Ok, so this will be my first review for MAL. I've written for other resources but haven't done so for a while, so bear with me.
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.
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Synonyms: Kino's Travels: The Beautiful World
Japanese: キノの旅 -the Beautiful World-
English: Kino's Journey
German: Kino's Journey
Spanish: Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World
French: L'Odyssée de Kino
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 8, 2003 to Jul 8, 2003
Premiered: Spring 2003
Broadcast: Tuesdays at 18:30 (JST)
Source: Light novel
Duration: 24 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
Score: 8.291 (scored by 8821488,214 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.