Review: Kino’s JourneyPosted: June 20, 2011
Anime: Kino’s Journey
Animation Studio: Studio Wombat
Number of Episodes: 13
Length per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes
Having watched so many shows recently that were your standard otaku-pandering deal, it was nice to wind back the clock and watch a show that didn’t need to rely on overly-cute girls with extreme rack sizes (on either side of the spectrum). Plus, Kino’s Journey is a show that makes you think, which I love.
Oh, and before I start, you might have noticed that I have now added a banner to the site (that is, if everything goes according to keikaku). I actually have multiple banners thanks to the awesome Marina and Nadja, and they’re randomized for whenever you load a page. However, I’m turning my laptop off the second I’m done writing this (IT’S TOO HOT), so I can’t check that everything is running properly.
Kino’s Journey has no real plot to speak of. I mean, yes, each episode has its own story, but there’s no real overarching plot to speak of other than, “Kino journeys to places.” There’s only one exception where a story spans for two episodes, but that’s the only one. Each episode is standalone and doesn’t need any information from previous episodes to understand (except for a few tidbits about Kino which get revealed over time).
Each episode is essentially an allegory. There’s usually a dominant societal or political message in each one, but there are also many, many more messages to be deciphered from what goes on in each episode.
What gets me most about the show is the fact that it was made back in 2003, yet nearly all of the messages are still applicable to the world today. In fact, it’s pretty funny that I watched the show recently, given what one of the plots was about.
For an example of what I was saying earlier about messages, this episode’s main point was on the harms of religion (or, maybe more accurately, blind faith), but other messages included: not realizing what you have until you lose it, how emotions (especially sorrow) are contagious, and how blind faith can turn one thing into something else entirely.
Those are all pretty basic messages, but they’re thrown in so tactfully, that you won’t be able to see them all if you don’t think about it. Occasionally the show will also somewhat break the boundaries of realism (even by the show’s standards), but it’s always to make a point or deliver a message.
Also, I was reading threads on the episodes, and people occasionally got mad at Kino. This is because for the show, Kino plays the role of the observer. It’s not Kino’s job to fix people’s lives or anything of the sort. In fact, there’s only one time when Kino breaks from the observation role and does something to directly affect a country. Any of the other times Kino does something to someone, it’s in self-defense.
Well that was a decently short review. But the show really is something that should be experienced, rather than read about. Kino’s Journey is an instant classic, and if you like thinking, especially philosophically or politically, there’s no reason you shouldn’t watch this show.
RATING: 10 out of 10.