Tuesday, June 28, 2016

10 Second Anime - Kiznaiver - Episode 12 [END]

Katsuhira confronts Noriko during her operation to impose the Kizna system on the city. Series Finale.

Episode 12 - "If this Kizna System spread throughout the world."


This last episode was structurally the same as the second one. There was a manufactured crisis. People yelled at each other through amplified devices. The last true member of the Kiznaivers made her cathartic release of something she didn't want to let go.

Because Noriko was already connected to Katsuhira, who was the center of the wounds being shared among the seven toxic personalities, she was the de facto 8th member. And she was the missing 8th Toxic Personality that can't form friendships: The Dramatic Mysterious Girlfriend.

The whole show has been a subversive take on the summer high school romance genre where friendships are made among a small group of guys and girls, but where burgeoning love between different characters complicates things. The dramatic events of such a show only serve to place the characters in situations where they're separated from other people so certain revelations and confessions can be made. In Kiznaiver, all the drama was provided by the Dramatic Mysterious Girlfriend wishing for World Peace.

The mechanism of Noriko's release, just letting go of her friends' feelings, had a rushed explanation. There was a little too much talking about her loneliness as a child by Urushiibara and not enough flashing back to show it. We had hints and little scenes from the previous episodes showing how important it was that the first Kiznaivers were her first friends too, but not much of an explanation of why she wanted to keep her friends in her heart so much. It's a good enough psychological reason for the events that followed, but there should have been more time spent establishing Noriko's neurosis. It's not like the unfeeling current Noriko could have shown her regret or possessiveness.

At least everyone's arguments worked on her. "We were friends already!" Nico was right. It didn't take a Kizna System or forced confessions of embarrassing things. It just took time spent together. That all the time spent together was artificially contrived doesn't matter either. At some point, people just start caring for each other. That's forming the bonds/wounds of friendship.


The Kiznaiver title screen was white this time. Everything is going to get shared!

These competing Gomorins didn't like each other very much.

Ha! Just because the old bullies don't feel pain like Katsuhira didn't mean they got stronger.

Nico and Maki butted heads about friendship. Literally!

Maki could be pretty dense too. Everyone but her knew that she was going to be the one who just didn't want to accept that she was already friends with everyone.

Hee! Katsuhira knew something outrageous was about to happen. That's why he started jogging in place to warm up.

Yeah! Nico said, "Friendship is soy sauce! Omnipotent seasoning!" Did it make sense? No! Did her feelings get through? Yes!

Noriko was sure that friendship between all the different kids, in the past and the present, was based on the shared pain on the Kizna System. But both sets of kids knew that friendship developed on its own, no matter the pretense that brought them together.

I liked that people stayed hurt after falling from a high bridge. Also a nice nod to the sci-fi rules of fiction instead of the fantasy rules: the affected kids' hair didn't immediately turn back to their normal color after they got back their feelings. The pigment may have been drained all at once when they were kids after Noriko's incident, but regular hair color needs time to grow back.

So cute! Maki wants to make Yuta fat again so she doesn't have to vie for attention from other girls.

Yeah, Tenga. You should be happy that the girl who says she just wants to be friends can't stop thinking about you. It means exactly what you think it means.

Nico best friend! She let Chidori and Tenga have that conversation, but she hadn't given up on Tenga yet. I don't think she actually wants a relationship with him, though. She just wants she and Chidori to have a fistfight over him on the beach at sunset to become even closer friends. Another high school romance reference.

Noriko says that she and Katsuhira will have a pure relationship, that is "until Katsuhira pushes me to the ground." Ha!

Final Thoughts.

I had come into this show expecting another wild ride like Kill la Kill, Trigger's last long form anime. That show's whole premise was based on the homonym pun between fashion and fascism, but with aliens, artificial intelligence and superpowers. This show was based on the pun between the Japanese words for bonds and scars and that friendship meant that someone had a placed a scar inside you that doesn't heal and that you can't forget. That view of friendship was the slightly twisted one held by Noriko, the center of the whole story.

Ultimately, Kiznaiver was a subversive take on the summer high school romance genre, where different types of guys and girls form friendships, but then growing attractions complicate things. The show even explicitly states the character types that will be in this group that could never have friends in the first place. Noriko called them the 7 Deadly Sins, but I called them the Toxic Personality types. Omitted from her theory was the 8th Toxic Personality: the Dramatic Mysterious Girlfriend.

The main question for this meta-romance narrative was, "how do we become friends?" The plot shows that it isn't through sharing pain, emotions or thoughts. It's just through time spent together doing things. You're only really friends when you realize, "We were friends already!" It just sneaks up on people. Even if you force it, sometimes you become friends anyway.

I enjoyed the outrageous flare the show added, like the costumed Gomorins, who were just regular volunteers, and the consistent animation hooks from Trigger, like the cross-patterned lens flares. Funny, crazy, full of well-choreographed action sequences and great gag faces. I loved it all.

If you like Trigger's other shows, you'll like this. If you like shows making light of anime conventions, you'll like this too. Just don't expect super powered crime fighting for world peace. That totally didn't happen. Unless you consider everyone becoming friends a small start for world peace. Then, yeah. That totally happened.

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