When I watched Kiznaiver, I couldn’t help but feel, “I wish I could have friends like that!” Now, there was quite a bit of dysfunction and hormones to make everyone’s relationship seam pretty messy, but there was something that each character did that made me long to have a similar connection with friends.
If one takes a look at the story, you’ll see how lovely it is to see friends fight, make up, and work for each other’s attention. But if you look at the show through Christian eyes, you see the sacrifice, dedication, redemption, and brotherly love that Jesus showed us, and taught us how to show to each other. As messy as it was, I saw relationships that should exist in the Body of Christ.
“Your body doesn’t belong to you anymore… Your body now belongs to us.” – Tenga
This quote reminds me of how when we gain new life through Jesus, our lives no longer belong to us anymore. We’re a team with Jesus now going to spread love and light and fight evil. (Doesn’t that sound like something that would be in an anime?) #Christian life can be an anime life.
While Tenga is talking about how his physical body doesn’t belong to just him anymore, similarly when you accept Jesus as your savior, every aspect of your life isn’t only yours anymore. Your mind, body, spirit, and passions are all now part of greater God’s plan! When all our characters entered the Kinza system, someone had taken over a small potion of these parts of their lives and shared it among the other members of the group. At first everyone freaks out and can’t understand how sharing such personal parts of their lives can be a good thing at all, but towards the end, they even learn that they need each other in their lives, and it’s not just because everyone seamed to happily pair up romantically at the end. As a Christian, I share every aspect of my heart with the Lord. I have entered my own kind of Kinza system with God, and entering that kind of relationship really shows me how much I need him.
“Draw dear to God and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8
The word church comes from the greek word “ekklesia” which means “an assembly” or “called out ones”. Just as each individual in the anime has been “called out” from all the others to be a Kiznaiver, so have we been picked out by God to preform a special task or duty on this earth. We are the hands and feet of Christ, and we all have special role among each other in order to complete that task.
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44).
Is it really that bad to be connected so closely? While friendship was defiantly created in order to share the wonderful times with each other, people tend to forget that friendship means being there to share the hard times too. I’ll tell you a secret: I wasn’t friends with every person at my church. (No WAY girl!) …There are even people I don’t like! But we are connected by something higher then mere human friendship. That is why we are siblings. The Kiznaivers are connected by something that transcends friendship as well. As Maki started, they all started out as more then friends because they were forced to. They understand each other on a deeper level, physical and emotional pain, the very concept of what it means to feel and be alive – the core of what it means to be human. As a Christian, I am connected to others by the concept of what it means to be more then human.
This show is more then your band of best friends forever who fight evil and then grow even closer and sing songs after wards. No, this is friendship based on the fact that everyone is human, and no matter how different you are, you can always come back to the connection you have with a person through pain. This show represents the number one lesson I learned by going to Japan. Everyone has a story. Everyone suffers. Everyone is simply human.
I did get into a couple fights with members on my missions team. There were five girls in one hotel room at one time, which made for some uncomfortable situations at times. I got really frustrated with some of my friends because of the little things. But as the trip continued, and we all suffered through the ridiculous heat, the rain and wind blowing umbrellas inside out, and working on not enough sleep, we came to understand each other’s humanness in a different light. And then we all learned that the only thing that would help us was something that wasn’t human. It was God who worked through our weaknesses to help us blossom.
God also used a friend to help me when I had a scary panic attack. On the trip I was pretty much waiting for one to come on, and when it did, I was scared to share my weakness with my team members. But I was forced to because I realized I wouldn’t be alright on my own. The moment when you realize that you can’t be ok without someone else is a beautiful moment, and your brothers and sisters should be ready to hold you and your pain when you truly need it. Niko was the first to understand that everyone needed everyone else even after the artificial connection had ended. Humans carve connection in my opinion above any thing else, and the exchanging of trust and pain, admitting one is very human is the loveliest part of friendship.
“I want to share pain and worries with you Nori-chan. It has nothing to do with the Kinza system.” – Katsuhira
“If I give you back your pain, I’ll be all alone.” – Noriko
Humans desire connection so deeply, we’ll connect even if it’s only through pain and suffering (or fireworks). It’s almost tangible, pain, something you can hold onto and force to bring you comfort. That’s what Nori-chan forced upon herself, causing suffering she didn’t need because she couldn’t bare to let go of everyone.
And then there’s the other side of human nature. Human beings are self-centered, and unless something directly affects us, we have a hard time giving it any true thought. But when some one else’s pain actually becomes your own pain, you’re forced to find a way to overcome it for your friend, but mostly for yourself.
“Because we were connected through pain, someone always made us feel better. Because we were connected through pain, even if we fought, we could say that we were sorry. No one there was ever alone because the Kinza system connected… ” –Noriko
I read that the premise of the show and title are based off of the Japanese word “Kizu” – wound/scar and “Kizuna” – bond/connection. But I think the Kiznaivers are connected by much more then just a wound or a bond. The experiment forced them to learn empathy, which is a skill humans don’t want to have. You think this show is about friendship through pain, but it’s actually a show where a bunch of teenagers learn what empathy is.
Empathy is a double-edged sword, and the Kiznaivers learned that first hand. Too little and the group was awkward and self-centered. Too much of it and everyone is lying in the dirt crying because of a chain reaction of hurt feelings.
“It might be scary to let go of everyone’s wounds, but if you don’t let them go, you won’t truly be able to connect with everyone.” – Katsuhira
There is a difference between holding onto a memory of someone’s pain, and proactively living through someone’s pain with someone. That’s what Katsuhira was trying to show Nori in this scene. Nori had been a Kiznaiver for so very long, but she had lived those long years suffering because she didn’t understand healthy empathy. Empathy lets you get to know a person faster then anything and it keeps people together.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)
So getting deep with someone is a good thing. Put others before yourself, think of their needs, wants, hopes, and desires. Getting to know someone hat you probably wouldn’t be friends with from the start shows that your working with a kind of friendship that’s not from this earth. God’s friendship working inside you in the form of the Holy Spirit!
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)