"The world is not beautiful: And that, in a way, lends it a sort of beauty."
"A whale's sigh... The dreaming shooting star... It felt like that's what they were singing. While everything out there is changing, the sound of these insects chirping echos up to the sky. That's what I'm listening to right now. That's the only thing that's for certain."
If you're looking for a plot that has epic action scenes, hilarious comedy, cute romance, amazing graphics, hi-tech technology, hot girls, and/or lots of gore... Then you have come to the wrong place. But if you're looking for an deep, adventure anime that contains views from multiple perspectives (different cultures), that makes you think about the world, how tragic and disgusting yet amazing and beautiful the world is... How precious "life" really is. How important being out in the open, being free, and living your life the way you want to... Then this is the anime for you.
Story: 10/10 - We start out with Kino, the protagonist of the anime who has a talking motorcycle, Hermes (I know that sounds stupid, but the anime really makes it symbolic and interesting). Throughout the anime, Kino and Hermes ravel through a mystical world of many different countries and forests, each unique in its customs and people. While traveling around the world, Kino and Hermes start to think about the world (I'm talking all sorts of things, the beauty, the repulsive side, the tragic side, the happy side...) and they also start to learn more about themselves in the process. Imaginative, thought-provoking, creative, disturbing (in a good way, because of how sad the anime makes our world seem at times, which is true) and absolutely genius. The plot explores human's (our) bad points and our good points, our best points as well as our worst elucidating whenever we face adversity. It's because of this that Kino’s Journey regards vapid optimism with little beauty. Looking at the world within Kino’s Journey and the world without, suffering is not too hard to come by. But the show says its because of humanity’s seemingly permanent ties to pain and hardship, etched on landscapes and people’s faces, in the attempts of these cultures to deal with pain and hardship through belief and practice, that that the world is beautiful. Beautiful despite suffering, in spite suffering, in defiance of suffering, or even because of suffering. So it is crucial that, in order to see the beautiful underneath the ugly, that you, the audience, engage the show with an open and critical mind, the mind of an anthropologist, the mind of a traveler. Deep and interesting enough?
As you can clearly see from this, the anime is very ironic... The title is "The Beautiful World", yet the anime makes it very evident that our world is indeed NOT beautiful. Miserable windswept desert wastelands, habitat loss (destruction of forests), ruined husks of cities. In addition, the countries she visits aren't hospitable places, and many of the people she meets are selfish and quite indecent (human nature, it's reality).
What did I enjoy about the plot? I enjoyed how the anime made our reality into an entertaining anime. We got to see all sorts of different people from all sorts of different countries since our main character, Kino was a traveler. Very very interesting, but you do have to think while watching the anime.
"The world is constantly changing. And you can't expect it to stay the same, even for a second. If that's true, there's no need for you to go on a journey, Kino. Even if you stay in one place, you'll be able to keep experiencing the world!"
Art: 9/10 - The art is not like Fate/Zero Code Geass, Sword Art Online, and Aldnoah.Zero (HD, crystal clear art). The art is more of the old, classic style like Death Note, Monster, Mushishi, and Natsume Yuujinchou's art. Personally, I like the old art style more, because of how much more realistic it seems (personal opinion). The cities, forests, waters, mountains, deserts, animals, people, and even the food were all so realistic, which adds on to the worldly realism in the anime. Although at first look, it may not seem like beautiful art, watch the anime throughout and you'll fall in love with the art.
Sound: 7/10 - There's only one opening song in Kino no Tabi and it's rather beautiful. The lyrics to the song are along the lines of "The sky is endless, because it's a mirror of my heart, It's like it reflects how every day changes the colors" which adds onto the "The outside world is filled with infinite opportunity, cruelty, excitement, sadness, and happiness" and "world is always changing" concepts in the anime. Other than the interesting opening, the anime doesn't have much other soundtracks worth paying much attention to.
Character: 10/10 - There's only one main character, Kino who is a tomboy traveler. Hermes could arguably be a main character, but once you watch the anime you'll see that Hermes is really a reflection of Kino, kind of a part of Kino's person. Kino's real name is actually NOT Kino. Her real birth name isn't exactly mentioned in the anime, although it is hinted at that it was "Sakura". Kino inherited the name "Kino", when Kino (the original), a traveler died saving Kino (The protagonist) from the customs of her country. We get to learn more and more about Kino's (the protagonist) true self and personality and view of the world as the plot goes on, though we don't learn much of her past. But that's okay, because this anime is about living in the present, and moving onto the future, rather than holding onto the past. The other side characters in each village all have different personalities, beliefs, and perspectives on the world which was VERY VERY VERY interesting to watch.
"My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there. The future starts today, not tomorrow."
Enjoyment: 10/10 - Wow, this anime may not have been epic at all, but it's not like there's no action at all. What am I even saying... the action is not even important... The way this anime portrayed themes about our world, human nature, life/death, the past/future and the mix of cultures, makes it on par with other deep anime such as Death Note and Monster! I enjoyed watching this anime so much... I don't know what else to say. Watch it, unless you don't really like to think about worldly concepts. Actually just watch it.
Now, I'll ask you, how do you feel about the world that you live in? Is it beautiful? Fun? Tragic? Repulsive? Would you kill in order to save?