Posted on 3 January 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-, Reviews by AidanAK47

One of the surprises of the year was to see the return of Kino’s Journey, a very well regarded and more unique anime among those deemed classic. Many, myself included, were very much looking forward to the return of Kino and her talking Motorrad. Though due to some factors this series doesn’t quite live up to the pedigree of its former season. One factor is that it is somewhat a mix of a remake and a sequel as some old stories from the original 2003 series are remade while other new stories make an appearance. Those fond of kIno for it’s morally ambiguous parables will find the new series to be less focused on that and more on lighthearted little tales with Kino and other protagonists. There are of course dark moments but overall this series has more of an optimistic tone when compared to the previous seasons nihilistic outlook. This could be quite a turn off for old fans but there are indeed still good stories here.

However the choice of stories and their structure in the series doesn’t appear to have been thought out well as stories appear to be chosen based more on Kino and other fan favorites getting the spotlight rather than meaningful allegories on life. Quite a pity as there are well over 200 stories and yet the ones featured here appear to be the weaker ones of a long running series. Stories are placed one after another haphazardly without considering the tone or overall structure. For example, two of the remake episodes are A Kind Land and the Country of Adults. A kind land was the previous seasons finale but is placed in the middle of the series and is followed by Kino’s Origin which would have been more beneficial to place before A Kind Land. On top of which this season decides to finish on what amounts to a joke episode which again is a odd decision that seems to misunderstand the very intent of Kino’s story. Nonetheless there are some standout stories such as the Country of Lies and In the clouds.

That said while we have a B-class selection of stories, the presentation at least does them justice. Aside from some rather awkward CGI, this season of Kino is a visual improvement over its predecessors intentional but rather dated look. I didn’t notice anything noteworthy music wise and the opening is just alright. Characters can act a bit over the top and unrealistic, which is different from the original series more monotone delivery but that can result in some more emotional moments hitting harder. As such if a another season was made with better story selection I believe it could very well match the original. Though sadly this may be the last we see of Kino for a very long time. To sum things up, this series doesn’t hold a candle to the original but it’s still a worthwhile watch.

Posted on 30 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

Thus with todays episode, Kino mets her greatest adversary, one to test her to her very limits and be her greatest obstacle on her journey so far. Kino’s Arch Nemesis is…Sheep. Yes, sheep. Of all the stories that could have been chosen for the finale for Kino, this has to be one of the most bizarre choices. Kino gets attacked by Sheep and must fight them off to escape with Hermes. What unfolds is a strange yet somewhat hilarious battle between them. This would have made for a excellent breather episode in the middle of the season and yet here it is right at the end. Besides so awkward CGI it’s an enjoyable episode but much likely my previous complaints about episodes like this, this isn’t what I watch Kino for. There isn’t really a deeper meaning to this one, only a action scene and the humor of Kino taking on sheep.

The only thing I found to be a interesting observation was the final revelation that those sheep were used to fight each other in a nearby country but were released into the wild due to animal rights groups. Now that country is oblivious to the fact that those sheep hang around outside and attack any travelers that come near. Even killing what is likely quite a number of people. An old tale of good intentions going wrong, in this case animal rights groups simply assuming that the sheep would forgot their fighting ways and go back to being docile naturally. Guess the lesson is that if you are going to do a good deed, make sure to consider all potential consequences of your actions.

My feelings towards Kino’s Journey 2017 are complicated. I will most certainly say this is not a bad season but when held up against its predecessor, it is a weaker one. The odd thing is that I don’t believe that it was how these episodes where adapted that was the problem. In fact I would consider the adaptations of these stories to be rather strong. No, the problem lies in the stories themselves and how they were laid out in this season is the thing that truly brings this season down. While Kino is an episodic series, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how these stories flow into one another. A perfect example is the episode showing various countries, were in a batch of comedic and lighthearted stories is one rather dark tale that it was almost mood whiplash. The stories where very poor choices as well, seemly chosen for making Kino look cool or showing off fan favorite characters.

This is the problem when you decide based on popular vote instead of actual quality. There are well over 200 stories written in Kino and yet the story choice in this season consisted of three remakes that frankly were not needed and far too many lighthearted/comedy episodes. I think that any new viewer would walk away from this series with a massive misunderstanding of just what Kino is actually about. I believe they would be quite surprised if they went back and watched the 2003 version to find it being a much darker introspective beast. Still I would like Lerche to take another shot at Kino as they have show they can adapt it. All they really need to do for another season is choose more wisely from Kino’s selection of stories and consider how they fit together in a season as a whole.

Posted on 20 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

Yet another remake of an old episode that I don’t think we really needed. Besides a visual upgrade these remake episodes do seem to feel like a waste of resources and if we must gets remakes of old episodes, it would be wiser to actually pick the best episodes. Colosseum was the weakest story in the original series, a kind land makes a good finale but doesn’t quite work as well without a foundation from other episodes and now we have the country of Adults which basically just establishes Kino’s backstory. However unlike kind country there is at least some intellectual fodder to be gathered from this episode and the message of the day is false maturity. Our story takes place in a country where children are given a operation at a certain age which would turn them into “proper adults” and while the original series did a better job of making this seem to not be quite a bad, the new series turns it into a more black and white affair. You can gather a number of messages from this such as the way parents tend to force their own experiences onto children as that is how they believe children should be raised regardless of whether it is truly correct or not.

But instead I think I will focus on the matter of what exactly makes for a proper adult. As a child, a adult seems like a no brainer concept, they always know what to do, they generally deal with matters maturely and they are bigger and wiser about the world. A proper adult is what we as kids are supposed to grow into and our parents are to be role models to help show us the way to that goal. However as you grow up and learn about the world in your own way you come to learn something crucial and rather terrifying about this world of ours. As a man of 29 years of age, I have worked with a large amount of people, talked with a large amount of people and as I live in a house share, I have also lived with a large variety of people. Thus in doing so I have learned one simple thing. There are no adults, only bigger children. They say with age comes wisdom but I have seen a woman twice my age throw a hissy fit because she couldn’t get her way. I have seen a man double my age who ran around the house making noise like a toddler. Young men with the ideology of teenagers, men in there seniority who act like spoilt brats, men who try to cover up their mistakes by throwing newspaper over it. As I am often the youngest around, these so called adults attempt to lecture me on their so called wisdom as they attempt to convince me that 9/11 was an inside job and there is special electric water that can cure all diseases. In all the teams I have worked with, I find it amazing that we as a species can get anything done considering how humans always find a way to screw up.

Please note that I am not putting myself above this, I am no more a proper adult that any of them. Still I at least would like to believe that I am a little bit wiser or at least conscious of my own failings and how they affect other people. Aspects which a surprisingly large frequency of people tenditively lack. But what does this long winded rant have to do with this episode? Well it’s that in this episode the people of this country assume they have become adults simply because they had an operation and in reality they people are far more childish than the Traveler and the girl who is to become Kino. Much like those that assume they have obtained maturity just by the act of there bodies aging, these people are children who believe they grew up and thus are wholly ignorant of their own immaturity. They only follow the person in power, whenever someone challenges them they shout them down and immediately resort to violence. They are those who flaunt superiority over their indoctrinated values of perceived adulthood. Without true empathy or caring for those around them. Children with delusions of maturity are dangerous things indeed. I apologize for what is likely a rather pretentious excuse for an episode review but my original intent upon covering this series was to delve a bit into the things it made me think about. Sadly this series hasn’t given me as much as I thought it would in that regard and I don’t really feel like taking the easy route and just recapping the episodes content. So I guess I will leave it at this one final note. The original name of Kino is Sakura and that’s why she reacted so strongly to Sakura’s name in Kind Country.

Posted on 12 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

Another remake of a story from the old series and while this one is adapted quite well, maybe even arguably better than the old version, it unfortunately lacks the same impact. The main problem comes back to the thing which ultimately holds back this season as a whole, story choice. For you see in the old series the stories were much darker and there were few stories which had countries that welcomed Kino warmly. Most were cold and formal with how they treated Kino and the general tone was more grim. The old series also established the importance of Kino’s three day rule and showed her past. So after going through a season of that and ending with this story about a kind country truly made for a great finale due to the nature of the episodes before it. The new series doesn’t have that same weight to it. it’s already shown Kino violating her three day rule and also failed to show its importance. Kinos past has instead been reserved for next episode and the stories of this season have been much more light hearted than the previous season. What made this episode great before was that it came after a season cour of Kino traveling to flawed country after flawed country. Thus the one time when she finds a truly wholesome and welcoming country it is tragically destroyed before her very eyes. A small piece of beauty in a otherwise cruel world and something that gives meaning to the subtitle of this series.

I don’t really understand the logic of having this story here in the middle of the series and not to mention animating the country of adults right after it. Overall the structure of this seasons stories has not really been very thought out and seems to be just following the notion of animating popular stories without considering their context. Not to mention adapting stories which don’t really require a new adaption. Still regardless this is a good story and the final twist still hit hard. The basic story being Kino traveling to a country widely rumored to be horrible to travelers only to find they welcoming and kind. The whole way through the episode you are waiting for a dark twist, just waiting for the gut punch that turns all their kindness insincere but that doesn’t come. Instead we get the reveal that the country was doomed to be destroyed in a volcanic eruption and the people of the land made there peace with it. The children remained oblivious to their impending death as the tour guide girl lead Kino around happily unknowingly of what awaited in a few days. As Kino was the last visitor to their country they wanted her to leave with good memories of the place. Just when you think that’s the only hard hitting moment there is the second revelation that the tour guide girl knew full well that everyone was going to die and yet despite given the opportunity to leave still chose to stay and die with her family. I didn’t feel much at the first reveal but the second managed to make me feel something.

Admittedly there isn’t all that much to this story other than the emotional factor and the final twist. That kind of what made it a better finale due to its simplicity and sense of finality. The only other thing to be gleaned from it is that the man who gave Kino the woodsman and cleaned her gun also happen to be her Masters former assistant. Bit odd to see Kino only receive the woodsman here as in previous episodes she already had it but Kino doesn’t play out in chronological order. So other than finding out what happened to the masters assistant it’s just a tragic story of Kino finding a kind place. So it doesn’t have the same kind of thought provoking undercurrents as other Kino stories would. Truly this story was more about Kino and how she changed as a result of this place which again makes the placement of this story here weird. Still the next stories placement is even weirder and I don’t really understand why it’s being remade in the first place. With this, one fourth of this cour is remakes of episodes from the old series and sadly not even the best episodes. I am really hoping that another season of Kino is on the way as it would be a real shame to just leave it at this

Posted on 6 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

I will likely be spending most of this post talking about one segment of this episode as just as the title suggests, these are a series of stories involving different countries. But before I get into that I must truly question why these particular stories were chosen. I have stated before that I love Kino for it’s introspective parables and how they make you think but today’s episode was mainly comedy for some reason. None of the stories are put together with any kind of cohesion and some I question the point of animating at all. For example, at one point this episode went from a serious dark story to complete slapstick at the drop of a hat as a story about a cooking country was introduced. A country gets Kino to cook something for them and it is revealed that Kino is a terrible cook whose meals are nearly fatal. My how hilarious, the cute girl who has confidence in cooking but all her cooking is lethal. That’s a joke so unique that I have only seen it a couple of hundred times. I mean i just finished playing through the third game in the Blazblue series(Story is still god awful but I made i this far for the gameplay) and that has this very same joke.

Why was this deemed animation worthy? It’s a story setup for a single joke that’s already been done to death, not to mention it doesn’t make much sense that Kino can’t cook. She can survive on her own and has fed others before, it’s makes no sense that she can’t cook The beginning segment is also equally pointless as it just sets up that Kino’s master has traumatised bandits enough to be very selective of who they attack. There are so many other stories that could make the cut, why this? For example, I know a short Kino story where she journeys to a land that is burning all the toys, magazines and playthings of the children on the grounds that without they will grow into pure and good adults. But whent hey let the kids ask Kino a question, one of the children asks her how to burn alive all the adults of the country. That’s the story, short but undeniable Kino. The moral may be a bit too blatant but I much prefer this to having a story about Ti hanging a wish on a statue.(Again, why choose to animate this?) The story about Kino visiting a country that she wasn’t allowed to remember is a good way of doing humor in this series as if provides a philosophical angle while entertaining a humorous one.

Not every story in Kino’s Journey is a gem which is to be expected considering it’s episodic nature but I feel there should have been far more scrutiny on choosing which stories get animated. I am fairly certain that three quarters of this episode didn’t need to be animated and could have been replaced with superior stories. There are just some odd choices going on here, such as having the author’s afterward in the credits of this episode. It gave the episode a weird finality which had me concerned whether this would only be a nine episode cour but luckily that appears to not be the case. Now onto my favorite part of the episode, a land where everything is awarded virtue points and doing good deeds gives you leeway in the country. This is a fascinating concept because the system has it’s ups and downs. Namely that it encourages people to perform good deeds but makes the act somewhat disingenuous as everyone is only after points rather than displaying genuine goodwill. But what makes this concept most interesting is that your virtue points can cancel out any wrongdoing that you commit. Under the grounds that it’s unfair for a man of many good deeds to be condemned because of one wrongdoing and a bad man being absolved due to one good deed. The man whom Kino talks to in this story had accomplished great deeds but he soon reveals that the only reason he did all of it was because he wanted to earn enough points to kill a single person.

Now I actually find the system genius for this as it appears that it takes a massive amount of points to cancel out murder and here a murderer spends his life performing good deeds for the sake of killing someone. And when he finally has what he needs, he’s old enough to see the folly of it and has no one he wishes to kill. This is absolute genius, for a evil man is made into a benefit for society and when the time comes when he can do evil, he no longer has the will to. But the big question of this story is do we judge a man by his character or do we judge him by what he has accomplished? For this man was evil but still accomplished great things worthy of respect. Does it matter if his motives for doing so where unsavory? I feel this message hits harder at the recent news of the author of Rurouni Kenshin, a well loved shounen series, was revealed to be a pedophile who had a large amount of child porngraphy. For now and forever that series will have the authors sin staining it but again the question remains. Can we respect that this man created a well loved franchise despite how rancid his character is? Do we judge a person in history by what he accomplished or by who he really was?

For there were many horrible people who accomplished great things that we benefit from even in this age. The Fate Franchise has built itself on taking the legends of people and building characters around them, characters which are likely nothing like their real life counterparts and yet to some like myself, have completely replaced their image. I wish that Alexander the great was like that of Rider from Fate/Zero but in truth he was likely a much worse person and I would not like him at all. So in truth is the form of immortality that is records is not truly a record of people, but rather of accomplishment? For what they people thought, felt and even who they truly were has been lost to the ravages of time. Cutting this off bluntly but I think this post is long enough, next episode appears to be another remake of an old story and again I feel like we could just get a new story instead of this. The kind land made for a great closing episode to the original series and having it be in the middle of the series like this is just odd.

Posted on 28 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

This episode almost seems like a compromise formed from the complaints I had last episode. Namely because the first half of the episode was what I look for in Kino and the second half was the most pointless fluff to grace the series to date. So let’s deal with the first part first which was quite good. Not the best KIno has to offer but still pretty solid and this week’s episode deals with a modern like country and it’s problem with radio waves. Kino is once again out of the protagonist seat and instead we have Riko, Shizu and Ti. Funny enough these three are not traveling for fun like Kino is and are instead looking for a country which they can settle down in. Considering their current role as secondary protagonists, I am guessing that plan won’t go so well. Sure enough the three find out that the relatively normal country has a problem with people going crazy every few years and committing horrible criminal acts. The reason behind this appears to be machines implanted in all the citizens brains from a time when they were slaves and a radio tower which sends out bad radio waves that cause people to commit horrible crimes. However it turns out that the radio tower is broken down and has not been operational in a very long time.

Therefore the horrible crime that happened in this episode where a teacher massacred his classroom of students, was in fact an act that he committed by his own will. Shizu once again shoots himself in the foot here by confirming this to the people, only to have them call him a liar and decide that he is now under control of the radio waves, despite how ridiculous that notion sounds. Again the characters in this episode don’t really act realistically and if you try you can certainly poke some holes into the setup. For example it’s fairly unrealistic that no traveler was sent out to investigate the radio tower before Shizu despite them living with it so long. But again, that’s not the point. The point here is the meaning behind the story and in this case I believe it’s people’s tendency to try to rationalize the illogical. It reminds me of conspiracy theory in a way as people, instead of accepting a simple truth, attempt to find some kind of underlying evil to blame. For example, there is a popular theory on the Jack the Ripper murders being a series of assassinations to cover up a secret marriage in royal family and orchestrated by a secret organization known as the freemasons. This theory is off course, ridiculous and falls apart when placed under closer scrutiny. However this theory is a far more comforting thought in that the murders had meaning and that these women at least died for a reason, as evil though it may be. This is at least a work of logic and easier to accept that over the far more terrifying truth. That a psychopath came to London and killed five women for absolutely no reason. For isn’t it far more reasonable if the devil or aliens made people do such horrible things? Surely ordinary people could not willingly commit such monstrous acts without remorse? No, of course it wasn’t their fault, it’s all because of the video games/corporations/government/satan/society/parenting/god or whatever you care to name.

So in this country they would prefer to believe that a giant evil radio tower was forcing innocent people to commit horrible crimes than accept that these crimes were of the people’s own choice. Unfortunately this belief is likely the reason for the high crime rate in the first place as the authorities do not punish those who commit these crimes and simply isolate them for a time before releasing them back into society. It’s up for debate whether there is anything to this radio story, it doesn’t make sense on a fundamental level but the criminal who killed that classroom did seem like he was behaving erratically as though there was a supernatural force at play. I somewhat wonder if this thing is thing is more of a subconscious suggestion and people just forsake any moral control because they are under the impression that they are being controlled. I could be possible that when Shizu lied about their being another radio tower to the man that just the very idea of it would be enough to push that man to become a criminal. All in all I do like this story though the payoff was a bit expected. But then there is the second half of the episode where we follow a day in the life of our resident grenade loli.

Let me preface this by stating that I like Ti. I like the dynamic of her looking emotionless while being prone to emotional outbursts, while Riko is a dog that looks happy go lucky when in reality he’s much more serious and Shizu is Kirito isekai-ed into Kino’s world to get karmically kicked in the nuts for all the crap he pulled in SAO. Ti wants the same thing that Riko and Shizu want but has an underlying desperation to her. To her, these two are her last chance for happiness and if anything whatsoever comes to threaten that then she will resort to any means necessary to protect it. I do really like that, she’s like an emotional time bomb who you never know when or how she will be set off. Her fascination with as well as endless supply of grenades only making her all the more dangerous. In a two cour series I won’t mind having half an episode to just show Riku and Ti bonding but as far as I know this is one cour and time is precious. So why is this prioritized over more important stories? You can’t tell me there were no stories to fit a half an episode timeslot. I mean it’s cute and all, almost makes me forget this girl was threatening to kill a baby just ten minutes prior, but don’t we have more important things to get to? As far as I know we have four episodes left and while I enjoyed my time with Kino I still feel like there is a well of untapped potential that it is failing to draw from. I hate to use the word disappointing as I feel this show doesn’t deserve the label but once again I feel that frustration I felt with Little Witch Academia, where in a good show could have been great if things just went a little differently.

Posted on 21 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

Let me start this post by saying that this is indeed a fun episode of Kino. Once again the mantle of protagonist is taken from the duo and instead it’s Kino’s Master who leads this episode. Though the story is told by Kino as she approaches the country that is in the story. It is rather nice to see Kino’s master being a serious badass and we at least get a grasp on the kind of person who trained Kino to be as skilled as she is. I particular liked the Sepia tone used for the scenes that take place in the past, making them seem like an old time action movie. It is a nice funny little episode which could have acted as a nice breather from the series more darker stories. However here is where my own personal gripes come into this because while I enjoy this episode, it also has me rather dissatisfied and somewhat irritated. Again I will repeat that this is by no means a bad episode of anime but, quite frankly, this isn’t what I watch Kino for. I have mentioned before that the story selection for this anime was influenced by a poll run on fans favorite country and in that I felt that people tended to choose the stories which happen to make Kino be more active and cool as opposed to the stories which had great depth. I also notice another thread as well with this season and that is that out of all the stories so far, they have all had happy endings. Strange though it may be, I generally prefer Kino when it’s more dark and depressing rather than upbeat and optimistic. For example, my favorite episode from the previous series happened to be the second episode with the story about the three rabbits. It was dark, depressing but damn did it have an impact on me.

Thinking back over the old series I generally did prefer the darker episodes and this season may be feeling lacking because it is missing that particular darkness. Everyone picked the upbeat stories, the exciting stories over the more poignant and melancholic stories. Even the opening seems to display this with a poppy cheery theme that seems to not quite fit my image of Kino. We have the light side of Kino and we appear to be missing the darkness. There are of course episodes that still have parts of it but I think we are missing half of what makes Kino, Kino. That is why this bugs me, for as far as we know this series will only be one cour. It may very well be the last anime Kino will ever get for it was a miracle to get even this. So isn’t it such a shame to have episodes wasted on such simple stories like this? A story about people being badass isn’t a rarity in anime and I just tend to hold Kino at a higher standard.

Well I spent too much time discussing this and not much about the episode itself. Though there really isn’t that much to this. A country run by a corrupt police force attempts to frame masters companion with drug possession in order to steal money and get manual labor out of him. Master in turn ends up taking over the clock tower police station and holding a standoff against the police for three days until they literally have to pay her to leave. The only thing of interest to me was the aftermath with Kino revisiting the country to find that her master and companion have been hailed as heroes who were petitioned by the people to root out corruption in the police. Of course the flowery tale appears to have been made up by the police to save face from the fact that two random strangers had the entire police force on their last legs. Likely the reason for corruption getting rooted out in the government was due to greater public scrutiny after that colossal failure and a reform to gain public trust. The way that they avoided persecution by effectively glorifying the incident tends to mirror that of a person who dresses up his failures as secret successes in order to avoid admitting his own folly. As pointed out by Kino at the end when she mentioned about all the old men of the country happening to use canes due to her master shooting their legs during the incident. It’s a nice funny little tale but we are now past the halfway point so they better announce a second cour or make these last episodes something truly special indeed.

Posted on 15 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

I would say there were plenty new watchers fooled into thinking this was Kino’s origin story and I admit to having the thought that the remake may be creating a new origin for her. But alas this is an episode focused on someone else entirely. Still I consider it a strong episode even if it got a bit too forced with the portrayal of the caravans people. I can forgive that as it’s not the first time that Kino has sacrificed characterisation in order to tell a story. In fact many a time in the old series did people turn into exposition puppets solely there to push the parable of the week. Kino in essence isn’t really about the characters but rather the underlying themes and questions brought up with the story being told. In terms of that we got a lot of meat here. The situation is that a girl is sold as a slave to a caravan in order to cover the expenses the country owes. However it appears the girl isn’t a very useful slave. Those the adults treat her badly due to feeling they got scammed and the children treat her even worse. However we have an odd situation where the slave girl is from a religious country that preaches in believing in the good in others and not hating other people. Thus her beliefs are put to the test by her horrible owners and the fact that she was sold off.

The funny aspect of this story is that while the slave girl does speak that she would never hate them and mention her beliefs, the look in her eyes does not suggest that this is what she truly believes. Instead it feels like the beliefs that she was indoctrinated with. She believes such because it was what she was taught to believe and despite that the beliefs themselves are not inherently wrong(Though naive) there’s something wrong in how she has ingrained them into herself. The big test comes when she realises that the herbs thrown into the soap were poisonous and attempts to warn the group. There is so much beautiful irony in this episode. One of the members of the caravan mentions that the girl is someone abandoned by luck but inadvertently by episode’s end she is the luckiest girl there. Indeed it was as if god himself turned events to her advantage. Her attempt at suicide was stopped by a coincidental bullying from one of the children. Fog stopped Kino from reaching the camp in time as she could have warned the group about the poisonous herbs. Though if Kino saw how they treated the slave girl, I wonder if she would have sat back and let them accidently kill themselves. The fact that the only member of the caravan to survive was someone who sympathised enough with her to free her shackles. Not to mention the beautiful line of him mentioning that his grandfather said that he shouldn’t be a picky eater and he inadvertently survived because he was a picky eater. The motorrad in the truck that could teach her how to drive and not to mention give her the perfect advice to combat her suicidal mindset.. Yes, everything worked out in this girl’s favor and that begs the question of whether her belief that the founder somehow knew things would work out for her was indeed true or if this was all plain coincidence.

Now when it comes to the girls abuse I actually thought the majority of this episode handled it well with it being rather low key instead of pushing it too hard. The point that really makes it forced is right before the caravan dies and the son of the caravan leader makes the suggestion that his father sell him the slave girl just for the express purpose of him proving himself a man by killing her. Yes this is quite forced, especially with it coming just right before they die to show that they are far beyond redemption. The funny thing is here that I can somewhat understand this kids reasoning. Judging by what Kino has to deal with, traveling is a dangerous job and isn’t one that allows for high moral ground. Even Kino isn’t against killing someone if the need comes. So I can understand just why this kid feels that it’s important for him to be able to kill. The logic fails here however in just how he is going to go about it. Killing someone who’s out to kill you is far different from killing and torturing a girl who can’t fight back. Of course it’s up for debate on whether this kid is truly capable of it as I can certainly see him talking a big game and losing his nerve once he gets to the act. I feel like this scene would have worked better if the father was in favor of the idea while other members of the caravan felt conflicted. Like the boy’s mother not being too keen on the idea of her son torturing a girl, regardless of who it is. If there was a failure in this episode it would be the adult’s reaction to the boys proposition. I don’t care how evil people are, suggesting this crap over a dinner table wouldn’t get unanimous acceptance.

That aside this was a very good episode that showed this shows strength over others. This episode could be a commentary about religion and how the ideals it teaches are hollow if you haven’t any resolve or real investment in them. It could be a message about abusive relationships and how the abused tries to see the best in their abusers despite all evidence to the contrary. The while altruism is an admirable virtue, it’s truly important to accept that you are only human and as such do not need to uphold a perfect ideal to be a good person. Or even a anti-suicide message for after all, you are inevitably going to die someday. So if you want to die then just live and it will happen eventually. Or quite simply, a moral that things may be at their darkest at times but the future always holds the potential for happiness. Not an easy episode to watch but I do love the food for thought. Keep it coming Kino.

Posted on 4 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

Now this is the Kino I remember. Somber stories that aren’t about Kino showing up and being cool but instead about people and fascinating food for thought. We have two stories this week which both include heroes. The first story involves Kino paying a visit to a museum in honor of a traveler who saved the country. It started off slow but it does present an interesting way of showing how people glorify idols and forget they are human as they are. The tour guide constantly dresses up everything this traveler did and owned as if it has some grand meaning while Kino and Hermes silently establish the cruder truth between each other. This is a bit too much of a segway but it reminds me a lot of how some talk of Evangelion and it’s creator Anno. I have seen people speak of Anno like he was some incredible mastermind who always knew what Evangelion would be right from the beginning and weaved an intricate canvas of direction and detail to make it what it is. In reality Evangelion was more lightning in a bottle that became what it was more due to a dwindling budget and Anno’s mental state at the time. But that is it, after the fact people dress up the accomplishment as some grand effort of genius which glorifies the moment of it’s conception. Sort of how some may dress up how they met there lover as some grand event when it could have been much more mundane in reality.

Thus enter the motorrad, a sentient being whose been propped up for display and the only other motorrad to be introduced aside from Hermes. Again the tour guide fashions up a grand story of the motorrad going silent perhaps in mourning of his previous master or having died with him. But the reality is that the motorrad is in pure display at being put up for display and denied the freedom of riding the lands as a motorrad should. The people have glorified the object as a memory of a great man but in doing so have denied that thing it’s very purpose. There was real emotion in seeing the bike pled Kino to take him out of there or destroy him, only to fall into despair again when Kino revealed that she could do neither of those things. This is the Kino I know, she listens to the stories of the people but never interferes. Instead letting things play out, regardless how they may turn out. Still she did at least throw a little hope the motorrads way by telling a boy to reveal his desire to travel to the bike, perhaps resulting in the boy starting to travel much in the same way Kino did.

I liked the first half of this episode but it was the second half that truly stole the show. The story is of a country full of liars as this episode is named after but much like any other Kino story, the title is not quite what it appears. It is true that this country is full of people lying to each other but the intent is rather different from one might expect. This story flips the table many times and your opinion on the situation completely changes with it. We have a bitter story of a man waiting for his lover to come back to a story of a man gone mad after accidently killing his lover in a revolt against the country’s king, to the story of the lover returning to look after her now insane lover who no longer recognises her to an oddly heartwarming reveal of the man not being insane at all and choosing to pretend to be because he is happy with the situation and doesn’t wish to disrupt it.

It’s an odd situation where everyone is lying to each other and yet out of that everyone is still happy to continue lying because their life is better. It’s so conflicting that no one knows the truth and yet are content in the lives they live. In an old episode of Kino there was a situation where everyone could read each other’s minds and that tore society apart while this episode is almost a antithesis of that story. Where no one truly knows what the other person is thinking and hiding and yet are happier than those that know everything about everyone else. The hedgehog’s dilemma laments that people cannot get close to one another without hurting each other but if there is distance through deceit then can a more meaningful relationship be formed? Even if everyone is lying to you does that mean you will be unhappy? Ahhh…this kind of thought…I missed you Kino.

Posted on 1 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

I have noticed a degree of negativity with this brand new Kino series and true enough, so far it is proving underwhelming. Not bad, but it’s predecessor set a high bar to follow up on. But I believe it’s important to note that the problem here isn’t how the stories are adapted. Instead it’s what stories have been chosen to be adapted. So who have we to blame for choosing the stories? Surely the studio? Well nope, unfortunately the blame belongs to the readers. The stories chosen were picked out of the most popular voted stories in a poll run in 2015. Now things make a lot more sense to me, such as why the story choices are the ones where Kino plays a more active role. I understand that with the 20 volumes of Kino out that it’s hard to pick and choose which stories are worth adapting (Though in my opinion, it should be all of them.) but depending on a popularity poll tends to have mixed results. For what is popular does not equal quality. I don’t think there is any real problem which how the stories are being adapted as the first and third episodes were spot on adaption wise. Both colosseum and this episode suffered from the stories being too big to fit into one episode. Even then I don’t think the stories would have benefited from being elongated. I think we will still get some great episodes mixed in here, it’s just such a shame that more thoughtful stories are going get sidelined for stories that make Kino look cool.

Anyway for a change of pace it’s Shizu and RIko in the protagonist seat as they head to a country which is a floating ship on the sea. Society is split into two groups with the common folk below deck, malnourished and in poor living conditions while the leaders of the ship live above. The story is a bit rushed, in particular when it comes to the little girl who is now a part of Shizu’s crew. But I do like the moral of this particular story. Shizu sees the doomed society and unlike Kino with her no interference policy, decides to take up arms to save the people. In any other story his efforts would be rewarded and he would be touted as a hero. Not this one. The people he saved didn’t asked to be saved and don’t take kindly to some stranger telling them to live on land. Completely ignorant of their own poor status, they decide to board the ship once again ignoring the warning that in a few years the boat will sink, dooming them all. You can take it as an environmental lesson where in people ignore the damage to the world until it’s too late. You can take it as criticism of government where people depend on governments to do right by the people when governments only care for themselves. You can even take it as a lesson on how people will venomously refuse to acknowledge a problem until it’s staring them right in the face. Or even as satire that countries aren’t waiting around for some mysterious hero to come and solve all their problems. Or if we are to get really elaborate, the subtitle of this episode is also the name of a post-apocalyptic novel about a group of people waiting for the inevitable fallout of radiation from a World War to kill them which somewhat parallels the future these people will have to face.

The explanation for this whole situation is that a disease killed off all the adults on the ship country which only left the shi[s AI and the children on the boat. The AI managed but didn’t know how to care for the children, meanwhile the children grew up ignorant and didn’t know how to repair the ship. It does go a way of explaining their child’s dismissal of Shizu’s claims but acts more for an explanation on why the girl was excluded from the society. I found the last minutes of this episode to be rather forced as there wasn’t much build up for the giant escalation of the situation. Having the Tifana girl stab Shizu was certainly unexpected but I found the logic behind it to be rather extreme. Basically her interpreting Shizu telling her to go back to a ship that doesn’t want her as some claim that she is useless to him and thus is thrown away. This was a rather sudden development in the novels too and does feel like an excuse to get her to join Shizu’s merry crew. Thus the parts of this episode that dealt with the country’s situation was the most engaging but when the plot brought things to deal with this girl and Shizu, I found it far to typical for the likes of Kino’s narratives. The only real part I liked about these two was the small moment where they stop in the rain to listen to the drops hit Shizu’s coat. I reminds me of the old moments between Kino and Hermes where they talk of strange topics which bring a sense of wonder to the series.

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