Hello fellow travellers and welcome to a new episode of Kino’s Journey – A Beautiful World. In this episode, we follow Shizu, a beautiful man with a beautiful voice and a beautiful heart (I may as well declare my undying love for Shizu-sama right now.) We also see more of his Samoyed companion Riku and get introduced to Ti on board the ship country.
Japanese Title: 船の国
Shizu and Riku decide to enter the ship country so that they can cross the sea. After entering the country, they are given the choice to manage the people or work among them. Shizu chooses the latter, and spends the next few days with the general population. However, the ship people have lived on their whole lives is breaking down and Shizu decides that he needs to take the safety of the people into his own hands.
HIghlights and Trivia
Riku is a Good Boy
Riku is a Samoyed, a huge, fluffy white breed of dog and super cute! His little movements in this episode brought that little bit of much-needed cuteness to the episode. My favorite bit was during the scene when Ti follows Shizu despite him telling her to stay in the room, and Riku just keeps looking back and forth between the two of them. I also liked the shot where you could just see Riku’s wagging tail at the bottom of the screen. So fluffy! A tiny but important scene was near the beginning of the episode, when Shizu ate the fish he was offered. The citizen said that he was old and had lived a long life, and when he mentions his age (he was actually only 55, meaning the average life expectancy on the ship is quite low), Shizu is shocked. Notice that Riku’s ears also perked up at this. You’re such a good boy, Riku. Let me give you belly scratches right now.
We Can’t Have Kino’s Journey Without Kino!
Although this episode is based on a story that takes place from Shizu’s perspective, we can’t have an episode without the titular character. Not only does she appear and show us once again her almost inhuman marksmanship, but the episode actually ends with her and Hermes continuing their journey.
Of course, Aoi Yuki and Yuichiro Umehara are doing fantastic jobs as Kino and Shizu, but I want you to take a moment of your time to notice the absolutely amazing performance given by Soma Saito as Hermes. It’s a little hard to catch if you don’t speak Japanese, but the way Soma performs Hermes’ lines is almost eerie. It’s important to realise that almost EVERYTHING Hermes says is given in a very matter-of-fact manner. It’s a very difficult performance to land and Saito absolutely nails it. It was especially prominent in this episode, when he was explaining who Ti was.. He was talking about such a horrific past in such a casual and breezy manner. Without Saito’s perfect landing of these lines, Hermes could have come across as overly human or even almost evil. Absolutely outstanding.
We’re Fine. This is Fine.
There are many ways to interpret this episode. One aspect that really hit home for me was when Shizu led the ship to land and the inhabitants responded with ‘there is no way this ship could sink after floating for all these years’. We have Shizu, who has clocked on that the ship will not keep floating forever, and the people, who live in the ignorance that ‘it hasn’t sunk before so what’s the problem’. Unfortunately, this is a very common, and poisonous, way of thinking. We may have all been guilty of thinking like this, but in the case of the citizens of the ship country, it is eventually going to lead to all of their deaths. However, we cannot say that Shizu is completely in the right. He just blindly sees ‘these people will die. These people are being controlled. These people have no future. I must free them’. He didn’t even think about the fact that none of the people have lived on land before, nor have the the means to protect themselves from invading countries should they come. Shizu has his own idea of what freedom and happiness is, and he was proactive about forcing those beliefs on others, even though his intentions were good.
I wonder if the AI from the ship disappeared of it is still there, because with nobody to govern them, the country will certainly descend into chaos.
Until Our Next Journey
Although I have not read the source material, I get the feeling that a lot had to be cut out in order to fit the story into one episode. I think the episode did a fantastic job, as I felt the gradual bond fond forming between Shizu and Ti. The complete 180 turn from her stabbing Shizu and wanting to kill herself with him surprisingly did not feel awkward, because despite her stoic attitude, I could feel everything happening in Ti’s heart. This episode has actually piqued my interest in reading the novel so I can read about the story of the ship country in more detail. Now if only we could convince Yuichiro Umehara to record the series as audiobooks…