Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World

Kino’s Journey(Kino no Tabi) is an anime I watched a long time ago that left an impression on me.

Now, I watch and read a lot of things, and I have to be honest with you, my memory isn’t the best! Despite the passage of time, though, I remember well the basic premise of Kino’s Journey, as well as the specifics of some episodes.

More than anything, though, it’s the feel of Kino’s Journey that has remained with me.

What’s it all about?

Kino is a young woman who travels between the countries of a world that looks very similar to ours, although most of the countries are less technologically advanced than the world is today.

Kino never stays more than three days in any one place, and she never travels without her “Canon” revolver or her Colt Woodsman pistol, nor her trusty motorcycle (or “motorrad”) Hermes.

Oh, and Hermes can talk.

I remember something quite… chilled about the anime. At times philosophical, there was always something for Kino to learn in each place that she visited, and then she was on her way again.

The 2003 series vs the 2017 series

Earlier this week I decided to check out the series again to see if it’s as good as I remember. This proved to be a bit trickier than I imagined, though.

The series that I remember was made in 2003, but a remake (of sorts) was released in 2017. None of my usual online streaming services were showing the 2003 version, though, and to be honest, I don’t really bother with DVDs any more.

As such, I decided to give the 2017 version a try instead. It’s available on Crunchyroll.

A clip from episode 5

Before I go any further, let’s have a clip!

The clip below comes from the 5th episode of the 2017 series. On arriving in a new country, Kino is given a tour of a museum dedicated to the country’s late leader. The man was, like Kino, a traveller, but he decided to settle down in the country.

Kino is a bit less sure of the man’s greatness than her tour guide!

Remake or sequel?

Now, I mentioned that the 2017 series is a remake “of sorts” of the 2003 series.

It turns out that only a few storylines of the 2003 series feature in the 2017 series. Instead, most episodes of the 2017 series tell of Kino’s visits to countries that we never saw in the 2003 series.

As such, while the 2017 series can be viewed as a remake of sorts, it could also be considered a sequel, since most of the episodes are new stories.

I should probably mention at this point that Kino’s Journey was originally a light novel series written by Keiichi Sigsawa and illustrated by Kohaku Kuroboshi. I’ve never read the books so I’m not sure how either anime series relates to them!

Initial impressions

The first two episodes of the 2017 series are reasonably violent, which I found quite at odds with my memory of Kino’s Journey as a “chilled” series.

Episode 1 sees Kino journey to a country where it’s legal to kill others, while Episode 2 sees Kino arrive in a country where she’s forced to fight in a colosseum in front of excited crowds.

While I had no issue with either episode, and while the colosseum episode is one of the storylines that also features in the 2003 series, I thought it an odd choice to start off with these two stories.

Subsequent episodes aren’t quite so violent as the first two. Might it not have been better to space these episodes out?

Later episodes

Later episodes in the 2017 series got closer to the “feel” that I remembered from the 2003 series, and while some episodes were better than others, I enjoyed them all – until the last episode.

The last episode, “Fields of Sheep —Stray Army—”, sees Kino and Hermes being attacked by sheep while travelling through a country.

There is a “revelation” at the end that I don’t want to spoil here, but it’s not any good and it doesn’t redeem the episode. It was a boring story and a poor end to the series.

All in all, I enjoyed the 2017 series, but I was left thinking that I’d still like to rewatch the 2003 series. Maybe I will have to buy a DVD, or perhaps I’ll take another look for a streaming option. If I do manage to watch it, I’ll post my thoughts here!

Image credit: 6188410 on Pixabay