A few days ago, I was feeling the anime bug, so I opened up Crunchyroll for a marathon of an anime that I’ve seen around a lot lately: Kiznaiver. I watched all 7 episodes (that are currently released anyway) in a single sitting.

The first thing that really attracts me to Kiznaiver is the art style. Each character looks great and has their own personality really tied into their character design. If the art doesn’t grab you immediately, the theme song might, with Boom Boom Satellite’s “Lay Your Hands On Me”. Despite it sounding  eerily similar to Take on Me by A-ha, it really kind of amps you up. It really feels more like an actual music video until the characters appear.

Please be aware that there will be early series spoilers for here on out. (Mainly the first few episodes)

Kiznaiver opens up with a strange daydream/flashback of Katsuhira Agata’s childhood, involving a friend of his about to jump off of what appears to be playground equipment. Katsuhira has a strange issue: He is very resistant to physical pain and can’t feel it. As a result, he’s been unable to fit in with most people, and gets beat up on a fairly regular basis. One day after meeting a strange and demanding girl, Noriko Sonozaki, him and 5 of his classmates wake up in a strange building informing them that they have been kidnapped and experimented on. They are what is now known as Kiznaivers: a government experiment that supposedly is an attempt to bring about world peace. Kiznaivers are forced to feel each other’s pain. For example, if one gets hit in the face, they all feel it. The idea is that the reason war is so prevalent is because humans are incapable of feeling other’s pain. At least, that’s what the show tells you. It definitely seems like there is something far more sinister at work here.

The characters range from typical anime trope to completely unusual. You have the goodhearted thug, Hajime Tenma and the childhood friend of Katsuhira, Chidori Takashiro. Then you have a few more interesting characters who aren’t as trope-y like the girl who really just doesn’t like most people, Honoka Maki, the womanizer and seemingly shallow Tsuguhita Yuta, and the incredibly strange (and kind of looks like a Japanese Idol) Niko Niiyama. Finally, the Kizniavers learn that there is a seventh Kiznaiver who is quite a bit different from the rest of them… He’s a masochist, so this whole sharing pain thing is very attractive to him: Yoshiharu Hisomu.

After you get the gist of the story and the characters, the show starts to ramp up by each episode or two having it’s own self-contained story about one of the main characters who really don’t know much about each other, as they are forced to become friends or at least comrades in the screwed up situation they’ve been forced into. The show is very much character driven, as you’ll care much more about the characters than the strange antics they get put into.

I’m interested to see where they go with Kiznaiver. It’s awfully similar to Kokoro Connect, a manga I’ve read relatively recently, though Kokoro Connect seems quite a bit more lighthearted than Kiznaiver.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.