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Kiznaiver by Studio Trigger

The One-Punched ROSSMAN

Have you ever watched a TV series or a movie, or read a book and thought to yourself, "That wasn't bad. I think I enjoyed it." And then a few days later you try to remember the story and the characters as you attempt to describe the plot to someone else, and you find that you just have no enthusiasm for the narrative whatsoever. That's Kiznaiver in a nutshell.

Kiznaiver isn't bad at all. I liked the characters, the designs, and even the music was well done, but even though the entire plot revolves around human feelings and emotions, the show is lacking any real "heart" itself. This was one of my biggest issues with Studio Trigger's earlier series, Kill La Kill — it was all over the place, but had no spiritual core for which I could connect with the cast and situations on the screen.

Things in Kiznaiver start off as such: there's this boy who can't feel any pain (Katsuhira Agata), and he's bullied by two delinquents who constantly take whatever money he has in his wallet after they beat the tar out of him. But Katsuhira don't care (he literally feels nothing that they do to him). His friend (who's a girl, but not his girlfriend) who lives next door to him (Chidori) hates to see him getting picked on, and is a bit of a goody-goody when it comes to protecting Katsuhiro from the troubles of the world.

Then there's the thug (Hajime), the eccentric ditz (Nico), the self-centered prick (Tsuguhito), and the condescending bitch (Honoka)... All six of these high school kids are kidnapped and forced into a super-secret, totally unethical experiment that the entire town that they live in is behind. In fact, this experiment is the reason the burg was built in the first place. Now that's craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy. Well, it's weird at the very least, especially because the "faceless minions" who do all the dirty work for the Kinza Committee (what the experimentors call themselves) look like retarded theme park mascots in their stuffed animal-like uniforms. But that's neither here nor there.

So all these kids (who couldn't be more different from each other if they tried) are forced into this experiment where they literally share all their physical pain. They all get these scars/tattoos (it's never made clear) that allow them to distribute any boo-boos that any one of their number feels evenly betwixt them all. The reason for this experiment is kind of silly: The Kizna Committee wants everyone in the world to be able to see how everyone else feels so that everyone will buy some Coke, sing a song, and jerk off so that the global population will reach orgasm at the same time and have one giant, shared moment of bliss. Well, they at least want the world to share feelings so that everyone will stop fighting wars, and world peace will reign supreme. A bit self-righteous, but I bought it enough for this show. Moving on!

The arbitrator between the Kizna Committee and the entangled group of diverse high schoolers (who now all share the Kiznaiver scars on their wrists) is a gorgeous, cold, emotionless, blue-haired girl named Noriko Sonozaki (why are all emotionless girls blue-haired? Because they're "cold as ice?" Lame). Katsuhira pops an immediate boner for Noriko, despite the fact that he doesn't seem to feel anything else in his pathetic and lame existence, and also despite the fact that adorable Chidori has the hots for him.

Anyway, of COURSE the non-pain-feeling Katsuhira and the emotionless Noriko have a history, and as we learn of the previous attempt at unifying young children with the Kiznaiver experiment to which they were both unsurprisingly involved. We also find out just how fucked up the Kizna Committee really is, and wonder what world peace is really worth.

Back to the group of kids though. So, they all start feeling each other's injuries, and then they move up to experiencing other emotions, and then they actually start to hear everybody else's thoughts when their connections become strong enough and their teenage hormones skyrocket in lust and exaggerated disappointment. And because this is a show about high school students dealing with emotions, of COURSE they all start falling in love with each other, and of COURSE everybody starts falling in love with somebody else in the party who already has the hots for yet another person in the group. Where's the drama if that WASN'T the case?

There's also another boy in the Kiznaiver experiment who we only find out about a few episodes in. This guy's a masochist, and so he's really only there for the joke of falling into Ecstasy whenever anybody gets hurt and everybody shares the pain. Yeah. Hilarious.

Anyway, Noriko keeps sending this group of Kiznaivered kids on "missions" where they must find something secret out about one of their group, or rescue one of their party, or get hunted down by the retarded amusement park mascot-things so that they all pull together and have their Kiznaiver connections become just a bit more powerful.

Anyway, the show pretty much just ends and everybody is slightly better off than they were at the start, even though teenage angst almost made them kill each other just a day or so before. And... And that's it. It's kind of a blah show with nothing notable, unique, or super fun happening.

In the end I have to give Kiznaiver a "Meh." It wasn't terrible, but there was nothing really strong that occurred in it either. Nothing memorable. I will only recommend it for people who have to see everything (or at least everything that isn't total crap). I was hoping for a lot more, but that was not to be this time. Better luck next time, Studio Trigger.


DOCTOR DAAAAAAVE

Has someone been going through my unpublished journals again?

I had once set up an experiment featuring the worst and most aggravating students in that high school physics class I had to teach back in the old days, back before the money for experimenting on humans and llamas became extra-profitable and self-sustaining.

Any-whoozles, the 6 kids that I hated the most in my class were distracting both me and their fellow students even more than normal one day, so I gassed the entire room (later claiming it must have been radon poisoning seeping up through the ground) and then implanted chips into each of the trouble makers' brains. These chips were amazing pieces of technology that the Ruskies were working on (well, that they were paying me to work on)! When activated, their plutonium-powered servos would monitor for any pain-related information from any of the rest of the experimentees, and then it would feed that same information into the rest of their brains so that they could all feel the same punishment, I mean, so that they could all share the same torture and pain. Think "deep hurting."

I then locked the hooligans in a twelve-by-twelve room with no windows and only one toilet, and then I recorded them as their decent into adolescent madness began. At first they were just angry at everything (the world, their captor, the boy named James who apparently ate some pungent Indian food that day for lunch and then destroyed the atmosphere of the place for everyone else), but then they got bored. That was a dangerous thing for a group of 4 horny males and only 2 females. The largest males quickly claimed a female each, but the smaller males were annoyed by this and ganged up on the largest of their group, who was in the middle of some amazingly acrobatic coitus with the blonde girl in the room.

As soon as the two smaller males started wailing on the larger one, all six of them began feeling every head-kick and kidney-punch, and they all fell to the floor in great distress. It was glorious! Soon it became a giant six-for-all when they all started making baseless accusations against each other (she was a lying whore, he cheated off her English test, he was looking at Betty's butt in gym class the other day, etc.), and then everybody started either beating the others up, or beating themselves up once they realized that kicking themselves in the testes caused the same amount of pain in their victim as actually outright attacking them.

This all happened within the first 45 minutes of their confinement. Astounding!

I have detailed files on that entire experiment. It was a thing of beauty. Too bad they all died before 60 minutes had passed... From radiation poisoning. After I dumped their bodies back in their seats I said that their deaths must have been from the radon too. I am amazed that nobody came to check on us that entire day at school.

This anime showed promise, but they didn't really go that far with their experiment. That is where they lost me. Especially in the end when they just gave up on the research venture. What terrible scientists.


ANGRY AMY

So this show was supposed to be "high school, but MORE EXTREME!" More emotions, more pain, more crushes, more souls being crushed... Meh. I've already done high school. I didn't need a repeat turned up to 11.

And in the end it wasn't really even all that angsty and shit. It was more like they WANTED IT to be angsty, but there were really no stakes. I didn't care if anybody ended up with anybody else, and in the end, I don't even know if anybody DID end up with anybody else. Hell, I don't really remember much about this production when I stop to think about it.

Could have been a LOT better. Could have been worse, but it could have been a LOT better.