Kino travels to a country divided into two parts: the very clean and peaceful city, closed off from the surrounding wastelands. Kino meets a little girl in the city suffering from a disease which is constantly being researched. The girl, however, does not know just how the research is being done.
Movie: Kino no Tabi: Byoku no Kuni -For You- was premiered at the Dengekibunko Movie Festival in April of 2007, and started running in theatres on April 21st, 2007. It was animated by Studio SHAFT (famous for their work on REC and Sayonara Zetsubo-Sensei) and directed by Ryutaro Nakamura (famous for his work on the Kino no Tabi series and Serial Experiments Lain). It has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Story: Kino (who's grown up a bit and filled out o.O) and Hermes make a stop in a country where the majority of the citizens are
sealed in a germ-free bubble, and the minority are out in the wastelands, reclaiming the land. They meet a girl who has the one disease (that sounds kind of like cancer to me) that they haven't been able to cure, and is currently the subject of pharmaceutical research. She asks them to deliver a little trinket to a boy out in the reclamation who she's been writing back and forth with. But when they go out to deliver the trinket, they discover the truth about the reclamation... (What, you thought I was going to give it away? :P)
This felt like a Kino no Tabi episode. This is what the other movie was missing. While the other movie was good, and it did explain more about Kino, it just didn't feel like the series did. This movie, however, could have very easily fit anywhere in the series.
It was apparently adapted from later in the novel series (whereas the show only stuck to the first few volumes), which renews my wish for more Kino. They've got the source material and the fan base (I think) that they could probably do it.
Art: There's a bit more CG this time around than there was in the series, but while it is distracting at times, it blends very well with the animation, which is in the same style as the series (even though it was done by a different studio).
Music: There's the same themes from the series from what I noticed of the background music, and the new ED wasn't all that noteworthy.
Seiyuu: Same seiyuu as the series, so nothing to add here.
Length: Like the other movie, it's a half-hour, but this time, I don't feel so cheated because of it.
Overall: A good story that would've made a fine episode in the series. Now hurry up and do a second season already!
An unpredictable, yet familiar story unfolds in a calm and deliberate fashion, this 'movie' is can easily pass as another episode of the series, albeit with far superior production values. Those who are disappointed at the paltry 28 minute run time, rest assured that the story was not rushed or truncated in any way. There is no need to watch the series in order to appreciate the story, as it is fairly straightforward, yet profound.
The character artistic design is adequate, and you will find no deviation from the series. Kino is as enigmatic as ever, although Hermes seems just a
bit more immature and inept than usual. The backgrounds were much more detailed and the enhanced production budget shows here. Although the integration of CGI was not seamless nor flawless, it did not detract from the overall experience.
'The Land of Sickness' is every bit as enjoyable as any other story in the franchise, and remains true to the original concept of gimmick-free story telling, using violence only to advance the plot. Add the requisite subtle invitation to examine human nature, and you get one of my favorite stories of the franchise, following the travels of the most underestimated 'tough guy' in anime. I will definitely watch this again, in a few years.
Part of the beauty of Kino’s Journey is that Kino doesn’t just visit interesting places; she interacts with the people, who believe in their ways of life, however strange or vulgar they might seem to us. In highlighting the many ways in which people can live, Kino’s Journey gives life to the phrase “the world is not beautiful; therefore it is.”
At first glance, For You seems to fit this mold. Unlike Life Goes On, it’s essentially another episode, following the standard formula of focusing on a unique set of customs for contemplation. Compared to other episodes, though, it’s pretty lackluster. Instead of developing the philosophical/cultural
aspect, most of the story is about Kino driving around the city and talking to a single person, a young girl who embodies the system but lacks the maturity to embrace or rationalize it. It isn’t until the climactic finale that the cultural aspect comes to the foreground, but even this is rushed and underdeveloped, leaving us with a superficial analysis of a custom that wasn’t too novel to begin with.
As a Kino’s Journey fan I still enjoyed For You, but it would have benefited from more time reflecting upon the country’s culture and less time telling the girl’s story. Or it could have shortened the “Country of Illness” story and added in one or two other journeys. As it stands, there just isn’t much of substance to show for dedicating a half hour to a single country.
On the bright side, the soundtrack and voice cast are the same great stuff from the series. The new animation style is pretty, but it’s harder to gauge. The crisper, higher quality give the film a sharp look, but it also loses the storybook feel. If more Kino’s Journey is ever made, hopefully they’ll improve the classic style (as Life Goes On did) rather than discard it for something more mainstream.
For You is a decent continuation to the series, but this journey doesn’t possess the magic or depth of the rest. Even Life Goes On gave me more to think about. If you want more Kino, this is one of your only options, but it’s also the weakest.
Byouki no Kino: For You was released almost half a decade after the original series had finished. Given the long time gap, it makes one wonder whether or not a new addition to the Kino's Journey series will be as high quality as the original series. With Shaft as the new production company, it's almost guaranteed to be different.
Byouki no Kuni begins like most episodes do in the original series; Kino arrives at a new country and starts exploring. Soon though, one of the main differences is noticeable; the art style. The level of detail in each shot has increased. Kino herself now has blue-ish
hair and for some reason isn't wearing her treasured coat after the first five minutes. They have also added some camera techniques and CGI to some scenes. While this is more aesthetically pleasing, it takes away from the charm and feel that the original series had. This is especially noticeable when it comes to Kino's design since there was no need to ever change it. Nevertheless, this isn't much of an issue overall and shouldn't detract from the viewing experience.
The story in this short film is slightly different to usual. The beginning of the episode is similar to the original series where Kino enters a new country, however after that it adopts a different tone. In most of Kino's Journey's episodes, a theme would be the central focus. In Byouki no Kuni however, it appears that the central focus is Inertia, a young girl suffering from a chronic illness. The issue with this is that it lacks the philosophical exploration that Kino's Journey is known for. Instead Byouki no Kuni has replaced the philosophy with a depressing story that is somewhat thought-provoking.
Kino's Journey has a reputation for leaving you with a feeling of wonder. Byouki no Kuni, however, doesn't achieve this. Kino and Hermes themselves still behave the same and the soundtrack is just as good as the original series. But the other aspects of the show are not as high quality. Still, I believe that most people would enjoy watching this short film and I do recommend this to anyone who has seen Kino's Journey and want to see more.