By Erika Suarez
Kino’s Journey is a show you might miss through the list of anime on Crunchyroll and I’m glad I gave it a chance when I was hesitant in scrolling past it. This anime is about a traveler and her motorbike companion, Hermes. Through their vast adventure, they visit various countries that hold memorable stories and sudden tragedies that reels you into the show.
Kino comes off as unexpressive with no life, but her personality slowly unfolds throughout the season and we are given clarity on the character when her backstory is revealed. Hermes and Kino make a great duo and you will find yourself giggling at sudden moments. One occasion Kino is cornered by a herd of fighting sheep and leaves Hermes behind to escape. She returns to rescue Hermes and the episode turns into a sheep-killing spree that was surprisingly hilarious. Many sheep were blown up and shot and later in the episode Kino arrives in a country where they ask if she’s seen a herd of sheep on the way because they once belonged to the country and set them free. Unfortunately, they all died. The wild sheep got what was coming.
Most of the stories hold despair and is uplifted in its own way. A story that stuck with me was about a young slave girl that is filled with a lot of hope and faith. Her own people sold her to a group of travelers who were very cruel to her but it didn’t stop her from becoming a hateful person with vengeance and grudge. At a stop, the travelers sit to eat while the girl is chained in a far corner and realizes what they are about to eat contains a poisonous herb. It was too late, and all the travelers died while one was still hanging on. The slave girl speaks with the remaining traveler and wishes to die because she could have prevented the whole incident and felt deep melancholy. Believing that the traveler would help kill her, he kills himself instead. After this tragedy, it forwards to her future where she becomes a photographer and is living life graciously. There is more meaning behind this story, but it's up to the audience on how they want to interpret it.
A few more characters are introduced named Shizu, a swordsman and his adorable white dog Riku. They have their own story going on and at times they come across Kino in their journey and it makes these two very distant and forgetful in the show. We know very little about them, but they have a lot of potential in becoming likable characters for the second season. I assume they’ll elaborate on the swordsman's history when he was once a prince. During their journey a little girl named Ti joins Shizu and Riku on their search for a country they can settle in. Ti’s background is saddening and she doesn’t say much, but it's the little things that we like about her, such as her habit of sleeping with a grenade in her hand and stepping on her own shadow for fun.
While the characters in the show are a bit bland, they do have some pleasant moments. The stories that are shared in every country Kino visits makes the show interesting to watch. It keeps you reeled in and curious about the next episode. I don’t think it's a show for everyone but it's worth giving it a chance and stepping off the grand shonen action.
Kino’s Journey: A Beautiful World- The Animated Series
Writer: Keiichi Sigsawa
Director: Tomohisa Taniguchi