AILBHTAY: Kino’s Journey (2003)

After a long time, Anime I Like, But Haven’t Talked About Yet finally makes its return! Why? Well, I’ve just been so negative recently. I’ve written some very critical posts about shows that have aired very recently and while I think just doing that is ok from time to time, it shouldn’t be always. I really don’t like being negative at all. I try to approach all the shows that I watch and try to give them the benefit of the doubt but sometimes its just impossible. That’s why its time to at least talk a bit about one of my favorite shows. Kino’s Journey (2003). Not the latest Kino’s Journey which sucks, but the original anime version of the director, Ryutaro Nakamura. Otherwise known as the guy behind Serial Experiment’s Lain.

Kino’s Journey is exactly what the show’s story is. A non gendered character riding on a talking bike named Hermes travel from one country to another which exist like city states. Each one has their own culture or exploration on some human condition and Kino and Hermes are the tour guides for all of them. They are that normal figure we see in these strange situations that discuss the happenings of what are going on and try to remain impartial to what is going on. That means that they are static and its the countries themselves that are the main characters. Some countries are more emotionally natured while other are more intellectual and that balance is what makes Kino’s Journey so interesting here.

The visual design behind Kino’s Journey (2003) is nothing special for an early 2000’s series. It’s a very brown toned series that is somewhat boring on the eyes or feeds out of thought, but there is a creative energy in the character designs and the settings that provides some additional magic. This show knows how to handle minimalism well enough to give the viewer an easy understand for what a country is about and what moves where. Think of it like a stage play with some great set designs. Some people don’t like the scan lined filter over the show, but I think that it adds an extra bit of a home video feeling that makes it more relatable. I am sure that I am one of the few people that think that though.

So yes, Kino’s Journey is one of my favorite series for a reason. Its so simple and yet so complex. It’s well paced, well times, and just very thoughtful and creative with all the limitations that are in it. That’s all I have to say about it. I can’t write a more focused review without having rewatched it more recently, but I think I have said enough to make it sound so innovative and creative in what it does. Something the new series just doesn’t understand. Yeah, I am an older anime fan now but I still feel that way.

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5 comments

  1. The original Kino is great!

    There have been a number of OVAs. One tells about her life at her Master’s after she escapes from her country and how she became a traveler. “Kino no Tabi – Life Goes On” is available on YouTube.

    Kino is definitely female in biology but takes on a gender neutral appearance on the road for her travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kino’s Journey is also one of my favorite anime. I really enjoyed the philosophical quandaries posed throughout. Anime that makes you think and contemplate life are rare these days.

    Liked by 1 person

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