the characters where the audience really feels for the character and everything just hits that absolutely perfect note where you are blown away by the power of that moment in the story. Or at least the melodrama of the moment.

However, these moments are framed by utter and complete moments of rubbish that are even harder to swallow when you  know they are coming. For a story about a science experiment allowing the group to share their pain, very little ultimately feels well thought out or controlled and you can’t really ever believe that such an experiment would be allowed to occur which kind of pokes a whole bunch of  holes in the believability of the story before you even get going.

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The first two episodes of this series introduces most of the cast. Another group member is introduced late seemingly because the writers couldn’t think of anything else exciting for their plot twist of the week other than sending the characters on a scavenger hunt for a missing member. While some people quite like these characters, I find the majority of them too stupid for words and generally don’t care enough about them to be caught up in whatever personal drama they are currently experiencing. The second time through it gets worse because even knowing their back-stories, some of their actions don’t make a lot of sense and the idea that the character are incredibly dense seems truer than ever.

That said, it shows the strength of Kiznaiver when it gets it right that it managed to bring me back into the story and the characters for those moments when it really mattered. The two episodes that focus on Honoka and Yuta remain my favourites of this series. While it might be a contrived drama at best, at least it is a contrived drama that managed to land its mark.

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I remain very much in favour of the soundtrack for this anime. The OP is fantastic and was one of my favourites when it came out, and the rest of the music works very well. The character designs and the general look of the show definitely work and work very well. Even after two years this anime still holds up and its appearance and soundtrack are going to age very well.

Too bad about the plot and some massive issues with the basic premise. Even if we overlook the unexplained science that allows the experiment to work and pain to actually be shared between characters, there’s still the matter of who is in charge of this experiment and the question of why that was ever allowed. It really doesn’t make any sense and the conclusion is very much a shout-fest that relies entirely on the power of friendship and the thin hope that the audience is so swept up in emotion that they don’t ask for an actual explanation.

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I know some people have really loved this series and if you don’t reject the power of friendship as a plot saving solution it can actually work. However, it didn’t really click with me when it first aired or now.

What are your thoughts on Kiznaiver?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Kiznaiver Series Review

Overview:

Katsuhira can’t feel pain and doesn’t know why. This apparently makes him the target of bullies and an obsessive child-hood friend. However, Katsuhira and six of his classmates are used in an experiment to join their pain and begin a journey of emotional self-discovery.

I did review this week to week so if you want to know thoughts on individual episodes, click here.

Review:

I’m going to admit, there are moments of Kiznaiver that are amazing. There are some superb emotional moments for the characters where the audience  really feels for the character and everything just hits that absolutely perfect note where you are blown away by the power of that moment in the story.

These are framed by utter and complete moments of rubbish.

The first two episodes of this series introduces most of the cast. Another group member is introduced late seemingly because the writers couldn’t think of anything else exciting for their plot twist of the week other than sending the characters on a scavenger hunt for a missing member. While some people quite like these characters, I find the majority of them too stupid for words and generally don’t care enough about them to be caught up in whatever personal drama they are currently experiencing.

That said, it shows the strength of Kiznaiver when it gets it right that it managed to bring me back into the story and the characters for those moments when it really mattered. The two episodes that focus on Honoka and Yuta remain my favourites of this series.

I’m going to just break the rest of my points into the positives and negatives of this series.

Positives:

  • It’s beautiful.
  • At times the emotional payoff is worth the effort.
  • The sound track is fantastic.

Negatives:

  • The science and the nature of the experiment are complete gibberish for the sake of a plot device. There is no way this experiment would be run (and if it was it wouldn’t be left in the hands of a damaged test subject).
  • The revelation that we can just make friends and connect that way really makes you wonder who was confused about this point. It seems like a revelation to the characters and that just makes me think they were even dumber than they looked.
  • The entire final episode.

I know some people have really loved this series and it actually does work as a story and a character piece. However, it didn’t really click with me so even though I’ll acknowledge there are some good moments in this show, that final episode has firmly placed this in the list of anime that I have watched but will now move on from.

What are your thoughts on Kiznaiver?