Probably one of the most sensible and profound anime I’ve ever watched, Kino is here to take us on a journey not only of the land, but of life itself.Kino no Tabi, or Kino’s Journey, is very simple. Kino, alongside with her motorbike partner Hermes, is a traveller. For each of Kino no Tabi’s 12 episodes, the viewer is presented with a different kind of country, with its own people and story to tell. Although it may seem boring, it’s precisely these countries and their differences that make the show engaging and thought-provoking. If the novel Invicible Cities was an anime, it would be Kino’s Journey.
Kino herself is a very interesting character. Ah, yes. Kino’s a she. I know she looks like a boy and all, but she’s a girl. A very cool one at that. Anyway, Kino makes it a point not to stay more than 3 days in a country. She does this in order not to form any attachments with the people in the country and/or the country itself. Usually, Kino’d be the exemplary traveller, just “passing through”. She’d move into one country and move on to the next. However during the course of her journey, she eventually began to become conscious of her destination and became more aware of the people in each place. She may not have formed solid attachments but she has formed a thin bond, somehow, with them. Although this may seem insignificant, it opened up an avenue for Kino’s maturity as a traveller and as a person in general. Her ability as a very skilled fighter also gives her the opportunity to question the importance and purpose of life. It sounds a bit existential, yes, but that’s how it really is.
One of the countries that interested me is The Land of Books in episode 9. Well, as a Literature major, the issue of censorship is very apparent in this episode. The country here basically collects literature from all over the world and classifies them according to being harmful and harmless. As a result, the only books one gets to read are…children’s stories and how-to books. Authorities also blame books for crime as they allegedly taint the judgment of the people. If you’ve read Fahrenheit 451, you’d be able to relate the censorship problem.
Other countries pose arguments on the importance of life. A Peaceful Land, talks about two warring countries who found peace through sacrificial games. Watching this episode just left me open-mouthed and baffled at this cruel ordeal. A Kind Land shows us the heart-breaking decision of a town that is located in between volcanoes. This last episode brought the strongest blow to Kino as it not only reminded her of her past but also it is where she formed the strongest bond amongst the people that it actually made her want to break her 3-day rule.
To me, Kino no Tabi is a recommended show not because it has an epic storyline or a twisted plot twist. It’s recommended because it allows you to think about the more important things in life. It allows you to think about your own journey and where you’re actually headed. It gives you a window to see the beauty of the world and how much it has to offer. It shows how the potpourri of people in different parts of the world form such a diverse network that one cannot really form a single definition or paradigm of man in general. Kino no Tabi has a hell lot to offer than most shows out there as Kino’s journey is life’s journey itself.