When it comes to anime, favorite series are something I like to stay away from. Some of you may remember a post that I wrote about why I don’t have a favorite series. I even answered the favorite anime portion of my 30-day anime challenge with a non-answer, as you can see here. This could just be a spur of the moment kind of thing, but there was a type of mindset that made me think of the show more and more in a positive light and what I look for in an anime series. It’s so strange to think about, but there it is. No, it’s not a Gundam series right now. As much I love the franchise to death, it’s not. No, it’s something different from any of them on a lot of level. Yeah, I am going to stop hopping around it. It’s Kino’s Journey. I realize that this might change at any point in time, possibly while I write this, but at this moment it’s my favorite series.
The situation that made me realize this is kind of unconventional in some ways. When hearing that Kino’s Journey is going to be airing next season on Crunchyroll, I got extremely excited. This was in the vein of “this is a second season, yay”. Then I read an interview on Anime News Network that’s it isn’t a sequel series, but a reboot with some stories from the original series being retold. This is something I should have noticed, since the art style is more “anime-like” and all that. My fault for living my life the way with my head in the clouds more times then I should. While I understand why a reboot is necessary, because it’s been fifteen years since any Kino’s Journey material has aired, it just made me think about how the original Kino’s Journey was perfect for me and my tastes. I couldn’t stop mentally gushing about it, which resulted in this post.
What makes Kino’s Journey my favorite anime at this very moment is how simple yet complicated it is. The anime is the story of person named Kino and her talking motor cycle Hermes driving around from one country/city state to another where she stays only for a couple days due to her own rule. Yes, I said talking motor cycle. It may sound strange, but considering what kind of countries Kino drive into each episode, it’s actually normal. Talking to Hermes is also how Kino can experience her thoughts about each situation she comes across to the audience, so Hermes is a brilliant story telling device and mode of transportation. (Yuck yuck). So yes, Kino’s Journey is an episodic series, but it’s an incredibly brilliant one. Each episode is centered around a different philosophical concept that is explored by our protagonist, but she never tells us what is right or wrong. It’s kind of like Star Trek but what would happen if the ship and crew was replaced by Kino and Hermes. There are also a lot of varied and interesting characters in each city that Kino gets attached to. They may be only around for one episode, but they feel real.
There is also the episode length and production values that make this show even more endearing for me. Kino’s Journey is only twelve episodes. Many people compare this show to Mushishi, which is fair, but since Mushishi has two, two cour seasons now, it doesn’t feel as special. Kino’s Journey goes in, does what it wants to do, and leaves with a strong and impactful episode. It’s like that special desert that is only available one time a year, pumpkin pie for me, because one the season is over, I am hungry for more of it. And the production values, Kino’s Journey isn’t that high end of a show. There are only enough production values to get the setting of each episode produced enough to get the feeling of each setting across. Then there are the character designs and animation. The character designs are more grounded then normal anime characters. It’s that early 2000’s anime aesthetic that I prefer. Then there is the animation. It’s not that well animated, even the action scenes that appear in the middle of the series are nothing special. Well-choreographed, but still not special. Oh, there is also the special line filter that the show uses over all of its visuals. I don’t know why it’s there. It doesn’t ruin anything, but it’s a weird choice. The visual aspects aren’t what make the series, which is something that I am all about.
After all this, I am incredibly nervous about this next adaption. Especially on a dub stand point, because I already think that the dub Kino is my Kino. I know that the future dub will have a character from an impactful episode of the series, so that’s enough reason for me to watch the simul-dub on this series instead of the sub. I might just watch both. Also, while Kino’s Journey might be redoing some stories that I already know about, there will also be more stories that I have never seen before. If anything, this means that there is more Kino in my life and that is a good thing if it’s not over done. I hope that this series is successful and opens the door to more Kino’s Journey in the future. That would be amazing! The best part of all of this is that it’s only one of many series that I am looking forward to that are going to air in the fall. Kino’s Journey is going to have some competition!
So yes, this is my favorite series at the moment. At the moment being the key term here. This is something that changes in my mind all the time, because I often think of a series like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex as a favorite as well. Then sometimes it’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Other times, it can be a Gundam series. Monster is another one. Then there is From the New World, which is also great. You get it, right? I don’t have an all-time anime favorite, I have a lot of series that I rotate around in my mind. This is a slight amendment to that post that I wrote previously. Believe me, if you asked me to make a top ten list of anime, that’s not going to happen still. I can’t order these in my mind, are you crazy?. Still, this is a Kino’s Journey post and I just wanted to gush about it and talk about some concerns I have with some future things. Can you blame me?