Kiznaiver Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

PLOT: The story takes place in a fictional Japanese city named Sugomori City. One day, Noriko Sonosaki tells her classmate Katsuhira Agata, “You have been selected to be a Kiznaiver.” The Kizuna System, which allows Katsuhira to share his wounds, connects him to the classmates whose lives and personalities completely differ from his.

The Kizuna System is an incomplete system for the implementation of world peace that connects people through wounds. All those who are connected to this system are called Kiznaivers. When one Kiznaiver is wounded, the system divides and transmits the wound among the other Kiznaivers. Sugomori City is built on reclaimed land, but as the years go by, the city’s population is decreasing. The story is set in this town where Katsuhira and the others live. ~ANN

Animation Production: Studio TRIGGER ( Inferno CopLittle Witch AcademiaKill la KillInō-Batoru wa Nichijō-kei no Naka deNinja Slayer From AnimationSpace Patrol Luluco)

Director: Hiroshi Kobayashi ( Storyboard and Episode Director on Yozakura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi / Storyboard and Episode Director on Kill la Kill episodes 5 and 18 / Key Animator on Kill la Kill episode 23 / Storyboard on Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis / Storyboard on PSYCHO-PASS 2 episode 9 / Storyboard on Death Parade episode 9 / Director and Storyboard on Yozakura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi and Hana no Uta Ending Sequences)

Series Composition: Mari Okada ( Script Writer on Zetsuen no Tempest episodes 1, 2, 4, 7, 17, 18, 23 and 24 / Series Composition on Selector Infected Wixoss / Series Composition on Zetsuen no Tempest / Script Writer on Rurouni Kenshin OVA’s 6 and 7)

Character Designer: Mai Yoneyama ( Chief Animation Supervisor on Kiznaiver / Key Animator on Punch Line Opening Sequence / Key Animator on Kill la Kill Second Opening Sequence / Key Animator on Shinsekai Yori episodes 1 and 25 / Key Animator on Death Parade episode 6 / Key Animator on BLEACH episode 341 / Assistant Chief Supervisor on Kill la Kill episode 13)

Music: Yuuki Hayashi ( Music Composer on Blood LadClassroom Crisis, Death ParadeHaikyu!!Boku no AcademiaRobotics;NotesSoul Eater Not!)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Yoshihiro Miyajima ( Production Advancement Role on Kill la Kill episodes 3, 7, 16 and 22 / Production Advancement Assistant under Studio TRIGGER on Patema Inverted film / Production Advancement on Sword Art Online episode 8 / Episode Director on Inō-Battle wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de (When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace) episodes 2, 7 and 11)


  • Hiroshi Kobayashi ( Director and Storyboard on Yozakura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi and Hana no Uta‘s Ending Sequences / Storyboard and Episode Director on Kill la Kill episodes 5 and 18 / Storyboard alongside Shoko Nakamura on Kill la Kill episode 22 / Storyboard on Noragami episode 5 / Storyboard on Punch Line episode 6)
  • Kazumasa Ishida ( Key Animator on Vividred Operation episode 4 / Key Animator on Kill la Kill episodes 4, 5, 11, 14, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23 and 24 / Key Animator on Terra Formars episode 5 / Key Animator on Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider episode 3)

Script: Mari Okada ( Script Writer on Rurouni Kenshin OVA’s 6 and 7 / Series Composition on Selector Infected Wixoss / Series Composition on Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans / Series Composition on Mayoiga / Series Composition on Zetsuen no Tempest)

Studio TRIGGER was first established in 2011 by Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Ohtsuka shortly after they left Gainax.  I bet you all have heard Imaishi’s name before.  His directorial debut came from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann one of the most popular series of the 2000’s.  Fast Forward a bit to 2013 when TRIGGER began their first two full-fledged animated work in the Fall 2013 season with Kill la Kill and Inō-Batoru wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de.  Kill la Kill was brilliant as it used a societal structure focused on fashion and ended up being entertaining and highly sexualized.  The other show they aired was an adaptation of Kota Nozomi’s light novel of the same name.  Following in Gainax-esque style and in line with Kill la Kill it has the marks of cartoonish and comedic character animation with many scenes in stilted frames. There are many references and even cameos of characters from Kill la Kill in the show that just remind us that TRIGGER isn’t about pretty.  They’re an animation studio with a whole lot of wacky artist charm.  This season we actually have two series airing that are being produced by TRIGGER.  The first one is an animated short entitled Space Patrol Luluco, which I will discuss later in another post.  The other is Kiznaiver.  An original work in both animated format and manga launching at the same time.  From the visuals, Kiznaiver is far from what Ninja Slayer was last year–it looks entirely normal!  At least that’s what the first episode is making us believe right now!  Immediately I was interested in how different the staff is for this show.  First time that Mari Okada is writing a script for a TRIGGER series and it looks like Kobayashi Hiroshi got a promotion because this is the first time he’s lead director on an anime!  He previously storyboarded some pretty incredible episodes including Death Parade‘s episode 9 about two men with secrets challenging each other at ice hockey.  I’m eager to see what Hiroshi has in store for future productions!  Then there’s Death Parade and this season’s Boku no Hero Academia composer Yuki Hayashi composing Kiznaiver‘s score.  This first episode was one of the more unique premieres that I’ve seen so far this season.

Smart move to start this show up with a known face from TRIGGER and Gainax– Yoshinari Yoh.  His style stems from using very expressive morphing effects and running animation.  The backgrounds during this part remind me a lot of the flashback scenes of Kill la Kill lots of red and black with a heavy amount of grain.  This looks very cool in 4K.  This episode’s pacing is mellow.  My first thought was this is a TRIGGER series so where is all of the rapid-fire humor and highly animated energy?  There’s a few running sequences that are animated with tons of movement involved but they aren’t as wild as Kill La Kill or Panty & Stocking‘s.  The scenes that do have them in Kiznaiver are animated by another TRIGGER employee– Kai Ikarashi.  And then I remembered that Hiroyuki Imaishi’s complete attention is on TRIGGER’s other show Space Patrol Luluco.  It’s good to see him passing off the reins to someone else for a change.  I’m curious how Kiznaiver is going to turn out without him or if he will develop anything for this show at all.

The narrative of this episode focuses on high-school student Agata Katsuhira and his connection with others.  Even though he is literally numb to pain.  He’s been getting beaten up by classmates all his life–the typical setup of a high-school boy gaining mysterious powers through tragedy.  Why did TRIGGER decide on high-schoolers for this show?  It would have been more interesting if they were from completely different age groups.  Putting my gripes aside about this Agata is very different compared to the other Kiznaivers.  He’s a wimp and that leaves a lot of development for him in the future.  During his conversations with Chidori Takashiro and Hajime Tenga you might notice he’s a total introvert.  It isn’t until he meets Noriko Sonozaki that he shows off some personality.  Noriko abducts Agata, Niko Niiyama, Chidori, Maki Honoka, Tsuguhito Yuta and Hajime Tenga. Stumbling over his words and showing a timid side illustrates how beaten down he is by Noriko mentally.  As little as we see of the rest of the Kiznaiver cast when they’re on screen together we get a glimpse of how quirky and interesting their personalities are.  Leading to an incredibly animated scene cut, possibly 3d rendering was involved in it?

Kiznaiver is full of philosophical themes.  The idea of empathy about sharing each other’s pain to reduce conflict throughout the world is fascinating but what surprises me the most about Kiznaiver‘s premiere is how the pacing is. We get a slice of life story in the beginning that throws at us an overused trope–kids are cruel.  At least it that’s what we’re led to believe until we see that Agata can feel no pain.  Turning him into a sacrificial person without a connection until towards the end of this episode.

Moving onto the next philosophical motif we’ve got the ending phrase that’s been used throughout this episode– “One for all, all for one”.

Derived from the Latin phrase “Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno” it was suggest that it was first popularized in in Alexandre Duma’s “The Three Musketeers” and not long after became the official motto of Switzerland.  In the late 1800’s Switzerland officials used the phrase to evoke a sense of duty due to widespread flooding in the alps to promote charity work and earn donations.  In general the term refers to a group against all attacks upon the group being that if a sacrifice is made to protect the group it would become a noble act.  There is speculation as to where exactly this phrase came from as it appears in a lot of works and original stories.  This term is also seen in the Bible.

Corinthians 12:26: If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

It’s this idea that brands Kiznaiver‘s cast with allegorical themes for the sake of developing them throughout future episodes.  I like how little we learn about the other high schoolers but what we do know is through their actions. Hajime Tenga tries to feel up Niko Niiyama resulting in their first encounter with the Kizuna that’s been injected into them. I feel we will begin to see some similarities between them as they learn how to cope with the Kizuna System.


Directed by: Takaashi Horiuchi

Storyboards: Horiuchi Takashi

Animation Supervisor: Mai Yoneyama

Notable Key Animator: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Oh..there he is!  Hiroyuki Imaishi lent his creative talents to the opening sequence.  Now I can see where his spastic style comes in at the very beginning with that visualizer scene!  This is such an incredible opening sequence! Everything flows together so smoothly.  Did the do a ton of 3D rendering for this series including its opening sequence?!  If so this looks visually stunning.  Boom Boom Satellites new song translates strongly into what the series reflects upon with pain and this idea that people can be connected to each other through it. One of my favorite openings of Spring 2016!

ED: Hajimari no Sokudo (はじまりの速度)” by Sangatsu no Phantasia

Directed by: Yuki Watanabe

Storyboards: Yuki Watanabe

Animation Supervisor: Yuki Watanabe

Notable Key Animator: Mai Yoneyama

This ending isn’t as amazing as its opening but its still good in my book.  Bright panel scenes of the characters mixed with still shots.  I like how there is a slight grain and blurry effect to emphasize that there is going to be a a social aspect to this series than just the Kizuna System.  Is it just me or does the song and the style of the visuals feel like the entire sequence was done by Takuya Igarashi of STAR DRIVER and Captain Earth? I get that vibe when I see this ending.  Interesting how the male characters aren’t shown but Agata is only depicted with actions of his hands and feet. The flowers seem to represent a loss or forgiveness of feeling one’s pain.

I’m trying something new with these posts featuring animated sequences. Hope you all enjoy this! I did a few with ONE-PUNCH MAN Episode 3.

Animator Spotlight:

Kai Ikarashi

[Previous Works Include)

  • Terra Formars episode 5 (Key Animator)
  • ONE-PUNCH MAN episode 7 (Key Animator)



[Previous Works Include]

  • Mushishi episode 16 (Key Animator)
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann episode 7 (Key Animator)




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