Destination is a state of mind. A tale of one girl and her bike and the road ahead. Kino wanders around the world on the back of Hermes, her unusual, anthropomorphic motorcycle, only staying in each country for three days. During their adventures, they find happiness, sadness, pain, decadence, violence, beauty, and wisdom. But through it all, they never lose their sense of freedom. They discover that because of the world's imperfections, it is actually a thing of beauty.
At a stage event at the Dengeki Bunko Festival 2017, it was announced that this new adaptation will prioritize the fan favorite stories. These were selected from a “favorite country” poll carried out among light novel readers in 2015.
Note: I have not watched the original season that came out in 2003. Also minor spoilers.
Upon reading the synopsis for this show after viewing the fourth episode, I discovered two things. Firstly, that Kino is a girl (wowz), and secondly, that anthropomorphism doesn't just extend to slapping on a pair of boobs on anything non-human.
Anyhow, people seem to be praising this show as one of the hidden gems of this season, and after checking out a couple of episodes, it's not hard to see why. The main lead doesn't yell obnoxiously every few seconds, her clothes don't explode after she eats something, and the significant
lack of edge in the show is truly refreshing. Does this mean that this show is devoid of flaws, though?
""Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World - The Animated Series" is an episodic show, meaning that each episode is more or less stand-alone and you can watch it in any order you like. What makes this show interesting is that it explores the possible ways countries which have questionable laws - say, allowing theft - function. The studio behind this show, Lerche, has done a pretty decent job on the audiovisuals. The backgrounds are well animated, and the soundtrack reflects the "beautiful world" theme nicely. Although, I think that the focus of this show leans more towards the people which inhabit these strange countries rather than the landscapes.
This brings me to my main point of criticism. Some of the episodes so far focus heavily on human drama. However, this is only effective if the characters involved in this drama are properly developed and fleshed out. If not, how can you evoke any sort of emotional response from the audience? Usually, this isn't much of a problem for a show, but "Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World - The Animated Series" just so happens to be episodic. This means that entire, complex backstories are reduced to one or two minutes of continuous exposition, usually done by our friendly neighborhood talking bike(God knows how it found the information in the first place). I'd also like to see some more character development on our two main leads, but since only four episodes have come out, it's not too big of a problem. Yet.
By the looks of things, this series will end up as a fairly decent one, but not anything outstanding. However, I genuinely enjoyed the episodes which solely involved Kino and Hermes exploring some weird country. If more of the following episodes don't involve any crazy drama, this might end up as one of the best shows of the season.
Do not be fooled, this is NOT a sequel to the first season made back in 2003. This season is a remake.
As of episode six there is not much to the story but it is simple. The main character goes from country to country in what seems to be a post apocalyptic world. The world is very separated and each country she visits seems to harbor something new and unexpected. This story tells of her adventures as she travels with her talking motorbike named Hermes. She meets dangerous and humble strangers and learns new ways of life.
As the world is "anything but beautiful"
the animation proves otherwise. I enjoy watching the animation and it is a key reason why I was interested in the series before initially knowing what it was about. It is a "sight for sore eyes." Especially the opening and ending themes, the art style is my favorite.
The music is simply touching and really adds to each moment. I enjoy listening to the music. There are also nature sounds we hear through a lot of scenes which rather just adds the nice touch factor.
So far there are just two main characters Kino and Hermes. They are really shrouded in mystery along with the world around them. Kino is a very like able character and I enjoy seeing what she has up her sleeve next. She is actually quite bad ass. She may look tiny but she has a big will to fight. I can tell that there is something in her past that inepts her to keep traveling.
Hermes is a motorbike, with a personality and a voice?? Yeah, I know, weird. But I like it and I wouldn't want it any other way. Hermes is Kino's companion on her travels. We do not know much about their ways but to me it seems they are inseparable.
We end up meeting a few characters here and there that Kino becomes acquainted with during her travels. It seems a lot of my questions about them will go unanswered. I enjoy the slight hint of mystery behind these humble strangers.
I enjoy watching this series. There is nothing I don't like about it so far. There is subtle humor sprinkled in to each episode that I love. I hope you give this anime a chance. I have hopes my curiosity becomes inspiration as the series develops. It is quite the fascinating world!
As I have not seen the original Kino's Journey, I am basing this review solely as a watcher of the 2017 adaptation.
Kino's Journey is... a thought provoking anime. The general tone of the show is lighthearted, bordering on the level of more day to day, slice of life anime. However, these longer periods of peace are interspersed with moments meant to look at each episodes unique situations in a more philosophical sense, resulting in a darker undercurrent to the series. Each country has its own ironclad premise, and the show revolves around Kino's observation of how these premises effect both the country's inhabitants as well
as the countries around them. Small pieces of action pepper the series as well, allowing viewers some visual stimulation in addition to the more prevalent moral quandaries.
As this anime follows an episodic format with only a couple recurring characters so far, it seems that any over-arcing story will remain well in the backseat for the foreseeable future. The characters as well are left to the side of the road, providing little more than a pair of eyes for the audience to see through. While this is all well and good, as the ethical dilemmas presented in the show are obviously its forte, this puts all of the impetus on the art to carry the show with worldbuilding, which this show fails to completely deliver. Just about the only knock I've heard on the original anime was that the animation aged exceptionally poorly, and I honestly don't see this variant as faring much better. The animation quality is average at best, and while some of the backgrounds are wonderful, the overall quality cant quite match the "beautiful world" moniker the title so boldly claims.
Overall I'm enjoying this show. It makes me think, something I can't say for most of the shows I watch in a season. Its a provocative premise and it does it quite well, but the focus on worldbuilding is disconnected from the distinctly average quality of animation the show seems to be working with. I'm still enjoying watching this, but at the same time I can't help but think that even on the second try this anime has yet to fulfill its potential.
I personally like Kino's design and yay! for the "rare" female protagonist! But that alone shouldn't be the deciding factor.
Jumping straight to the story;
I've watched "a few" episodes of the 2003 version and I would say that I prefer the reboot (2017 version). I dropped the 2003 version after a few episodes because I didn't really like how they did the show.
In the 2003 version, I personal found that the stories were a bit "too vague" (with morals neither here nor there...verging more towards negative I would say), not to mention that Kino was acting indifferent even in the face of injustice (not sure
about later episodes of the 2003 version). The 2003 version seems to be pushing this thing about humans being immoral/evil, and "that's just how humans are and we should let them be"...which I'm strongly against. Well, I guess that's to be expected from the theme of the show which is "The world is not beautiful, therefore it is."
I'm not sure about others, but I find that Kino and Hermes in the 2003 version quite annoying as most of their dialogues seemed pretty empty and at some points had questionable morals and reasoning...
Pros of the 2017 version as a standalone:
- Kino having more depth as a moralistic person. I like how in this version it clearly shows what Kino is okay with and what she's not okay with. Thankfully, so far (up to ep 5) there hasn't been any questionable reasoning by Kino.
- Hermes says questionable things once in awhile but I'm glad that the show made it clear that its just Hermes's point of view as a motorrad / machine.
- I like how this show highlights humans being evil and that oftentimes criminals/evil people should be gotten rid-of to maintain peace.
Cons of the 2017 version as a standalone:
- Kino seems somewhat overpowered at times compared to the average civilian but then again there are some other characters in the show which are somewhat overpowered as well...so I guess I could just brush it off as something that just goes on in Kino's universe, as in if you're skilled, you're going to be somewhat super skilled at times.. Thankfully most of the time it's done somewhat realistically.
- Some episodes feel empty. As in it works as a story but doesn't have much meaning behind it.
- There are some logic holes here and there. Thankfully not much.
- Oddly enough, Kino's sex seems to be a "thing" in this reboot. I'm not sure why as it just seems off... Well I guess that's to be expected when most people seem to be really into finding out what genitalia a person has...and assuming that they would act differently based on certain preconceptions about their sex...
I'm still enjoying it for now because it's rare for a show to highlight corrupted humans and actually encourage getting rid of them. And I personally enjoy watching Kino in action XD. Hopefully the show continues to be decent.
Rating: Wanted to give 10, because it's rare and hard to find a show doing well when it comes to human nature and morality... but sadly there are some major logic flaws in some episodes... So it'll be a 9 for me.