English: Kino's Journey
Synonyms: Kino's Travels: The Beautiful World
Japanese: キノの旅 -the Beautiful World-
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 8, 2003 to Jul 8, 2003
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.531 (scored by 20180 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction adventure drama fantasy
Mar 19, 2007
I've recently finished this anime, and I can say I am still surprised. Although I heard rumors that this was something really good, I tend to be skeptic and so I was caught of guard. Why?
Let's start with the story, which tells of the journey of a traveler and his motorcycle, while they visit a long range of countries or just meet someone on the way. The actual fact is: there isn't one sole story but 12 short stories that link together not by episode order but by events. And yet the fact that each one of this stories manages to be deeper than whole plots from many animes amasses me. Each episode approaches a theme of society, like censoring, violence, communication problems, right or wrong, the ability some people have to bite the hand that just fed them, and so on. And at every time I found myself smiling in front of the screen while realizing how superbly intelligent each of the episodes plot was. In resume, each of them is really well constructed, some exceeding the others, and you need "keen eye" to get every aspect of them.
There is a wide range of characters as expected from an anime that tells about travels over a world. While some of them are forgettable, some of them also stay in your mind. But the fact is, they are there to be a supportive role to the main character, Kino, and this is why my rating in character was high. But before that let's look at Hermes. Kino's travel companion. A Motorad, in short a motorcycle that talks. While I found this odd at first I grew found of the bike. He (it's a machine but I will refer to him as "he") usually asks a lot of questions to which the main character responds enigmatically most of times, he his kino's closest thing that can be called a friend and it's interesting to see how they interact. It was an interesting choice for a supportive role. Finally, Kino. Kino is the best character I've seen in a while and one of the best overall. I can't think of any character to make a comparison because I don't remember ever seeing a character like her. Calm, intelligent, skillful, sometimes unreadable, extremely wise for someone so young and still as capricious as a child could be. Though not fond of killing, will do so if necessary without felling remorse. An unique character that I enjoyed to watch throughout the whole anime, and if considered alone would deserve 10.
Animation wise, Kino's Journey is extremely solid. It kept the art quality throughout the whole anime, something I praise. Although the majority of supporting characters have an ordinary design, this being the downside, some of them exceed in this aspect. As does Kino. Movement is very fluid, each frame seems carefully drawn and the backgrounds are outstandingly well donen also. One thing I thought interesting and enjoyed was thing the interlaced video. Which gives the anime a different feel from any other.
As for Sound, voice actors do a good job in overall, Kino's VA does even better. The background music is practically inexistent, this would be thought as a bad thing, but in this particular case it is not. Not even once in the whole series did I fell it lacked music in any situation. It's "almost" absence gives the plot an even more serious look, keeping views attention more centered in it, while using sometimes a tone from a single instrument to denote a particular scene. Lastly the opening and ending theme. In one word, superb. They fit Kino's Travels like a glove. The opening theme has become one of my all time favorites and the ending is very good as well and it's actually performed by Kino's VA.
Enjoyment is probably the thing I appreciate in any anime, and the thing that will variate more from person to person. So how did Kino do enjoyment wise? 10/10. Perhaps my initial skepticism helped but the truth is even if I hadn't been skeptic, I probably would not rate differently. Kino no Tabi brought me to many smiles to be rated otherwise. It is something I will re watch and probably discover things that missed my "eye" on the first watch
Overall Kino no Tabi is very artistic, intelligent, surprising, and approaches a variety of themes, that always create discussion withing societies in a cold and sometimes brutal way, that leaves you glued to the chair with eyes fixed on the screen, and perhaps like me smiling unconsciously as I joined each plot line realizing how intelligent they where. Do not wait long to watch this. The only people to which I wouldn't recommend this, are perhaps to a younger audience or people who don't enjoy to think much during an anime.
That was long :). Well if you read it through, feel free to give me feedback. It's all ways good to improve this or further reviews. read more
Jul 20, 2008
The show is a collection of parables, and as such, the societies it portrays are exaggerated portraits of a certain societal trait. It's possible that some viewers will feel as if they're being beaten over the head with the moral on some of the episodes. As for me, I thought that it was refreshingly straightforward, and had no problem accepting it for what it was: a story.
Although the show is frequently dark, exploring the depths of mankind's ruthlessness and stupidity, there was a core of hope to the show. A message that, looking out at the world around us, and looking in at human resilience in even the worst of societies, you can't help but have hope for the world.
Excluding the few actiony episodes, the show generally keeps a slow, contemplative tone, and a pace to match it. I imagine that this will lose some people who are looking for something faster and with more bang.
This show is one of my favorites, and stands out as an incredible testament to the power of the medium. read more
Nov 10, 2006
There is little to no character development, but in this kind of story, there is no need. There is one episode that gives the back story to Kino, and that was enough.
The different countries Kino visits, and the people Kino encounters will make you cry, will enrage you, and at times disgust you. But, while it's making you run the gammit of emotions, it will make you stop and ask "What if?" The episodes each have great lessons to teach, without throwing propoganda in your face or preaching to you.
The animation is clean and beautiful. The colors are not bright and vibrant, but to me, it makes this anime seem a little more realistic. The music is beautiful, and at different times, enhances the emotions of this beautiful anime. I adored this anime, and I'm looking forward to watching the movie. Definitely one for the "slice of life" anime lovers. ^_^ read more
Jun 17, 2012
At first glance, the premise of Kino no Tabi is remarkably simple. The female protagonist, Kino, and her anthropomorphic motorcycle visit numerous countries, sometimes several in the span of a single episode, each of which has its own traditions and customs. Over the course of her journey, Kino finds herself in the midst of these societies - some of which have downright appalling practices. The absurdity inherent in said cultures will undoubtedly raise an important question – could any of these societies actually exist in real life? However, it is important to keep in mind that Kino no Tabi is an allegorical work that, for the sake of being truly enjoyed, must not be examined through reality-tinted glasses. Its episodic nature may be an instant turn-off for some viewers, and although it is not untrue to say that it does not matter in what order one watches its 13 episodes (barring a two-episode arc), the will to continue the series does not come from the suspense established from cliffhangers, but rather from the curiosity brought about from wondering what kind of place Kino will travel to next. Unfortunately, like the vast majority of anime of this nature, Kino no Tabi’s episodes are prone to inconsistency. The fluctuation in quality is most evident in the two-episode Coliseum arc placed strategically in the middle of the series (whether or not this placement was intentional is anybody’s guess). Not only does this arc deviate from the standard episodic format, it is, arguably, not nearly as philosophically meaningful as the rest of the stories presented. While the arc does give the writers the opportunity to showcase the abilities of the highly skilled yet passive Kino through intense fight sequences, something that was undoubtedly in high demand after her expert marksmanship and competency with knives are revealed, it felt horribly out of place and negatively impacted the slow but consistent pacing of the rest of the series.
Despite the lack of an overall sense of direction and consequently, a coherent storyline, Kino no Tabi fortunately does not suffer from the inability to connect and incorporate its many tales into an overarching theme. As Kino travels throughout the world and becomes acquainted with the people who inhabit it, it becomes clear that each of her encounters is essentially a separate journey into the labyrinth that is the human psyche to explore one of the many elements that make it up. The issues touched upon in the series range from the inherent pugnacious and competitive nature of humanity to the true purpose of altruism; from the tendencies of humans to blindly believe in prophecies to the consequences of not having a self-conscious.
While there are a number of series that boast profound symbolism and powerful messages, only a small fraction actually manages to convey them effectively through their incorporation into the plot. Kino no Tabi’s success in performing such a difficult task lies in its subtlety. An unobservant viewer could easily sit through all 13 episodes and see nothing more than a biker girl traveling to different countries and meeting new people. However, at the same time, the ideas conveyed in the series are clear enough that one does not have to be a literature or film major in order to identify and comprehend them. In that regard, Kino no Tabi succeeds in reaching the middle ground that even some famous literary works struggle to attain.
In philosophical works such as Kino no Tabi, characters often take a backstage role and are sometimes even demoted to serve only as plot devices. Although it is clear that neither Kino nor Hermes, the only two reoccurring characters, is the main focus of the series, together they play an integral role in its success. In terms of being a likeable character, Kino’s apparent indifference is perhaps her biggest strength and flaw at the same time. Kino constantly insists that she is merely a traveler and, as such, will not interfere with the internal affairs of any of the countries she visits. While it may be quite frustrating to witness Kino’s inaction in the face of imminent disaster, it is, ironically, also this complete personal detachment from the world around her that makes her quite realistic and likeable. In a medium plagued with hot-headed protagonists with a one-sided sense of justice, Kino stands out as a truly unique character.
However, the decision to sculpt Kino into such an apathetic individual was clearly not motivated by the fact that it would make her unique. More often than not, anime that attempt to explore philosophical or social issues are prone to something known commonly as author’s bias – the writers may inadvertently implant their own values and views into the minds of the characters. Thanks to Kino’s impartiality, the problem of author’s bias is eliminated completely, allowing the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions about the many issues highlighted throughout the series.
Hermes, Kino's talking motorcycle, acts as the perfect companion to his owner. Not only are his conversations with Kino thoroughly enjoyable to listen to due to the occasional humour, they also allow for further thematic exploration. In addition, considering the underlying theme of the series is the nature of humanity, his presence as a non-human makes their discussions even more interesting.
For a series made nearly 10 years ago, Kino no Tabi's animation quality is impressive. While the character design is quite plain, the animation itself is surprisingly fluid for its time, especially during the Coliseum fight scenes where there is a great deal of character movement. Given the nature of the series, the scenery is constantly changing, sometimes even multiple times in the span of a episode. The environment designs are simplistic yet strikingly beautiful at the same time. Kino's travels bring her to countless different cities, many of which have unique and beautifully depicted architecture, from modest brick houses surrounded by picturesque gardens to futuristic skyscrapers. Interestingly enough, the soundtrack in Kino no Tabi is, for the most part, absent. Apart from the lovely opening and equally euphonious ending, the series does not boast any memorable tracks. However, Kino no Tabi uses this to its advantage, as what many people fail to realize is that sometimes dead silence is the best way to make an emotional scene even more effective.
While Kino no Tabi is certainly not a series for everyone given its lack of a well-defined plot, limited character development, stagnant pacing, and questionable topics and scenes, it is a worthwhile watch for anyone who is looking for more than just pure enjoyment in the anime medium. Kino no Tabi may be a satirical work, but its true purpose is not to criticize humanity. As it does not attempt to draw any conclusions, it merely aims to make us aware of the negative, as well as positive, traits that we share as humans. While there are many aspects of human nature that are not at all beautiful, they are what differentiate us from other animals and make us who we are.
The world is not beautiful, therefore it is. read more
Feb 28, 2013
“To ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth,
this was the ancient law of youth.”
For Kino, the riding and the shooting come easily enough. But in a series of encounters with strange places and people, she quickly learns that the truths of the world are far harder to grasp than the motorcycle's handlebars, or the grips of the revolver.
Kino's world is an attractive wash of natural pastels, with earthy yellows, greens, and browns taking the center stage. The backgrounds aren't highly detailed, but they match the tones and colors we associate with nature, and they're striking in their consistency and the impression of a vast world that they manage to convey. It's all lovingly lit, and the show occasionally shows off a highly realistic reflection of sunlight off of standing water or snow. The animation is fluid and smooth, with not a stutter to be seen even during scenes of quick action. The editing follows the trend of simplistic beauty set by most of the show's technical aspects, with the visual focus often lingering appropriately on items that are important to the underlying themes.
The same could be said of the sound. This is the facet of the show that's the least obvious; what little music there is is soft and understated, typically consisting of a series of slow drum beats or simple chords played on a stringed instrument. On its own, the score isn't a blast to listen to, but I can't imagine one that would have better fit the tone of the narrative. More often than not, the series is content to rely on light atmospheric noise, such as the wind whistling in the trees, the sound of snow falling from branches, the rush of water, or the labored breathing of the protagonist. Artificial sound effects are used sparsely but superbly, with the echo of a lonely gunshot often carrying surprising weight and meaning. Often there is complete silence, and as an audience member, I did not yearn for more noise. The series is one of quiet contemplation, and that suits it.
Kino's Journey is episodic; with the notable exception of a two-episode plot, all of its entries are self-contained, telling one story in twenty minutes. This is both a strength and a weakness. On the plus side, it allows the series to tackle a large number of themes and ideas without them all blurring awkwardly together, as they might in a single larger story. It would be difficult to have a continuous thirteen episode story do justice to the themes of censorship, tradition, the nature of kindness and evil, imagination, faith, and many others, but through its ability to contain each of these within one story, Kino's Journey arguably pulls it off. The price paid for this is consistency in the quality of the episodes, which suffer from a little bit of hit-or-miss. A lot of them are great stories, and there's at least one that I wouldn't hesitate to describe as a masterpiece, but there are several others that simply don't stack up to the high standards the series sets for itself early on. Adding all of the episodes together, the result is a pleasant viewing experience, but one that's a little uneven, flickering back and forth between “brilliant” and “decent.” Some shows are greater than the sum of their parts; Kino's Journey has parts that are greater than its sum.
Characters? Well, the obvious starting point is the enigmatic dead-eye, Kino. An inherently interesting character for many reasons. She's perceptive beyond her years, often noting things about people that they might not even realize themselves. She appreciates life, be it human or animal, and in spite of her reputation as a sharpshooter, she won't pull the trigger unless it's unavoidable. Despite having a decidedly checkered past, she's opted to look at the world as a beautiful place rather than tread the path of cynicism or self-pity. An excellent counterpoint is provided by the talking motorcycle, Hermes. A childish pragmatist with a simpler view of the world, he often asks Kino the kind of difficult questions that children ask, as if curious about why her moral compass works the way it does.
As memorable a character as Kino is, the series ultimately stops short of building her up as much as it could have. What little we know about her is precious information. She often wears the mask of the stoic observer, content to calmly watch the actions of the societies she visits, and not get involved. She's an interesting character because of that stoicism, but the strongest moments of the series are when it breaks down and she's profoundly affected by something that she does or witnesses. Those moments, unfortunately, are few in number. Her journey is a veritable tapestry of great and terrible things, but what's missing from the equation is the knowledge of how those things affect her in the long run. A personal note, something to tie the two halves of the show's title together, is what was needed, and the experience suffers just a little bit from its absence.
All of that being said, we're still talking about an excellently written and lovingly animated series that raises several insightful questions about life and the world around us, and obviously series like that aren't common. Mature in its themes and compelling in its execution, Kino's Journey is an admirable venture that I have no problem recommending. read more
Sep 24, 2007
Novel/Anime: Kino no Tabi originally began as a series of light novels, authored by Keichii Sigsawa and illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi. Installments began running in MediaWorks' magazine Dengeki hp in March 2000, and it is still running, currently with ten compiled volumes available. Tokyopop has licensed the light novels Stateside, and the first volume was released in October of 2006.
The anime itself was done by Studio Wombat, which did the animation for the End of Evangelion movie, and directed by Ryutaro Nakamura, who also directed REC and Serial Experiment Lain. It ran from April 8th, 2003 to July 8th, 2003 in Japan. ADV Films licensed it Stateside and ran it under the title Kino's Journey; the fourth and final volume was released Stateside June 29th, 2004.
Story: Kino no Tabi focuses on Kino, her talking motorcycle named Hermes, and their travels together. Kino has only two real rules about her travels; one, she never gets involved with anything going on in the countries she visits, and two, she never stays for more than three days.
This is a really neat series. None of the episodes really connect to each other; they're more like one-shots, with the only real thing linking them being the fact that they're stops on Kino's journey. But each one of these stops provides some kind of insight on human nature, or on Kino herself. And the plot for each episode is exquisite, some of the best writing I've seen in a while.
You end up bonding with Kino and Hermes, too, as the episodes go on, which is vital for the series' sucess; if you hadn't been able to feel with them, the series wouldn't have had nearly as much impact as it did.
There is a laundry list of things that appear in every single episodes; however, these end up being more endearing than grating.
Also, there is some blood in this series; nothing over the top, but if you don't like blood, it'll be more than enough.
Pilot Episode: Kino no Tabi's 12-minute pilot episode, The Tower Country, provides a good basis for what the rest of the series was like, and introduced some of the mainstays of every episode. It's not the best story, but it's a strong story, nonetheless.
Art: The art style is a bit simpler than I've seen in other series, a bit more linear than it is smooth, similar to the style seen in Fantastic Children. However, it's still beautiful, and fits this series perfectly.
Music: This series barely even needs background music, but when it does use it, it's absolutely beautiful, and calming. The same goes for the OP and ED for this series. I went to find this OST, and I've actually been using it to help me sleep lately; trust me, this is a good thing.
Seiyuu: There's nothing I can find wrong with this series, with regards to seiyuu. There are only two real main seiyuu, the ones for Hermes and Kino. They do sound similar, but I kind of like that. I'm not really sure why, either. ^^;
Dub: N/A, because I've never seen it. ^^;
Length: This is the one area where the series suffers.
First off, there's the fact of episode placement. Because all of these episodes are one-shots, there's no real order they have to go in (except for the last episode, really, which can't be moved). I found the placement of some episodes to be poor, because some of the weaker episodes, story-wise, came after some really strong ones, and I didn't like them as much as I might have, were they placed somewhere else in the series.
This series gives you just a short dip into this world; these thirteen episodes leave you wanting more. And they have yet to announce a second season, though one movie has been released, and a second one is slated to be released this April. The source material is on-going, and the anime itself only covered a fraction of the original story, so they don't have too much of an excuse for making it as short as it was.
Overall: An excellently-written, if slightly short and kind of poorly-planned series, with characters you bond with, and beautiful art and music.
Pilot Episode: 9/10
Overall: 54/60; 90% (A) read more
Jul 22, 2012
Kino’s Journey follows a traveler named Kino and her talking motorcycle called Hermes. They are both traveling the world visiting country after country with no real final destination. This setup causes Kino’s Journey to be a very episodic. It is also nearly impossible to establish any linear timeline with no carryover between episodes and multiple episodes consisting of stories in the form of flashbacks.
The characters in this anime are a mixed bag. Kino and Hermes are examples of extremely well designed characters. Kino presents a stoic exterior, but you eventually get a feel for her as a person from all the little details the show gives you. Hermes mainly serves as the catalyst that actually gets Kino to talk but does little besides that. Fortunately, what it does is perfect for the anime. Hermes asks some very interesting questions which usually receive an interesting answer from Kino which serves as one of the main sources of her characterization. The other characters are caricatures more than anything else. The episodic nature prevents more than a brief one-dimensional look at them. It becomes very hard to gain affinity with most of the characters because they never feel human. The characters serve their purpose in the story, but their lack of humanity prevents their actions from having any real weight.
The main problem with the show is that it isn’t deep. At first glance it appears that there is a lot down there, but when you dive in you’ll soon find your head hitting the bottom. The stories are parables that cover a wide range of subjects with a general theme of humanity being naturally evil. Often the story is a social commentary that usually involves a society that is distorted in some fundamental way and Kino observing the outcome. Some other stories feature morality issues and a few others attempt to tackle philosophical questions. The stories are very judgmental; often the gavel sounds as soon as the case is presented. It is usually very clear that one side is wrong while the other is right. The show never attempts to present a morally ambiguous situation that forces you to reflect on the issue. It is only when you are forced to walk in the grey area between right and wrong that you truly learn about yourself.
The only thing I truly found interesting in Kino’s Journey is when I considered the thought that the world the anime shows is the world seen through Kino’s eyes. Her prejudices influence how she perceives the situations presented and cause a very distorted world. To Kino, moral issues tend to be very cut-and-dry, so the world she perceives reflects that. The reason Kino travels is that she is unable to find a place the meshes with her understanding of the world, so she continues to travel while futilely wishing the world conformed to her and her being unable to ever consider changing herself. Looking at Kino’s Journey this way can open up some very interesting interpretations of Kino’s actions and the events that happened, but I doubt that view was ever intended so it doesn’t improve my opinion of the show.
Kino’s journey is definitely a good anime, but I would be hard pressed to call it great. It is very similar to fairy tales. The stories border on the fantastical, the characters are very basic, there are clear moral lessons in the stories, and the story itself is very short. The main reason I give this anime a 7/10 is that it is designed to make a person think, but I don’t feel better for watching it. The anime offers no opportunity for dialogue. The lessons Kino’s Journey provides are lessons that I imagine most people who visit this site have already learned.
Jan 8, 2008
The animation is acceptable, nothing fancy but enough to keep your attention. The music adequate, servicing the tale with audial emotion. The direction satisfactory, a worthy adaptation that has faith in the source material.
Where this anime shines is in the story which is undoubtedly the most important factor of any moving picture with a narrative. Kino's Journey has masterful storytelling at its core, each episode is like a fairy tale, a myth, a legend, a lesson. Its not groundbreaking, its simply universal.
Each country in this tale has its own philosophy to life, its own distinctive customs, and the anime repeatedly asks how far can you respect a country's customs and at what point do you make a stand for your own beliefs.
The people Kino meets, the situations she finds herself in, the difficult choices she has to make, the way she deals with them and the lessons she learns make this anime entertaining and thoughtful. Two traits that a lot of anime shows are hard pressed to find and attain. read more
Mar 23, 2010
It's a phrase you'll become very familiar with after watching Kino's Journey, a beautiful albeit haunting take on a flawed but beautiful world.
The first episode of Kino's Journey will most likely leave a strange taste in your mouth. Here we have Kino our female heroine ( although strangely enough looks like a guy) who uses guns, and Hermes her talking motorcycle here called motorrad ( correct me if I've spelt it wrong). They both have a story of their own, which is explained a bit when Kino is reminiscing about her time in the "Land of Adults". But in all fairness, it's probably better off to watch the prequel "Life goes on" for more info about that. Anyway, after the first episode, things pick up. Every country that Kino visits has it's own customs, law, flaws and contradictions, take this one for example, Kino visits a country which used to be at war, but to keep peace with the other country they...team up and kill the indigenous people. Contradictory? Yes, but at the same time it's a very effective metaphor of racism, and how certain countries take it to ridiculous extremes. Which is the scariest thing about Kino's Journey, through a lot of cleverly used, and sometimes very subtle, metaphors it creates a world which isn't too far off from our own, which is what makes it so beautiful. As for the length? Well for the 13 episodes that make up the show it holds up surprisingly well and is without a doubt, one of the better "short" animes out there. However, like the world the characters inhabit, the story is not without it's flaws. Now as the vast majority of us know, we can't go through our lives withiut encountering a BIT of sadness, it's just inevitable, but here it's taken to new extremes. The countries that Kino visits, especially towards the later episodes, have a ridiculous amount of negativity surrounding them and at times it seems as if the show is trying far too hard to be sad at times. But the most annoying part of it all was the ending. I've never been a fan of open ended anime's but Kino's Journey left me feeling ridiculously angry, as if the other episodes were all a waste and your being told "Yeah that's it, now get out of here". Aside from that though, the story is a refreshing tale, that, for the most part, is well worth watching.
To begin with, the art is the strongest point of the series, with lush backgrounds and nice green forests that almost have a Professor Layton feel about them, the characters too, were nice to watch, and whilst they weren't the best character designs ever, they did the job. However, look closer and it doesn't look as good, the lush green forests eventually start to look the same all the time, with occasional mutters from the viewer like "Hey, I swear they've been there before". Character designs too, start to fall into a familiar pattern, with some characters almost completely recycled, with minor changes to make them look different. If there are saving graces, it's that Kino and Hermes are always there to stand out among the crowd, and despite the fact that Kino looks strangely like a guy ( a minor joke throughout the series) there are definetly times in the art that definetley prove that Kino IS a girl. Hermes being a motorbike always sticks out, (seeminly because this world seems to lack motorbikes for some strange reason) so I can't really say anything about that. One massive saving grace is that the vast majority of the countries never look the same, if there are any similarities, then the show never stays there long enough to point them out. Altogether, the shows art does the job without never really standing out.
Easily one of the better parts of Kino's Journey, the opening and ending themes are very good, with the opening theme being very uplifting against the melancholy throughout the show. The ending theme is a great example of proving that, once again, seiyuus can sing, and they take it seriously. As for the voice acting? To begin with, I wasn't a fan of the dubbed version of Kino's voice, almost opting for the subbed version ( something that happens very rarely) however after a few episodes it really started to grow on me, and I mean REALLY started to grow on me, suddenly I was always wanting to listen to Kino's voice, it was sort of like a drug ( for lack of a better example) it became a relief to listen to, it was soothing, calm, and captured the feel of Kino perfectly. Hermes was a nice character to listen to as well, and definetley not the kind of voice you'd normally expect from a talking sidekick ( usually deep voice, saying that going here or there is a bad idea) the actors both sounded as if they'd been doing these rolls for years. Minor characters have a lot of character in there voice as well, even if actors tend to voice multiple roll in different episodes ( we know your there Vic Micnogna, no matter how much you try to hide) it's weird to hear the same actors voicing different characters throughout the show, but at the same time you know their doing different roles. It's an effective tool that I've never seen used so well, if lacking originality.
Story issues aside, it's the characters that really carry the show. Kino is a really refreshing character, and one of my favorite female leads ever. Although she herself sometimes causes the contradictions and flaws that appear in the world ( episode 7 is a great example of this) she seems realy calm about the things around her, although, she is human like the rest of us, and finds some of the things that go on around her to be just as horrible as if we saw them. Although, at the same time, it can be a bit annoying to hear Kino turn down an offer to travel with someone for what seems like the millionth time. Hermes is a good character as well, and sometimes tends to be the comic relief of the pair, although he sometimes asks some really deep questions. The minor characters, despite not getting a lot of screen time, are also very interesting and it's just a shame there weren't more episodes to hear their stories. Like I said, it's the characters who carry the show.
After the weird first episode, Kino's Journey becomes really enjoyable, and is something that maybe most people will enjoy, even though the ending made me angry, looking back I can see why they made it the way they did. Be warned now though, the show is not for everyone, some people will hate it, there's no doubt about it, however what is shown and what we get is something that is refreshing, beautiful and haunting at the same time.
Not for everyone, but anyone looking for an anime they want to be different, have a refreshing lead ( the list goes on) should give this a go.
9/10 read more
Sep 12, 2008
The box art features Kino dual-wielding her pistols, looking over her shoulder with an intimidating glare. During the opening sequence, Kino fires off a round of shots into a cement wall with a look as calm as a Buddha statue. This is not a particularly good representation of the series. While the episodes do occasionally feature fast-paced gun-slinging action, this is the exception, rather than the rule. Far more common is the episode which displays a quiet, reflective description of a fictional country and its inhabitants. Think Mushishi, rather than Black Lagoon. The plot development is circular, rather than linear, tending to focus on character development instead of an overarching plot.
This is a somewhat difficult category to gauge, as it tends to be a function of time. Nonetheless, Kino's Journey's strength does not lie in it's animation. The artwork itself is gorgeous, of course, but the animation doesn't particularly stand out when compared with other series. It gets the message across, but stops short of being innovative.
The soundtrack is subtle and used sparingly to enhance the mood. It's safe to say that much, if not most of the series has no background music. What little there is, however, is fantastic. Kino's Journey's OST is, with good reason, one of my favorites. The opening theme is not one you're likely to skip and the ending theme is nothing if not more hauntingly beautiful. Even if you don't enjoy the series as a whole, it's likely that you'll enjoy the music.
Essentially, Kino's Journey has two significant characters - Kino and her motorrad (a talking motorcycle), Hermes. Most of the other characters are (intentionally) shallow caricatures used to exemplify their respective countries. With 12 episodes spent in solitude or near solitude, Kino receives quite a lot of attention and development. Her struggles, observations, and decisions are the highlight of the series. She is not merely a strong female character, but also a good female character - a combination that is unfortunately rare in anime. Needless to say, you can expect little to no fanservice from Kino's Journey.
It's an immensely fun watch. If you take your time, you'll find that each episode gives you something new and interesting to think about. The plot never stagnates (a side effect, perhaps, of the series' tragically short length), and despite the relaxed pace, it is rarely (if ever) boring.
This really isn't something to be missed. I'd recommend it to anyone, provided s/he can bring a certain level of maturity to the table. Whether or not you take in the philosophy or understand the complex allegories of some of the episodes, if you appreciate a good story, you'll appreciate this series. read more
Aug 21, 2010
Kino's Journey has a deceptively simple premise in that is the story of a girl and her talking motorbike traveling from country to country experiencing it's many sights in sounds. But, like in most cases, its simplicity is a virtue not a condemnation. Each country in itself is its own universe, with its own customs, beliefs and practices. What Kino's Journey really wants you to do is think. If you are looking for a show to watch put down and move on Kino's Journey is not for you. What it does do it makes ask deep philosophical question to yourself that may or may not even have answers. Everything from Nietzsche, to religion, to our very purpose in life is touched on and each with leaving a deep impact on the viewer. But what Kino's Journey truly shines is in it’s subtlety. Rather than going directly out and telling the viewer what to think (*cough, cough* Evangelion) each of these subjects are covertly wrapped around a story that prompts the viewer to think on a subject rather than tell them flat out.
Don’t let the sharp angles and simple character design fool you this show is actually very well animated. All of these things are in order to give the show a deliberate story book like aesthetic that comes off very well.
The sound is minimal at best and nonexistent the rest of the time. With the possible exception of its superb opening song the show has very little music at all, and what there is, is mainly there less as background music, like in most shows, but to accent the onscreen action. To put it bluntly its there, and you might appreciate it if you listen closely but you probably won’t.
The character’s themselves in Kino’s Journey are simple yet not boring in a sense. Kino her self has particular transcendence of the world around her that gives her a sense of wisdom yet detachment from the world; once again completely intention to give the viewer an unbiased view of stories that the show tells. Then of course there is Hermes, while never boring is mostly there just so Kino has someone to talk to and to make an occasional joke. In the end Kino and Hermes themselves are the only consistent thing in this 13 episode show and one of the few things that tie the episodes together.
Kino’s Journey overall is an excellent show that manages to make you think while still retaining a subtlety and telling it in excellent fashion. This show is not for everyone but anyone who feels that what they are watching lacks any intellectual depth should check this show out. In fact I have a test for you. Watch the first episode yourself. At the end you should be pondering the question of what leads to more suffering; openness or misunderstanding. If you instead were bored just found yourself confused by that very statement this show is now for you. If you passed my test stop reading and watch this show now! You will not regret it.
Sep 10, 2009
Which isn’t weird, however, the fact that I got completely hooked on this tale of tales, a simple non-stop journey with a human-Lain like heroïn and a speaking Motorcycle. This anime is a Must-Watch, whether you like surrealism, philosophy and stuff or not. I feel I could tell Kino’s trips for children in bed, people who wait or any quiet person sitting near and who doesn’t give a sh!t about what I may do or say.
When it comes to anime/manga, I usually choose what I want to read/watch: I don’t have time or money to waste on fanservice/commercial/ecchi/hentai/clichés material. So, if I am to watch something, it ought to be original and outstanding…Kino no Tabi had the original layout, the outstanding description. Besides, she reminded me of Lain and she had a Motorcycle: God knows how these two details may make me cheer up for Bush while he’s not even in the campaign for presidence u_u…
The scenario (meaning the story and the way the main characters react to the outside world) was very intuitive: it made me feel like it was written without even thinking. Yet, it’s highly philosophical and discussing ethics in the way I find ethics should be discussed. Kino is constantly confrontated with her own beliefs and disbeliefs:although she may be compassionate, she doesn’t fall from the path she’s drawn to herself and I highly appreciated this about her. Thus, she may be brought to make hard choices without regreting it after. She doesn’t waste time on showing on feelings or defending a sake. She’s just a traveler, a sightseer that wants “to live consciously“. Hermers the motorrad is a smart trick in the scenario: with his annoying questions, he pushes Kino to reveal some of her thoughts and reasons of acting such this or that to the watchers. He’s also a way to discover a long-time relationship along with someone as Kino. The supporting characters are just well-written for the stories they live. This shows my point of view about the smart and well-written scenario.
The Animation focuses more on the landscape than the characters, but it gives such a bright effect. In addition to this, the action is quick and well-done. The soundtrack matches perfectely the atmosphere of the series and there’s nothing more that I like than the ending credits.
Kino No Tabi is a beautiful and philosophical collection of tales, which deals with society issues in a subtil way. It’s a nice opportunity to rebound with humanity, to stop looking at the world in the white/dark glasses and to feel more human.
I loved these series and I think they’ll last on my lap like SE Lain.
Nov 20, 2009
What many people believe to be a great series, Kino's Journey is a collection of short stories revolving around different countries, customs, traditions and beliefs. The main character Kino travels to these countries with her talking motorcycle pal Hermes, and together they observe the world through outside perspectives.
In fact, its almost as if Kino is nothing more than a representation of the viewer. Kino does nothing but observe....ever. She never interferes or judges or saves, when she so easily could. She does nothing but watch the people of these countries act like morons, much like the viewer is forced to.
Due to this, unfortunately the feelings of helplessness and despair sets in and gets comfortable for the entirety of the series.
I was amazed at the stupidity of it all. I get the concept...we're supposed to feel like nothing can change these awful, horrid events...we cannot change the way of the world. We're about as powerful as a traveler with no soul or heart, but how does that translate into entertainment? All it did was frustrate me.
For example...Episode 5, Kino and Hermes meet 3 old dudes that have all been working about fifty years...One is polishing old tracks and making them sparkle. The second is dismantling those tracks piece by piece. The Third? Well, he's repairing the tracks! Kino meets all three and says not one word to any of them of the futility of their efforts and lives.
Worse than that, the twelfth episode had two countries at war massacring a third to decide the winner! BY POINTS!
Kino doesn't mind. Kino doesn't care. Neither do the citizens of the two larger countries. They're cool with it, who cares? I mean, its not THEIR homes and families being destroyed in a conflict that has nothing to do with them...
Helplessness and despair.
Kino, however, shows glimpses of humanity both in her past and towards the end of the series. She does not seem adverse to murder (she kills at least five people throughout the series) and yet she shows a tiny fragment of pain and loss when someone she connected with on a few levels dies (due to an irrational decision to get melted rather than move). These moments are brief, scarce, and quickly forgotten when she hops aboard Hermes and rides nonchalantly towards the next country.
Kino's Journey disappoints on plot, but what really stood out to me was the animation. At first, I dismissed the art with the feeling that it was "too kiddy". As the series progressed, the style grew on me and by the end I came to enjoy the "differentness" of it. That is a matter of taste though, same with the soundtrack, which was repetitive and inconsistent at the same time. The opening and ending songs were enjoyable enough, but the few tracks within the show itself often took away from scenes as much as they added in spots.
In the end, I did not enjoy Kino's Journey. The series frustrated me and did not make me feel at all like there might be hope for ANYONE in that world. Actually, there was one happy story in the span of 13 episodes, but among all the death and despair, I had forgotten it. I couldn't, in good conscience, recommend this series to anyone looking to anime for an escape or an enjoyable experience. I would, however, HIGHLY recommend Kino's Journey to anyone interested in social commentary, irrationalism, or girls with guns that look like boys.
So if thats what you're into, go for it. Otherwise, stay home and leave the traveling to Kino.
Apr 6, 2011
The lasting impression I received from this show is that it is a very gloomy creation. It is also very dark at times. Sometimes it’s absurd in its darkness; it takes human madness to the edge and far beyond, many times in a fashion that closest resembles black, bizarre travesty, clearly demonstrating the insanity and unreasonableness with everything. I would almost like to draw parallels to classic storytelling and fairytales. Sometimes that’s the feeling I get when watching Kino’s Journey; partly because of the slightly tale-like and mysterious atmosphere, but what I’m mostly referring to in this case is the dark humour. Unfortunately, I don’t have any concrete examples, but I have the impression that fairy tales can often be quite phantasmagoric, sometimes in dark, twisted ways (some of the brothers’ Grimm’ stories comes to mind). Characters and occurrences/phenomena in stories can be highly baroque, and the stories themselves sometimes have a dose of satire and/or irony in them, which is something that no one within the realm of the story itself normally seems to find odd or react to in other ways.
Kino’s Journey feels a bit similar to this, at times. To us outsiders - the viewers - the things that happen on the screen sometimes seem blatantly, utterly absurd, but the characters in the story never cease to take themselves seriously or question what they’re doing. For the viewer, however, there’s some humour to be found in the madness and absurdity. But, this does not make the darkness and the sad aspects of it make less of an impact. It is quite a tragic show.
There are few cheerful moments during Kino’s travels (at least from what little we see of it). Even when things are at their merriest, the mood is still characterized by a feeling of loneliness and quiet melancholy. I can count the moments I found genuinely warming using only one hand - with a finger to spare, even. With this in mind, the opening sequence might seem wildly misleading - and it did to me, at first - as the tone it sets doesn’t match that of the show at all. It could be that it’s just very ironic, which would go well in line with what I said about the show in the paragraphs above. What I really think though, is that it alludes to the quote we are given in the very first episode, which goes: “The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.” This would be very fitting.
Kino’s Journey is a very episodic show, without any consistent thread, thematically or story wise - aside from the exploring and discovering in itself - throughout it. It is grey, black, somber, tragic, tragicomic, melancholic, strange, and at times beautiful, in a way. It satires human behavior and phenomena in society in a very exaggerated fashion, while all the same telling gripping tales of sorrow and tragedy. It presents somewhat philosophical questions, although it must be said that the messages of the show, neither the social nor philosophical, are very subtle, nor is the latter especially deep. Even so, it’s done pretty well.
The show is very atmospheric, with simplistic but nice animation. The music is on occasion somewhat enchanting, and has a mysterious, almost exotic sound to it at times. The directing is overall pretty good; in a few of the episodes quite a number of events take place, and I’m impressed by the fact that the pace never feels rushed, despite this. The director makes three days (which is the amount of time spent on every location) pass rather quickly, without it ever feeling hectic or unrealistic.
Kino’s Journey is awarded with 8/10. It wasn’t at all what I had expected - I thought it would be a warm, cheerful, charming little story; it was everything but that - but it was good nevertheless. What keeps me from giving it a higher score is the length of it, which prevents further and deeper exploration of the characters and themes, as well as the lack of a sense of an overall direction; I would have liked it better if the show as a whole would have been a bit better constructed.
Sep 21, 2008
Oct 25, 2007
This summer has been and interesting one for me.
After coming home from graduating from college, I discovered that my father purchased a membership with Blockbuster online.
One look at the website was all I needed to make a new goal for myself:
Watch as much new anime this summer as possible.
And boy, did I do exactly that!
One of the anime on my list that I'd been so hoping to watch was Kino's Journey, something I'd heard many rumors about, but known little of.
This sadly little-popular series is truly a gem.
Though it only runs for 13 episodes, Kino's Journey delves into some pretty deep subjects; mainly, the nature of mankind.
Each episode is self-contained, and the only regular characters are Kino, a young traveller, and Hermes, Kino's faithful and guick-tongued Motorrad (a sort of living motorcycle).
Little is known at first about Kino, let alone the world Kino lives in, but soon we realize the depth of Kino's past and thoughts.
I would say more about Kino's Journey, but if I did, I'd be spoiling a lot for those of you who haven't seen the series.
What I can say, however, is that this series isn't like any other anime.
The animation may be a bit choppy for my artistic preferences, but the story is enough to keep the viewer interested.
The uniqueness of the style and the plotline makes this series well worth watching.
Emily's Rating Scale: (1 being the worst/very little, 5 being the best/very much)
Character Design: 4
Overall Rating (watchability): 5
There you have it, folks!
If you can get past the fairly poor animation, and keep from getting too attached to this extremely short series,
then go watch Kino's Journey!
If you like this, then you'll like:
Serial Experiments Lain (brain-exercise)
Last Exile (story) read more
Jun 28, 2010
First of all, the story was very psychological. I enjoyed how the author of this series dived into the human psyche and brought out the dark side of people. Often people think about things like "What would it be like to be able to read other people's minds?" Kino's Journey takes those kinds of thoughts and twists them into reality. Through Kino's eyes, we see the world as it really is, not the Utopia we often try to live in. Thus the popular quote from the series "The world is not beautiful, therefore it is."
The art suited the series very well. It was plain, earthy, but in some situations very abstract. The creators didn't use high detail, and in truth, if they did, it would have distracted the viewer from the important aspects of the series. They seemed to make each scene relate to human senses and delusions.
Just like the art, they interacted sound with the senses. They did this especially during fight scenes. Just like in reality, the senses are heightened when one's life is on the line, and they really focused on this aspect with the sound. You can hear everything going on, clothes ruffling, boots pounding against the ground, even the breath of the one who has realized they just lost.
There are really only two main characters. Each character though, has their own story whether main or supporting. They give in abstract and direct detail as to why each character acts the way they act, and each character is fairly well developed.
Love this series. Has to be my favorite series of all. I really wish there were more episodes, but at the same time, they made the series just long enough for it to be amazing and leave the viewers wanting more without them becoming bored. The story really draws people in and makes them part of Kino's Journey as she drifts between the different countries. This series is not just an anime, it is a piece of art. read more
Sep 7, 2010
The anime is based off a book series that has made awards. The way it tells its story is like Galaxy Express 999 just its not linear. The events are placed to give you the feeling that you know whats going on. Each episode has a moral that has a real-life uses. Most of the events could happen in real life. You also find yourself relating to the main character Kino as she goes through her travels through the many countries she visits.
The designs of all the characters, main or background, are done in the style of the old classics. It felt like watching an old anime from the 80's just remastered with the new computerized shading. The technology ranges from a Wright brother's-like flying machine to motorcycles that talk to guns and fully plated armored warriors that when compared to Kino would scare a normal person s***less.
The music scores bring with it the hard fact that this anime could be real. When the atmosphere is depressing the music multiplies its effect on you. But I love how the English voice cast pulled of the character's own personality in their voices. Granted Kino is rarely giving any emotion in her voice, but to have her voice actress be able to keep the emotionless voice going with out it becoming a monotone drone makes it quite the achievement.
There are only two main characters, and no reoccurring characters, in the anime. This is because the anime goes through maybe the first 2 or 3 volumes, so any reoccurring characters would not seem to be reoccurring. But the main characters have very distinct and opposite personalities. Kino is a realist, she sees things for how they are. She makes now real wise cracks. She does interact with the other as friends would, though. Then there is Hermes, her motorrad or talking motorcycle. He makes wise cracks about stuff that she does and seems pessimistic at times. He constantly goes on about how she doesn't take very good care of him. But anyone can see he finds Kino to be his one and only friend.
Just the fact that this anime will make you stop to think about how our world is and how people in the real world would react to different situations, not giving the "and they all lived happily ever after" ending when you think you will see it. It gives you a reality check and makes you realize that Love Hina, or Gurren Lagann are just fantasies that would probably be dreams not realities.
It's the Brothers Grimm of anime. It is a bunch of situations in anime that instead of going right, they go wrong and show you the consequences. Again i would like to stat that any one reading this review should go see this anime. This is usually my death threat sentence but the realism is if you don't want to watch this anime, don't. The only one your hurting is yourself for not wanting to face reality. read more
Apr 21, 2010
Being a largely episodic series the plot is easily identifiable. It is about Kino’s many journeys through a very strange and at times demented world. She is frequently faced with a moral question and I’ve always been impressed with how this series handled it.
The plot is simple at first glance, but Kino’s actual background is covered in two separate episodes, both of which I was very glad for the insight into who she is and was amazingly well written. There was also one two episode plot halfway through which I thoroughly enjoyed as it was action packed and exciting.
A few downsides to this series was that it just cuts off where I would be expecting, “well, next episode?”. I felt it was building up to something greater but instead it left me feeling half full at the ending. The last episode was certainly the best, but it failed to give any form of wrap up. Leaving you with many questions.
The beginning of the series you find Kino in the middle of a desert, how she got there? You don’t know. Who is the master? You don’t know. Well I found out why. There is a movie. Kino’s Journey: Life Goes On, that was released as a prequel. It apparently explains all of these questions. I have also found that there is both a movie and special of Kino’s journey and I am going to be sure to check those out.
This is the low point of the series, the art is just ok. It is simple so you aren’t distracted from the thoughts that are being portrayed. The backgrounds are all simple and I found them very plain. The actual animation is a high point. The movement of the characters are smooth and the action scenes are quite suspenseful. Character designs, well Kino was the only person of any real importance to the series and she looks memorable, I guess. So it’s a good piece all aspects accounted for, just not an amazing piece of art. The art is perfect for the mood of the story and GENCO tends to do this right (they also did Azumanga Daioh and Elfen Lied).
Oh the music! I loved every moment of it. Especially the opening and ending which I listen to regularly. The sound effects were very well done making you feel as if you are really there.
The voice acting was great, particularly Kino’s voice actress Kelli Cousins, who hasn’t played very many roles at all but was able to make Kino a deep and at times conflicted personality behind her indifferent exterior. Cynthia Martinez played the raspy Hermes, Kino’s motorbike (it must have been horrendous on her cords!) was a great performer. And lastly there is Vic Mignogna, who plays EVERYONE ELSE. It got downright freaky at times. “It’s an intense scene and she’s in trouble and then he opens his mouth to spe- OH NOES it’s Vic!” He's still great, but his voice sometimes just is not appropriate.
Kino quickly won my heart with her steady head and genuine personality. She’s indifferent at times but she really does have a deep insight. Her moral choices are unique but amazingly true and she knows when to act, and when to simply go on her way.
Hermes was funny and an enjoyable, but not distracting, comedic relief. I especially likes how he was always getting phrases wrong.
The best episodic series I have seen thus far. It is extremely unique and the author Keiichi Sigsawa is a creator of masterpieces. This is a must own series for anyone who likes philosophy or simply a quiet show for a time which needs serenity.
-Some disturbing images such as a rabbit getting skinned and human remains.
-There are the presence of the topics genocide, slave trading, and murder.
-Many episodes deal with some form of tragedy.
-Very little swearing and is very minor.
-A tiny bit of violence.
-There’s a king who has a harem, but their never focused on and despite how they dress the art form of the series makes this moot.
-Honestly this series should have been rated PG. read more
Apr 1, 2013
This is perhaps the strongest point of Kino's Journey. It does a great job juggling many diverse themes while also substantiating their impact and emotional influence, and it does so using no more than two and usually one episode per country that Kino explores. This is certainly praiseworthy: I have heretofore not encountered an "epic journey/adventure" themed anime with a plot that is memorable, but Kino's Journey changed this. I clearly recall the themes of each country that Kino explored and their powerful, universalizable messages. The pace was perhaps perfect, allowing me to contemplate each episode thoroughly and absorb its themes.
The art perfectly suits an anime like this: The scenery was fantastic and I still remember the beauty of Kino's world as conveyed by the lush grasses, gorgeous mountains, and vast sky. The buildings were drawn nicely as well and convey different architectural styles with ease. The character art is rather lacking, however, and I will address this more in that section.
The music is calm and soothing, and again, it perfectly suits a peaceful anime like this.
This is what I consider to be the weakest point of Kino's Journey. While the themes are memorable, I cannot say the same for Kino herself: I found nothing spectacular about her, and her few emotions are dulled by her usually insufficiently robust features. This is true for the rest of the many characters: I wasn't too enticed by their largely stoic expressions. They all looked seemingly alike to me, clouding a profound story and beautiful scenery with vapidity. This greatly detracted from the rest of the anime, especially the story's power, as, instead of appreciating its power and poignancy, I sat back in my chair, sometimes sleepy, having to push myself a bit to get through the mainly character-driven anime.
As previously mentioned, I didn't enjoy this anime as much as I could have due to the passive characters. While I acknowledge Kino's Journey as a mainly peaceful anime, I shouldn't have been having to push myself to get through it. My satisfaction mainly comes from the vivid art, wonderful music, and influential themes, which were unfortunately downshifted by the lackluster characters.
Kino's Journey is unequivocally a series for contemplation. The themes are indeed potent and the show certainly deserves acclaim for being able to squeeze many of them together in a short series. I wouldn't recommend watching it for enjoyment, as you will be disappointed over its emphasizing of themes over action. While it does make a legitimate attempt to keep the viewer interested, it wasn't enough for me. Had there been more upheavals and more malleable characters to account for them, I would surely call this a masterpiece and add it to my favorites. But, I unfortunately cannot, as the presentation was simply too lacking. read more