The first episode of Kiznaiver feels like a superhero’s origin story, with the ‘hero’ going through some emotional stuff before being experimented on for the greater good.
In this case, Katsuhira is the protagonist in a group of 7 individuals who represent the updated 7 deadly sins. Instead of Sloth, Lust and Greed the sins are Imbicile, High and Mighty and the Cunning Normal, among others.
These 7 individuals have been gathered together in Sugumori City and have been experimented on to have the Kizuna System implanted in their bodies.
The Kizuna System will allow each of the 7 to feel the pain that any of the other members is feeling in real time. The pain felt by person 1 is equally divided by the 7, to lessen but share the pain. This experiment is a flagship experiment in a larger plan to create world peace. The reasoning behind the shared pain is that people hurt others because they do not understand their pain. The 7 of them are henceforth known as Kiznaivers.
Katsuhira is our main protagonist. We are shown a memory or dream in which a figure steals Katsuhiras pain, or his ability to feel pain. In this scene we see his hair turn stark white and an X flash on his chest. Now when he is on his way to school, a pair of bullies take Katsuhira and beat him up for his money. These two have been doing this for some time, and Katsuhira just obliges them. They do hit him, but he is more concerned with the taller one grabbing his collar and damaging his shirt.
The event is interrupted by a man who will later become a Kiznaiver. He yells at the bullies and shakes them down for all of the money they have ever taken from Katsuhira, after striking a deal with Katsuhira to get 20% of moneys recovered.
Chidori, a classmate of Katsuhiras is also a Kiznaiver, the Goody Two Shoes. She is angry at Katsuhira for allowing himself to be bullied and tries to get a teacher to help Katsuhira.
Sonozaki is the ring leader of the Kiznaivers, and the character who brought everyone in. She begins by speaking to Katsuhira about his lackadaisical attitude before pushing him down a flight of stairs, which should have killed him. The Kizuna System divided his injuries among the other 6 members, allowing Katsuhira to live.
The premise is an old plot, as I mentioned before, it resembles an origin story. I don’t believe they will be fighting crime though, as constantly receiving painful and sudden stimuli while fighting would severely hinder your ability to focus on the fighting. So the plot may be more of a Daily Life with a twist. Following the experimentation route, there may be situations that can only be achieved by sharing pain, or scenarios that the characters have to complete to test the systems effectiveness.
Sonozaki also mentioned that Katsuhiras dream, the one with the figure and his pain, were symptoms of the Kizuna systems operation. This was a good thing.
The animation style was very Kill La Kill, mixed with Gurren Laggan character design. One character, Niko Noriko, The Eccentric, resembled, Harime Nui from Kill la Kill from her dress to her hair, while Hajime Tenga resembled Kamina from Gurren Laggan.
The characters were mainly 1 color, there was no blending or shading of other colors. The outlines were on the thicker side as well.
Movements were very flowy, especially the hair. Katsuhiras hair moved at every movement as if it was jello. In the scenes where Katsuhira is being bulled, the swinging arm motions f the bullies are very smooth too, but they look off because they are so smooth. You notice that particular motion because of how smooth it is.
The contrast between light and dark was done well too. The sunspots shining through the trees and the starkness of the shadows gives off a nice feeling. There are a lot of scenes that transition from light to shadow, giving room for this effect to be used properly.
The episode was good for an opening, the majority of the characters were introduced, and the reasoning behind the days events were revealed. The next step is a bit hazy but it looks as if it will head in an interesting direction.