The Flower Language of the Kiznaiver Women

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In between “these look so pretty” and “this is a pointed message for a specific person” is the flower language of the Kiznaiver ending sequence. Tasked with closing out a series that identifies common anime character archetypes as the new seven deadly sins, the concluding piece of each episode features the four main female characters — presumably because they have a higher marketability than the male characters — and assigned flowers, in addition to flashes of various other flower species.

Kiznaiver‘s assortment of colorful characters trapped together à la The Breakfast Club — the former is far more hamfisted than the latter — are pressured by their captors to reveal the one secret they don’t want others to know in a forced bonding session to strengthen their ties. The flowers assigned to them in the ending fill in subtle details about their respective characters and potential roles within the series.

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Rose: Noriko Sonozaki

Noriko Sonozaki is a part of this ending sequence, which is of particular note as she’s one of the overseers of the kiznaiver system rather than an unwilling participant in the social experiment. Her flowers resemble carnations at first glance, but are later revealed as a bouquet of white, green, and orange roses, more formally arranged than any of the other flowers shown.

While her manner is dour and serious, Sonozaki’s flower bouquet is overwhelmingly cheery by most interpretations of rose colors. White represents purity and innocence — often used in wedding arrangements to symbolize a new beginning — while orange stands for excitement and passion. Should orange be interpreted as a yellow color, the meaning changes slightly to a joyful friendship. Lastly, green, which unlike blue is a color that exists naturally although many are dyed, is said to invite renewal and rejuvenation of spirit. Together, her flowers herald a new path in life and new relationships. This is an interesting contrast with her role in bringing this group of kiznaivers together, since they are not presumably the first group of kiznaivers and this is another attempt at attaining a specific bond that she alludes to during her closing speech in the series’ third episode.

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Marigold: Honoka Maki

Initially aloof with an air of perfection and disinterest, Honoka Maki is a girl who possesses a self-described “bad personality.” She confesses to killing someone during her introduction before brushing it off as a joke; however, the series continues to visually hint at Maki’s overwhelming guilt. Kiznaiver’s second episode shows a distraught Maki conveniently wandering into a morgue, haunted by a dead girl with short hair.

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This girl later appears in the series’ ending alongside Maki while the latter cradles what appears to be a marigold to her chest. Of the many interpretations of a marigold, the most common are related to pain or the death of a loved one. Victorian-era flower language links it to the ill-treatment of a loved one, while marigolds are still commonly used to celebrate Mexico’s Day of the Dead, which honors the deceased. Maki’s personal issues appear rooted in guilt over this one girl in her past. While her part in the girl’s apparent death is unknown, this incident is something that Maki is obviously still chained to, which is further reflected by the marigold flower.

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Daisy: Chidori Takashiro

Above all else, Chidori Takashiro wishes to return to her childhood, which she has built up to others as the best time of her life. Admitting in Kiznaiver‘s second episode that she loved Katsuhira Agata when the two were children growing up together, Takashiro wants Agata to go back to the happy kid that she remembers, rather than the husk of a human being who appears in the scope of the series’ timeline. Any viewer with half a brain will realize that she still loves Agata regardless, and nearly every action she takes is in service of returning Agata to “who he was” — the person that Takashiro loved.

Not-so-coincidentally, daisies represent a return to childhood or innocence. Takashiro appears to carry a small bunch of purple and white daisies which further symbolize innocence, purity, and true love.

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Blue-eyed grass: Nico Niyama

Of all the flowers appearing in the Kiznaiver ending, the fake eccentric Nico Niyama’s are appropriately the most difficult to identify. Specifically six-petaled and blueish purple, they most resemble blue-eyed grass which are wildflowers closely-related to irises. In other images Niyama’s flowers appear to be blue clematis, inferring a beautiful, artistic mind.

Other featured flowers

Each Kiznaiver leading lady carries a specific flower in the ending, but they’re also ascribed a sequence of other flowers followed by a quick cut to their eyes.

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Sonozaki is given a sole peony before the ending shows her eyes. Often used in ukiyo-e art, peonies are said to represent bravery and are seen as a masculine flower that symbolizes a less-disciplined, flippant attitude towards things, regardless of consequence.

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While her personal flower of the daisy is fairly straightforward, Takashiro is given cala lilies, six-petaled purple wildflowers that resemble Niyama’s bouquet, and daffodils, all with headier meanings. Cala lilies are divisive, sometimes representing the utmost purity, nobility, and holiness but also an untimely death, pride, and lust. Daffodils plead for a return of affection or love, which is often ultimately unrequited. This could be taken as a hint that, in spite of the supposed purity of her love for Agata, Takashiro’s devotion will only lead to her downfall, due to her pride and what Sonozaki describes as an annoyingly self-righteous nature.

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I initially had erroneously identified these as plum blossoms. They’re actually far more likely to be a type of magnolia (thank you, whitecat). The magnolia is another fairly traditional flower that is interestingly ascribed to Niyama, a person who wishes to divorce herself from her wealthy family. Magnolias are sometimes thought to represent the utmost in feminine beauty and innate nobility. As one of the oldest flowering plants, magnolias are said to additionally stand for strength and grace through the ages.

 

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Last in the flower sequence is Maki, with a difficult series of flowers to place. Her initial dark red flower appears to be a rare orchid, while the cherry blossom look-alikes only have four petals, hinting at a dogwood tree rather than a flowering cherry. Cherry blossoms are the shortcut icon to the Japanese feeling of mono no aware — the transience of life or ephemeral sensitivity — where dogwood flowers have an odd tie to Christianity and are said to resemble the crucifixion. In both cases, these hints would tie back to Maki’s extreme guilt towards whatever happened between her and the unnamed purple-haired girl of her past.

 

29 comments

  1. I knew it was only a matter of time until someone looked up what each of the flowers symbolized. Thanks for the effort!

    Honoka’s, the character we also know the least about, was the most informative.

    1. No worries, it was actually really fun. ^ ^ I also appreciated Honoka’s the most, in addition to Sonozaki’s. For the latter, I thought that the choice of a peony was particularly interesting, since she’s one of the orchestrators of this kiznaiver project.

      1. I focused more on the “main flower” for each. I wonder why they didn’t give them a bouquet, heh.

        As for Sonozaki, I think I’m a bit predisposed against learning more about her in this way, which is totally unfair of me, but I think her main issue within the show right now is how she’s presented. Not just her personality, but the way in which the show throws us tidbits about her.

        As for the peony, there are probably two ways we can take it. 1. She’s actually the opposite of what she seems as, not the overlord, but a rules-breaker. 2. Maybe referencing that what she’s doing is unethical human-violating research, and how she flat-out kidnapped the kids? Heh.

    1. You’re probably right. I had thought that magnolias were always a lot thicker with thicker, glossy leaves and less close to the stem, but looking at it further, they don’t resemble plum blossoms all that much either. I’ll change it to reflect that in the post. Thank you.

      *Edit, fixed and credited your comment.

  2. I think Maki’s unidentified dark red flower is not an orchid. Orchid flowers in general grow on a separate stalk that has no leaves. The leaves don’t seem to resemble orchid leaves either.

    Echinacea does have the ‘raised’ center part, but the corona is a bit different.

  3. I think that Nico’s flowers are Lily of the Nile instead of the blue-eyed grass : 0
    I have a few at home and it struck me right away how similar it looked to the bundle in Nico’s arm, but the meaning of Lily of the Nile doesn’t exactly seem to match Nico seeing as it’s “Love Letter”
    This was a very nice read though~!

  4. Very interesting! It surprises me that a lot of people were disappointed by Maki’s “just kidding” in episode 4 as if it meant that the whole “I killed someone” line was really only a fake climax when it’s obviously just been postponed. This flower symbolism as well as a bunch of other stuff really point towards the obvious conclusion that Maki feels guilt over the death of the mysterious purple-haired girl.

  5. This is an interesting post. However, I’m going to offer yet another suggestion on the flowering tree connected to Nico – I believe that’s a variety of dogwood, not magnolia. While four-petaled dogwood are more common, there are varieties which possess more than that.

  6. Hi I wanted to say that I adore your blog and this post! I’m loving Kiznaiver as well and it was really interesting to read this, so keep up the good work!😀

  7. What a great post! It’s so nice to see what you and fellow commenters think about the flower symbolism, especially after having analyzed the ending on my own and getting stumped on identifying some of these.

    I do have a suggestion, though — I’d say the white flower shown for Sonozaki isn’t a peony, but is rather a moonlight cactus or queen of the night (in Japanese, “gekka bijin” or ‘beautiful person under the moon’).

    The flower blooms overnight, and usually withers away by the time the sun comes up, and is associated with a fleeting, bewitching beauty or love.

  8. Good post, I’ve been looking for something about this! Just want to add: the peony looks suspiciously like a cactus flower to me (specifically dragonfruit or one of its close relatives) with the number/shape of the petals and the length of the style. Not sure what’s going on with the leaves though, since most cacti don’t have those…

    And the purple flowers associated with Takashiro remind me of some kind of Ranunculaceae, maybe anemones or hepaticas, with forget-me-nots in the background.

    1. Just wanted to clarify with the cactus: probably a queen of the night (Epiphyllum oxypetallum) which has leaf-like stems and apparently a cultural history in China and Japan.

  9. I think Nico’s flowers might be Scottish Blue bells, and the description is actually a tad fitting “Bluebells have long been symbolic of humility and gratitude. They are associated with constancy, gratitude and everlasting love. Bluebells are also closely linked to the realm of fairies and are sometimes referred to as “fairy thimbles.” To call fairies to a convention, the bluebells would be rung.”😛

  10. Wow. This was really interesting. I had no idea that there was a whole realm of symbolism behind different flowers, but now that I think about it it does seem obvious. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.🙂

  11. I was hoping someone made a post about this, as I love flower language but I’m actually really bad remembering flowers by sight- I suck at photographic memory. So, thank you!

  12. Hello! Thank you for this wonderfully informative post. I wanted to throw in two cents about Nico’s flowers – might they also be bluebells? Bluebells indicate humility and gratitude, but they were also believed to attract fairies.

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