From watching this episode, I think I am getting a realization about what this series is going to be. If the path continues, the show is pulling double duty on developing different countries and Kino at the same time, which may be hard in only a thirty-minute time slot. This might be hurting some of the concepts of the show a little bit, but maybe that’s because I have seen a very different version of this series and those two characters that appear everywhere. In this series, Kino and Hermes are playing a much more active role in each episode. Because of these factors, this 2017 anime version is already a different kind of story and monster from the 2003 version, which is something that I am learning to be alright with. Even if the philosophy isn’t as strong here, I still like all the unique concepts and countries that are in this new adaption. Seeing the same stories from the 2003 version told in a different light may put this line of thinking in question, but I will do my best to ride those ones out and see them from a different perspective. (Yes, I should have tried this with the colosseum arc, but I am not a perfect human.)
That all being said, let’s dig into the anime a little bit. I love how the mobile fortress like country in this show was introduced. Kino was taking a nap on a hammock around some random area out of the road after refusing to enter a country due to their expensive tolls. (They wanted one of Kino’s Guns.) Suddenly Hermes feels the vibrations of something far away. He wakes Kino up and she feels them too. Suddenly, we this giant mobile fortress moving across the land which turns out to be a country. Out of all of those clichés of giant things suddenly appearing out of nowhere, I am glad that Kino’s Journey completely avoided it. When Kino sees the giant country, she uses the standard thumb hitchhiker sign not knowing whether she would be invited up or see some other mean result. Fortunately, this country appears to be very nice and stops to pick her up. Of course, she gets a tour of the country and sees how it’s people live and the fact that the country needs to keep moving to maintain itself (the generator requires movement).
The middle of this episode had two elements or things that put more character on protagonist, Kino. The first one was the length of Kino’s stay. Kino said that she wanted to stay for 5-10 days instead of her usual three, which shows how petty she can be from time to time. It’s not much of a twist, because the reason is given in the beginning of the episode, but it’s still there when this mobile country comes in contact with that other one that was mentioned in the beginning. The second is while Kino is a hardened traveler, but she does indulge herself in luxuries when she can. Especially warm showers where she can use as much water as she wants and clean sheets. The fact that she forgot to dry her hair before going to sleep and ended up with generic shonen hair in the morning is hilarious.
In the last part of the episode, the mobile country comes into contact with a stagnate, walled, and a much more militaristic country. The interaction between the two countries had a very interesting dichotomy to it. There is the very noticeable “the mobile country has a lot nicer community of people and has much more advanced technology” and “the stagnant country has a very mean and much angrier group of people” thing, but there’s more here. The mobile country still causes a lot of damage which its tracks whether it goes, and that mobile country still destroyed property that doesn’t belong to them with a laser (part of the wall was melted way) and left a lot of tread marks in that militaristic countries territory. The only damage that the more militaristic country did was destroy some of the mural that the kid’s painted on the side of theirs. Kino put a stop to that with her bad ass sniper rifle skills, which is the only complaint I had with this episode.
It is pretty clear here that Kino is not an unbiased observer anymore. Even if Kino’s actions did not result in people dying in this episode, Kino has very clearly picked a side on this conflict? Why? Because the country that had the missiles and the launchers she was shooting at wanted to take one of her guns and because those missiles were ruining that one mural the kids made? This is where my realization about what kind of series this anime is. Believe me, I had a good time with this episode. The mobile country is such a cool concept and there was a cool dichotomy going on between the two countries, before Kino decided to interfere and chose a side. The writing has still been pretty good; along with all graphical things. If that’s the only complaint I have, then this show is alright. If anything, a more active Kino is a great way for me to separate the two series’ in my mind.