This is a completely spoiler-free review, because I want you to enter totally virginal to this. Not a show to be spoiled.
"Every single person that watches a bird flying in the sky will feel immediate desire to travel"
"World isn't beautiful, therefore it is".
Sometimes, you find an anime that shows itself mysterious or with a vague argument, enough to make you wonder what will the series be like. If you are a Mushishi fan (like me), you will understand what I am saying. That strange feeling that surround the series enough to turn on your curiosity and watch it. Even when you're finally watching it, you don't really know what is going on. So well, prepare yourself for Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World; pack your luggage, take your route map and don't look back, 'cause we are going for an unforgettable trip.
As I've said in other reviews, Kino no Tabi is not a show for everyone. Most of the time, you'll find yourself inmersed in philosophic talks between Kino and some minor character. What makes this anime that special is not what it says but what it teaches. Every single chapter is the same: Kino, along with Hermes, the motorbike, visit a country. There, they stay for only three days, trying to understand how people live there.
Every single chapter may be the same, but it is always teaching new stories. It may seem very simple, but in fact is the perfect way to understand the human plurality in his own, and tell different stories thay may be completely opposite from each other. Even if it sounds boring, I can't believe how Sigsawa Keiichi managed to make every chapter that engaging and interesting, because it is always dragging you back to pay attention. Every character and country has his own particular of seeing life, his own tradition and his own philosophy. They may be correct, they may be wrong. What makes Kino no Tabi that awesome is the fact that we are a neutral spectator, along with Kino, who does not involve itself in what is happening. He is always apart from the action. He's no judge, he's only a traveler.
The art is what you might expect from a 2003 anime... Awesome! Well, not totally incredible (I gave this show a 9 in Art), but it has that brown shade in the animations and landscapes. Characters are designed in order to follow a normative canon: no extravagant hair colors or exhuberant bodies / vestments. The show has a way to use its clearly limited budget, and since it is not focused in fights or extreme movements, it fulfilled my expectations. It has a concrete art style (pretty much like Mushishi, but older).
Sound is envolving and, even if purposely discret, fill the gaps and is perfect for the show. Opening is great, a chill-calmed song that advances how the show will be. I think it's pretty difficult to explain how the sound is, so if you watched the show, I recommend you to watch it again but paying attention to the minimalist music scenes.
Character creation is simply beautiful in its own. Kino is such a complex character, with so many emotions, but still so calmed and badass when required. Kino is a friendly traveler that goes everywhere in his motorbike, Hermes. They are always encountering people that need help or want them to hear their story. Kino is heavily armed with some guns and it is pretty skilled with every single of them. When needed, Kino does not hesitate in using them and kill.
As I said earlier, Kino is an impartial narrator in the show. Kino does not judge anyone, and Kino does not decide whether something is right or wrong. Kino is interested in watching world, travelling and understanding how people live in society, but it is definately distanced from judging people. However, Kino is a human being, and it is shown by different emotions you'll see when watching it.
The rest of the characters are like a colorful bouquet of flowers (what the fuck Google Translate?). They are different, with different dreams, ideas or morality, and you are the one who has to say if they are right or wrong, but try to analyze what you are watching before forming any kind of judgement.
Kino no Tabi was an exciting trip and every chapter was like FUCK THIS IS AMAZING. I am looking forward to read the novel (which is currently being published, since 2000) because Kino is one of my favourite animes as well as one of my favourite characters. So, if you haven't watched this show, please do yourself a favour and enjoy this masterpiece.