Tuesday, June 07, 2016

10 Second Anime - Kiznaiver - Episode 9

Noriko reveals her past bond to Katsuhira. The Kiznaivers' scars glow red, marking another level in their bonds.

Episode 9 - "It's all over, I think."


I haven't had too much to complain about with this show, but two things really grated on me as I watched this emotionally draining episode.

Noriko's contrived collapse after Katsuhira rescued her from a falling statue. The rescue itself was contrived, because it wasn't explained exactly how Katsuhira knew where Noriko was. I can't imagine he was able to see her emerge from that emergency exit from that far away in the middle of that pouring rain. The collapse was just a cheap way to cause emotional impact before we see Noriko and Katsuhira again in the gym trying to dry out. Totally unnecessary.

The second thing was Katsuhira living up to his "Imbecile" moniker. When every single response starts with "Huh?" it makes me wish no one would ever talk to him again. How about mixing up the dialog trying to show Katsuhira as emotionally clueless with some silence or "I don't understand," or something else besides "Huh?"


This was a hard episode to watch because the kids' emotional desperation about crushes and holding onto friendships really showed through in the voice acting. Except for Katsuhira. That voice actor does dumbshit a little too well.

I noticed the color for the Title Screen was still yellow. Is it going to be red next week?

Noriko's intimate moments with Katsuhira finally got the audience back to the first moments of the entire season.

This basketball scene was not just an excuse to look up Noriko's skirt. No sir! It was a visceral cue to remind Katsuhira of a ball bouncing around the playground with his original Kiznaiver playmates. Sure, we'll go with that... as I look up Noriko's skirt.

This was talked about last episode, but the flashbacks showing Katsuhira's memories coming back to him reinforced the problems the original kids dealt with. The current Kiznaiver program only transmits painful stimuli, with only a few colors. The little kids got the full gamut of pain and pleasure, showcased by the all the colors coming out of Noriko's scar and the current white color it shows along with Katsuhira's.

Interesting how Katsuhira's old scar glows white, but is totally invisible when not activated.

The Gomorin bullies had to give up on Hisomu. You can't really call it bullying if he enjoys it, right?

The director and cameraman Gomorin broadcasting Katsuhira and Noriko's conversation about their past was a nice touch to reinforce how contrived these scenes are to evoke and develop the bonds between the Kiznaivers.

Chidori took a hard blow. She's no longer the most senior childhood friend. That goes to Noriko. Now she's just the next door neighbor friend. Definitely a step lower in the harem ranks.

The adults knew what they were doing when they set up a crisis between the group of four involving Tenga, Nico, Chidori and Katsuhira. The hints were there pretty early on about how Tenga admired Chidori for her home cooked meals.

Using a typhoon as a backdrop for emotional calamity is always a good device. You never know what's going to be lost or revealed in a storm. Nico's accidentally public confession of her feelings for Tenga felt like one of those ripped-off-roof moments in the middle of a tornado.

The current Kizna system is supposed to transmit only pain, but last week we saw Nico transmit a green color when she first felt a pang of attraction to Tenga. I wonder if the current system is as leak-proof as they designed it against positive emotions, or whether Nico's developing love was already tinged with pain because she suspected how Tenga felt for Chidori.

Aw. Nico said she wanted to get "properly hurt" by Tenga regarding her feelings. Better to get that definitive rejection than to live with the regret of having never tried.

And Katsuhira still doesn't feel pain, even though he can hear the words of the painful thoughts.


Much earlier, Noriko had claimed that if the Kiznaivers strengthen their bonds they might even start reading each other thoughts. And here we are. The problem I see with the current Kizna system is that after the incident with the children, they capped the system to only transmit pain. The teenagers are transmitting emotions and thoughts, but it's still through the filter of pain. In my view, the thoughts that are getting transmitted aren't ones that cause the thinker to feel pain, but ones that the thinker knows will cause others pain, which is why they hold it deep in their hearts.

Part of why these toxic personalities were chosen was that they were all intrinsically self-centered: they didn't form real relationships with others because they felt no empathy for them. But these seven have formed empathetic bonds through the sharing of painful emotions. It would have been nice if they had also felt the others' pleasurable emotions, but empathy from just the painful is still empathy.

What convinced me that these painful thoughts do not cause the originator pain in isolation, but pain to another or to a group, was how Chidori transmitted "Hold me" meaning her most selfish thought was for Katsuhira to hold her like she saw him hold Noriko. But she would never say it out loud because it would hurt Tenga, which would also hurt Nico, and finally hurt herself again because she knew Katsuhira would only do it in obligation. It was a selfish wish on her part. But saying it out loud would not cause pain in isolation to herself. There's a network of relationships that saying these thoughts out loud would hurt.

Another view, that these painful thoughts are the things the Kiznaivers would never admit out loud, much like their secrets in the second episode, could be seen that way from Maki's painful that "We can't be friends." From her arc, we saw how hard it was for her to let other people be friends with her after the loss of Ruru. However, she hasn't known these other guys for very long, so I don't see how admitting that she could never be friends with this group is that painful to her. But Maki does know how important trying to be friends is to Nico. So while denying friendship out loud would have some impact on herself, she knows it would have a more painful impact on Nico, Tenga and Yuta. This bolsters my view that the painful thought is not something that causes pain to oneself alone, but to another or the group more so.

I can see how the researchers thought that using innocent children to share all kinds of positive and negative feelings would be safe because the children would not have yet built up a large inventory of negative or painful things to share. It appears that the experiment failed because the children were overwhelmed by all that was transmitted, which started a resonant feedback loop, where feeling all the shared things caused even more feelings to be shared.

Trying again with older children who had not formed relationships because of their toxic personalities, while filtering only pain to maximize the response to stimuli, might have been a good idea because the teenagers should have been mature enough not to cause emotional chain reactions from the shared stimulus. This was true when only physical pain was transferred. This episode showed that sharing painful thoughts caused painful emotions which got shared again causing more painful thoughts. Another resonant feedback loop because of the filter on pain.

Urushibara-sensei said that the Kizna system was only meant to be temporary, so the kids still have to last the Summer Break before they get their implants out. I'm expecting a dreary episode next time as the kids deal with the fallout from all their ugly painful thoughts being shared. And there's still the past between Noriko and Katsuhira to be resolved. At the end of the episode, Noriko looked like she was back to being all business, so I'm also expecting some emotional response from Katsuhira from someone he likes drawing back. Ugh. This reminds me too much of my high school and college relationships when there was all that learning about oneself and all the feeeeeelings. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a big comedic interlude in the middle just to break up this messy slog of painful thoughts and emotions.

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