For some, the third episode is a pivotal milestone. If an anime has failed to capture their attention after the third episode, they drop it. Although I don’t normally adhere to this rule, I can say that Kiznaiver has been compelling enough so far that I would definitely continue past this episode, even if I weren’t reviewing it.
As with the last episode, we pick up exactly where we left off. After Honoka confesses to being a murderer, she quickly switches to pretending she’s just joking. I don’t believe it for a second, but if it were really a joke, I would be severely disappointed.
She asks how they’re going to get out of their predicament, and Sonozaki says that their final mission will be to survive summer vacation together, and after that is completed, the Kiznaivers will be disbanded. I don’t really believe that, either. If it’s true, it’s a lot more complicated than it sounds, and I’m quite sure that after a summer of character development and life-or-death situations, they will all be friends forever. Unless they die.
By the way, there’s a short part where Nico falls down, and it really irritates me that there was no reaction from anyone except her. Could it have not hurt very much? Is there going to be some explanation for this later? I hope so.
Honoka is the first to leave. Tenga protests that she hasn’t finished her self-introduction yet, but she completely dodges the question.
Meanwhile, it is revealed that the mystery person from the opening is watching them all on a screen.
Later, Katsuhira is still thinking about Chidori’s confession. Tenga is hanging out at his apartment, claiming that he can’t let him get hurt now that they’re connected. Honestly, I find Tenga to be kind of annoying, but at the same time I don’t hate him, because he seems very sincere somehow. Katsuhira still lives with his parents, but they’re on business trips. They both suddenly feel pain, and the words “D-7” appear on their wrists. Chidori calls, and it’s revealed that she lives in the apartment directly next door. Tenga tries to jump from Katsuhira’s balcony to hers, but falls to the ground instead. Although his fall hurts them all, the remaining pain of his sprained wrists is only felt by him, and so they discover that only the initial impact of an injury is shared.
On their way to school, Chidori restates that she only loved him in the past, but then gets very upset when Katsuhira suggests they forget about it. When they arrive, they find that Sonozaki is absent. They talk to Yuta, subsequently embarrassing him. Later, they realize that none of them were hurt when they all felt pain before Tenga jumped. “D-7” Flashes on their wrists again after they feel pain, and they realize that the D is for Damage and the number represents one of the Kiznaivers. However, they point out that there are only six of them…as far as they know. Sonozaki is away, but she is still able to speak to them through the marks on their wrists (suspend your disbelief.) She then gives them their second mission: to find the seventh member.
I was very glad that we were finally going to uncover the unidentified person in the opening. I’m okay with major characters not being introduced at the outset, but I was beginning to get impatient.
Because they’re all from the same class, and that’s the only thing they all have in common, they go and seek out other people from their class to try and figure out if they’re Kiznaivers. Nico comes up with the best idea: If one of them gets hurt in a place where they can see everyone in their class, they will be able to tell if anyone else reacts. I thought it was really cool that they actually show how Nico is only pretending to be stupid, rather than expecting us to take their word for it, and they manage to do so without diminishing her eccentricity in the least.
Even after all their efforts, they can’t find anyone else who’s a Kiznaiver…except for one mysterious classmate who’s never come to school: Yoshiharu Hisomu.
They go to his apartment, but no one answers the door. Nico realizes she’s heard of him before: he’s constantly in and out of her father’s hospital. Tenga accidentally hurts Katsuhira, and they hear something inside the supposedly empty apartment. Hisomu flees, falling from a height and running away after a painful landing. They pursue, and he runs into a grocery store. They manage to follow him by having Tenga punch either Yuta or Katsuhira, slowing Hisomu down.
Chidori protests that Katsuhira is always the one to get hurt, and he should slap her instead, which leads to a quite funny scene that makes fun of the society’s double standards, as some women instantly come to Chidori’s defense, believing her to be in an abusive relationship, while no one noticed before that Yuta and Katsuhira were getting punched. The women were a part of the Sugomori Neighbourhood Patrol, which I’m sure factors in to the Kizuna Experiment and whatever it is the mayor is plotting.
I’ll admit that Chidori is becoming a favorite character of mine. She’s flawed, she clearly cares about people, and she’s very brave, if in a rather impulsive and stubborn way. I hope the rest of the anime does her justice.
Meanwhile, Katsuhira follows Hisomu out to a bridge. Katsuhira offers to help him, and Hisomu questions him as to why, which forces Katsuhira to realize that he actually does want to connect with people after all. I thought he might figure this out eventually, and I think that so far his character development is very well paced. It isn’t too agonizingly slow, nor is it being rushed.
Hisomu says that if he really wants to help him, he should die, and proceeds to try to push him off the bridge. The others appear, and confront him about getting hurt so often. He leaves, and Tenga realizes that he really needs to get the message that they’re all connected, for better or worse, and the best way to do that would be to jump off the bridge, but Katsuhira jumps off for him. As they go and try to help Hisomu, who has fallen over, they discover a very unsettling, and complicated fact: Hisomu enjoys pain. Their mission is completed.
With the events of this episode, I shall take back my assessment of Chidori’s secret. She is probably supposed to represent greed, especially as she claims she doesn’t love Katsuhira anymore but obviously wants him to love her. Or maybe all my assessments were wrong and everything has yet to be revealed. But it is quite certain that unless Hisomu actually is conning people for money, he’s a far better representation of lust than of greed.
Quite a few people seem to be shocked when the last member turned out to be a masochist, including the characters in the show, which is especially interesting as Honoka could be a murderer. Personally, I admit I found it kind of gross, but I also believe all sins are bad. When we make a hierarchy with the more disgusting sins on the bottom, it makes the more socially acceptable sins appear more appropriate, even though they can actually be more harmful. Morality aside, I’m interested in how this is going to throw a wrench in the entire team dynamic and add a lot of extra conflict.
Meanwhile, Sonozaki is shown giving a presentation about the Kiznaivers to a large group of people, including the mayor. The presentation includes all seven of them, with Hisomu being dubbed “The Immoral.” I wish I could say more about this scene, but I find the whole situation kind of vague and foreboding. There’s an interesting line that suggests that because all the characters are “sinners in darkness” they can see the light more easily, which is really interesting and actually sounds Biblical, but I feel like some of the implications have yet to be explained. None of this convinced me that there isn’t something really sinister going on behind the scenes.
These first three episodes have been pretty great, but I feel like the quality of the rest of the anime hinges on two things: an understandable plot, and character development. One of Kiznaiver‘s greatest weaknesses so far is suspension of disbelief, which is fine if the plot isn’t too thick to see through. If the watchers can’t make any sense in the story, they’re going to find it a lot harder not to poke holes in the deliberately ridiculous plot, which otherwise could just be waved off as Studio Trigger’s storytelling style. Character development is always what makes or breaks a show for me, and I think a lack of it would be a huge waste of potential for this excellent cast of varied characters. Even if it isn’t perfect so far, however, I am enjoying it quite a lot.