Anime is getting bigger and bigger in the west. We’re at the point were even Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have entered the game picking up their own exclusives recently. Last season we noticed a trend appearing to start with FUNimation actually helping fund the Dimension W anime and that appears to be continuing to the future as well as Crunchyroll helping with both of Trigger’s shows this season. Did Crunchyroll pick right with the Trigger x Mari Okada collab or was it a waste of money?
Kiznaiver starts with an interesting premise of Katsuhira Agata being someone who just can’t feel pain. Due to this he gets bullied which introduces us to two other kids, Chidori Takashiro who is “The Goody-Two-Shoes” and obviously has a crush on Katsuhira and Tenga Hajime “The Muscle Head” who beats up the bullies demanding they give all of Katsuhira’s money back. These three, along with four others end up being forcibly entered in the Kizuna experiment which connects them all so their pain will be evenly distributed between the seven of them. These include Nico Niyama, “The Eccentric Headcase”, Tsuguhito Yuta, “The Cunning Normal”, Honoka Maki,
“The High and Mighty”, and while not there from the start, Yoshiharu Hisomu “The Immoral”. These terms are used by Noriko Sonozaki, a kuudere who seems to be in charge of this experiment, to describe the characters to Katsuhira calling them the “updated seven sins”. Clearly these are mostly typical anime personality types so I was worried the characters would end up being really boring. Luckily for me every character goes through significant development (except maybe Yoshiharu) and become fully fleshed out characters.
Visually this looks like a Trigger show which I like. I’m not saying this in a bad way, but if you’ve seen Kill la Kill or Little Witch Academia and didn’t know this was the same studio going in you would figure out really quickly. The opening visuals (something I actually don’t mention very often) were also really unique and I liked them.
The soundtrack was also really great with a lot of tracks completely making the scene for me. Voice acting was also top tier. While I don’t want to give spoilers the ending of episode 9 was amazing with it sounding like the voice actors were actually in the situation the characters were. That was actually a pretty common occurrence with the seiyuu but this particular scene sticks out a lot more (it should be obvious why if you’ve seen it). Most the seiyuu haven’t done much and what they have done are just supporting roles so I really hope that changes soon.
The show isn’t without flaws however. The ending song is pretty upbeat which is fine, except when it just suddenly cuts in after an emotional scene it feels really awkward and I wish maybe there was another song they could have put there (or just have silence for a couple episodes). The early bits, in typical Mari Okada fashion, were fairly slow too. There is character building during these episodes but it happens a lot more (and in opinion, better) in the second half. The solution to the finale’s climax was also fairly predictable with how it had been set-up.