Kino, a young girl, travels the world on and with an intelligent motorrad named Hermes. Determined to see as much of the world as possible, she goes from town to town, and stays three days in each, no more. There to see, not to judge, but to see as much as possible, together they observe all the shades of man, from wonder to selfish to blind to evil. Man is as varied as life, and the strangeness, the horror, and the beauty are as unlimited and varied as they are deceptive. But in the end, they are simply the colors that make life, and life is beautiful.
Maeda Ai as Kino
Aigase Ryuji as Hermes
Philosophy, Drama, Psychology.
Kino no Tabi aired from April 08, 2003 till July 07, 2003
Kino no Tabi runs thirteen episodes, plus a special.
I once read somewhere that a popular complaint about Gundam Wing is that there was too much philosophy being discussed in mid-battle. In other words, they wanted action, not why the action was happening. There are plenty of adrenaline rushers for action lovers out there, and some that mix action and introspection. But introspection is usually playing second fiddle. Kino no Tabi is a fascinating exception. Imagine a very real, gritty set of Aesop’s Tales made not to teach a lesson, but introduce a question. The true purpose of Kino no Tabi is to present a series of what ifs. What if a country found a way to make everyone be able to sense each others feelings as their own? What if a country advanced so far that no one actually had to work to get things done? What if a country that felt a deep historical attachment to their land learned a precise date when it would be obliterated? The parade of sociological and psychological conundrums produced are deeply, deeply fascinating. No other anime has had the nerve to serve no other purpose than for you to think about it, and they do it well. I’ve given Kino no Tabi a five for well honed uniqueness, more than anything else. Oh, and because I love to think about things like these.
Sigh…my usual format doesn’t work very well here. Kino and Hermes are literally the only constant characters. For any other to appear in more than one episode is truly rare, with the only exception of the members of the Coliseum arc, the only one to take more than one episode. Kino is a young girl, soft spoken, who seems to enjoy teasing Hermes. Coming as a sightseer, she consistently refuses to take part, interfere, or judge what she sees. Hermes has a high, nasal voice something like a child, and sometimes seems to feel as if he helplessly lives at Kino’s whim. The relationship is trusting, though. Kino observes, and Hermes comments and asks questions. Lot’s of questions, most common of them being ‘why did you do that?’
There is no plot to speak of; the series is episodic. Sometimes one episode will cover several unrelated situations. However…if you are a thinker, someone who tries to see into the psychology of the characters you see, someone who really gets into the debates of ideologies that sometimes occur in them, or wish you could get into them but find them kind of simple minded, and besides you’ve hear them before…you will love this anime. The anime is famous for the phrase ‘The world is not beautiful. Therefore, it is.’ If that sentence intrigues you, watch it. If it made you go ‘huh? Is this some kind of zen thing?’ then go watch Naruto or Bleach or something.
There really isn’t that much more I can say without going into details of episodes. It’s an anime dependent on an inclination of though. I’ve done my best to deliver the feel, and the goal. All else I can say is that I am such a thinker, and as such, I give this anime a five.
Final Rating: 5/5
This review is brought to you by Z.N. Singer
Info such as cast and airtime are taken from ANN’s encyclopedia listing. All else is and always will be the origination of the author.
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