Oh, the horror I’ve seen…
Really, though, it is sad. At least when Gomorin wasn’t so dark, its weirdness was still cute. Now, it’s just disturbing watching them march on to inflict pain on the world. In the name of “happiness” of all things. *shudder*
I still want one, though.
Anyways, that’s not what I’m going to discuss here. We’ve got less than
a week 24 hours before this show ends so it’s a good time as any to review the status of the major characters. By that and the title I’ve given for this post, I don’t mean their moral standings or their latest approval rating from me…well, that’s not entirely true cuz I do have some criticisms for some of them. But what I’m looking at is the state of their relations with each other.
In the end, after all this is over, how many of them will want still want to stay together? How many of them will want to walk away more than they want to stay together?
This is such a delicate matter at the moment that Noriko couldn’t have chosen a better time *insert sarcasm* to put everything to the test so that we can find out.
As for me, I’m going to try my best to be as practical as possible while going into each of their cases.
Needless to say, this trio is in the right place in terms of character development. I cannot possibly count all the praise and love that people have been showering on Nico and Hisomu since they reconciled in episode 9 but to know that it comes in great amounts just makes my heart swell with inexplicable happiness. And while I haven’t checked the reactions for Katsuhira, I sure hope he is getting his fair share of sympathy and compassion from the viewers because no one can deny that he is trying so very, very hard to understand this whole complicated situation before him and to find a solution to mend the things that have been broken.
So let’s go at them individually.
Nico – Bless her little heart. It may be strange to hear someone be so on point about problem-solving (or rather, just plain common sense) almost all the time, especially for a girl who has dubbed herself as “the weird one”. However, I think it’s because Nico is herself, steadfast and without reservations when it comes to something important, that allows for that refreshing bluntness to shine through in the best way. You’d think that after all the hurt she’s been through and with zero experience on how to deal with it because she’s never had friends before, the Kizna experiment would have chased her away from interacting with anyone ever again.
But nope. Nico rebounded.
She came back stronger than ever. She did not let the negative impact of pain mar the happier moments she shared with the others. She accepted it for what it is, nothing more than what it is, and took the risk of getting hurt again when she asked if they could still be friends without the system. Because for her, friends are a wonderful thing to have, even with the hurt. Her belief in valuing that over the fear is what gives her the courage and strength to confront those challenges. And I know that sounds disgustingly cheesy, but it’s true!
Nico is a fighter. This is exactly why she is the BEST GIRL of the show.
Hisomu – Up until recent episodes, Hisomu has always been put in the “extra” role because they couldn’t think of a way to fully integrate him into the conflicts of the previous arcs (i.e. Honoka’s past, the triple love triangle). I was afraid that he’d be stuck in that position for the rest of the series since it’s not uncommon for writers to tend to keep the oddball as an outsider, even though everyone within the group of friends should have equal parts in contributing to their overall relationship. So you can imagine how elated I was when Hisomu didn’t immediately get lost in his masochistic fantasies like usual and showed us that there’s a gentle and supportive side to him as well.
Similar to Nico, Hisomu doesn’t let the pain he went through define him or his choices. He might give off the impression that it doesn’t matter to him since he doesn’t appear to be affected by it too badly but I’d like to think it’s because he chose to be neutral about it instead. Like the saying goes, shit happens and sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes all you can do is resume your daily routine, let life run its course and hopefully, time will eventually heal the pain.
So really, because everyone needed time to be away from each other to sort things out, Hisomu didn’t really have to look after Katsuhira. But he did, because he chose to.
The great thing about it is, it felt so natural for Hisomu to do that. Or rather, nothing felt unnatural about it. I mean, wasn’t it only five or six episodes ago that he was asking Katsuhira to put himself in harm’s way so that he could get pleasure from vicarious pain? Now look where he is. Hisomu’s intrigue in Katsuhira and his lack of feeling has evolved into genuine concern for Katsuhira’s well-being. He makes sure Katsuhira is eating enough since Katsuhira probably won’t remember to with his mind so preoccupied over the recent turn of events. He notices how difficult it must be for Katsuhira after he recovers his memories of the past and just quietly stays by his side to watch over him, offering an occasional comment here and some “ambient music” there as a small, but oh so meaningful, way of helping Katsuhira think.
Hisomu may not be as proactive as Nico nor will he exert himself like Katsuhira does but his lowkey open-heartedness to her eagerness and reassuring presence to Katsuhira’s turmoil proves that he is indeed a very good friend. Moreover, it proves that he himself wants to have friends and that the bonds between people don’t just easily disappear. If that weren’t the case, Hisomu wouldn’t have done all those things.
Katsuhira – This poor, precious, beautiful boy. Honestly, nobody can say he deserved to have those horrible things happen to him. Experimented on as a child which resulted in the loss of something so crucial to what it means to be a human being that he could barely function everyday without someone looking after him. Was bullied because he didn’t act ‘normally’ and couldn’t even protect himself because he didn’t have the concept of pain or self-preservation to serve as incentives for defense. Went through the experiment a second time and made friends only for everything to fall apart when it became too much. Got beaten up so badly by a person who promised to protect him because said person couldn’t handle his own jealousy and pinned it all unfairly on Katsuhira. Blamed on by his childhood friend for her broken heart when he never even promised that he could return her feelings and she didn’t try hard enough to comprehend the root of his problem. Finally, was rejected by the girl he loved when he was little, the girl he wants to desperately help now, on the grounds that he doesn’t agree with her.
And yet, despite all this, Katsuhira still has it in him to care. He wants to be able to feel. He wants to be able to share his thoughts and feelings, no matter how much that can hurt him. He wants to respond to people accordingly. He wants to form connections with them, bond with them, make friends with them. He wants to be able be happy but in the right way. Not just through pain but through many, many other ways.
Now are you aware of how much that says about Katsuhira, a boy who previously couldn’t even think to care? A boy who is now expending all his energy and efforts to do just that, to think, so that he can help the people who are important to him see that they shouldn’t throw away the bonds among them? That their friendship certainly is real? That it is definitely worth keeping?
How much does that say about Katsuhira, who won’t give up trying in spite of all the harsh reactions he gets for it? And how less does that say about the other Kiznaivers who are afraid to even try?
I’ve been thinking about why these three would be the first ones to come back together after that overflux of pain that caused the group to split up. Because I always knew that it would be these specific three but I’ve yet to think of a concrete reason as to why.
My first thought was that given how they are compared to the other four Kiznaivers, who are closer to the what is considered “normal” by society, they had nothing to lose. Which is true to a certain extent. Nico created a facade of herself so that no one would hate her for having qualities they didn’t have. However, that is precisely why she could never make friends. Because she purposely isolated herself from people with her eccentricity that eventually became part of her personality. Hisomu probably never wanted to bother with human interactions when he could just settle for physical sensations. Katsuhira couldn’t care to do anything and nobody, save for Chidori, would want to associate themselves with the kid that bullies loved to pick on.
I mean, that also applies to the other four, too, who are strange in their own ways. But Chidori, Tenga, Yuta and Honoka still have a better chance at making friends than Nico, Hisomu and Katsuhira. They can conform to standards while the latter cannot or chose not to. In other words, Nico, Hisomu and Katsuhira would be the “rejects”.
Yet, out of the seven of them, it is these three, who were at the very bottom of social ladder, that successfully managed to climb back up from that ordeal to form an even truer friendship. Keep in mind that they knew very well about the risks of getting involved in a relationship thanks to the experiment and they took that risk anyway.
They realized how great it is to have friends. So even if they were rejected a second or maybe another hundred times and still have no friends who’d be willing to stick by them, it’d still be better to have gained those relations, however brief, than to not have any at all. Hence, they really have nothing to lose.
Does that make sense?
But still, that’s such a depressing way to put it because who wouldn’t want these three kids as buddies? Isn’t it cruel to think that no one would want to befriend them when they’re trying so hard?
So I revised my thoughts or more like, combined the first one with another one. I think in general, it’s because these three are the purest and kindest kids of the bunch. Most people won’t give themselves to another unless there’s the possibility of getting something back in return. In the event that they’ve been hurt, they’d retreat to protect themselves. Which is fine, it’s not wrong to think that way. But there does exist a rare few who give more than they take and are brave and willing enough to withstand the hurt and spite to keep on trying.
It’s not that they like being hurt or anything. It’s more like they don’t see the point of holding on to the negative feelings. To let those keep them from seeking happiness again. Or something like that. Which is why they can get up to try again.
At least, that’s what I think I’m trying to say. My thoughts have been running circles so much that I ended up confusing myself.
Point is, Nico, Hisomu and Katsuhira are not asking for much. They only want to have friends and to do their best at being friends.
And oh god, they have. Because look here…
I’ll get to the other four Kiznaivers in a minute but look at how close Nico and Hisomu are to Katsuhira, who passed out from the emotional stress that welled up inside him because it’s been so long since he felt any that he couldn’t physically hold himself up after the impact. Katsuhira went to such lengths to convince all the Kiznaivers why they shouldn’t discard their bonds. Why they shouldn’t be content about wanting to forget it ever happened just because they don’t want to carry the pain. Because that’s exactly what happened to Katsuhira when he was little. He experienced a pain so great that it made him lose the ability to feel anything. And as he lost the feeling to care, he also forgot about his old friends. The ones he was close to during his childhood.
Now that he remembers them and saw with his own eyes at what they’ve become, it makes him feel so sad. Because he should never have forgotten his friends, even if he had no emotions left. They were so dear and important to him and though it was not his fault that pain buried away his memories, that what happened back then was beyond his control, he blames himself for not trying harder to hold on to them. That maybe, if he fought a little harder, he could’ve been by their side to help them during all the years he forgot about them. That maybe, if he did all that, he wouldn’t have to feel the regret he’s experiencing now.
That’s it. Regret.
If there’s one thing he doesn’t want any of the Kiznaivers to feel, it is this emotion. Katsuhira understands that feeling all too well. How much it hurts to know he should’ve done something. He doesn’t want the others to ever have to go through something as awful as that.
And from the moment he made the decision to find out more about Noriko and the Kiznaiver experiment to this point where he’s trying to persuade the others to give their friendship another chance, Nico and Hisomu have never faltered in their support for him. They were there when he really cried his heart out for the first time in twelve years. They were there to help him get his mind going on what he should do next. They sympathized with him the most when his attempts at reconciling with Chidori and Noriko didn’t work out. And when he gave out from the pain of it all, who was it who stayed closest to him in the infirmary to make sure that he was really okay? Hovering over him as if they felt the need to protect him in case something were to happen? Was it Chidori, the childhood friend who always worried about Katsuhira?
No. It was Nico and Hisomu. Nico who fiercely whispered “Do your best!” to him and is now kneeling by his side, a position that would normally have been occupied by Chidori. Hisomu who kept any comments he might have had to himself but didn’t hesitate to level Chidori with a knowing look when she was about to interrupt Katsuhira’s talk and is now sitting in a spot next to Katsuhira’s headrest, almost as if he’s shielding him from any potential harm that can come from the other people in the room.
Nobody in this shot made any remarks about this but Nico and Hisomu’s actions speak louder than words about how they feel about Katsuhira and how much has developed among these three during the short period of time since they came back together.
How’s that for OT3 material?
Let me just start off by saying that every person needs their own respective amount of time and space to come around and these four are no exception. Whatever reasons they have for taking longer than the others, those reasons are completely valid. Especially when they’re still feeling the effects of that incident in episode 9.
Also, it’s never been disclosed how much time has passed since they (as a group) stopped talking to each other
that I can recall. Maybe it was only a week or two ago? Maybe even a month? Point is, if the person is not ready to face that pain again, even if years have gone by, then nobody should force them to. Ever.
But…I am tired of waiting. I’m tired of making up excuses for them. I’m tired of watching Nico, Hisomu and Katsuhira do all the grunt work and facing the problem straight on while these four just wallow in their own bitterness and self-pity and refuse to take responsibility for what they have done. Because listen to me. EVERYONE of them was responsible for hurting each other, no matter how small a part it was. NOBODY is going to be let off the hook for that.
To my knowledge, I have never truly babied anyone in my life and I’m not about to start now. If I burn some bridges in the following discussions, so be it. Yes, they are flawed people and they are just teenagers trying to come to terms with their growth and the anime did not do a good job at spreading the development out evenly due to the limit of time. But so what? Does being flawed count as an excuse to not acknowledge your flaws? No. Does being a teenager struggling with hormones and mood swings mean that they’re exempt from learning from their mistakes? Absolutely not. Does the anime not having enough time justify that it couldn’t have been done better?
Fuck this shit about ‘angels’ and whatnot. These kids aren’t angels. They’re people and therefore, should be treated as such.
Yuta – So I blew a fuse but Yuta is the one I actually don’t want to criticize. After all, he was the only one who tried to stop the situation from getting worse. Moreover, he’s come pretty far from being just a shallow pretty boy. Sure, he still mostly shows concern when a girl is inconvenienced but it also means he wouldn’t let anyone, notably a guy, get away with it. Like how he told Tenga off for not going after Nico when Tenga is the reason she’s crying. I’ve always admired that gentlemanly side of him.
And as we’ve seen, it’s not true that Yuta is averse to men. It’s more the case that he has no interest in them. Other than that, he can be decent towards anyone provided that they can treat him in the same manner. It’s shown when he didn’t respond rudely to Katsuhira’s request to talk while Chidori, Tenga and Honoka didn’t bother to hide their impatience before Katsuhira even started to talk.
The thing about Yuta is that he can still maintain some composure despite being hurt, which allows him to think rather than to just be angry. And it’s quite obvious that he does still care about what transpired among them or he wouldn’t look so sad while wondering where they went wrong.
Yuta doesn’t have any particularly deep attachments to the other Kiznaivers but at the very least he cares for Honoka. Furthermore, he knows that the other Kiznaivers care about her, too, and that Honoka wanted to be friends with them before she reverted back to her icy bitch persona. He knows that Honoka, for a short while, felt she could be happy with them after getting over her past issues with Ruru but the only thing stopping her is her own fear.
I believe wholeheartedly that Yuta can help change her mind, just like how he helped her with moving on from Ruru. I believe that he can still reach out to her and save her from eternally confining herself to loneliness because everything Yuta did for Honoka, Honoka really did appreciate. So if he can help Honoka in accepting the others as friends and learning to be happy with them, maybe the same can happen for him. Maybe he wouldn’t have to spend the rest of his life living off the flattery of floozy bimbos and be glad that he has someone(s) who can accept him for what he is, flaws and everything.
He just shouldn’t give up, that’s all.
Honoka – Lots of mixed feelings here, too.
She’s the type that was never good at making friends. It didn’t help how the way her first relationship ended gave her such a huge perpetual fear of relationships that she decided it was better not to get involved with anyone. It didn’t help that just as she was about to change her mind, the Kizna experiment wrecked that tiny hope before it could even grow into something she could value.
In respect to Honoka’s fear, it’s relatable to all of us. There’s never going to be a time when we’re not afraid of interacting with people. We’re all scared to show our flaws, our imperfect selves, to others and we’re afraid of getting rejected for it. We’re all scared of receiving the feelings of others because we don’t want the weight of that to burden us. The list goes on.
But as humans, we can never truly live alone. We have to have connections in order to survive.
Honoka wants to believe differently but that’s her own cowardice speaking, not what she really feels. And if she keeps thinking that way, she’s going to do so much more harm than if she were to open herself up to trust people. She’s going to ruin herself.
After all, nobody wants to waste time and effort on someone who insists on being nasty 24/7. Even those who genuinely want to get to know her and help her will come to think she’s not worth it. And the more and more this hostility builds up around her, the greater possibility that Honoka will never be free from her anguish. It can torment her so much that it might even warp her into a person incapable of accepting any help later on.
C’mon, after Ruru, does anyone honestly think that Honoka can take care of her emotional state by herself? If the Kiznaivers haven’t interfered, if Yuta hasn’t interfered in time, she would’ve continued to suffer over the guilt and loneliness she kept bottling inside. She would’ve continue to throw her body onto anybody who’d lend her an ear, telling them “I don’t care if I break” when what she’s really doing is crying for help. Because she can’t save herself. Because she’s so trapped by self-hatred that the only relief she can see is the physical pleasure she’d get from sex. And even that is only temporary. It’s not a solution. It will make her hate herself even more knowing she’s sunk so low and move her closer to more self-destruction (delaneysloan went into detail for this very well for episodes 4-5 which I highly recommend reading).
So what can prevent Honoka from falling into that deep despair? It’s simple. Happy memories. If she has happy memories to fall back on, if she can create happy memories with good friends who care for her, then she can use that to overcome her inner demons. She knows that she would not be alone. That she can be saved. That she doesn’t need to resort to these drastic methods of comforting herself because she refused to let anyone into her heart.
But that can only happen if she can brave past her fears of having relationships. Her friends can only meet her halfway. She has to close the distance between them in order for that to happen.
Chidori – Thank god she realized how selfish she was being all this time. Thank god.
I mean, it’s totally natural for Chidori to act that way. She’s a what? 16/17-year old teenager who’s been pining for her childhood friend whose lost his emotions, was shoved into a human experiment without her consent, became heartbroken when she learned that she was not the only girl Katsuhira cared for and couldn’t even properly confess and be properly rejected so that she can move on from it. Until now, it seems.
Chidori was hurting, I get it. I get that she needed time to be away from all that for a while. I understand that.
But you know what? She wasn’t the only one hurting. And after that outburst she had about Katsuhira’s apology sounding like a “rejection” to her, it’s pretty obvious she hasn’t thought of ways to try and get better, much less think about the people she’s hurt.
That whole scene made me feel so relieved, satisfied and mad all at once so let’s start from the beginning.
Katsuhira calls Chidori over the phone asking if he could talk to her. He told her about everything. About his past, about the experiment, about those kids he was friends with who have been reduced to living vegetables because of that experiment. He told her how he thought back to all those times he’s been bullied and how he couldn’t bring himself to care. How that must have hurt Chidori to see him like that because he knows how that feels now. He knows how she felt because that’s what he felt when he saw his friends, all hollow shells of their former selves. How painful it was to see someone dear to them change so much and know there was nothing they can do to help them. Katsuhira realized he’s been making Chidori feel that way for twelve long years.
So he apologizes to her. He still can’t muster the emotion to express just how sorry he is but he truly is sincerely sorry for all the pain he’s put her through all that time. And then he thanks her. Because she chose to stay by his side despite all that. She could’ve left him, walked away, saved herself from the trouble of taking care of a boy who couldn’t respond to anything but she didn’t. She stayed his friend, worried about him and went beyond what even normal friends would do for each other. Katsuhira acknowledged everything she did for him.
But that just went right over Chidori’s head. Because what she wanted to hear from him wasn’t any of that. She didn’t care for his friends or his gratitude or his apology. She didn’t care about what he thought. What she wanted was to hear him say “I love you, Chidori. Only you. I don’t care about Nori-chan or anybody else. I only want you.”
And when he didn’t give her those words before hanging up, she flipped.
She thought it was a rejection. Somehow, within those few minutes they were on the phone, she interpreted Katsuhira’s apology of “I’m sorry for hurting you all this time” as an apology about “I’m sorry I can’t return your feelings”. She thought that when Katsuhira never mentioned anything, not even a single word, relating to the topic of love. Why? Because she never finished her confession to him. So why would he bring that up when his brain got cut off with a flashback back then? Why would he bring up something he can’t recall?
I was so exasperated because just how self-absorbed can one possibly be?
Katsuhira is hurting yet he’s trying to fix things at the same time. He gave her his honesty. And after he apologized and thanked her, he never asked for anything in return. He didn’t even ask to be forgiven.
But none of that mattered to Chidori because all she could think of was how awful it felt for her during that moment. How awful it was for her that he didn’t give her what she wanted. As if he owed her his love for making her feel this way.
Which is utterly ridiculous because Katsuhira may be in debt to her but he is not obligated to love her if he doesn’t have those sort of feelings for her. She can be selfish but she can’t be entitled to him. He’s not her property just because she paid him attention.
Chidori’s reaction here implies a lot about her thoughts during the time the Kiznaivers were separated from each other. She could no longer deny that Katsuhira cares deeply for Noriko and yet she still waited for Katsuhira to come to her. She was expecting a rejection and dreading it but she also held onto the small hope that he would give her the three words she desired the most, even though she probably already knew that he wouldn’t.
Yes, I’m sure Chidori was subconsciously aware that when Katsuhira finally called, it wasn’t going to be because he reciprocated. And I’m willing to bet that she had another subconscious reason for anticipating his call. So that when he finished, she can finally scream the pain off her chest. So that she can call him an idiot, blame everything on him and throw a fit like everybody else does when they have a breakdown.
What she didn’t expect was for Tenga’s words to rush back to her and slap her in the face.
Katsuhira’s apology, his answer, to Chidori allowed her to finally release the agony that’s been pent up inside her. So that she can move on. So that she no longer has to hang on the edge of wondering if he’ll ever love her back or not. That is the very thing she denied Tenga.
That’s what makes her realize how much of a shit she’s been to both Katsuhira and Tenga.
Because even if Katsuhira didn’t have romantic feelings for her, he still cared about her to call. To let her know what he’s found out after he really thought things through. To give her closure. To say to her “thank you for your friendship, I really should have cherished you better and I’m sorry that I failed you there”.
And Tenga who went straight to her to receive a formal rejection. Tenga, who did it more for Chidori’s sake than himself because he didn’t want Chidori to worry about him. He figured if she would just say “no” to him, Chidori would have less on her plate to worry about and he could possibly close the curtains on his own feelings.
Yet all Chidori thought about was herself. How she could avoid getting herself hurt. She didn’t want the extra responsibility of caring about what Katsuhira or Tenga is going through at the moment on top of her own pain. She just wanted to vent and serve to her own disappointments.
Which now makes her seem so petty and spineless. Katsuhira and Tenga were able to face her head-on and she couldn’t even do that. She tossed Katsuhira’s consideration for her aside to yell insults about him but she couldn’t even go out onto the balcony to do that. She did it behind a closed door. She pushed Tenga’s concern and his own request aside because if it’s not her feelings that can be helped, then she doesn’t even want to think about anyone else’s.
Now she has two extra scoops of guilt on top of this whole sucky situation to deal with and that part is her doing. It’s her own fault for bringing it about.
But at the very least, she realized what she did wrong.
I don’t know if there is enough time for Chidori’s problems to be fully resolved by the end but I sure do hope to see her apologize to both the boys. Or make it up to them somehow for her behavior. Whatever works.
Tenga – Nice he may occasionally be but gracious? Not so much.
There’s no doubt that Tenga is currently the most emotionally constipated member of the group. Though that shouldn’t come as a surprise since he has mostly muscles for brains and as a thug, would often use fists more than his own head. And even then, he’d use his head more to headbutt than to think rationally.
But that’s not the main problem here.
Don’t get me wrong. His tendency towards violence still is a problem but it’s his immaturity that makes it even more serious.
You heard me right. Immaturity.
Tenga is not a terrible guy by any means. In fact, he’s an incredibly awesome guy once you get to know him. Sure, he may not be so great with handling his emotions (this fact is compounded when the Kizna system is present) but he knows he should own up to them when he messes up.
Except when it comes to jealousy.
Dude has absolutely no clue how to deal with that, especially because this is probably the first time he’s experienced it in full force. And I think what made it worse was knowing he couldn’t get between Katsuhira and Chidori because their relationship goes way back. Of course, it’s not like things were better when he offered his wingman services to Chidori while trying to hide his own growing feelings but for a while, he had it under control.
Then the fight happened and there’s no point of keeping a lid on it anymore.
He’s jealous of Katsuhira. Absolutely green with envy and apparently, not just because he couldn’t get the girl.
Against Katsuhira, Tenga finds himself losing the “battle” in a lot of things. First, it’s Chidori’s attention and affections. Second, it’s how Katsuhira was able to reconcile with Nico and Hisomu so quickly and effortlessly when all Tenga could do was watch them while hiding behind a corner, implying he too wanted to make up and be friends again. Third, how in all the blows that Tenga has dealt at Katsuhira to ease his own rage, Katsuhira never once retaliated against him nor spoke badly of him afterwards. Fourth, how it’s Katsuhira who comes forward to bring the group together to talk things out when originally, Tenga was the one who always led them.
Not to mention, Katsuhira also let him stay at his place without complaint and Tenga totally forgot about his hospitality. That Katsuhira is not that kind of guy who goes out to make him or anyone else feel miserable. Katsuhira would never intentionally hurt anyone, least of all Chidori.
However, Tenga had every intention to hurt him. Because he couldn’t stand to feel Chidori’s pain coursing through him. He couldn’t hold in his frustration at his love being unrequited. Because he was so overcome by emotions from all directions that he just lost all reasoning and couldn’t differentiate between what’s right and wrong.
When Tenga looks or thinks about Katsuhira, he sees all the stupid mistakes he’s done. He sees his own flaws as clear as day and thus, becomes disgusted with himself. Because he knows he should’ve been better than that. He shouldn’t have lost his temper. He shouldn’t have beaten Katsuhira up and blamed him when it’s the Kizna experiment that was responsible for causing them pain in the first place. He should’ve approached Chidori and confessed if he couldn’t hold in his feelings anymore. He should’ve went after Nico to try and set things right just like how he ordered Katsuhira to go after Chidori when she ran away.
He didn’t. For all his bravado, Tenga didn’t “man up” to do what he was supposed to do. He’s a hypocrite who couldn’t face the feelings of a girl who likes him when he’s been pushing Katsuhira to do just that in regards to Chidori. He claimed to hate bullies and picking on the weak yet he turned on his own friend and gave him the same treatment bullies did. Most of all, he hurt everybody involved because he gave in to own selfishness and weaknesses.
That is why it astounds him when Katsuhira is not only making progress at healing but also trying to help the others heal as well. Katsuhira, who lacks emotions. Who Tenga always saw as this puny, skinny classmate of his that couldn’t defend himself. Who Tenga felt didn’t deserve Chidori and her efforts because when you put them two together, it’s obvious that Tenga is the more preferable choice. In his mind, he’s convinced that he could make Chidori happy. Katsuhira doesn’t even notice Chidori’s blatant love for him so why should she continue wasting her time?
Yes, I’m positive that Tenga looked down on Katsuhira for that even if he was only doing it subconsciously. Tenga is the very masculine type who’d always want to live up to the expectations of what it means to be ‘manly’. And by his definition of ‘manly’, Katsuhira was not.
But Katsuhira rose above his own flaws. He went out to find answers when the others didn’t even want to see or talk to each other or even remember that they were ever friends. He got them all back together to listen to what he had to say by asking them if they could spare him some of their time and not forcing them like how Noriko did.
He made Nico smile again while Tenga couldn’t even tell her he was sorry for making her cry.
Katsuhira has become the bigger person by doing these things and what’s more, he doesn’t have any ulterior motives other than wanting the Kiznaivers to know that he still sees them as friends. That it wouldn’t be bad for them to continue being friends because now they all know that having a relationship with someone will involve pain no matter what. Regardless of whether or not they’re connected through the Kizna system, they will be exposed to hurt but that’s exactly why they should try and get through it together. They can become stronger than the pain, their weaknesses, because they’ve done it before. They were able to do it because they came to trust and rely on each other when they were together.
And I think everybody else is aware of that. All they needed was for someone to tell them that they do share something very important and that is their bonds.
So it wouldn’t be farfetched to think that Tenga probably admires Katsuhira a tiny bit. Because Katsuhira doesn’t hold on to grudges and doesn’t let the smaller things get to him. But this just irritates Tenga more because he couldn’t be the better person. He doesn’t want to admit Katsuhira “beat” him at that. He doesn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction, least of all to Katsuhira, of knowing that he was a lesser man than he thought he was.
Which is why he acts like a complete jerk in Katsuhira’s presence. Tenga can’t even look at Katsuhira in the face because doing so would remind him too sharply of his own insecurities. Even as Katsuhira is just talking and asking normal questions, the way Tenga responds is similar to how a stubborn child would. He doesn’t want the others to see him as weak, to see him so vulnerable when he’s supposed to be the ‘tough guy’. But his bratty replies (“The idea of talking to you pisses me off!” and “Gomorins are weak!”) tell the exact opposite. That he’s just a kid. That he’s just as confused and hurt as the rest of them and that he does need someone’s help to get past how hurt and jealous he is.
I mean, really, who wants to feel bad forever, right?
This is why we call this ‘experience’. Because it’s something we learn from so we would know how to handle problems better when they come around a second time. So that’s it’s not as bad as the first. So that we don’t make the same mistakes again. So that we can grow up.
That’s what Tenga needs to do right. He needs to learn to grow up.
Now even though everybody felt pain when they saw Katsuhira struggling with his emotions and were worried enough to accompany him to the nurse’s office after he collapsed, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean they (Chidori, Tenga, Honoka and Yuta) are quite ready to jump back into being friends yet. It’s true that what Katsuhira said resonated something within them but they still have their misgivings because what if they were still connected to the Kizna system? If they all felt pain at the same time Katsuhira did, does that mean they are still privy to each other’s feelings? Cuz we all knew how well that turned out.
I don’t believe for a minute that what Urushii told them is true. That there is an expiration time on the connections created by the system that lets them feel the pain of other Kiznaivers. For all we know, it could’ve went into hibernation mode after their fight or lost its potency as the summer drew to a close. It could even be an aftereffect where the Kizna briefly reactivates itself if one of the Kiznaivers felt pain strongly enough for it to be sent out to the other Kiznaivers.
I mean, Katsuhira and Noriko were separated for twelve years but he definitely is still connected to her as shown when she was about to jump off the roof and the Kizna that he received when he was kid reappeared on his chest at the same time. So who’s to say that the same thing isn’t happening here with these seven people?
Furthermore, it’s impossible for all of them to simultaneously feel the exact same amount of pain Katsuhira did and still be able to call it their own pain. Everybody experiences pain differently at their own rate. That’s how they know that pain is theirs. This is not. Their pain might have been amplified when their feelings came into contact with Katsuhira’s or it’s possible that Katsuhira’s could have mixed in with theirs.
So it’s not just their pain alone. They are still connected through the system. Urushii doesn’t know what she’s talking about, especially when the researchers haven’t even perfected their knowledge of how the system really works which led to disasters like what happened to those nineteen children they experimented on.
That’s what the others are really worried about. I have no doubt that they are concerned about Katsuhira because really, are you just going to leave someone you know on the roof after he passed out like that? How heartless can you be if you did?
But that aside, there’s an even greater issue they must address. It’s understandable why they’d want to know if they’re still connected. Nobody wants to be stuck to other people like that, no matter how many times they’ve been reassured that it only works ‘short-term’. It’ll disrupt their lives and be a constant thorn in the side even if they are only lingering effects. For the Kizna to truly be gone, it has to be COMPLETELY gone. No traces left. Zip.
And that’s what’s going to present a challenge to these four if they’re seriously considering what Katsuhira told them.
As long as the Kizna still exists within all of them, even if they make the decision to be friends without the system, the Kizna will always make that difficult. They will have a tough time being mutual friends because the Kizna is always forcing their pain onto each other.
There’s also one more thing I wanted to talk about in regards to this group of seven being divided into two sub-groups. Compare the shot on the left to the one on the right and tell me there isn’t a gap between those who want to be friends (Nico, Hisomu, Katsuhira) and those who are still hesitating/resisting it for a number of reasons (Chidori, Yuta, Tenga, Honoka).
We already talked about the former so let’s discuss about the latter.
Notice how Chidori, who is the closest to Katsuhira in terms of years of knowing each other, sits arguably the farthest away from him. What does that tell us about the status of their relationship? Oh, she definitely still cares about her “Kacchon” alright seeing as how she rushed up to him when he collapsed. But she’s not the one by his side right now. Nico is.
Does that mean that after that phone call she got from him and her crying her heartbreak out, she is slowly but steadily letting go of him? Well, this scene seems to indicate that and it’s not subtle either.
I think we can even refer to this as “symbolism” (though I hate using that word in this context). This is sign that she is getting over him. Perhaps unbeknownst to the girl herself but yes, Chidori is gradually, but finally, moving on from Katsuhira and it shows in this seating arrangement as well as her going home before waiting for him to wake up.
Next is Yuta. You wouldn’t think he’s doing any out of the ordinary by just sitting there but look at the distance between him and Honoka and the fact that there is something standing between them (ignore that it’s Tenga and just view him as an object for now, like a metaphorical wall or something). Since the beginning, these two have always been in close proximity of each other, more than they have been with the other Kiznaivers. They are the more grounded people of the group so it’s only natural that they would grow closer to each other in that respect along with Yuta always going after Honoka to help her. But as long as Honoka keeps pushing everyone away, Yuta won’t approach her. Not after the group’s fight. Not after Honoka made it clear that they can’t be friends and specifically ordered Yuta not to talk to her anymore.
Finally, we have Tenga and Honoka themselves, the two who were and are still the most vocally opposed to the Kizna Project. In the the left shot, it looks like they’re all standing/sitting within the same area of the where the couches are. In the right shot, Tenga and Honoka are actually standing further away from the coffee table. That pretty much confirms that they are the most wary of forming friendships with the others again and will probably need a much longer time to convince themselves on whether they should or not.
I think one thing’s for sure, though. These seven people won’t just come across a miracle next episode and magically become friends again. That wouldn’t make sense when they’re still trying to make sense of the things that are occurring right now, not counting Noriko about hijack the city with her army of Gomorins.
In the best case scenario, the most that would happen is them being comfortable enough to be speaking with each other again. Which is a slow start but a start to somewhere at least. Whether they can find it in themselves to be true friends is probably something the writers will leave open-ended (or maybe save for an OVA but I don’t think Kiznaiver is popular enough for us to get one).
You know, I make a lot of theories and insight analysis when I watch/read the series I’m interested in but I seldom think they’ll ever turn out to be true. Maybe a small percentage like 10-20% or 30% if I’m really positive but it would rarely, if ever, go above 50%.
So you can imagine how surprised I was when I managed to hit like maybe 4 marks out of 10? For the overall picture, that is. Most of my predictions are still off by a significant margin but there are certain parts of them that comes very close to what has been confirmed in canon.
Those include these very important things to know about Noriko in ep 11:
- That she was searching for her old “self”. Except for the current Noriko, it was to check to see if her old “self” aligns with the objective she has for the Kizna experiment today. Which we’ll get to in a bit.
- That she really does want her friends, including Katsuhira, to get back their pain so that they can be able to feel something again.
- That she really does want them to be happy. Most of all, she wants them to be happy and together with her. Because Noriko has been alone all this time.
The problem is the method she chose.
She’s operating on the misconception that “pain = happiness”.
It’s a belief she’s had since she was little. Up until the experiment began, Noriko (who was like four/five years old?) presumably never made contact with other kids her age. Hence why she said “the girl was always alone”. So when the eighteen children were brought into the facility where the experiment would take place, the place where we can assume Noriko lived all by herself (save for a few adults), she was overjoyed. For the first time in her life, she was able to make friends.
And they did everything together. They played together, ate their meals together, slept next to each other in the same room and went through those tests together.
Noriko was so terribly happy.
And it was all thanks to the Kizna Project that she was able to meet these children and become friends with them. That’s how she got the belief that the stronger the pain they felt through their connections, the greater their bonds were. If there was no experiment, then she would still be drawing images in the dirt all by herself. If there was no pain, there would be no bonds and therefore, no happiness.
However, the experiment failed. All her friends ended up losing all their emotions and were later labeled as invalids. Noriko herself suffered tremendously when their combined pain redirected itself into her own body (the small body of a little girl), forcing the doctors to administer a drug into her system to numb her from her senses and effectively, made Noriko detach herself from her own sensations. Just like the other children.
With such a fatal error, the experiment should have been shut down but it wasn’t.
Then Noriko grew up and took charge thanks to the dumb absence of better judgement on the committee’s part. Despite the trauma the experiment has brought upon her and her friends, Noriko still believed that the Kizna system can be worked into their favor. She really believed that as long as the system was still around, she can bring her friends back to their old selves and be happy with them again. Moreover, they can have even more friends if the system is recognized as a worldwide peace-making effort.
That’s why she’s so determined to keep the experiments going. Because she thinks this is for her friends’ benefit. Because she thinks this is for everybody’s benefit. Everybody has to realize that pain is needed in order for true happiness to exist.
But obviously, Noriko is doing this wrong. So very, very wrong.
Noriko is misguided. She’s not doing this for the sake of her friends or the sake of all humanity. She’s doing this to rid herself of the loneliness she feels. The same loneliness she felt prior to the start of the Kizna Project. Noriko is doing all this because she desperately doesn’t want to be alone anymore.
Except nobody, none of the researches and people involved with the project, tried to correct her. They only followed her wishes out of guilt for what happened to her and the other children. They felt they had to make it up to them somehow and the only one who’s capable of dishing out coherent “requests” is Noriko. She became the committee’s idol as well as their iron ball and chain to remind them of how they must repent for what they have done.
I don’t know if Noriko has always held this belief of hers or if she’s just remembering it now when she almost fell off the building.
But if there’s one thing I can say with confidence, it’s that her lack of understanding about people’s emotions also contributed to her lack of morality. Every time someone conveys their feelings to her (like when Katsuhira voiced his disappointment about her actions or when they mayor tried to reassure her that she won’t be abandoned), she always replies in the same way.
“I don’t understand.”
And it’s because she doesn’t understand the depth of their feelings that she can keep committing these horrendous acts with the system. She’s following her way of thinking because she doesn’t know how to care for those around her. She’s moving according to what the logic in her brain tells her. Not her heart. Hell, she can’t even feel her heart.
But ah, maybe that’s not really correct.
Noriko is moving on her desires so there’s still got to be a little emotion in her. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to make this face…
…when she went to see her friends.
If she truly didn’t have any emotions left, she wouldn’t have gone to visit them. She wouldn’t have gone to tell them that they would soon be happy again.
Noriko still cares for them. She just can’t show it very well. She just doesn’t want to believe that the path she chose is the wrong one because if she doubts now, then what in the world can possibly make things better? Who will save her friends? Who will save her if not the system she’s been tied to for so long?
She’s so neck deep in refusal to think that there can be a better way, that there can a better solution, that she even coldly rejects Katsuhira. Katsuhira, the boy who loved her when they were children together. Katsuhira, the boy whom she confessed to loving back.
Katsuhira went through so much because of what the Kizna experiment did. What she, Noriko, did. And the conclusion he came up with was that he wanted to help her. That the Noriko inside him wanted him to help her. She rejected that.
She rejected her old “self” within him. She rejected his reasoning. She rejected Katsuhira because he wouldn’t conform to what she wanted much like how Chidori called him an idiot for not giving her what she wanted. If he couldn’t agree with her, then she has no need for him. Hence, why she calls him an “imbecile” for not “understanding anything”. She’s lashing out at him.
This is the closet we’ve seen Noriko become angry. Even when she was overseeing the experiments and giving the Kiznaivers hell, she would sometimes pay Katsuhira mind because they knew each other and shared a past together. Because he was special to her.
I don’t believe that’s changed. I think she still views him as important to her which is why she got so mad in the first place. She expected Katsuhira to side with her because he cared for her. She didn’t expect him to go against her because he cares for her.
Worded in a near similar way but definitely not the same thing so I hope you get what I meant.
The thing to take away from this is Noriko is stubborn. She’s the one who doesn’t understand, not Katsuhira.
She’s right that one cannot know true happiness without experiencing pain. But that doesn’t mean that pain is happiness. Pain is what allows you to realize what happiness is. It’s how we can tell the difference between what hurts us and what brings us joy.
Noriko doesn’t get that because she doesn’t understand what either of those are. She can’t distinguish them because she’s become numb to all emotions.
And if nobody stops her from turning Sugumori into a city filled with pain, then there WON’T be any happiness to spread around. It will just be an endless line of pain, pain, PAIN.
Someone needs to save Noriko. Someone needs to make her realize what she’s doing is wrong and save her from destroying herself and the people around her.
By that, I mean you better not interfere, Yamada. He better stand the fuck down when Katsuhira comes running.
This was longer than I had intended it to be which is why I’m so posting it so late cuz I spent the whole week writing this up. *deflates*
Will come back to edit it later.
End Game Report for the anime will probably be a week late since I’m going away for the weekend but yea, I definitely will give my concluding thoughts to the series.
So those who are still reading this, let’s hope for the best! Be sure to calm your buns after watching because it’s
likely probably going to one last BIG emotional roller-coaster ride.