Well, this is a nice bit of middle ground.
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series
(Kin’s Journey: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series)
Studio: EGG Firm
Genre: Adventure, Slice of Life
Right off the bat, it’s apparent to me that this is going to be the make-or-break point for most people. If you want a Kino that takes the outside-looking-in perspective, episode 1 was for you. If you wanted a Kino that takes a little initiative, then episode 2 is the one you want. This episode? This one was pretty squarely in the middle. For the majority of it, Kino doesn’t do much, aside from learning about the new country she’s found herself in. But come the episode’s… “climax,” she’s back to showing exactly what makes her so interesting on her own – her ability to get things done when she feels like it.
The setup for the episode was actually pretty interesting if you’ve been paying attention. It was established that Kino only spends three days in any country, as that was the perfect amount of time to get to know the place. Would that be true in real life? Probably not, but the countries in this world seem to be far more akin to large cities than anything. Point is, so far they don’t seem to be all that large. Case in point, the country featured in this episode. It’s a mobile country – essentially a city on wheels. The thing that makes this interesting is that here Kino decides to stay for five to ten days. And when you discover the reason why, at the end of the episode, you’ll probably be left with the exact same response as myself.
That aside, the episode is fairly slow as was the first. But like the first, it works largely because of audience expectation, and atmosphere. The place was immediately established as being incredibly nice. It was clean, had plenty of amenities, and a generally nice community. There wasn’t a sense of paranoia within the setting, itself, like in the first episode. The paranoia came from expecting things to suddenly get dreary because of the way the previous two episodes went. And there wasn’t an overwhelming feeling of hostility, as with the most recent episode. Basically, the setting seemed almost too nice. And when the one most significant flaw in the place is pointed out, it isn’t taken quite to where one might expect. So what is the payoff? Unexpected. Certainly unexpected.
Something that was particularly interesting about the episode was the way it painted the actual conflict, once that conflict was introduced. Audiences might look at one situation and think one thing about what’s happening. However, the episode does that thing where it introduces another perspective on the issue and rather than taking the side, allows the audience to come to their own conclusion. It doesn’t waste any time on the semantics of whether Kino’s actions were right or wrong. Instead, it leaves everything open. I can appreciate that in a series like this.
You don’t learn a terrible lot about Kino in this particular episode. We don’t get a tremendous amount of character out of her, in other words. Her motivations in this episode are largely much less intrinsically linked to who she is than in the past two episodes. That is the most noteworthy flaw to be found. And if you’re more interested in that, then it is a pretty noteworthy one. I would like to learn more about Kino, myself, though at this point I kind of have to acknowledge that this is going to be a pretty generally slow burn. So I’m perhaps more forgiving to it on that front than I am for other things, in the long run.
Overall, I’m rather enjoying this one. It isn’t a high-adventure, loaded with action or humor. There isn’t a ton of plot or deeply interwoven world-building. But it poses interesting ideas to think about. It’s a breezy, relaxing watch, that can be pretty thought-provoking. Certainly worth the time investment, overall. But if it’s not your thing, maybe you’ll enjoy some of the other anime, this season. We got the reviews to help you decide.
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Fridays at 11:30am EDT.