Kino’s Journey — Anime Review

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4 stars
A young traveler on a talking motorcycle travels from place to place, never staying anywhere more than three days. Each new place has a story of its own. Sometimes the stories cast new light on earlier stories.

That sounds like any of several dozen American television shows, doesn’t it? But you aren’t likely to see stories like these on American TV. If Jonathan Swift were alive today (and living in Japan) he would probably be writing stories like these.

The story-telling in this show is first-rate. The stories are clever and ironic. Some are charming; others are funny in a very dark way and some are chilling. This is well worth watching for viewers of an appropriate age.

  • Original Title
    Kino no Tabi–the Beautiful World
  • Genres
    Fantasy, Adventure, Fables, Political Satire
  • Contents
    13 episodes on 4 DVDs (or 1 boxed set with 3 DVDs)
  • Languages
    Japanese with subtitles, English
  • Based on
    A series of light novels by Keiichi Shigusawa
  • Director
    Ryutaro Nakamurao
  • Animation
    Studio Wombat
  • Broadcast
    WOWOW, 2003
  • Region 1 Publisher

Parental Advisory

Some of these stories are totally unsuitable for young children. Any child under the age of ten who watches them will be very upset and will probably have nightmares.

The series contains no sex. There is a fair amount of violence but it is no more graphic than the narrative requires. It is the content of the stories themselves, rather than the way that they are presented, that is likely to be upsetting.

Teenagers, on the other hand, should be able to deal with the material without much difficulty, and will probably appreciate the fact that the protagonist is a resourceful and self-reliant teenager.

Premise and Characters

This will be a short section since there are only two continuing characters and I do not intend to discuss the individual stories.

The Beautiful WorldThe Beautiful World is a rather allegorical place that is comprised of a number of small, rather isolated countries. Travel between them is possible but often dangerous. Most people never leave their homelands and know little about other places. Travelers are greeted with curiosity and sometimes with hostility.

The level of technology is an odd mixture: in some ways more primitive than ours, but in other ways more advanced.

KinoKino, a young traveler with a mysterious past, hopes for the best…
Cleaning …but is prepared for the worst.
HermesHermes (ERUMESU) is a “motorad” (motorcycle) who is able to talk.
CampfireHe is a good friend and a loyal companion, though sometimes a bit obtuse.


Wikipedia entry (spoilers!)
Anime News Network
Review by Steven Den Beste