Kino is a Traveler, a drifter who lives off the land. She
packs two pistols, and more knives than can be easily counted. She has no one for company but her sentient motorcycle Hermes. Together Kino and Hermes explore their world and the many unique cities and wonders it contains. The only rule Kino lives by is: Do not stay in one place for more than 3 days. For if Kino were to stop traveling, she would cease to be a Traveler.
Volume 1 of Kino's Journey, titled "Idle
Adventurer", comes in a standard white clamshell
case, but I am pleased to note that the nubs
holding the disk in are the best kind (the
yin-yang symbol that says press here). The DVD
cover is striking, showing a solemn Kino gazing
out at you, while behind her are strange symbols
on a black and blue background. The back cover
is also well done, and there's a small poem to
Nothing fancy here. The main menu shows Kino and
Hermes amongst blowing leaves, while scenes of
the countryside change in the background.
Submenus feature more shifting scenery. Load
times are nice and fast.
Crisp and clean, especially the 5.1
English track. Only at the beginning of
episode 3 where Kino whispers to herself
is there a need to up the volume a bit.
Both vocal casts put in strong
performances. I particularly liked
Cynthia Martinez's gruff Hermes. The
opening theme, "All the Way" by Mikuni
Shimokawa, is fantastic and has become
one of my favourite anime songs.
Unfortunately the ending, "The Beatiful
World" by Ai Maeda, doesn't quite
measure up. It's okay, but she should
stick to acting (and looking cute!)
A bit of a letdown when compared to the
wonderful cover art. Except for Kino,
character designs are a bit simplistic.
Colours have a slightly washed out
appearance. And if you look closely at
the screen you'll notice faint
horizontal lines. I thought there was
something wrong with my DVD, but
apparently these were put there by the
director to give a more aged feeling to
the visuals. Not really a big deal,
they're hard to see anyways. The
animation itself is surprisingly fluid.
The few action scenes are all nicely
done. And there is no recycled footage
or long, pointless pans.
The disk contains the standard ADV offering of
clean opening/closing, production art and
previews. Inside the cover, the insert opens up
to reveal a short story by Keiichi Shigusawa,
the author of the Kino's Journey series of
novels. A nice touch that sets the mood for the
Understandably, the fact that Kino and
Hermes stay no more than 3 days in any
country gives the series a very episodic
feel. Each country has its own unique
customs, some strange, others repulsive,
and Kino and Hermes discuss these and
try and fit them into their own
worldview. This is not a series that has
a clearly defined plot to track through
it. Rather, each episode seeks to raise
an issue and have the characters ponder
it. The first episode shows a country
where every person avoids human contact.
In the second episode Kino mulls over
how we should weigh life. The third
features a country whose people live
their lives by the prophecies of a book.
The fourth delves into Kino's own past.
Taken alone, each is an effective
exploration of a moral dilemna or a
commentary on humans in general.
Together they illustrate, as the series'
tagline states, that "The world is not
beautiful; therefore, it is."
A solid start to a very unique series. I enjoyed it,
but would advise you to first sample an episode or two
before rushing out to buy it. But if you're one who
welcomes a bit of philosophizing in your anime, then
here's the show for you.