noriko sonozaki

Revisiting Flower Language in Kiznaiver

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After the first few episodes of Kiznaiver, I wrote a piece detailing the flower language used by the series’ ending sequence where each female cast member was paired up with a specific flower. These flowers were chosen very specifically for each cast member, sometimes foreshadowing their backstory or role within the series.

Now that Kiznaiver has ended, I wanted to return to the series’ use of flowers in addition to reexamining the flowers, and the young women, portrayed in the ending sequence.

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Nothinglings: emotional connections in Space Patrol Luluco and Kiznaiver

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Hiroyuki Imaishi’s Studio Trigger have made a large name for themselves with admittedly few series produced — Space Patrol Luluco as a five-year anniversary celebration seemed a bit excessive — creating their own strong fanbase and distinct style rooted in Imaishi’s oeuvre and the studio’s first major project: Kill la Kill. Trigger’s Kiznaiver and Space Patrol Luluco easily invite comparisons, with the studio sometimes overshadowing both projects in the same way that series composer Mari Okada is brought up as a point of comparison between Kiznaiver and Mayoiga — her two series of the spring season.

Despite their different directors — Imaishi heads up Luluco while Kiznaiver is Hiroshi Kobayashi’s series debut as a director — the two properties find common ground in the way they address emotional connections with others.

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Butterfly in Reverse: Kiznaiver’s Emotional Development

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“You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…

…and an athlete…

..and a basket case…

…a princess…

…and a criminal…

Does that answer your question?”

-closing narration of The Breakfast Club

John Hughes’ high school movie classic The Breakfast Club is oft-considered quintessential movie viewing, with countless pieces of media referencing or parodying the iconic story of five teens stuck in Saturday detention. By opening up to each other throughout the day, they reach across their varying social stereotypes and school cliques. While it’s doubtful that their fleeting friendships, and romantic entanglements, will result in anything long-term, they leave with a deeper understanding of each other and people in general.

On the surface, it would seem like Kiznaiver aims for a similar outcome. The expressionless Noriko Sonozaki introduces her Kizna System charges as the new seven deadly sins repurposed as common anime archetypes — imbecile, cunning normal, annoyingly self-righteous, high and mighty, eccentric headcase, musclehead thug, immoral. They are tasked with forming emotional bonds through their forced physical connection and closeness. It’s this very slickness of Kiznaiver and Sonozaki’s Kizna System that casts an artificial sheen over the series itself, making the hominess of The Breakfast Club an even more interesting point of comparison.

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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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The New Adolescence of Studio Trigger: Kiznaiver and Space Patrol Luluco

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“I just wanted to live a normal life.”

“Nothing amazing happens here. Everything is ordinary. ”

These phrases summarize the two primary teen narratives found in anime — in addition to a myriad of other media and fiction. The former is from Studio Trigger’s latest short, Space Patrol Luluco. The latter is from the gold standard for male adolescence in anime: Studio Gainax’s FLCL. Naturally, the fact that Trigger is in many ways an offshoot of Gainax, founded by former Gainax animator and director Hiroyuki Imaishi is highly relevant.

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