Kiznaiver was not a show I expected to be anywhere near as good as it was. Amid all the hype for Boku no Hero and Kotetsujou no Kabaneri, not to mention sequels I was looking forward to, all coupled with Kiznaiver’s much slower and seemingly directionless start, I was starting to file Kiznaiver away as a show that, despite the great character designs and animation, was going to be ok but nothing that would stack up when compared to the rest of the season. And I can proudly say I’m so happy to be proven wrong. There will be spoilers ahead.
Kiznaier was a bit weak in the early episodes, the first episode felt like it came from Shaft more so than Trigger, with tons of dialogue and stylish visuals that nonetheless didn’t move the plot or characters forward much. Episode two likewise had so much work to do showcasing and explaining the Kizuna System that the characters made baby steps forward. And the next episode or two after that is similarly slow and seemingly directionless. This was what caused me to think Kiznaiver was not going to be great. However after the slower episodes thinks really start to pick up, the drama and tension gets more intense, the characters get fleshed out and the story really seems like it was going somewhere. I think the summer camp is the turning point, that’s when the plot and characters pick up considerably. However what really sold me on the series was the huge dramatic event that causes the group to temporarily fracture as they they all begin feeling the pain of their relationships and start hearing each others’ most heartfelt feelings. This is followed by the narrative shift into Nori’s struggle, goals and all the information about the original Kizuna experiment. And it’s handled so well, the drama and tension are there, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, just drinking in all the new information and having a blast with the final episodes of the series. Kiznaiver has a fantastic finish, which after the disappointing conclusions to Mayoiga and Concrete Revolutio, and the just ok end of Bungo Stray Dogs, I can’t be happier about.