Being a raving Mushishi fangirl, countless people have told me that I should really check out Kino's Journey as they have a similar feel to them. Thinking that it sounded good and having read many a recommendations for it with my favourite series plus discovering that it has a cluster of highly scored site reviews, I finally thought that I'd give it a go.
After watching the first episode, I wasn’t entirely captivated, but after the second I was convinced that not only had I made the right choice in watching it, but that the money I spent on the DVD was well worth it. Kino’s Journey is, without a doubt, one of the most thought-provoking series that I’ve watched; as such, it’s not really light or easy watching. The series’ examines each facet of human nature from slavery and oppression to hard work and dreams. Throughout all of this, Kino remains a constant observer, never really interfering with what she sees – no matter how twisted or wrong the situation. While this detachment may make her appear heartless, in relation to the show itself, it really enhances the philosophical nature. As Kino travels with her companion – Hermes the talking motorrad – the pair acts as proxy for the viewer’s moral wonderings – is it right to help them, why didn’t you do anything, how could you just walk away?
As its weakest aspect, I feel the animation lets the anime down a little. Don’t get me wrong, the visual quality of the series isn’t bad by any stretch, but it’s not particularly spectacular either. However, the subtlety of the colour palette and the simplicity compliments the narrative well.
Kino’s Journey’s soundtrack proves that sometimes less is more. With decent opening and ending themes sandwiching a rather scant score, the series needs no more than the minimal background music that it uses and the melodies that are present encapsulate the tone of each scene perfectly.
Extreme censorship, warped ideals and gladiatorial bouts are but some of the things that await you when watching Kino’s Journey. If you want a series that makes you think then I couldn’t recommend this show more, and I defy anyone who doesn’t feel something when watching episode four.