Hello and welcome to another episode of Kino’s Journey. I’m sorry for the late review this week- the traffic was really bad so I arrived late to the country of Episode 10! But I’m here now and ready to bring you my thoughts on one of the most emotional episodes!
Japanese title: 優しい国
Kino decides to visit a country which has a reputation for being very rude to travelers. However, this only serves to pique Kino’s interest and she decides to go to the country for a visit. After requesting to stay for the usual three days and two nights, she finds that the townspeople are being unusually friendly to her. Is this the same country she had heard about, the one where the citizens are unkind to the people staying there?
In this episode, we see the story behind Kino’s gun known as the Woodsman. This means that this episode is set sometime before some of the other episodes. We can assume that there is a connection between the gunsmith and Kino’s master (perhaps he was one of her disciples at one point?). I like how everything comes together in Kino’s Journey, and it makes me want to learn about Master even more.
One More Time
This episode was heart-wrenching. The entire town was destroyed by a volcanic eruption with the townspeople having already accepted their fate. If you think back on the actions of the people, things make a lot of sense. For example, the reason that the couple ended up marrying so young; the enthusiasm the gunsmith had for teaching Kino how to handle the Woodsman and the fact that he asked for no payment; the reason the townspeople were reflecting on their history; the fact that Sakura’s parents suggested she become a traveler; the advice the townspeople gave to Kino on which way to travel and where to rest after leaving, and so on. The fact that they knew of their fate and were still able to accept Kino and Hermes with smiles on their faces was quite bittersweet.
This episode was set in the autumn, and the cinematography used a lot of autumn colors. The opening sequence with Kino traveling through the woods was absolutely stunning and showed that there IS merit to making a 2017 version of a beloved 2003 anime. The muted browns and oranges of the town made Kino’s green eyes absolutely pop and added to her cuteness, especially when she was enjoying herself.
When Sakura is talking about her name, Kino mentions, ‘I thought something along the same lines myself’. There is a lot of meaning behind this and her line ‘it’s not something I can explain’, but perhaps we will find out more about this in the following episodes after we learn of Kino’s origin. I watched the same scene in the 2003 version too (I have only watched this particular episode). The first anime portrays this scene at a much faster pace, and we see the expression on Kino’s face soften as the sun shines into the camera. In the 2017 version, however, the pacing is much slower and we see only into Kino’s left eye, with no indication as to her expression. I think both portrayals of this scene have their charms, and I don’t prefer one over the other. However, I feel the 2017 version had a lot more impact.
After reading the note from Sakura’s mother, Kino spoke honestly to Hermes. She said that she actually felt relieved that Sakura had not come with her, as it would have been too much trouble. Although this sounds awful, I think most people, somewhere deep in their hearts, may have thought something like that. Kino is not Shizu. She and Hermes travel alone. The way this was delivered by Kino’s voice actress was absolutely spot on. There was so much pain in her voice. Not the pain from the destruction of the town, but pain towards herself. After she receives the seed from Sakura, Kino does something extremely rare: she almost cries. This is the part of the episode that almost brought tears to my eyes.
Kino is Sakura
If you have seen the 2003 anime adaptation of Kino’s Journey, then you may know the character Sakura from Episode 13. She had a very cute, childish voice. Well…that’s Kino! Sakura in the 2003 anime was voiced by Aoi Yuki, who voices Kino in the current series!! That was Aoi Yuki’s anime debut, and she was only around 11 years old at the time. To think that she would eventually become Kino, and for her voice to develop so much is quite amazing. It made the scene with Sakura’s parents asking her if she wanted to take some time traveling even more poignant.
Until our next journey
This episode was visually one of the most beautiful to watch so far. After the silly episode last week, I was not surprised that Episode 10 was something so serious.
The fact that the townspeople were rude to travelers was the truth. It wasn’t even in a way to stop travellers from getting hurt in the upcoming eruption. They were just rude. That is why many of the townspeople made an effort to be so nice to Kino, to make up for their actions before leaving the world. The townspeople were very charming in the episode, but I do wonder how they made the previous travelers feel. Sakura’s mother even said she wondered if it were some kind of retribution for their actions. As the Japanese would say, omotenashi (hospitality) is important!
I hear that the next episode, Country of Adults, will cover the story of why Kino became a traveler. I can’t wait!
Next Episode: Country of Adults
Kino’s Journey The Beautiful World – The Animated Series