Just as a word of forwarning, if you are looking for an anime with a developed plot that stretches through the entire series, then I would recommend you look to another anime than Kino's Journey. However, if you are looking for a charming, thought provoking anime, then you have found a great anime for that. Kino's Journey is a slow-paced anime, because the story is the only thing that doesn't move. However it does not need to have a developed plot. Kino's Journey has enough charm to suffice for the lack of developed plot. Kino's Journey can be viewed one episode at a time, and it is not entirely important that you remember every last detail of the previous episode in order to enjoy the next episode. Kino's Journey is not short on charm, and thats what makes it entertaining. One gets a greater entertainment value from the little things that occur where ever Kino finds herself. One of my favorite episodes was the one that featured the three lone railroad workers who had been working alone for fifty years because the railroad company never told them to stop working. The charming thing about this was that the second railroad worker made the first railroad workers job meaningless, which the third railroad worker did to the second one. Its little charming stories like that one that make Kino's Journey entertaining. That being said, most of the episodes have their own little plots, which in most cases were highly predictable. Like in the second episode, I knew that the traders would betray Kino about 8 minutes into the episode and I had to wait until the end to actually see it happen. The fourth episode did the same thing to me when I was able to predict at the begining of the episode that the original Kino would die, and the little girl in the town would take his place. There were several instances like that throughout Kino's Journey. But most of the time, Kino's Journey was able to make up for the predictablility by sheer charm alone. All in all, Kino's Journey is a very charming anime, but has little plot, and its highly predictable, yet I still found it entertaining.
The animation of Kino's Journey is rather plain and boring. This is not an anime that one watches for oogling at the art. That is simply not the point. I found that a lot of the minor characters, which are more important to the story than most other animes, to have real lack-luster designs. The animation is pretty bland and boring, and is nothing really spectacular, but it isnt bad either. The animation in Kino's Journey is like bread, its ok, but it is greatly improved by toasting it and spreading on jam. The art is neither good nor bad.
When you have only two main characters, you have to make sure that you do a good job, which I am pleased to say, Kino's Journey's main characters are great. There is not so much in the way of character development, with really only one episode where you get any backstory about the two characters. However Both Kino and Hermes are very good characters. Kino is wise and calm, and does a lot of thinking, which is something usual pre-pubescent teens aren't know for. Yet she is a total badass when it comes to fighting, and can make her opponents surrender before she has to kill them. Hermes provides Kino with someone to talk to, which without the audience would go, WTF, and would stop watching. Without Hermes, we get no idea of what is going on in Kino's mind. Hermes asks all the questions that the audience has. The minor characters are also charming and rather lovable. For some characters you are sad to have to say goodbye to them, because you get attached to them in the episode.
Kino's Journey is an anime that knows what its good at, and it can compensate for the stuff they aren't good at pretty well. This anime did not make me go "Holy sh*t, this anime is awesome", but rather, it made me think, and it entertained me. Kino's Journey is not for everyone, due to its slow pace and lask of developed plot, but if you think that Kino's Journey might be a good watch, then I encourage you to take a look at it. I can assure you that Kino's Journey's charm will make it worth while.
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