With episode 6, we have officially reached Kiznaiver‘s halfway point. Finally, we uncover essential back stories and key plot points, including the latest development of the Kiznaivers’ bond—sharing emotional pain.
We open with a long-awaited flashback scene. Honoka Maki and a school friend with purple hair named Ruru walk down a bridge. I wonder where we’ve seen her before. They have a vague discussion about deadlines, and Ruru tells Honoka to call her stupid several times, and then, saying “do you want to be rid of me?” throws herself off the bridge she had been walking on.
For a moment, I thought “This is it. Maki didn’t really kill anyone, it’s all a false guilt over something she had no control over,” and I was rather disappointed. But then, Honoka reaches out and manages to grab Ruru’s shirt, pulling her to safety. Ruru begins to laugh maniacally. I have to wonder, though, whether this is a real memory, or warped wish fulfillment, presenting an alternating series of events in which Honoka saved her friend. Perhaps in reality she didn’t reach out in time, and so sees her not reacting fast enough as evidence of her guilt. Or perhaps it was because she’d called her friend stupid, although there were clearly deeper meanings behind her actions.
The training camp has ended. All the Kiznaivers except Yuta and Sonozaki (who is suddenly included) have gathered at Katsuhira’s apartment to eat somen. They remember how after they made if back to the cabin, Sonozaki had further explained this new connection between the pain in their hearts. I find it interesting that this connection is implied to be something that the Kiznaivers achieved themselves, and not a surgery. Although Sonozaki confirms that they can’t read each other’s minds, she says this could be a possibility in the future, and I’m not sure if her saying so makes it more or less likely. Katsuhira calls Sonozaki “Nori-chan,” and they all feel another pain from Chidori, who gets scolded for not keeping control of her emotions. The members of the Kizuna Committee ditch them, leaving them to clean up after their dinner mess.
We learn Hisomu doesn’t like emotional pain. Honoka decides to go home, and Nico feels sorry for her, and tries to walk home with her, asking her if they qualify as friends now. I really feel for Nico. She’s trying so hard to win Honoka over, but Honoka keeps rejecting her, probably out of her own pain. When Nico calls herself stupid, they both feel Kiznaiver pain, and Honoka denies again that they are friends.
Sonozaki meets with the Mayor. I am happy that they are finally getting around to properly introducing what is still most likely our main antagonist. He complains that word has gotten out about the experiment. I think they’re basically asking it, taking random kids and performing surgeries on them. Sonozaki leaves, making a nice pun based on the buns she was offered.
As they drive away, Yamada and Urushibara encourage her, while Sonozaki injects herself with something. She notes that none of the Kiznaivers live up to the seven deadly sins. I have to agree, at this point. Even as hard as I tried to come up with new theories that would fit into the seven deadly sins in some way, they still only match loosely, which is probably what generally happens when you try to pigeonhole complex humans into abstract ideas. She then says that the real sin is the “Forgetful Priss,” implied to be Honoka, who they should use in their next experiment. In my opinion, it’s silly how they label the perceived faults of these people they’re manipulating, when the real ones at fault are the Kizuna Committee, who should learn to mind their own business and stop playing with people’s lives.
Yuta is hanging out with his friends, who show him a popular manga written by a pair of middle-schoolers called A Promise From Heaven. As he mocks it, he realises it contains a scene remarkably similar, right down to the wording, of his encounter with Honoka. The author, by the way, Charles de Macking, was a name that Ruru had mentioned in the flashback. He looks outside and sees Honoka walking with a man who was earlier implied to be Honoka’s editor. He feels a pain, and excuses himself.
The following scene solidifies the fact that Charles de Macking was actually Honoka and Ruru. The guy Honoka is speaking with is her editor, who explains that someone wants to make her manga into a movie. However, they also want to make a documentary about the authors. When she refuses, and tries to leave, but he won’t let her. Yuta comes to her rescue. He asks about the situation, and Honoka retorts that he shouldn’t have interfered. Yuta explains that he knows she was hurt because he felt her emotional pain, and Honoka tells him she hates him.
Hisomu seems to have moved into Katsuhira’s apartment. I wonder what’s going to happen when his parents finally come home. Everyone has been feeling like crap because of the emotional pain connection, and they eventually realize it isn’t all Chidori. They also speculate that, like their physical pain, they only share the initial emotional pain, and the remainder is felt by the person affected, meaning that the constant pain they’re feeling is a sign that the person affected is being continually hurt. This observation is actually made by Hisomu, and it pleases me that at least he’s contributing to discussion.
I find it interesting that during the beginning episodes, a sign would appear on their wrist telling them who had gotten hurt. Either the makers of the show have forgotten that point all together, or it was only meant to be for finding the seventh member, or it doesn’t work with emotional pain.
They meet with Yuta, who explains that he’s figured out that Honoka is one of the authors of the aforementioned manga, which apparently became popular because the authors were so young and yet it had shocking content. Eventually, though, the hype died down, because one of the authors died. I predict that Honoka’s friend, Ruru, did eventually end up killing herself, not because of anything Honoka did, but because the story was based on the unrequited love and bullying found in her own life.
They remember that Honoka said she killed someone, and finally realize that she may not have been joking, although they reason that if she was actually guilty of killing someone two years ago, she would still be in jail. Sonozaki calls, and orders them to gather at the school for their new mission: Saving Maki.
Meanwhile, Honoka Maki gets her own mission: attend school during summer vacation. She goes there and finds a movie crew ready to interview her. She freaks out, and begins to hallucinate about the flashback from the beginning of the episode. A ghost-like Ruru taunts her, saying that she can never escape her.
She regains awareness at the sound of Tenga punching someone. The Kiznaivers threaten the filming crew into leaving, and shoo away the students attending school in summer vacation (poor children). Their mission to save Maki is completed, and Honoka realizes that this was all a set-up, and runs away. The Kiznaivers continue to feel bad because of her. The Kizuna Experiment is beginning to seem less like a plan for world peace and more like a plan to make everyone depressed. Nico points out, though, that because Maki’s pain is split seven ways, it would be a lot worse if they weren’t all connected.
I find it surprising that Sonozaki thought that creating such a situation would cause anything but resentment and distrust, which I suppose just shows how disconnected she is from her emotions.
What the mission has accomplished, though, is deepen the empathy of the other Kiznaivers for their tragic teammate. They decide to find Ruru’s house. I’m not sure why they think that’ll make anything better, but it’s clear they’re finally taking the mission into their own hands. Katsuhira goes to the top of the school, where Sonozaki is playing an organ. She says that they have been connected on a deeper level, and Katsuhira asks her if the thought they really saved Maki. Sonozaki asks if he’s angry with her, and he says that he’s disappointed. This clearly strikes a chord with Sonozaki, as she hits one, desolate note on the piano after he leaves.
This episode actually showed a lot of good storytelling. For a long time, Honoka’s backstory has been held back—Until the moment when the Kiznaivers will truly be able to feel the pain she would never reveal to them of her own free will. It was well timed.
I’m glad the events will hopefully act as a catalyst to push Sonozaki to break away from the Kizuna Committee, but I’m a little disappointed that her character development is so reliant on Katsuhira. Despite this, it was interesting to see her actually emotionally hurt, even if she showed no outward sign of it, and I look forward to seeing her grow. I’m also glad the characters started taking some independent action, although how effective their decision will be has yet to be seen.