Pain is an unwelcome constant, but if we could, would we cut it out of our lives? Kiznaiver walls us off in this question with TRIGGER’s custom immediate brazenness, and we’re faced with an embodiment of our worst selves, completely detached from humanity. Katsuhira is cold and removed from even his one school friend, shielded by his inability to feel pain, imprisoned in apathy. He coasts along on his lack of feeling, never defending himself or reaching out to others, and his ennui seems to have worn down his sense of self until nothing is left.
It gnaws away at us too, we who take our senses and emotions for granted, exploiting them for selfish means. We victimise others, wage war and overindulge, and yet in that exhumed knowledge there is still elation. When we fight against scorn, find love, or for any other reason determine to dig out our courage, it’s the roots of our selfishness that carry the potential for feats of righteousness and greater goodness. Katsuhira discovers this dichotomy when he meets his fellow Kiznaiver, all unfeeling, self-centred and most likely to deride or disregard each other, until they’re connected by the Kizuna System – a scar on the left arm, the bridge to the heart.
Their sharing of wounds is the solution under study to the constant conflict between humanity, the thought being that if we could all feel each other’s pain, we would never feel desire to commit acts of violence. With the connection forced upon them, the bond between them is a survival response, and Katsuhira is shoved into feeling something, anything, other than his old self-pity. Characters and viewers are shocked free of the routine, little worlds we create with ourselves at their epicentres, and into the unexpected moment where all is instinct and emotion. Bright colours suited to mood and settings that take different forms than expected put us in a frame of mind where we consider someone else’s perception, the potential manifestations of, and reasons for, their anxieties and fears.