1180http://i.ur.com/mUCOXhx.jpg For a show all about pain feelings and empathy Kiznaiver carries surprisingly little emotional baggage. And for a show that entirely rests on creating a relatable engaging and multifaceted cast it does a questionable job of that too. But perhaps the most concerning of Kiznaivers foibles is that in exploring a relatively simple set of themes that have been explored countless times before Studio Triggerhttp://anilist.co/studio/803/Trigger fails to innovate fails to execute and fails to handle its story with any sense of tact. In fact as far as substance is concerned Kiznaiver is almost tacky. This is a massive shame. Going into it I had high hopes for this anime. And as a longtime fan of Triggers works it honestly troubles me to say that Im: 480http://i.ur.com/MK52z8d.jpg Seven sophomores walk into a bar In an effort to create world peace a deadpan kawaii as fuck blunette high schooler has come up with the bright idea of bonding seven classmates such that their physical and eventually emotional sensations are shared equally among them to make them Kiznaivers. As ethically questionable and as logically dubious this experiment may be it makes for a unique and alluring premise. Unfortunately the end result is not nearly as appealing. The root of the problem lies with the cast. Practically every character is introduced as an archetype. The most obvious example is with our seven guinea pigs. To list them off weve got: the blank and apathetic MC the tsundere childhood friend the macho broman the lofty loner the patronising coolfag the moe crazy chick and a sadomasochist. 480http://i.ur.com/Tsj7SdD.jpg This really isnt an issue. The point of the experiment is to bond seven totally different characters that otherwise wouldnt normally associate with one another and build some form of empathetic connection between them. The initial direction that the show appeared to be heading towards was that in spending time together and interacting with one another each of the cast would open up and transcend their stereotypes ultimately coming to a better understanding of both themselves and each other. At least thats what I was hoping for. And this happens to an extent. To a very negligible extent. Okay not really. What does occur is that a single private foil to each of the characters outward personas is revealed and thats it. After these revelations barring some really minor attitude shifts they simply continue behaving speaking and thinking as they did before. And thats the thing the characters never really go anywhere. They dont exactly develop nor do we as an audience come to a more holistic understanding of who they are as people. Sure they arent utterly onedimensional. Theyre twodimensional which is only marginally better and quite frankly unsatisfying. 480http://i.ur.com/5LjqrPb.jpg To say oh the popular fuckboy has body image issues and the reason he acts the way he does is because hes insecure doesnt make for a complex or nuanced character. Why has he never been able to overcome his insecurities? How will the other Kiznaivers teach him to overcome his insecurities? What can he teach the other Kiznaivers from his experiences? How will the experiment change him for better or for worse? These are questions that should have been but never were properly addressed. Sure he has a more sympathetic side but is that really good enough? To make matters worse this characterisation is typically presented in a very mundane fashion. This lack of depth applies to majority of the cast irrespective of their centrality in the story. As such they never truly succeed in transcending their status as archetypes. To pigeonhole a character with a couple of overexaggerated uninspired traits and with only a hazy backstory as explanation makes him/her just that. Its incredibly difficult to empathise with characters that are so bland and poorlyfleshed out. We just never receive sufficient reasoning as to why we should care about any of them. This is obviously a huge problem for a show that is essentially a character study. Doubly so for when the central theme is empathising with one another. Consequently character interactions feel shallow and meaningless whilst the feels fest the series clearly aimed to be was never fully actualised. 480http://i.ur.com/xKYPW99.jpg There is one exception. A particular character receives a couple of episodes dedicated specifically to her development and it pays dividends. Her backstory is fleshed out in detail and consequently we are able to fully grasp her motivations feelings and behaviour. What was even more rewarding was seeing the rest of the Kiznaivers banding together and facilitating her growth and lasting change. These episodes were undoubtedly the best the series had to offer. 480http://i.ur.com/LB82ded.jpg This is perplexing. Trigger obviously knows how to make their characters compelling so why stop there? Even the primary two are sorely underdeveloped which led to major complications as far as plot went. Given that character motivations were vague at best what was occurring onscreen oftentimes felt confusing rushed and inconsequential. Much of the confusion stemmed from how convoluted the Kizna project was. Barring how ridiculous albeit intriguing the whole idea is to begin with many of the systems intricacies are never really explained. Similarly the dialogue can get excessively heavyhanded. This is particularly the case when characters attempt to express their emotions where the word choice and sentence construction can become frustratingly circular and awkward. I guess the argument could be made that this reflects the difficulty of expressing human emotion but it was honestly distracting. 480http://i.ur.com/pkuvDrS.jpg The pacing was very rushed towards the shows conclusion. As in things are abruptly dialled to 100. This coupled with the casts general blandness led to a real sense of disconnect and thus a lack of gravity or feeling of importance. To exacerbate matters thematic resonance was also lacking. Not only because the messages regarding empathy compromise and friendship were predictable and unsophisticated but because they had been tackled far more succinctly cleanly and effectively in the past. An example of when Kiznaiver loses its grip is when a love pentagon thats right 5 points to Gryffindor motherfucker is introduced to stimulate conflict. Not only is this an excessive cheap and incredibly contrived tactic its so out of place. Why some characters that had barely interacted with each other were suddenly lusting after one another was beyond me let alone why we should care. The melodrama was straight from a daytime TV soap opera and even then Im not sure things get this ridiculous. And thats the problem. On top of the hyperbolic characterisation the drama always felt so forced. In the end its ineffective and only further distances the audience. Subtlety is not one of Kiznaivers strengths. 480http://i.ur.com/0x9amei.jpg Light at the end of the tunnel If theres one saving grace its Kiznaivers aesthetic design. Once again Trigger manages to capture just the right amount of the surreal and the absurd in their artistic choices. Colours schemes are vibrant and psychedelic whilst the direction leads to some wonderfully staged scenes. 9mRhWDMUwM Character designs are on fucking point. Combined with stunning wardrobe choices this was a definite highlight. 390http://i.ur.com/fJnkD3m.jpg 390http://i.ur.com/HzlvK6Q.jpg The voice actors did a great job too especially given how dodgy the script could get. They alone could often portray more emotion then what was conveyed through the story. Soundtrack was pretty unmemorable barring some pretty neat stylistic choices with SFX. The OP and ED were outstanding and worth watching/listening to even if the show itself necessarily isnt. Another thing Kiznaiver gets right is comedy both visual and verbal. This has always been one of Triggers strong suits and they dont let up here. The gomorins are outrageous and there are plenty of silly oneliners to chuckle at. http://i.ur.com/xG21Kks.mp4 I used to wonder what friendship could be Kiznaiver was a disappointment. It did everything right to attract my attention only for things to spiral further and further out of control. Maybe the show would have benefitted from a longer runtime. 480http://i.ur.com/nAyCT0L.jpg Strong engaging characters are an integral part of any good story and Kiznaiver stands as a testament to this. To make things worse the drama was weak not only because the characters were caricatures but because it was one too. I guess this is what happens when the Trigger formula fails or at least when it is applied to a more grounded setting.
40 /100
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