Kiznaiver: “All for One, One for Victory” Analysis

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Copypasta’d this from my tumblr. It lacks structure that I would normally use in my more “formal” blog posts and the writing is sloppier than my usual sloppiness but I wanted to post it here anyway since I spent time thinking it through.

Alright y’all, we’re halfway through the season and things are starting to pick up with Maki’s drama but there’s something I’d like to look into on Nori-chan’s rewording for this phrase and how it applies to the Kiznaiver experiment in general. Especially in the context of her stance on it versus Katsuhira’s.

Warning: Long post ahead.

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Let’s start with what we already know.

The Kizuna system is supposedly set up to garner results so that the committee behind it can get a “hint” on how to achieve world peace. Said results lie in the potential of people being able to empathize with each other’s pain and therefore, be able to understand each other regardless of how different they are.

So let’s assume that is this is the ultimate goal. In other words, the “victory” portion of the arc words for this series.

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For the Kizuna system to be deemed successful, its subjects have to form bonds with each other by the end of experiment.

Perhaps Most likely, in order to get very legitimate results, this is the main reason why Katsuhira and the others were chosen. Because under normal circumstances, these seven unique individuals would never interact with one another.

However, if these seven students manage to connect and become friends despite those massive differences, it will prove that the Kizuna system works.

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And as of episodes 5 and 6, it looks like they’re heading in that direction.

Not only were the Kiznaivers able to feel each other’s physical pain but they also reached the level of being able to share each other’s emotional pain, something that has never happened before.

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But what’s more important is the Kiznaivers’ reactions to it.

On a chart, it only shows that they are becoming more in sync (so to speak because how da hell are you supposed to read this?!).

It’s progress but only in lines and numbers.

Reality, however, tells us so much more…

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They are responding to each other because of that pain they feel through their connections.

While it’s true it has to be initiated by the Noriko through “missions” for this development occur, notice how much these kids have changed since their first gathering.

They all went from “stop getting hurt, it hurts me too!” (thoughts centered on themselves) to “I feel pain, which one of us is hurting and what can I do to stop it?” (thoughts centered on others).

And what better way to show us that than what they’re doing here? By having them stand inbetween Honoka and the unwanted attention of the cameras. Not to mention, Tenga threatening violence because these assholes are harassing his “homie” (I fuckin’ LOVE Tenga! xD), Yuta not letting them get away with their flimsy excuses out of this huge genuine concern he has for Honoka, and Hisomu cleverly exacting justice to get them away from her as fast as possible.

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I mean, episode 6 had indications bouncing around everywhere that these kids are no longer just casual acquaintances but this incident is probably the strongest one of all.

Judging by Tenga’s confusion that driving the TV crew and onlookers away could count as a mission clear, it’s possible that their priority at the time wasn’t to fulfill the task Noriko gave them. When they saw how Honoka was surrounded, it’s possible for that to have switched to protecting her first.

They haven’t reached the point where they can be called true friends yet but they care enough about each other to come help when one of them is in trouble. And they still cared when Honoka ran away because her pain was still present (Niko was even glad that they could split the pain so Honoka wouldn’t have to deal with the full force of it on her own).

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To add more proof to that, they’re questioning what it is that’s causing Honoka so much hurt and if there is any way to find out more about her past so they can hopefully understand her better and maybe think of some way to help her.

This is not something anyone would do for just anybody.

And this is not something they’re being ordered to do either.

The Kiznaivers want to help Honoka on their own volition.

And it’s through acting on that certain feeling, one that isn’t ruled over by the Kizuna system, that is bringing them closer to becoming friends.

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So where does my “one for all, all for victory” argument come in then?

Right here.

Whether they become good friends or not, the Kiznaivers will never be able to erase the bonds that were formed among them during this experiment (or at least not that easily).

But for them, their connections are not their victory but the Kizuna Committee’s. Because the committee is the one aiming to create these connections. The Kiznaivers, the guinea pigs, acquired them because they were put in this situation. It would be odd to call it their victory when they don’t even see it that way.

So if the committee is shooting for victory…

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That most certainly means Noriko is as well.

Noriko who is the idol, and therefore, the face of the committee. Noriko who was given the responsibility of overseeing the Kiznaivers and ushering them along towards the committee’s goals through the use of these missions. Noriko who promised the mayor that she will deliver the results the committee and the sponsors want.

She represents the “one for victory” part of the equation.

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And the Kiznaivers would be the other half: “all for one”.

Now while it makes sense to assign the latter half of this phrase to Noriko, it’s debatable if the former half can apply to all the Kiznaivers.

For one thing, it’s not like they (except Hisomu) enjoy the circumstances they’re currently in. For another, the majority of them don’t care about the outcome of this experiment or if it will lead to world peace or all that jazz. The Kizuna System for the most part is a giant pain in the ass and the sooner they could be rid of it, the better.

But there is one person who can see the benefit of it in terms of wanting to understand others better and that person is none other than…

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Katsuhira. The boy who formerly didn’t take an interest in anything or anyone because he lacked any interest in himself.

Since their inauguration as Kiznaivers, Katsuhira has shown many subtle, but notable, changes in behavior.

He’s slowly becoming more considerate of Chidori’s concern for him. Not out of a romantic sense (since he’s only beginning to resume being in-tuned with his own feelings) but because he values her as a friend. So he starts to care a little more about his own well-being to ease her worrying.

He went after Hisomu on his own accord to convince him to join their group and reached out to Noriko to invite her to join them on their training camp.

Most significantly, he finally stood up for himself against the bully who used to take his money. His reasoning? Because they are all connected so if he gets hurt, the other Kiznaivers will get hurt as well. Katsuhira doesn’t want them to get hurt like that which means he also can’t allow himself to get hurt like that anymore.

Katsuhira is taking an interest in others because he wants to connect with them. He wants to know what they are thinking, something he’s never done prior to becoming a Kiznaiver.

In doing so, he becomes more aware of himself. He thinks a little more about what he should and should not do and how his actions will affect those around him.

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Another interesting thing about Katushira is that he wants everyone (keyword: everyone) to be able to connect, too. Hence why he questioned Noriko on why she decided to take up his invitation, to see if she wanted to connect with others like he did.

So far we don’t have any clear explanations on why he’s so eager to include everyone but there are strong implications that it might have something to do with his past as seen in the flashbacks.

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“I don’t want to be alone!”

“‘Everyone’ is everyone that I like!”

“It has to be with everyone!”

It’s safe to assume that whatever experiments Katsuhira (and Noriko) was subjected to when he was young, he probably managed to find some comfort by befriending others who may have been in the same facility he was in.

Though we can’t know for sure until more exposition comes around, this could be one of the reasons why he’s always thinking for the sake of “everyone”.

It might be because being alone scared him. It might be because leaving someone behind or getting left behind made him sad. It might be because being with others was the only way he could feel happy in the place where he was being experimented on.

Whichever the case, Katsuhira’s time spent there left such a deep impression on him that even when he can’t remember exactly what happened, he remembers the emotions that he associated with that experience. And those emotions are linked to the word “everyone”.

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And it seems that inclination towards “everyone” carried over to the present-day Katsuhira who, since the earlier episodes, did always show more thought for others than he did for himself.

Like in the second episode when he asks if the other Kiznaivers were alright after Noriko had given him the electric shock treatment. Or in the third episode when he voluntarily jumped into ongoing traffic so the others wouldn’t have to.

And of course, episode 5.

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Katsuhira is best motivated if there are people involved. From that, we can infer that he wants “everyone” to be happy because if “everyone” is happy, then he will be happy. Or content, at the very least.

That can be why he sees the Kizuna system as a good thing. Sure, it brings everyone pain but the connection also brought some good stuff with it as well.

It made him realize Chidori’s feelings and that made him happy to know that someone has always cared for him. It made him happy because he discovered that he could feel happy about it.

It also allowed him to meet other people and establish bonds with them.

For the first time since he’s changed, Katsuhira is finally taking interest in the world and experiencing many things he wouldn’t have if he remained indifferent. And it’s thanks to the Kizuna system that this is possible.

So maybe from his perspective, “connecting” can lead them to happiness. A happiness that can be shared because they are connected.

“All for one” can be interpreted as “All for happiness (friendships, understanding, etc)”. What Katsuhira is aiming for isn’t the same as what the committee is aiming for. The committee is only interested in the results. Katsuhira, however, is interested in the welfare of the Kiznaivers and what the Kizuna system can do for them.

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Which is why he expressed disappointment in Noriko when she set up that TV crew to badger Honoka and by extension, make them all feel like shit inside.

Noriko may have been doing her job but she forced this pain on Honoka to get what she wanted. Results.

Katsuhira still doesn’t have a full grasp on his emotions yet but even he recognizes the power of his own disapproval over what she’s done, which implies that idea that he probably believed her to be a decent person, her job aside.

What Noriko did desecrated that belief and though she doesn’t comment on it, for a very quick instant (blink and you’ll miss it), she is visibly shocked to learn that he thought that much of her.

It’s possible, like how it was with Katushira and Chidori, that Noriko wasn’t even aware that Katsuhira was thinking about her at all. Except that unlike Katsuhira who was able to feel glad after Chidori’s confession, Noriko might feel hated by Katsuhira now.

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So how will they proceed from here? What’s the status of their relation now?

As far as Katsuhira is concerned, I don’t think he has a problem with the system so he’ll obediently continue with the experiment until the end. However, there’s a good chance he’ll temporarily set his curiosity for Noriko aside because he’s wary of what she could do to harm the Kiznaivers.

I don’t think even a revelation of their past as children together will be enough to fix it unless Noriko comes forward to apologize first. Because like how I interpreted it above, Katsuhira probably places his friends before the system while Noriko is the other side of the coin that places the system above all else.

For Noriko, it’ll be interesting to see what she’ll do from here on out. Obviously, she’s not just an emotionless doll of the committee if a few words from Katsuhira can affect her, which definitely suggests that she cares more about him and what he thinks than what she lets on. While I don’t expect her to act too differently because of what transpired between them, I do think it will weigh on her mind a little. Enough to make herself doubt her actions later on, maybe.

In any case, there’s still a lot we don’t know about her so it’s still all guessing in the dark at this point. Maybe she’s just very good at hiding all her negative emotions behind that poker face. Maybe that constant poker face has something to do with that orange serum (?) thing she injected into her arm. We’ll just have to wait and see.


4 thoughts on “Kiznaiver: “All for One, One for Victory” Analysis

  1. Nice analysis! I’m still not sure that Katsuhira is the one that needs to connect the most. Although his condition is the most obvious, other characters, such as Honoka and Hisomu, also give off a vibe of insufferable loneliness. Even Yuta and Nico are trying to live up to a facade that they believe will help them live happily in one way or another.
    So maybe it all of the Kiznaivers have this underlying desire to connect others on the deepest possible level, emotionally. I would argue that the one thing every character (or at least Kiznaiver) shares is pain, and what each individual desires is for another person to understand their pain to the full extent.


    1. Thank you! ^^ And definitely. Katsuhira may be more vocal about wanting to “connect” since he and everyone else are aware of what he lacked as functioning person but it’s pretty clear that the other Kiznaivers need the connections as well for those reasons you stated. Right now, Honoka is the primary one to focus on. It’s quite obvious she shut her heart away after her friend died because she didn’t want to deal with the pain that came with having relationships or even to confront the state of her relation with Ruru. And she adopted a bitch persona to ensure that people won’t bother her about it.
      Then that plan went up in smoke because the Kizuna system made it so that you can’t even hide your emotions from the people connected to you.

      So as much as Honoka claims she doesn’t want friends, her heart says otherwise because her isolation only sharpens the loneliness she feels. Her pain continues because her issues with Ruru were never fully resolved and she never consulted anyone to help her move past it. If she asks someone for help, it would mean facing her demons and she’s too afraid to do that. However, she also hates being stuck were she is. It’s a rough situation for her, one where she isn’t strong enough to get out of on her own but is something she doesn’t want to haunt her anymore.
      Which is where the Kiznaivers come in and hopefully, can support her through this difficult time she’s having so she can finally put her anguish behind her. And the first step they have to take is to understand what happened to Honoka, to understand Honoka, in order to do that.

      I certainly like this psychological study that is ingrained into this show. It’s a universal truth that human beings cannot live without connection to others but at the same time, they are also fundamentally very weak. Which is why they shun pain. And having a relation to other people will always include pain in some way or another, leading some (Honoka) to reject people completely or others (Yuta) to create a facade for themselves where they can enjoy the shallow benefits of a superficial relationship and avoid the more harder parts of it that makes it meaningful (honesty, commitment, trust). However, once you throw the pain factor in, then it can’t be stopped and that’s illustrated very well through the bonds among the Kiznaivers. Everyone is aware of each other’s pain and therefore, their wish to end that pain. But that pain is too much for one person to bear so they need someone to understand them so they can share the load on their backs. And the more people you have to understand you, the lighter that load becomes.
      In short, for them to overcome the obstacle of pain, they have to willing to open themselves to that pain they fear. They have to take a risk with relationships and hope the other party can accept them as they are. They have to allow themselves to be helped by other people.

      Ah, sorry about rambling on but I suspect that’s how things will go next week with the Kiznaivers. If that does happen (which I’m confident it will cuz the chances are pretty good atm), then that’s another great development we’ll have to look into. It’ll prove that the Kiznaivers’ bonds weren’t strengthened thanks to the system but because they made the choice to do it themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No I think you nailed it! Although this series has it’s fair share of clichés, the idea of mutually and forced genuine connection seems to be somewhat uncommon in anime, and in real life. Some animes unite groups of people off of shared or overlapping emotions, but feels the exact pain of another is impossible to know without a device like the Kizna system. Since all humans place value on each issue that differentiates from every other persons’ value assessment, they will never be able to fully understand each other. I see the Kiznaivers as an idea that bridges the gap between people, and erases the idea of value, leaving a quantitative pain. It wouldn’t be a stretch of the mind to consider this anime a case study on human connection.


        1. That’s true. I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of situations where a bunch of people were forced together for the purpose of becoming friends. And using the Kizna system/shared pain to do that is such an unorthodox method, too. But then again, human experimentation can never be described as ‘normal’ except maybe in certain scientific studies. Still, this is even more unusual than what you’d normally read about.
          Like you said, the Kiznaivers have achieved connection through pain but probably at the cost of their own principles, which was was done without their consent. It begs the question that even if the Kizna system is successful at forming connections and understanding between people, does that rob us of our individuality and what sets us apart? Which brings us back to the original source of all our problems and conflicts anyway.

          Hmmm…yea, it’s very interesting.

          Liked by 1 person

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