We’ve reached episode 4, and I think I usually have an unspoken expectation that, by now, well-paced series should have finished their introductions and begun to fully launch the plot into action. In some ways, this episode fulfills this goal, as the most crucial characters have been introduced and the stage has been set, but many of the character motivations are unclear, and a lot of background plot information is a blur of unknowns. Although this episode doesn’t have a huge amount of new information, it does confirm several plot points that were vague before.
This episode opens with a much-needed revisit of the flashback at the very opening of the anime. We’re shown more of Katsuhira’s conversation with the girl, who, as I’m sure everyone has guessed by now, is revealed to be Sonozaki. He says that he doesn’t want to get his pain back alone, that it has to be with everyone. Sonozaki questions who everyone is, and he clarifies that everyone is everyone he likes. Sonozaki has a Kiznaiver scar on her neck. Katsuhira says her name, and then wakes up to a displeased Chidori.
I’d had plenty of suspicions about Sonozaki being the flashback girl since she was introduced, but I’m glad that it’s finally been confirmed. Unfortunately, this scene makes me wonder if Katsuhira himself isn’t responsible for their current predicament, and if so, whether the others will discover this to their own irritation.
The Kiznaivers appear to be in Hisomu’s apartment. Hisomu explains his obsession with pain in more detail than his new team members are comfortable with, and when Honoka asks him he insists that there’s nothing psychological about it. Despite this, I’m not entirely sure what he means by that, as it sounds like a psychological problem to me, especially if it’s the cause of frequent hospitalizations. Nico, of course, is upset that she’s no longer the weirdest of them all.
Later, as Yuta, Nico, and Honoka are walking home, they lament how Hisomu has doomed their situation, and Honoka mentions that she doesn’t think they’re all going to be friends, much to Nico’s disappointment. Nico leaves and Nico and Honoka talk alone. These scenes are actually quite interesting. Once again, Nico shows a great desire to have friends, which furthers my suspicions that she is actually a very lonely person, and her eccentricity is a defense mechanism because she doesn’t want to be rejected. I feel sorry for her, even if she’s a little annoying at times. We discover that Yuta is incredibly shallow, which makes him probably one of my least favorite characters, although his self-awareness and cunning keep him interesting. This scene also shows a sort of alliance forming between Yuta and Honoka, as although they dislike each other, they are similarly cynical and willing to work together despite their misgivings.
Honoka makes a very interesting statement when Yuta asks her why she won’t just agree to be Nico’s friend, as it would cost her nothing. “There’s nothing more expensive than something free.” This can be interpreted several ways. The one I think Honoka means is that by making friendship in general easy to get, the depth of friendships in general becomes watered down. Or, she could mean that if the friendship comes at no great cost to Nico, it could come at a great cost to Honoka down the line.
If you take the quote out of context, though, it can actually be applied to Christianity. After all, the grace and forgiveness we receive is completely free for us, because the price of our sins was paid at a great cost by Jesus on the cross, in order that we might be openly welcomed into a relationship with God.
Katsuhira wonders why Hisomu wasn’t with them when they were all first revealed to be Kiznaivers. Hisomu explains that he, too, was in the hospital that day, and we are given a flashback of a conversation between him and Sonozki in which she asks him what he want in life. He replies with “stimulation,” but when she suggests he change the wording to “the feeling of being alive,” he doesn’t refuse.
I’m glad they’re already trying to look at Hisomu’s character from a different perspective. Since he was the last to be introduced, I’m already guessing that he’s going to be a very significant character in the story.
At the mention of Sonozaki, Chidori becomes visibly agitated. Her jealousy throughout the episode has solidified her and Sonozaki as the main love interests, even though this is by far not a romantic anime (and I’m glad. I like romances sometimes, but in a non-romantic story they can really take a toll on the main plot). For once, I have no idea who the main pairing will be in the end, if there even is one at all.
Speaking of jealousy, on the last day of school, as the teacher is giving a lecture about summer vacation, Hisomu actually comes to the class he had refused to attend all year, subsequently making Yuta very envious, as he catches the attention of the girls he hangs out with. After class, Nico makes everyone exchange email addresses with her, and then gloats at Honoka that she wouldn’t exchange emails with a casual acquaintance (people do all the time, especially with Facebook, but whatever.)
They see the two thugs who were into bullying Katsuhira. They run away, and he tells Tenga it doesn’t matter anymore. Sonozaki shows up just as Tenga mentions her.
Sonozaki throws a fried-rice eating dinner for everyone, and tells them that they’re going to attend a summer training camp. Honoka refuses at first, but then concedes when Sonozaki promises them information about the Kiznaivers. Katsuhira follows after her as she leaves, and suggests she come with them to the training camp, pointing out that if, as she said, everyone wants to connect with other people, then surely that means she wants to connect with them. He also persuades her to exchange email addresses with him. This furthers my prediction that Sonozaki’s cold heart is going to be melted by Katsuhira’s empathy.
The bullies are at an arcade, talking about how they’re out of money and want to kill Tenga. The school counselor, Urushibara, is behind them, playing a shooting game, and reacts to their comment with interest, as if she wants them to kill Tenga. She says that she’ll give them advice, and then takes out a real gun and starts shooting the gaming console? It’s the most bizarre scene in this anime so far. Thanks, Trigger.
Chidori comes to visit Katsuhira (and Tenga is with him, as he has decided to be his personal bodyguard) and gives them both food/lunches. The next day, as they prepare to go on their training camp, they discover that Sonozaki has decided to come with them after being invited by Katsuhira. The bus ride is incredibly silent, so Tenga suggests they play Shiritori.
Sonozaki loses every time, and Honoka finally has enough of it and asks for information. Sonozaki informs them that their experiment is run by the Kizuna committee. Originally, one third of the town was a part of this committee. It seems like these are the people who are wearing the strange costumes, called gomorins, that appear everywhere over the town. Membership has been declining recently, though. The Kiznaivers find all this information very suspicious, as do I. I feel like not enough was revealed, though. A lot of this information could be inferred from the past three episodes, and so it doesn’t feel terribly new or ground-breaking.
They arrive at the foot of the mountains, with an ominous sign forbidding trespassers. Katsuhira offers to carry Sonozaki’s bags, and she accepts, much to his surprise and Chidori’s dismay. As they walk, Honoka points out that Yuta is obviously suspicious of Hisomu because of his natural good looks. This scene further solidifies Yuta and Honoka as allies, as well as the already established Katsuhira and Sonozaki.
Tenga notices that Chidori is rather upset about Katsuhira hanging with Sonozaki, and offers to become her wing-man. Chidori refuses at first, but of course, in the end she can’t resist agreeing. I find a it interesting that this third alliance is formed by the two people or the group other than Sonozaki who would probably best qualify as Katsuhira’s friends, and I think their combined personalities are rather interesting together.
A car comes roaring down the road behind them, carrying Katsunao, Urushibara, and the two bullies. The latter two now have Kiznaiver scars on their foreheads. Here, the plot begins to move the story forward by throwing in something new, although I’m going to have to wait and see how much I like it.
So far I think the best thing that Kiznaiver has going for it is its strong cast of characters, although I also note that they all can be linked back to some sort of archetype. Although they’ve been developed quite a bit, if they aren’t written to their full potential from here, they could possibly fall quite flat. It was a good episode, and I enjoyed seeing the changes in the character friendships, although the story was a little bit disappointing information wise. However, as I’ve heard this anime is going to e around 24 episodes, I suppose it’s wise that they not reveal all their secrets too soon, so I’ll let it go for now.