First Look: Kiznaiver

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Alternative titles: Mari Okada’s Trigger Show
Anime original by Studio Trigger
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Katsuhira is a cold, quiet boy who doesn’t seem capable of feeling pain. One day that changes however as he’s abducted by a classmate and chosen to be part of the ‘Kizuna System’, which shares pain across a group of people.

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Zigg’s verdict: Painful Birth

This is one of the most truly bizarre and confusing premieres I’ve seen in quite some time, since the show seems to be fighting itself as to what it wants to be. On one side we’ve got an impressively high-concept core idea, backed with some superbly spooky flashbacks and some great hints at an overarching dystopia. On the other hand, we’ve got Trigger’s typical face-faulting, flailing animation and a whole bunch high school cliches thrown against a wall. It makes for an often uncomfortable marriage as the show swings between teen drama and tortured rumination on the human condition. Yet despite this the core idea at the root of Kiznaiver – the sharing of pain between people – is so original and clever that I feel there’s a huge amount of potential here. It’s also an incredibly stylish show, with first-time director Hiroshi Kobayashi doing a tremendous job of setting mood and stamping a signature look. It’s a shaky start but there’s the promise of something very special if they can straighten things out.

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Iro’s verdict: Potentially Good

I hope Trigger doesn’t lose their way on Kiznaiver, because I enjoyed this premiere quite a bit. There are a lot of cool ideas here (barring a dramatic scene based on a bad pun), and some that are higher-concept than what I’d normally expect from the likes of Trigger. I imagine we can thank Mari Okada for that, for both good and ill. We saw this with Iron-Blooded Orphans, but while she seems to have a knack for setting up on interesting premises, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it all properly wrap up. Otherwise, Kiznaiver looks incredible, with Trigger bringing their typical flashy, colorful, and cartoony flair. I’ll keep an eye on this and hope it doesn’t all go to shit.

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Artemis’ verdict: Sure Is A Trigger Show

I suspect that anyone who knows Trigger will know exactly what to expect from this premiere – energetic, colourful, eccentric. There are a lot of good ideas here but it’s impossible to tell just from the opening episode how they’ll be presented, and whether or not they’ll be eventually strung together into a coherent whole. The raw potential is certainly there, but if you’re not the patient type then it honestly might be better to give Kiznaiver a miss, because despite appearances I don’t think this is the kind of show to rush things. Otherwise, all aboard the Trigger train, I’m sure it’ll be a fun ride.

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2 thoughts on “First Look: Kiznaiver

  1. I loved this opening. Great way to sort of poke fun at anime, have wacky fun, and creates an actual interesting character position that affects the whole cast. Can’t wait for more, I’m sticking with this.

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