Series Review: Kino's Journey - The Beautiful World

I don't believe I've seen anything quite like Kino no Tabi. I don't really consider adventure as a genre, so I'll say that it's best described as a cross between a slice-of-life and and a drama, yet the series doesn't really have the defining traits of either genre. Despite what the name suggests, the stories told in each episodes are all pretty dark, which is atypical of a slice-of-life. Within two or three episodes I've come to expect a tragic element or ending to each story, which turns out to be true for all of the episodes. And while the story can be considered dramatic in some sense, there is usually very little involvement from our protagonist, Kino. One could say that the series could be considered "psychological", but I think the creators wasn't trying to go beyond "thought-provoking".

And thought-provoking it is. Kino's relatively emotionless demeanor towards everything makes it easier to appreciate and understand the world the creator envisioned. Every place that Kino has stopped by, may be it a house, village or city, has its own story, circumstances and particular situation that gives it its own unique character. And it forces you to compare it with a situation in real life, and makes think about how it could have happened, the consequences it would have in real life, and your personal reaction to such a situation. Kino's character is also food for thought. The often tragic situations often makes me wish I could something about it, but Kino's reaction often contrasts sharply with what most of the audience would want; which is to do nothing. That, ironically, is what makes Kino a unique personality, and it makes you scrutinize her character and question her perspective.

That's about everything that sums up Kino no Tabi. The series is kind of a avant-grade type that intentionally uses the anime medium differently, and perhaps seeks a different kind of audience. There is no moé, no gar, no supernatural, our protagonist barely looks like a girl, and our other main character is an inanimate motorcycle that can talk. The animation quality is depressing and dull, but perhaps they wanted it that way. The songs itself are beautiful and fits the series well, although the optimistic tune contrasts with the depressing mood of the story.

Kino no Tabi is of high value, but little enjoyment value to me. Stuff like these aren't really new to me anymore, so it isn't all that "thought-provoking". The series is especially worth it if you like to try all kinds of genre, which I used to, but KnT no longer belongs to the kind of titles I'm looking for anymore.

Plot/Concept: Excellent!
Story Style: Good
Audio/Visual: Fair
Value: 8

Check out Mike's recent review on the same show