Kino is a traveler, which means living off the land and keeping only what you need to survive the trail ahead. Hermes is her talking motorrad and only constant companion. Together, they roam the world in search of new countries, staying in each new place for only three days and doing harm to survive only when absolutely necessary. (from ANN)
With the original being so highly regarded, I came into Kino’s Journey with high expectations. After watching it, I’m not entirely sure if it met those expectations or not. The anime’s strengths were apparent from the very first scene of Kino and Hermes discussing why they travel so much. It’s a quiet scene, but every line speaks volumes about their relationship. Kino and Hermes are two people (or one person and a motorcycle) who have traveled together for a long time and are comfortable enough with each other to casually ask such personal questions. The show never explicitly defines their relationship or its history, but lets it become apparent from the very first scene that they’re as comfortable together as two people can be. Its a fine bit of understated character writing that continues through the entire episode. The episode itself consists of Kino and Hermes simply visiting a country where murder is legal and learning that it’s not that different from any other place. People go about their lives armed, but there isn’t widespread violence, and everyone still views murder as morally wrong. The episode is clearly making a statement about the difference between legality and social acceptability, but is restrained enough that it allows you to read as much or as little meaning into it as you want. Aside from Kino’s conversations with Hermes and some striking violence near the end, it’s not a particularly impactful episode, but it does leave you thinking. Kino most reminds me of Cowboy Bebop with how the main characters seem to wander in and out of other peoples’ stories in pursuit of their own. Kino exists as a quiet statement about human nature that lets you read what you will into it without shoving its message in your face.. I wasn’t as blown away as I expected, but I still have high hopes for future episodes. Episodic formats like this allow for a huge variety of stories if put in the hands of a skilled writer, and Kino still has a lot of potential to impress.
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