Review: Kiznaiver – E.02

This episode picks up right where the last one left off. The thing is… it’s not just a simple pick up and go let’s figure this thing out team. No, instead our crazy student council person decides that it’s time for them to play a game that will help them all get to know each other better or die. Kacchon finds himself strapped to a table and electrocuted whenever the team gives a wrong answer, which is a few times. The reason being is that the question is vague, “Introduce yourself”, but the answer is complicated. Eventually they figure out that it’s the secret about themselves that they have never shared and would never say out loud. For instance, that Mad Dog is actually afraid of dogs and has gone so far as to research where all the dogs are in town and what their schedule is so he never crosses paths with them. Or that the girl who believes in fairies doesn’t actually believe in fairies and just wanted to be eccentric so that people wouldn’t hate her for being rich and perfect.

kiznaiver_3I’m pointing those two out because it just goes to show what the Trigger team is doing with this story. By embracing the typical anime tropes they’re using them, but then improving on them so that by the end they’re so different that you have to wonder if they’re even technically using them. I’ve lost count of how many characters in anime that have been exactly like “Mad Dog” and yet they added depth to him. They showed this analytical side to him that comes about due to his overwhelming fear of dogs. They also showed that he can be terrified, which is a rarity. His character reminded me a lot of Ranta from last season’s Grimgar, but it didn’t take an entire season to build and develop the character… just two episodes.

That is the brilliance of the writing at Trigger. Unlike shows Mayoiga which rely on slowly and painfully building the story up and hitting every story beat associated with the genre, Trigger introduces familiar elements and pulls from the collective experience with those elements to condense the build up and move forward. If this had been any other team, we would have spent two to three episodes with the characters figuring out their connection and doing the secret reveals. Hell, that’s typically six episodes right there because we would have spent so much time with them proving that they’re this character type or the other. Instead, we’re on episode two and all of that is out-of-the-way. Even Kacchon’s character has changed and develop; I hate to say it again, but if it were a different series he would remain the same until damn near the end of the show to have his big growth moment.

The art is of course fantastic. There are five or six really, really good anime this season and this is one of them. I couldn’t rank them if I tried, but this would be near the top. The way the characters moved when they were running looked really good. They stumble, but not too much and at just the right moments. That and ridiculous goons dressed as cartoon characters are a nice touch to this overly serious world.

Frankly you’re probably already watching this show and waiting for the third episode to drop whenever it is that it drops. If you’re not watching it though then you’re missing out on one of the best series thus far. Sure we still have several episodes before I go handing out a crown, but it’s looking good so far.

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Kiznaiver – E.02