Kino's Journey can pretty much be divided into two shows, one that is an entirely episodic travel anime with light philosophic content and a second that has a much stronger emphasis on philosophy and underlying whispers of a overreaching storyline. Kino's Journey: Life Goes On falls pretty solidly into the second category and does a good job of representing exactly what I liked about the main series.
Story 10: This is the story I wanted to hear since about episode 3 of the show, and it never disappointed. The plotline of "Life Goes On" does a wonderful job of showing how Kino's writers are able to
seamlessly integrate Lain-style philosophy into a story without interfering with its pacing. That being said, it contains a similar level of spoilers as watching any prequel before the main series, I would certainly suggest watching the show first.
Art 9: Just about the same as Kino's Journey, along with the subtly annoying horizontal lines throughout. I really liked the darker moments of this OVA, the art in those parts were a very welcome supplement to the already established art style. And what can I say? I just love Kino's character design <3
Sound 9: I really enjoyed the voice-acting in the show and in this OVA it was maybe even better. Still don't really care for the OP or ED though, but neither are like gratingly bad. The BGM isn't spectacular or anything but contributes well to the pace and feel.
Character 10: A surprising amount of character development in this OVA, without messing up the series's, which was awesome to see. Also, many of the side-characters in "Life Goes On" were fairly unique, which was nice coming from a series where one of my few complaints was their reuse of stock characters.
Enjoyment 10: A very stellar OVA, if you liked Kino's Journey but always wanted to know more about Kino's past this is perfect for you. Even if that wasn't really the draw of the series for you, I personally believe some of the series's best moments are in this OVA so I'd check it out anyway.
Overall 10: If you didn't like Kino, this probably won't change your mind. If you liked Kino but didn't like its ending (as in- what ending?) this OVA could fix your opinion of the show, as it did mine. I find myself wishing this were the canonical last episode, because I fear some people will miss it. Please don't let yourself be one of those people! If you finished Kino's Journey promptly go watch this OVA.
Title: Kino no Tabi: In Order to Do Something -Life Goes On-
Anime: The Kino no Tabi movie was released on February 19th, 2005 in Japan, and was directed by Takashi Watanabe, who also directed Ikki Tousen. It has yet to be licensed or released Stateside.
Story: The movie is a prequel of sorts, focusing on Kino when she was younger and living with Shishou, who was mentioned in passing in the series. We see her learning to protect herself with guns, and learning how to ride Hermes, which makes for some nice laughs. It also focuses on her guilt over a death that
she caused, and her first journey to the country of the one she killed, to tell that person's family what happened.
This is a really nice continuation of one of the episodes in the series, not to mention an expansion on another person mentioned in passing in the series, and a great origin story in general. We get to see how Kino became... well, Kino.
Again, as in the series, there is some blood; nothing too significant, but it's still there.
Art: No different from what we saw in the series; see my review of Kino no Tabi for my opinions on that.
Music: Again, no different from what we saw in the series, except for the ED. The new ED was sweet, but I like the series' ED better.
Seiyuu: Once again, no change from what we saw in the series. It was nice, hearing more of Shishou's seiyuu, because we heard so little of her in the series. She was exactly what I expected her to be: warm, comforting, motherly in general.
Length: I'm not real happy with this, as it clocked in at just under a half-hour. I was expecting something a bit longer than the typical episode length, and there was so much more that they could've done. It was nice, but still...
Let's just hope that the second movie is actually full-length, and not this short.
Overall: An excellently written, if slightly short, origin story, with many similarities to the series.
This first Kino's Journey special serves as exposition to the main series, kind of, and does basically nothing else. And even the exposition that it does accomplish is not only unwarranted, but unnecessary. It was also disappointing considering I was expecting the special to show exactly how Kino became so impressive at combat. So let's discuss those two aspects of the series. Its unwarrantedness, and its unsatisfying narrative. For this review, I will assume you watched the main series, as both of those subjects require knowledge of certain episodes in the series. Also, this review might get a little spoilery. I will not explicitly spoil
the special, but I will be talking about things that it does not do, things it fails to do. For a non spoiler review, I do not recommend this as it does not add anything to the main series, nor does it accomplish or do anything remarkable.
Did Kino's Journey need a prequel?
Episode 4 of the main series already took us back to when Kino decided, or was forced to, become a traveler. Sure, this episode is really short, but it does everything it needs to for us to understand Kino's motives. Are we really left asking anything else about her past? If the answer is no, then there's no need for this prequel. If the answer is yes, then we ask ourselves the following question.
Did this prequel explain what we wanted to have explained?
The only gap between episode 4 and the rest of the series that is noticeable is how she became so good at fighting. How does she go from this completely naïve little girl, to a cold, apathetic killer. This prequel does not really answer those inquiries. The synopsis here answers that just as much as the special itself.
Given that this prequel serves no purpose outside of the synopsis, is it worth watching as a stand alone special?
The story is horrendous stand alone. There is no story. The art again conflicts with the atmosphere of the special. The sound is okay. The characters are well written, but not moreso than the main series. The only thing it has going for itself is that it's really short. If it was at least some Karate Kid kind of episode where it showed a lot of training and struggling as well as a gradual hardening of character, it would be worth watching, because then it would exactly answer our two questions above. But just the simple fact that it does neither, as well as being lackluster in itself is enough to warrant a skip.
For fans of Kino’s Journey, Life Goes On is a welcome addition. It’s a cute, engaging story that reveals how Kino got her traveler’s outfit and remarkable skills, expands upon two important secondary characters, Shishou and the older Kino, and focuses on Kino’s guilt over the death of the older Kino. It also has a bit of action, humor, and a suspenseful, darker climax.
As a prequel, the film isn’t bad but it leaves something to be desired. How did Kino and Shishou meet, and why does Shishou make Kino (and everyone else) call her Master? When and why did Kino decide to leave Shishou? If
Life Goes On were actually a movie, maybe it would have had the time to answer these and other questions. At just under 30 minutes, it’s more like another episode, but unlike other episodes, it fails to raise any interesting cultural issues. For better or worse, it’s just a collection of events from Kino’s childhood, with little expository or intellectual value.
Given the dearth of Kino’s Journey anime, fans should certainly check Life Goes On out. It’s a good story, and of course, it’s more Kino. Just don’t expect to find any big answers or profound messages. For those who haven’t seen Kino’s Journey and are looking for a good starting place, the “Tower Country” OVA (Episode 00) is a better choice as it’s more representative of the series.
Kino’s Journey – Life Goes On, serves as a prequel to Kino’s Journey. It is longer than an average episode, clocking in at just under 30 minutes. This is a fairly cutesy side story, where we learn about what Kino got up to once she escaped her country of birth and reveals the important supporting character, Kino’s master – Shishou, who taught Kino how to shoot and travel.
This is essentially just another episode of Kino’s Journey, which would have worked fine within the original show – but is it good? Well, yes, it certainly is good, but it just feels unnecessary and makes you want
something more. Episode 4 of the original series serves as Kino’s backstory, which was more than satisfactory. We learnt that Kino is, indeed, female, and how her name derived from a male traveller who sacrificed himself in order to save her as a child, which begun her current lifestyle. At that time, I, personally, felt no need to know what Kino did after this disaster. I didn’t need to be convinced about how she could use a persuader (a gun) so well, nor did I care where she got her clothes. Yet here we are. It really just comes off as something which only fans can enjoy, but, as a fan myself, I know that there are so many different, better stories which could have been told. Furthermore, unlike the majority of episodes/countries in the main series, very few interesting societal, or, to a lesser extent, human issues are brought to the fore, with the exemption of a dark plot twist which stemmed from Kino’s guilt over a death she was not responsible for. It is simply a retention of Kino’s childhood, which offers little on an intellectual level.
In terms of actual quality, this OVA is consistent with the main series’ style and tone. It never sways too far from its predecessor, other than the fact that Kino has embraced the loli life – which I’m sure some people will be very pleased about. At the end of the day, it is more Kino. It’s not the best that Kino’s Journey has to offer; definitely do not expect to be questioning life after viewing this, but for those who enjoyed the original series, it is certainly worth checking out.
To conclude, this is a good show but sadly fails to live up to the immensely high expectations which Kino’s Journey set itself. Do not watch this as a way to get into Kino’s Journey, it is meant to be watched afterwards. If you have not yet watched the original Kino’s Journey, please do.
Life Goes On is an OVA which explores some of Kino's time spent with her teacher/master before she becomes a traveler. Without going into spoilers, this OVA is just as brutal as the original series. However, unlike the original series, this story is far more character driven than thematically driven. While people who are keen on seeing more development of Kino's story will be excited, it will disappoint anyone who wishes to see her travel to another country and explore a new theme. Nevertheless, the story is just as high quality as the series and really emphasizes the difficulties Kino has finding her own identity.
art style is exactly like the series; low detail but does the job sufficiently. The soundtrack uses the same songs as the series. These songs are great to listen to and complement each scene well. There is a new ED song but the OP is still the same. The voice acting is still up to par.
While the main characters are all people we have seen before, it's nice to see them in different roles. Kino is young and learning, Hermes is in more of a teacher role helping Kino learn how to ride and Shishou is being Kino's mentor. What is most impressive is how a lot of the plot is able to be conveyed without much exposition. It is quite amazing how much development Kino and Shishou receive in such a short amount of time.
The description for this OVA is that it is a prequel. While chronologically it is a prequel, this is better watched once having already seen the original series. I would recommend anyone who is a fan of this series to watch this OVA. Still, even without having seen the series, this OVA is able to stand on it's own.
This is a wonderful little episode. It's only about 30 minutes long and it paints the picture of a younger, more inexperienced Kino. The main show only hinted at Kino's youth and training but nothing was ever fully explained. Most times, I really enjoy using my imagination to bridge the mysterious gaps in story plots. However, there was something about Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World that didn't sit well with me. Though it was an amazing show, it left me with the feeling of wanting more.
If you feel the same way, then I suggest you give this little episode a watch. Even if you
don't feel that way, give it a watch. It's only 30 minutes. Do not, however, watch this prequel before watching the main series. The main series does a beautiful job of developing Kino's character. By the time you get to this prequel, you'll already know who Kino is and what's going on. This little episode is just like a supplement to the main series. It answers some of the questions you have about Kino; it does not introduce the characters and the main story.
The story is very good and dynamic. There is a little bit of humor, a little bit of philosophy, and a few dark WTF moments that make you tense. Any anime that can cram those three aspects into a short episode, while still keeping the story interesting, is great in my book. Not much has changed artistically, which is not a problem because they did a great job to begin with. The sounds, music, and voice acting weren't too different. Nothing spectacular, but still very well done.
My biggest complaint is the length of this little episode. As I mentioned in the beginning, the main series was amazing and left me wanting more. Yes, this anime gave me that by answering questions and stuff. But I wish wish wish it were longer. I wish the story was more developed, I wish the characters would shine more, I wish there were more philosophical undertones like the main series, I wish there was more action, I wish there was more travel. Despite all that, it's still a wonderful little episode and it does a fantastic job doing, well, what a prequel was made to do. I very much recommend it to all Kino fans. It's only 30 minutes long, what do you have to lose?