Kiznaiver – Episode 11

Kiznaiver had another fairly strong episode this week, one that again demonstrated how this show is often much better at its small emotional and framing details than it is at the big narrative strokes. I frankly don’t care much about Sonozaki’s attempted coup here – it’s an okay place to take her sense of isolation, but it’s only going to get interesting once Katsuhira attempts to talk her down. It’s that communication that always becomes the key, and the way this fantastic director elevates such small moments into high drama. Chidori keeping a brace face on the phone, or Katsuhira admitting he’s not necessarily confident in his answers. Little gems all around.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below.


Opening with Sonozaki alone until the other experimental kids arrive. Great shot of her hiding as they appear

This history stuff just isn’t that interesting

“And then she made a trite little wish… that these days would continue forever”

Wow, I really like this. Nico is trying to cheer Katsuhira up by engaging him and having him remember how his friends used to be, while Hisomu advises leaving him alone because he’s tired. Like with Chidori, each person advises helping the other based on how their own personal feelings work – Nico craves company, while Hisomu is comfortable being alone

“We have to share information! Because we’re not connected by the Kizna system anymore!” Fine stuff. Nico wants to take on this emotional labor

Nico is too insistent – she invades other people’s space. But her words prompt Katsuhira to honestly say “sorry, I need to think for a while.” To express what he’s feeling

Yuta: “And I thought I was pretty close to remembering what I was really like.” A great line for him, and a very common struggle

“I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. Could I check my answers with you?

These cuts to Chidori’s unmoving face are brutal

Chidori feels the pain of rejection and suddenly understands Tenga’s feelings. And then we see her crumple, and get a shot of her apartment as this huge, empty space

Hisomu playing “ambient music” for Katsuhira while he tries to think. I love that Hisomu has become the dad of the group

The teachers feel responsible, as they should

The conversation between Katsuhira and Sonozaki mirrors their conversation from the first episode – but this time, Katsuhira is confident in his declaration of both his and her emotions

Checking his answers again. This is a really strong idea. Love the sincerity of this

Katsuhira felt guilty about foisting his pain onto others. And now it seems like the Kizna has returned

“I don’t think that means we should be connected through a system. I want to feel real pain for my friends, too.”

Great conclusion to this scene. Even though he can’t feel pain, he can still think, and thus understand the pain his friends are feeling through acknowledging their own interiority. And he wants to be able to do that

This last scene is super contrived, though

2 thoughts on “Kiznaiver – Episode 11

  1. I like Kiznaiver because it’s such a good display of how empathy works and/or why it’s so super important to all of our human interactions. I really wish that Kiznaiver existed when I was a teen and had a problem with empathy. Apparently birth control (i.e. hormones) fixed this for me, but before that, empathy was a thing that I REALLY needed to learn. And when I DID learn it, I fell into quite the depression, so I can kind of get where Katsuhira (and Kiznaiver) is coming from. (But at the same time, I can completely understand why this sci fi conceit isn’t working…because it’s stupid and unnecessary.)

    I don’t really know of ANY other anime that’s even come close to dealing with this topic. Maybe there was Evangelion, which I had also glomped onto as a teen, but Eva had a lot of other baggage with it that kind of super confused me. I ended up admiring Rei (see user name which has largely stuck only because it’s easy and recognizable) because she was so goddamn stoic, but really, that’s totally fucked up.

    What I REALLY needed was to learn how to mix some humanism into my existentialism, and that took a very long time to learn. I don’t know of many anime that have done this. Maybe Satoshi Kon’s works, which are often dark but uplifting at the same time. As an “adult”, Paranoia Agent strikes a good balance between the two I think (god I love that series), but it also isn’t exactly a study in empathy.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Kiznaiver represents a study in empathy that you very rarely see in anime OR in American media. Or maybe I’m just not reading enough American YA literature. That’s very possible, since all the YA lit at my YA age was pre-Twilight but post-Nancy Drew/ Hardy Boys.

    • Speaking of representation… just a week ago I finished reading Stanislaw Lem’s “Cyberiad” (an amazing book of science-fiction/fairy tales/something. Just its own thing really) and one of the final stories dealt exactly with the same conceit as Kiznaiver, though with a markedly different scope – less intimate, more focused on philosophical/social reflection and satire. In that one the Kizuna system was replaced by a drug called “altruizine”, that allowed sharing pain and feelings across a certain radius. A space hermit with a strong desire to bring forth universal peace experiments with it on a planet. The results are, obviously… less than optimal. And quite more gruelling than what’s been on display here in fact.

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