Whether you were a fan of Trigger’s last animation Kill la Kill or not, Kiznaiver is probably for you. It’s kind of everything that Trigger is. Strange and yet iconic character designs. Beautiful animation and oh yeah a concept that is extremely over the top and yet manages to dissect anime, fandom and society all at the same time. This go around Trigger takes on the complexity of pain. Really it’s empathy that they’re taking on, but they’re using physical pain to show this. That one part of the story as the other takes on the “seven deadly sins” that have been updated for the anime generation. These sins… character architypes.
Just one of these alone would make for quality storytelling, but the fact that they’re intermingled and balanced, makes for a story that’s interesting on many levels. Because the thing about Trigger is when they say “hey we’re making fun of fan service” and then they do, they also provide amazing fan service, but use it in a way that it helps the story rather than hurting it. For that reason, I’m extremely interested to see what they’ll do with the acknowledged character types they’re using and making commentary on.
The story… is of course complex and not the easiest to explain without recapping the entire episode. I don’t particularly want to do that so I’ll condense it as much as possible. We meet Kacchon as a little boy and he looks like he’s just escaped some kind of lab. He’s running towards a faceless female child who is talking to him before she jumps. From this point on we learn that Kacchon doesn’t feel pain. He’s bullied because of this which then leads to him meeting another character and another. He wakes up on top of a building with a girl who is basically running their school (cough a bit too similar) and she goes into a lot of exposition until we see all of the characters we’ve meet in the same room. There she explains that they’re a part of an experiment and that all of their pain is connected. They share their pain, but rather than it being a forced empathy, it’s their physical pain which they learn when one of them gets kicked in the head.
By the end of the episode I knew that I was watching one of if not the best anime of the season. Even if Trigger decided to just be typical with this idea, it’s still interesting enough to continue watching. I know they won’t because they love being over the top and the commentary is already thick in this first episode.
The animation is beautiful. It’s not a re-hash of Kill la Kill even though a few of the characters have similar designs. I chalk that up to being the same studio and really that’s all anime. There’s a lot more detail in Kaznaiver because of the setting, a lush metropolis. It’s very futuristic looking with a clean white aesthetic. What’s interesting about the animation to me is that emotions seem to be a big part of the story and yet the two main characters are basically void of emotion. Which was probably challenging to illustrate since they “no sell” everything going on.
There’s only one other animation that might beat Kiznaiver, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m just happy to have two anime to be excited for and that Trigger was able to follow Kill la Kill up with something that wasn’t re-hash or worse… bad. If anything, Kiznaiver is off to a better start.
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