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Kino's Journey Review

by: sothis
January 2, 2005

story 10/10

Kino Kino no Tabi is completely episodic, with each episode (or two episodes) based on a new country and its culture. In general, the tone is remarkably dark, usually prompting at least one "wow" from your lips for most of the episodes. To be as non-spoilerish as possible, let's just say that each one deals with cultural differences that would be considered shocking in some instances, and merely melancholy in others. In general, the series has a remarkably deep and philosophical tone, with lots of undertones that are easily missed. Thus, if you watch this, you need to dedicate your full attention to it. At first, the story might seem fairly boring and drab due to the incredibly slow pacing of each arc, and the subject matter. Needless to say each story usually ends up grabbing your attention anyways, given how dark it is. I've never seen anything like Kino no Tabi, to be honest. Each story is so incredibly heavy and at times sad, but at the same time is so compelling. I think it also helps to teach us that cultural differences aren't always necessarily "weird" or "strange", just different, even if we might think the thing in question is shocking or unhead of.

I can't in good conscience give the story any less than a 10. Each episode is unique and very moving in its own way, though you definitely will have your own favorites.

animation 8/10

Beautiful and simplistic, reminded me a lot of Jing as far as the shading used. Colors were primarily dark browns, blacks, and earthy colors, which fit the tone VERY well. Other colors was used more as a symbolic point, for certain towns that were seemingly happy, etc. No CG or anything of the sort. In general, wonderful, yet simple animation and character designs.

sound 6/10

This is the only category that will get lesser marks from me. The music is generally non-existant, with the intro being a somewhat jazzy guitar song with light vocals. The introduction to each episode is simply a male voice making a sound. Nothing to rave about or remember. Voice actors were chosen well, however. I especially enjoyed Hermes' choice of voice, a rather quirky, but friendly tone. Kino manages to stay completely genderless throughout the entire series as far as the voice goes, which is good, considering one of the mysteries of the series IS Kino's gender.

characters 10/10

Now, granted, characters are not developed much throughout the entire series. Kino is somewhat of a mystery, though the past is explained over the course of the series indeed. Hermes is the other main character, as he travels with Kino throughout the entire story. He's a talking motor bike, and his past is explained as well, giving him a sort of depth that most of the other characters in each episode don't have.

In general, the characters in each episode are incredibly deep as far as their societal values, ulterior motives, and reasons for doing things. Like I said in the story section, each story will probably shock you in some way, and the characters are the true base of that. You'll find that after only 10 or 15 minutes, the same people you thought you had gotten to know, turn out to be entirely different when something happens in their society. Your emotions towards them can go from empathetic to anger in a matter of seconds.

10 might seem like a high score for characters in an episodic series, but I feel it's deserved. Unlike some series where the point is to watch a few characters evolve over the course of the anime, Kino no Tabi instead focuses on exploring the minds and thoughts of many seperate individuals who are very set in their cultural ways. Each set of characters is incredibly deep and thought provoking, hence the perfect score in this category.

overall 9/10

A very, very intelligent and fantastic show that everyone should view. Then again, if you need nonstop action and plot, this wouldn't be a show for you. You must appreciate intelligent, deep plots which take a bit of thinking. Kino no Tabi could be watched a few episodes at a time, in between other series, or enjoyed all at once. As far as rewatchability, I probably wouldn't rewatch the series from beginning to end again, simply because it's episodic and I don't have to. But the episodes I really enjoyed, I'd definitely watch again. Even if the punchline is known already, it still would be a very good, sometimes disturbing watch, and I'd gladly do it again. I definitely think this is a great watch, and you should try it out.

Anime Info

In another world, there exist many countries, each with different cultures, customs, and traditions. From technological marvels to folk legends, each location yields a vast wealth of insight of its people: their hopes and their dreams, their failures and fears. Kino is a traveler whose goal is to visit as many new places as possible, learning about others' ways of life, but also making sure to stay clear of their affairs. Together with the talking motorrad Hermes, Kino sets out to explore the beautiful world and meet its inhabitants, wherever they may be.

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About the Author

sothis's avatar


My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

More Reviews


ElyOfIce avatar ElyOfIce
Nov 14, 2012

THERE IS A SHOW FOR THIS?? Wow! I have only read the novel, I must watch this now!

xXLightSerenityXx avatar xXLightSerenityXx
Jan 22, 2012

Thank you because of this review I started watching this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. I fully agree with your review and I'm definitely glad I gave it a try. I will definitely look out for your reviews.

algiuxas avatar algiuxas
Nov 25, 2011

I must agree with you. This show was fantastic and very much refreshing. I highly recommend this for everyone to watch!

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