Hello, everybody! This is Jennifer and I will be guiding you on a journey this season. Unfortunately, I don’t have a talking motorbike but I’ll do my best! The series I’ll be heading up this season is Kino’s Journey – The Beautiful World-, based on the series of novels by Keiichi Sigsawa.
Now, I must make an important disclaimer before I start and that is that I am completely new to Kino’s Journey. I have read neither the novels nor the manga adaptations, and I did not see the previous anime adaptations. That means that any references to them will fly over my head. If there are any hardcore Kino’s Journey fans in the audience, I apologize in advance.
So let’s set off, shall we?
I can stop anytime I want. So I want to keep going.
Japanese title: 人を殺すことができる国
Teenage girl Kino travels around the world with a talking motorcycle named Hermes. Kino’s rule is that she only stays 2 nights and 3 days in each country. This time, the two of them visit a country where killing other people is not against the law.
The animation so far is pretty nice and is not so overbearing that it distracts from the story. The character designs for this series differ from the previous ones, with Ryoko Amisaki (Danganronpa 3) heading up the character designs. Kino has lost the spiky hair of previous designs and has a cool, smooth hairstyle that I feel fits perfectly with her cool personality. No complaints. What some people are likely to complain about, however, is the addition of CGI elements. Now, I’m pretty used to CGI in anime these days, and the CGI animation in Kino’s Journey is actually pretty nice. However, what REALLY is annoying is how the CGI elements seem to have a MUCH lower frame rate than the rest of the animation, making it difficult to watch. If only that were fixed it would fit pretty smoothly into the anime.
So I admit guys, I’m a complete voice actor obsessive. THIS is the reason my interest in this series was piqued in the first place. Aoi Yuki is one of my absolute favorite female voice actors and I KNEW she was absolutely going to nail this. From her main character debut as the sweet Madoka Kaname in Puella Magi Madoka Magica to the insanity that was Tanya in Youjo Senki: The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Aoi Yuki has a very impressive vocal range. However, she very rarely voices male characters so I had no idea how she would sound voicing the extremely androgynous Kino. Thankfully, I was blown away once again by Yuki’s outstanding talent.
Accompanying Kino on her journeys is Hermes, voiced by Soma Saito. Anybody that read my first Katsugeki Touken Ranbu review will already know that I’m a big fan of his. If I could sum up his Hermes performance in emojis it would be the okay signs and lots of fire symbols. It’s just that good. As I mentioned above, I am a Kino’s Journey virgin and actually had no idea what Hermes is like. I was kind of expecting Knight Rider Mk II. With no facial expressions, the only way Hermes’ personality can be expressed is through dialogue. Saito has done a fantastic job with this. Right from the very first line, I was surprised that Hermes actually has a dry (in a cute way) personality. Every single syllable is carefully crafted to bring out that personality, which is especially important due to him having no face!
I’m also looking forward how future characters will be played, especially Shizu as he will be voiced by ‘handsome voice actor’ (that’s actually what he calls himself) Yuichiro Umehara (Spoiler alert: that man has a GORGEOUS voice).
The soundtrack so far is beautiful in its simplicity. Even during the more tense scenes at the end, the soundtrack often only consisted of one instrument, such as a piano or organ. Disturbing yet…relaxing? I never thought I would say those two words together.
Pancakes and Tea
After watching this episode I got a craving for crepe millefeuille and a cup of tea. Of course, I love how beautiful it looked, but more than that, I enjoyed the look of satisfaction on Kino’s face after she had finished off her plate. The unexpectedness of such a beautiful dessert in a country where killing other people is not against the law just makes it seem that much more delicious. The guy at the end of the episode mentioning the crepes was also pretty cute.
The moral of the story is…
Just because something is not prohibited doesn’t mean it’s permitted. Killing people in the country is not against the law, but that doesn’t mean that killing is okay. Killing is used as punishment for those who try to kill others. Basically, capital punishment taken into the citizens’ own hands. Are morals something that is only dictated by what we are told we can and cannot do?
Look, there’s a man with a horse
Before and after entering the country, Kino comes across a man with a horse. The first man comes from a country of order and wishes to be able to kill. The second man comes from a country of chaos and seeks a country of peace. Both of them hope to live in the country where you can kill people. Of course, it is the guy who does NOT want to kill anybody anymore who can find happiness, as in ‘the country where you can kill’, you yourself will be cut down before you can murder others. I wish him luck in his new home.
Why don’t you settle down?
The episode begins with Kino answering why she travels. The episode closed with Hermes answering the question. I really enjoyed this scene being split into two and shown in the reverse order.
Until our next journey
The first episode of Kino’s Journey was a delight and it gave me a glimpse into the world that Kino travels across. Having only seen one country, I have no idea of what kind of variety is yet to come. Luckily, Kino and Hermes are such a great combo that I’m sure I will enjoy watching their stories wherever they will find themselves. The simplicity of the format, the visuals, and the soundtrack allowed me the think more on the subtleties of the actions and dialogue. I may be lacking a motorrad but I hope you will continue this journey with me for the rest of the season.
Next Episode: Colosseum
Kino’s Journey The Beautiful World – The Animated Series