Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- the Animated Series is the 2017 adaptation of its 2003 predecessor Kino’s Journey. As someone who has never seen the 2003 Kino’s Journey, I went into the 2017 adaptation with a clean slate. With that being said; I will not be able to compare the two versions since I haven’t even seen the 2003 one. The review will also be spoiler free so you can experience each episode to its fullest. What is also worth mentioning is that you DO NOT need to have watched the 2003 series to understand the 2017 adaptation I will be reviewing.
Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- the Animated Series is an episodic anime which follows Kino, an adventurer who travels the world on her talking motorcycle, Hermes. Their adventures consist of traveling the world, stopping by different countries and staying at them three days at a time. Each country is set apart from one another due to their vastly different cultures and laws making each of them very unique.
While Kino visits each country, she goes around talking to the civilians asking about what it’s like to live in that specific country. From the responses Kino receives, you will then get an understanding of what the message of the episode will be.
There are also episodes dedicated to specific characters and their backstories. For instance; Kino will have her very own episode dedicated to fleshing out her backstory. There are a few episodes that are dedicated to supporting characters who could arguably be main characters. Due to them only being included in one or two episodes, I will not be considering them as such. Plus to avoid spoilers I will not mention these characters and their stories.
As I previously stated from the last paragraph; I will only be covering Kino and Hermes to avoid spoiling the character development of the other characters in the series. If I were to mention anything more it’d ruin the fun of making connections from character to character which could end up ruining entire episodes.
Kino is a fifteen or sixteen-year-old traveler who finds enjoyment by traveling the world and meeting know people. She is a friendly and caring person which is shown through both her actions and expressions. She travels from country to country experiencing their culture and discovering what they are all about. Though as a rule, she never stays longer than three days because she is “afraid of settling down”.
Kino is also a very skilled gunslinger with incredible speed and skill. She is equipped with two persuaders. “Cannon”, which is a six-shooter revolver and “Woodsman”, a semi-auto persuader. Even though Kino is nothing less than a master in combat, she prefers to settle conflicts as civilly and humanely as possible.
Kino is a very mysterious character. Up until one of the final episodes, we learn nothing about her past. Sure, we learn about how Kino handles situations, how skilled she is in combat, and etc. But we don’t actually learn about her backstory until one of the last episodes (which is incredible).
With this being said, she is a very strong character. She is deep on an entirely new level. In the first four minutes of episode one, Kino gives a very deep but cryptic speech which gives us enough information on why Kino is traveling and what her mindset behind the world is. The speech tells us that she doesn’t travel to change the world but she travels instead to experience the world for herself. And though there may be a beauty to be had, there is also beauty in the imperfections of the world that makes the world truly beautiful.
Hermes is a talking motorcycle… that’s really all you NEED to know about him but for the sake of me including him as Kino’s partner, I’ll go in depth into him.
Hermes surprisingly serves a key purpose in the anime. Sure he can complain at times to serve as comic relief, but he really is much more than a supporting character. Without Hermes, Kino wouldn’t have anyone to express her innermost feelings and thoughts to. Though this seems minor, Kino would be nothing without Hermes. These two are like cogs in a machine. Without one of them, the other one can’t function properly. This is best described when Hermes explains that a Motorrad provides the speed but the rider provides the direction and balance.
Aside from Hermes being an essential character, he is a very kind and loyal companion to Kino. He doesn’t add much to the anime on the surface, but when you dive into his character, he is just as important as Kino.
Art, Animation, and Sound
The world in Kino’s Journey is an incredibly beautiful one. Though it isn’t next generation or award-winning, the visuals from scenes can be extremely gorgeous. Even the countries that are less civilized are drawn perfectly to create the atmosphere needed for the episode. Overall – the art style is best put as modernized which in result makes the anime visually pleasing.
When it comes to animation, the scenes where Kino is riding her motorcycle can be slightly choppy. It isn’t an experience breaker at all, but it is definitely noticeable if you are trying to find its animation flaws. Other than that, the animation in fights are smooth and visually pleasing. So no major complaints at all. If you’re picky about animations and style, you will not be disappointed with what this anime has to offer.
Last but not least sound! The atmosphere in this anime is nothing without its music. When a setting and atmosphere needs to be set, the music will match it very well. In addition, the voice acting by all characters were well done and I didn’t find myself put off by any of them.
While I’m on the topic of sound, the opening and ending credits music is absolutely beautiful! Nagi Yanagi is the singer to thank for creating such masterpieces. I’ll make sure to link where you can find the ending credits. As of now, Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- the Animated Series has my favorite ending credits ever. I for one have watched the ending credits every single time through to the end due to how beautiful it is.
I for one love this anime and believe it is truly underrated. It is constantly being compared to its 2003 predecessor Kino’s Journey which I feel is unfair since this 2017 adaptation is a masterpiece in its own right. Sure, the character development isn’t the main focus of the anime but the way each episode leaves you with a different and deep message from episode to episode is utterly breathtaking. If you’re on the fence deciding whether to watch it or not, I highly recommend you do. I can’t give this a perfect score since it has flaws here and there, but the flaws aren’t major in any way that would take away from your experience. I have rewatched this series twice and I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself rewatching it for the third time in the future.
Kino's Journey -The Beautiful World- the Animated Series
With Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- the Animated Series having to fill it’s 2003 predecessor’s shoes, it managed to create its own unique and enjoyable 12 episode series. Each episode is an excellent experience and a joy to watch. The character development isn’t where the anime shines and it knows that. Instead, it shines in the message of each episode leaving the viewer to contemplate each episode’s deep and powerful message.