Thursday, May 26, 2016

10 Second Anime - Kiznaiver - Episode 7


Maki's fellow Kiznaivers discover her painful past and attempt to heal her hurt feelings.


Episode 7 - "A battle touching upon the identity of the pain that's seven times the pain of one-seventh of a pain."

Heh.

If you have trouble with fractions, the title means that the Kiznaivers only feel 1/7th of the pain the person with the original pain feels. Since I'm a stickler for details, I have to ask if the originator of the pain also get his 1/7th so that he's actually feeling 8/7ths of the pain. It would seem kind of cruel that you get an extra 1/7th pain just because the Kizna system distributes your pain evenly amongst your colleagues. I'm sure an engineer would come along to fix the code to (n-1) iterations so that you don't get your extra share or that the actual fraction of pain is 1/6th. Hey, this is sci-fi. Math matters.


I liked how the episode framed the Kiznaivers' visit with Ruru's parents as  a flashback. It gave us some foreshadowing of how raw the emotions were going to be, especially for Ruru's mother, and also a leading expectation for why Nico was the worst one affected by the visit.

Nico is very empathetic, which makes me concerned about borderline personality disorder, but it makes her a great mascot and plot device to explore that sense of neediness between friends. That's almost a negative reading of that real need to reach out for affection, but these Kiznaivers are all damaged personalities with no real friends. Until now.


Maki and Ruru appeared to be complements for each other, compensating for writing and artwork to make Charles de Macking. Maki was the writer and Ruru was the artist.

Ruru was given the shoujo story cliché of a terminal disease. With how upbeat she was, and that she presumably knew she would have a short life, I have to wonder how deep her relationships really were. She outwardly didn't show any effect from Maki refusing her lesbian advances and didn't seem too affected by Maki deciding to end their manga collaboration over it.

Maki had assumed the "curse" of the dead girl's letter to her teacher in the manga was meant for her. Ultimately, it wasn't true, and the letter was a much more hopeful one with themes of remembrance and nostalgia, but Maki didn't know that because she never read that last chapter.

Even though that expectations switcheroo is also a heavily used convention, it works in this show because so many of these friendship conventions in anime and manga are shown to be useless in "real life." Maki has also assumed the last chapter of Charles de Macking's manga did poorly because of how downbeat it was with the "curse" placed on the teacher, but it was probably because of Ruru's poor writing skills. Added to that, it didn't match the author's voice from previous chapters either.


Speaking of friendship conventions, Tenga is the other plot device that helps the story put a deconstructive edge to these usual settings and plot points. The training camp episode with test of courage happened earlier and now Tenga suggested the fireworks by dusk convention. It's still Summer Break after all. I suppose it's just not time yet for the city's festival...


Of course, none of these things work out like they do in anime and manga. But Maki's ice queen armor melted when her non-friends actually started doing the ridiculous thing she suggested while she read the last chapter of her own book. I think she would not have done that ridiculous thing unless the Kiznaivers had also done her ridiculous command of swimming across the bay.

Ha! Yuta doesn't like the idea of being friends with Hisomu if it means being friends with everyone, but Tenga sees the bright side in Hisomu sharing his natural hot guy germs with a reformed fatty.

This scene also brought home the important point that none of these people have actual friends. And that's counting Chidori and Katsuhira who are more acquaintances these days out of Chidori's sense of obligation instead of close friends. Tenga always has these ideas of how to become friends, which are really these pop culture conventions. You would think the strong anti-bully would have some friends, but obviously something else is going on with Tenga than just a fear of dogs.


The larger plot was advanced by a small scene with Noriko shutting down the documentarians we saw last episode. She and Katsuhira were part of an earlier group of seven children and they both still the bear the scars from whatever happened back then. Getting Maki to show her inner smile is important and all, but this show still needs to get somewhere by the end of the season.


Meanwhile, it's fun to see the Kiznaivers become more than friends.


Even while covered in seaweed. Yuck.


Seeing Maki laughing without any pretense was the gate creaking open.


It's a beautiful moment. A kind smile offered up in the rain just before a soaking wet moppet ruins it all.


And there goes the soaking wet moppet...


Maki finally accepted she was actually part of this group. The seven toxic personalities. The Kiznaivers. She was the last one to talk openly about her secret that she never wanted anyone else to know. Katsuhira doesn't really count since he can't remember what happened to him.


Maki also had a private moment of relief knowing that her friend Ruru did not curse her to love only her as a haunting ghost, but to forget her if it hurts too much. That was some of that poorly written sentiment that Maki could have expressed better as looking forward, that it be okay to love again, to just live.

Something interesting about the emotion Maki shared was that it wasn't pain per se, but a letting go of pain. This makes me think we've gone through the yellow phase of Kiznaiver and we're headed to a new color. It's referenced that if Noriko's theory of the Kizna system works, then the Kiznaivers will eventually share their thoughts. We've gone through physical pain to emotional pain. Are we headed to painful thoughts next? What color will that be? Is a Tenga featured episode going to be the vehicle for this new phase? We'll have to see next time.

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