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Anime / Kiznaiver

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"One for all, all for victory." note 

"It's all right. You're not the same as us, Katsuhira-kun. You'll be able to get it back. You'll be able to get back your pain."

One day, Noriko Sonozaki tells her classmate Katsuhira Agata, "You have been selected to be a Kiznaiver." The Kizna System, which allows Katsuhira to share his wounds, connects him to the classmates whose lives and personalities completely differ from his. The aim of the incomplete system is for the implementation of world peace by connecting people through collective suffering, doing so through missions to allow for study and experimentation.

After being abducted and undergoing surgery, Katsuhira wakes to be informed he's now connected to six acquaintances from his class. Gathered together, the group is told they are now "Kiznaivers": when one Kiznaiver is wounded, the system divides and transmits the wound among the other Kiznaivers. As they work together to strengthen their bonds through completing missions together, the Kiznaivers soon uncover several conspiracies about their home of Sugomori City...

The brainchild of prolific anime writer Mari Okada (Black Butler, Rozen Maiden), Kiznaiver is an original anime made by Studio TRIGGER and produced by Aniplex, featuring character designs by mangaka Shirow Miwa (Dogs: Bullets & Carnage) and Mai Yoneyama. Hiroshi Kobayashi, known for his work as assistant director in the anime Rage of Bahamut: Genesis and as episode director in Kill la Kill, makes his debut as a director with this show.

In 2018, just under two years of the series' release in Japan, Aniplex USA released Kiznaiver on home video in North America with an English dub co-produced by Crunchyroll and The Ocean Group, making the series their first English dub done in Canada rather than their usual dubbing studio with Bang Zoom! Entertainment.


  • All Love Is Unrequited: As it turns out, Nico has feelings for Tenga who has feelings for Chidori who has feelings for Katsuhira who has feelings for Sonozaki, who, believe it or not, may or may not feel the same way. Not only that, but Yuta has feelings for Honoka, who still has lingering feelings for her lost childhood friend.
  • Always in Class One: All the Kiznaivers including Sonozaki are in class 2-A.
  • Arc Symbol: Xs appear all over Sugomori City, from the school uniforms to the unusual moveable bridge all the way to the arrangement of its buildings.
  • Arc Words: "One for all, all for one."
    • Sonozaki believes that the real phrase should be "One for all, all for victory".
    • Katsuhira thinks over what Sonozaki said to him in the first episode quite often throughout the show.
      Sonozaki: Everyone wants to carve their scars into someone else. Everyone wants to connect with someone else.
  • Betty and Veronica: Katsuhira is the Archie to Chidori's and Sonozaki's Betty and Veronica, respectively.
  • Call-Back: Katsuhira and Sonozaki's conversation in Episode 11 is a callback to the two's meeting ten episodes prior, ironically taking place in the same location and making use of the same camera angles as before.
  • The Cameo: Luluco and Nova make an appearance in the last episode.
  • Central Theme:
    • How sharing pains and bad experiences can bring people together as friends. That's the entire point of the Kizna Project, that sharing pain can create bonds between people, and the entire course of the show proves that point: for all the crap the Kiznas are forced through, this actually brought them closer together, their shared pain helped them understand each other better and eventually become True Companions.
      • Ultimately, the series can actually be seen as subverting this. Though the main caste were brought together through pain, as they tell Sonozaki in the end, it wasn't the pain that kept them together; they stay together and became true friends because they came to honestly like and trust each other outside of merely sharing pain.
    • The human need to connect with others and how these bonds are made. As Sonozaki states, it is only natural for someone to want to leave his mark on someone else and make a meaningful connection, no matter what kind. Not even Sonozaki is excused, and it is shown throughout the series that all characters that were alone, in one way or another sought a way to bond with someone (part of the reason the 7 Kiznas were chosen was because their friendlessness) not even Sonozaki herself is exempt of that.
    • Love Hurts, but the fact that it hurts shouldn't stop you from loving or feeling things. Everyone faces the pain of not having their feelings returned, of being turned down or feel hurt, grieve and agony. The show makes a point of the fact that these are things that are inevitably felt and meant to be felt, in order to properly understand and deal with them.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The statue Nico vandalizes in the first episode shows up again in the eighth episode where it falls over and nearly crushes Sonozaki.
  • Childhood Friends: Katsuhira and Chidori.
    • As revealed in later episodes, Katsuhira and Sonozaki were also childhood friends, along with the rest of the children who were part of the failed experiment that took place twelve years prior to the show.
    • Honoka and Ruru can also be considered as childhood friends.
  • Cicadian Rhythm: Heard in the background in all the scenes that take place outdoors. It is summertime in a Japanese city, after all.
  • Cliffhanger: Episode 2 ends with Honoka telling the group her Wham Line secret. It's Metaphorically True.
  • Color-Coded Characters: All the main characters:
    • Katsuhira - White
    • Sonozaki - Blue
    • Chidori - Magenta
    • Tenga - Yellow
    • Nico - Orange
    • Honoka - Brown
    • Yuta - Teal
    • Hisomu - Purple
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Physical pain, emotional pain and thoughts shared between the Kiznaivers are represented with their Kizna marks glowing a specific color, along with a static-like effect on the screen, the same color as their Kizna marks. It goes as follows: physical pain is represented by the color blue, emotional pain is represented by the color yellow, and thoughts are represented by the color red.
  • Crossover Punchline: See The Cameo.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Chidori (red) and Honoka (brown).
  • Dark Secret: The first mission that Sonozaki appoints to the Kiznaivers is entitled, "Mission: Self-introductions". It takes them a while to finally figure out that "introducing themselves to one another" actually means to tell the one secret that they don't want anyone finding out about. It goes as follows:
    • Tenga has a crippling fear of dogs.
      Chidori: Being scared of dogs isn't a big deal.
      Tenga: It is a big deal! It's so lame that I want to die! Even going to and from school, I've researched which houses have dogs, and the routes and times those dogs go on walks... All my life, I've done everything I could to ensure no one found out!
      Chidori: That's amazing, Tenga-kun! Such earnest effort!
    • Nico doesn't believe in fairies, and presents herself as an eccentric headcase so that she won't be singled out for being cute, smart and rich.
      Nico: W-Well, I mean... I'm cute, smart, my parents run their own business, and I'm rich, right?
      Chidori: I'm supposed to agree to that?
      Tenga: Like we'd know.
      Nico: Isn't it annoying that I'm so perfect? I'd totally stand out, and people would hate me! So I decided to say something crazy like I can see fairies!
      Tenga: Sh-She's a bit extreme...
    • Yuta used to be overweight when he was a kid.
      Yuta: I gained weight really easily... until the end of middle school.
      Tenga: HAHAHAHAHAHA—this goes beyond gaining a little weight! So you "debuted" in high school, huh? HAHAHA!
      Yuta: Is there a problem?!
    • Chidori has feelings for Katsuhira.
      Chidori: I... When you used to be nice and funny, Kacchon... I loved you!
      • Although Chidori claimed that she "used to" love Katsuhira, it is obvious that she still harbors feelings for him at present.
    • In Katsuhira's case, both of the "self-introductions" he made (the first being about his being "different" from the other Kiznaivers and the second being about Chidori's feelings for him and how he realized that being a Kiznaiver wasn't a bad thing) were apparently "a bit off", as stated by Sonozaki, but that "it couldn't be helped"; she also mentions to herself that it's because Katsuhira has "forgotten the secret itself", which implies that Katsuhira's true "self-introduction" is that he participated in the first Kizna experiment that took place twelve years ago, along with Sonozaki herself and seventeen other children.
    • As for Honoka's case, she claims to have killed someone in the past, but she soon takes it back and brushes it off as a joke. It is later revealed in Episodes 6 and 7 that her self-introduction is in fact not to be taken literally, but is actually Metaphorically True; or at least, to Honoka herself it is. Honoka's true secret is that she was best friends with a terminally-ill girl named Ruru back in middle school, and shortly before the latter's death, Honoka cut off her friendship with Ruru and distanced herself from her completely. She feared that if she had responded to Ruru's romantic feelings towards her and acknowledged her own, the pain of losing Ruru would be too much to bear; and Honoka thinks that by leaving Ruru alone in the short time she had left to live, she had "killed" the girl she knew, thus her self-introduction.
    • As for Hisomu, he was not yet officially part of the Kiznaivers at the time the mission was given out, and therefore he did not reveal any secret.
  • Empathic Environment: The climax of Maki's character arc has it suddenly rain after Nico tries to reach out to her at her house. At first the rain signals her conflicting feelings towards Ruru, but it becomes something of a healing rain after she finally finds closure.
  • Empty Shell: You buy into the possibility of world peace that the Kizna System is promising to achieve, and happily support it as a benefactor, going so far as to allow your child to take part in it as a test subject. When they return to you, they're a little more than emotionless shells of their former selves who have been subjected to so much physical and emotional agony that they can no longer feel any pain whatsoever—that is, if they're in a stable-enough condition to be returned to you at all.
    • It gets worse. One of the children who was a test subject in the first experiment—Sonozaki—ended up taking on the pain of all nineteen test subjects including herself, and has continued to do so for over a decade. This has completely destroyed her psyche over time, and she has become convinced that taking on the pain of others is ultimately the only way that she can achieve true happiness.
  • Expy:
    • Tenga's design and personality shares resemblance with Kamina, as well as some traits of Badou Nails from another series that Shirow Miwa has worked on.
    • Sonozaki is a diluted Satsuki Kiryuin with her sadistic qualities intact. Her hair is also identical to Esdeath's
    • Nico Niyama is obviously just Mako Mankanshoku that took a peculiar interest in fashion and fairies; also Nui Harime as well if she wasn't psychotic.
    • Class 2-A's homeroom teacher Yamada also pays homage to Kill la Kill's Sanageyama, with his sports apparel resembling Sanageyama's School Sport Uniform arrangement; along with some tiny hints of Aikuro and Kamina thrown into the mix.
    • Katsuhira's design is similar to Yūma Kuga, despite his character being potrayed by Osamu Mikumo.
  • Fiery Redhead: Both Chidori and Tenga, the latter as a stylized example.
  • Foil: All the Kiznaivers are foils to each other. Sonozaki lampshades that they are so different that they wouldn't ever interact or like each other in any other situation, and that's why she chose them. They also work in pairs:
    • Charming and effeminate Yuta to hotblooded and manly Tenga.
    • Prim and proper Honoka to eccentric and childish Nico.
    • Empathetic and moral Chidori to apathetic and immoral Hisomu.
    • Honoka and Ruru were also this.
  • Gender Flip: Maki and Yuta would be your standard Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl couple if the genders were flipped, with Maki playing the aloof and eventually Defrosting Ice King and Yuta playing the popular but ultimately innocent School Idol.
  • Groin Attack: Yuta to Fukuzawa (Honoka and Ruru's editor) in Episode 6 and Urushii to Yaamada in Episode 9.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The numbering of each episode is hidden in the Japanese readings of the titles.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Hisomu, particularly. Tenga as well.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: How the Love Dodecahedron below resolves itself:
    • Chidori realizes that Sonozaki can change Katsuhira's life for the better more than she ever could, and decides to support their relationship because of that.
    • Tenga initially decides to help Chidori nab Katsuhira, but becomes more transparent with his feelings once it becomes apparent that Katsuhira will only break her heart. He asks Chidori to reject him in episode 10 when he realizes that she won't be happy in a relationship with him; ironically, it's his bluntness which forces Chidori to confront her selfishness and ultimately come to terms with Katsuhira loving someone else.
    • Even though Nico has strong feelings for Tenga, it's revealed in the epilogue that she's going to give him a chance to be with Chidori first since it finally appears that their feelings are becoming mutual.
  • Knight Templar: Pretty much everyone involved in the Kizna System can be considered one. They are willing to do anything that could lead them one step closer to achieving world peace, even if it means experimenting on their own children and causing them so much physical and emotional duress that they can no longer feel pain or any emotion at all.
    Urushii: (to Yamada) You have horrible taste. It's like we're taking people's emotions and playing with them like toys.
    Yamada: If you say something like that, it means you're pretty much denying this whole experiment.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Hisomu.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Episodes 8 and 9 reveal there is one between the Kiznaivers and Noriko Sonozaki. The breakdown is both Chidori and Sonozaki like Katsuhira but he's not sure if he likes either of them due to his being emotionless since childhood. Tenga likes Chidori while Nico likes Tenga. Yuta likes Honoka but she's still hung up over her friend Ruru. In comparison Hisomu is free from this mess. The show even gives us a handy Love Chart so we can follow the trail of love.
  • Love Hurts: Love has brought no happiness whatsoever in the series: A literal example due to the Kizna system. Chidori's realization that Katsuhira doesn't really care for her triggers the Kizuna System to gain the capacity to transmit emotional pain, which causes the other Kiznaivers worse pain than physical pain. After seeing Katsuhira hugging Sonozaki, she is so hurt it again causes the system to evolve so that they can transmit their heart's desire as actual thoughts to each other. This then causes the rest of the Kiznaivers realize that they're in an All Love Is Unrequited situation - Nico loves Tenga, who loves Chidori, who loves Katsuhira, who only shows interest in Sonozaki (which Chidori inteprets as love), and Yuta loves Honoka, who loves Ruru as The Lost Lenore. Once the realization sets in, the shared pain is enough to cause the entire team to become incapacitated as they writhe on the ground in emotional agony.
  • Manly Tears: Katsuhira in Episode 9 cries when embracing Sonozaki. He does this again at the end of Episode 10, complete with Skyward Scream.
  • Maybe Ever After: Despite all the Ship Tease, the only people in an official relationship by the end of the series are Katsuhira and Sonozaki. The epilogue implies, however, that Honoka is finally ready to enter a relationship with Yuta, Chidori is beginning to reciprocate Tenga's feelings, and Hisomu and Nico are in a potential Pair the Spares situation which may or may not stay platonic.
    • The couples are lampshaded in episode 4 when the group is walking up the hill in pairs of two.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Played with in episode 3. While Tenga repeatedly punching Yuta and Katsuhira gets no reaction from anyone, neighborhood patrol is quick to scold him when he is about to smack Chidori, even when it's by her own request.
  • Motherly Side Plait: Honoka's exact hairstyle is this, although she is by no means motherly.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Only Katsuhira and Yuta have similar clothes. All the others seem to have a different version of the uniform or have added some personalization. Bonus to the fact that even side characters have these.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Hisomu lampshades that all the Kiznaiver have one thing in common: none of them have friends, and none of them even know how to make friends.
  • Odd Friendship: The show is basically oriented around this, albeit on a group scale. The ultimate goal of the experiment could be boiled down to a desire to make every Odd Friendship possible.
  • On the Next: During the post-credits segment, one of the characters works the next episode's title into a sentence.
  • Open Secret: Played with. The main group basically warns everybody around them that they have a strange connection during episode 3, but nobody seems to care or believe.
    • Chidori's feelings for Katsuhira are secret to no one but Katsuhira himself. Not that she'll admit it though.
  • The Power of Friendship: Subtly played, but it can be seen, as the Kizuna System was made to create true bonds.
  • Pun-Based Title: Like Kill la Kill, the title of "Kiznaiver" is a Japanese-English word play on the words "Kizu" (wound), "Kizuna" (bond), and "Naïve" (unripe, inexperience).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chidori's red to Noriko's blue.
  • Reused Character Design: Tenga's design is basically a genderswap of Allie from 7th Dragon, a game Miwa did the character designs for.
  • Scenery Porn: The school, the city and even the hospital are beautiful settings.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Reworked as modern equivalents, the seven clashing personality types are drawn parallel to the cardinal sins of Christianity. Specifically:
  • Sex Sells: Discussed in episode 7's flashbacks, with Ruru mentioning that her editor reccomends putting a few in her manga to boost audience ratings.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Nico in Episode 8, and all the Kiznaivers including Sonozaki in Episodes 9 and 10 (although the "sexiness" is overlooked due to the intense drama in the latter episodes).
  • Shout-Out:
    • Chidori ringing Katsuhira's door makes Tenga pose "HA~LLELUJAH!"
    • The opening shot of Episode 6 is of red waves hitting the shore, a shot very reminiscent of the famous opening to End of Evangelion.
    • Teacher Yamada rumbling Kamina's iconic "OI OI OI OI!!" to grab his students' attention before summer break.
    • Hisomu compares Chidori's pain to Saibamen after feeling Honoka's pain.
    • One of the initial Kizna test subjects was named Asuka.
    • The manga magazine Ruru and Honoka submit A Promise from Heaven to is Hana to Yume. The compiled volume even features the classic white-red-blue tricolor stripes on its cover.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted in episode 10, as Hisomu and Nico are the only Kiznaivers who interact with Katsuhira, and they have significant screentime as a result.
  • Situational Irony:
    • A main plot point lies in the fact that the Kizna Experiment was designed to facilitate empathy and, ultimately, a feeling of happiness and brotherly love among groups that were previously known to have had tensions or a lack of understanding toward each other. However, after experimenting on children by linking the pain they felt between them, the idea quite literally backfired; due to one simple miscalculation, the children lost much of their sense of feeling, and some of the children lost their ability to feel entirely.
    • The series seems to be fond of it, as Honoka distances herself from Ruru right before she dies to avoid the pain of losing her, a decision the effects of which cause Honoka immense guilt, grief, and psychological trauma that may have lasted her for the rest of her life had not the Kizna Experiment intervened.
  • Skyward Scream: Katsuhira does this at the end of Episode 10.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: As it becomes increasingly obvious Yuta is the former, he and Hisomu are building up a rapport of this.
  • Synchronization: The Kizuna/Bond System allows the Kiznaivers to feel each others' pain, though only to an extent as they can't feel residual pain; they feel the injury, but not the resultant sprains and aches.
    • Episode 5 reveals they are also able to feel the emotional pain of each other.
      • And again in episode 9, when they are shown to be able to hear each other's thoughts.
  • Title Drop: During each On the Next segment, we hear conversations between the main characters which incorporate the next episode's title in them.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: According to Sonozaki, the whole town was created to set up the Kizuna System. A lot of people, including the mayor, seem to be involved in the project.
    • Episode 4 reveals that about a third of the population was once involved with the project, and there is a Kizuna Committee to oversee the project.
  • Wham Line: Honoka's secret.
    Honoka: The truth is... I've killed someone before.
    • Actually, her "secret" wasn't true. False alarm. Apparently, she was just kidding.
      Honoka: The truth is... I've killed someone before. [pause] ...Just kidding. What? You actually believed that?
      • In reality, it's half-true. A very close friend that Honoka made in middle school, a fellow female manga artist named Ruru, was diagnosed with an incurable and most likely fatal kidney disease at birth. Due to Honoka's pessimistic outlook while Ruru was alive as well as her sudden decision to distance herself prior to the very sick Ruru's ultimately inevitable passing, and their deep closeness and attachment to each other prior to that, Honoka feels as if she's responsible for her friend's untimely death.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of Episode 8, after Katsuhira saves Noriko from being crushed by a falling statue, she reveals that she is a Kiznaiver much like Katsuhira and his group, with the Kiznaiver mark on her neck.
    • At the very end of episode 10, when Katsuhira comes face to face with his old friends, who due to the experiment's failure now live in an essentially vegetative state.
  • Wishful Projection: Katsuhira calls this on Noriko when she assigns the newly selected Kiznaivers with the highly unflattering "Seven Deadly Sins of Modern Japan," which they would all later be noted for either subverting or outright averting entirely.
    Katsuhira: (to Noriko) I can't help but think that those aren't the Deadly Sins, but you just bad-mouthing them.
  • Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: Kamaishi.
  • You Are Not Alone: The point of the Kizuna System is to create bonds and empathy. Subtly it leads to this.