Apathetic Katsuhira lives in the peaceful Sugomori City. He is bullied in school, which worries his friend Chidori, but doesn’t bother him as he has difficulty perceiving pain. One day, he is saved by an exuberant red-haired student, but is not grateful because the beating did not hurt.
Later that day, he is spirited out of class by a mysterious girl, Noriko Sonozaki. She talks about various types of people, using Katsuhira’s classmates as examples, and laments how difficult it is for different people to form bonds. Suddenly, she pushes him down the stairs.
He awakens in a large room with five of his classmates, including Chidori and the redhead who saved him, Tenga. Sonozaki explains that Sugomori City is actually a giant experiment called the Kizuna System, the purpose of which is to help people form bonds through the sharing of pain. The six of them are now connected, and all wounds suffered by one are distributed equally among them all.
All except Katsuhira are initially disbelieving, but when Tenga gets slapped for coming onto a girl named Nico, they all feel pain and realize that the connection does indeed exist. Sonozaki attacks Katsuhira, leaving a jagged scar on everyone’s wrist as she proclaims them to be “Kiznaivers”.
I was incredibly excited for Kiznaiver. I’m a HUGE fan of Studio Trigger (which actually has two offerings this season, the other being Uchuu Patrol Luluco which Ariana FId a while back). Kiznaiver may be radically different (so far) from their best-known offering Kill la Kill, but it managed to deliver a strong first episode that certainly caught my eye.
While I’m usually someone who loves a show for its characters rather than its world/premise, it was the central concept of Kiznaiver that held my attention the most. The idea of people being forced to share pain in order to understand each other better is quite interesting, and the group of characters selected for the experiment seem different enough that it’s obvious they’re going to learn quite a lot.
The characters…are lacking slightly in dimension. I will admit that I rolled my eyes at yet another apathetic, emotionless white-haired protagonist, and the other Kiznaivers – haughty Maki, airheaded Nico, outgoing but dim Tenga – plus the deliberately mysterious Sonozaki aren’t that much better. However, I have to give Kiznaiver a bit of leeway here, as the premise is “characters learn and grow through connections to different individuals”. If they’re going to grow, they have to start somewhere.
I don’t have much in particular to say about the art (though I hope that the “sharing of pain” being portrayed with the screen glitching will not continue, because it kept making me think my video was freezing up). The music was nice, especially the OP – the opening sequence was actually one of my favorite parts of the entire episode. There was a bit of fanservice, but nothing extreme – though there was one very weird, confusing moment where Katsuhira mumbled “polka dots” as he fell down the stairs, seemingly referring to Sonozaki’s panties? I think?
I’ll stick with this show for now, but the biggest test it will have to pass for me is whether it can make me care about Katsuhira. If he learns to grow and become more open through feeling the pain of others, he could become a really compelling character – but right now he’s just Apathetic White-Haired Boy #10000, and with a season this strong, he’s going to need more than that to keep me around.
With only shorts left to First Impression, the question of “what will I blog” is between Kuma Miko, Joker Game, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, and Kiznaiver. Keep an eye out for what I end up deciding soon!
Out of 5 Dios for this episode: