If the first week was a promising start, the second week is an even more promising follow-up. With the introduction, Kiznaiver proved to have not only pretty animation up its sleeve, but an intense and gripping story. Episode 2 certainly did not disappoint my new-found expectations.
We are presented with two opening scenes, the first one introducing the city mayor, who is probably the true person responsible for the Kiznaiver experiment, and I’m just going to call it now: He’s probably also the true antagonist. He asks about the Kiznaiver plan, and says something vague about Sugomori being a “Happy, Smiley Town for Everyone.”
The second scene shows the their teacher, Yamato Kazunao, talking with the school counselor, Matsumi Ushibara. Apparently they’re aware that their students’ safety is being compromised, but they don’t seem to care much, which makes them bad but maybe not as bad as Sonozaki, as they actually seem to acknowledge that they’re doing something wrong. Of course, the school counselor mentions that she only cares about Sonozaki anyways, which speaks of a back story, and I will be extremely disappointed if they never elaborate on this.
Speaking of Sonozaki, we’re brought right back to where we left off last week, and she gives them their first mission: self-introductions. They state their names and class number, and after electrocuting Katsuhira when they claim that’s all there is to say, she elaborates that she actually wants them to reveal their deepest, darkest secret. They try to figure out a way to get around this, to drag on the conversation meaninglessly or to make something up, but she makes it clear that she already knows their secrets, and unless they open up, she will continue to harm Katsuhira until they all die.
This dramatic leap in character from shady-but-supposedly-an-idealist to controlling-sadist is a little too quick for me. I thought there would be some kind of slow revelation of Sonozaki’s true capabilities, but they have gotten pretty extreme in only the second episode. Even if she never actually meant to kill anyone, she was threatening them to open up about potentially painful things all for an experiment, which especially irritates me, as I really prefer opening up to people one person at a time, not to groups, and I hate rushing bonding periods. I am fine with Sonozaki being flawed, even drastically, but I’m worried that they’re going to explain this all away with a “she’s just an ice queen who needs to be loved” trope, rather than actually working through her flaws.
The events that unfold reveal each character’s core secret. I am of the opinion that, with some examination, each secret can actually be paired with one of six of the seven deadly sins, as was suggested in the previous episode.
After they realize that they’re going to continue to suffer until they start talking, Chidori complains that only Katsuhira is the one being physically harmed, and Sonozaki agrees that it seems unfair…and so she releases vicious dogs on them. As it turns out, Hajime’s secret is that he’s afraid of dogs, and so they’re all saved when he says so. Apparently he has gone to great lengths to hide his fear, which leads me to believe that he’s supposed to represent pride, as he cannot bear the thought of everyone knowing he isn’t an invincible thug. This surprised me, as I had initially paired him with wrath, but I’m glad things aren’t all that they appear to be.
Neither is Nico all that she appears to be. Sonozaki causes the building to start to cave in around them, and has a short exchange with Katsuhira (who is fine, naturally) in which she implies that she knew him in the past. Honoka runs away after failing to confess, and in a moment of fear, Nico reveals that she is a fraud; she doesn’t actually believe in fairies. It does seem, though, that she has worked so hard to act eccentric in the hopes of appearing normal (don’t worry, I don’t understand it much either) that she has actually become eccentric. But her desire to be something she’s not and earn the acceptance she doesn’t have probably represents envy.
In a rather anti-climactic fashion, they happen to find a poster of Tsuguhito when he was a child. Apparently he was overweight, but his metabolism has magically been transformed and he’s a bishounen now. This one is very, very hard to pin down, as honestly vanity is likely the best description for how he feels, but he’s probably supposed to be gluttony, due to implied overeating.
Meanwhile, Honoka has a hallucination about a morgue, but I’m sure it’s not important.
They are finally allowed to exit the building, and witness Katsuhira suspended in a box held by a crane. When Chidori still fails to realize her secret, the box is flung against the building, but Katsuhira, still being fine as always, offers to introduce himself first. Not really having anything to say, he confesses his indifference to connecting with other people, as well as his indifference to himself. He represents sloth, naturally.
Chidori is so hurt that she jumps down from the building into Katsuhira’s metal box, lectures him for becoming apathetic and boring, and eventually reveals that she used to be in love with him when they were children, which is, of course, the secret that even she herself didn’t know. Then the cord holding them up breaks, and they fall to their deaths…except that there’s some kind of a safety mattress already set in place that saves them. It’s a pretty cool scene, very intense despite being a little ridiculous, and filled with more emotion than I’d usually expect to see in a second episode.
Chidori’s secret is also a hard one to pinpoint, category wise. Ultimately, there is an important thing to remember, and that is that she doesn’t really love Katsuhira. Not as more than a friend. But she has a different, idealized memory of him that she’s still attached to, which is probably supposed to represent, although very vaguely, lust. If this is actually the angle the story is going for, I think it’s a very unique and possibly accurate viewpoint, and I applaud the writers for their originality.
Chidori is still mad at Katsuhira after their near-death experience, and slaps him for a bit. Katsuhira revises his confession to say that he didn’t know Chidori liked him, but even though she doesn’t anymore, it makes him happy. Sonozaki announces that their first mission has been completed…just in time for Honoka to arrive and confess what she couldn’t say before.
She’s killed someone.
Kiznaiver revealed a lot in this episode, which I usually would object to, but I actually felt it was the right balance of information. We’ve been given a hint of the other antagonists, but not a lot. Character revelations took place, but it suggests that there are still plenty of secrets to be told. There was some great character interaction, and I was invested enough to care when they were in danger. Although I can’t tell for sure if the story will continue to show the level of effort it currently does, I’m more than willing to stick around and find out.
Finishing up my analysis, I’m going to guess Honoka is wrath, accidentally killing a friend in a fit of rage, although I won’t be surprised at all if she is not completely responsible for someone’s death. I would like to see some level of culpability, though, not just a purely fake guilt. She’s a protagonist, so I doubt that she’s as creepy as she looks. If I’m right, then only greed is left, which would be left to the mysterious purple-haired guy in the opening.
If their first mission already involved the threat of danger and death, I look forward to seeing what they’re second mission is.