This… this is still Kino’s journey, right?
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
This was an interesting episode, choosing to follow Shizu’s path, rather than Kino’s. Introduced in episode 2, getting things from Shizu’s perspective was a refreshing change of pace, although it didn’t change the viewing experience a terrible lot. One thing that’s certainly different, however, is Shizu’s nature. Kino, while not entirely self-centered, is an individual we can wholly acknowledge as making a fair few rather selfish decisions throughout the course of the previous few episodes. By contrast, Shizu is largely selfless and noble. He’s far less passive in nature and will take action when he sees a need for it, which is very befitting of his [former] title.
The country he decides to visit is one that floats on the water. But the longer he stays, the more privy he becomes to some of the floating nation’s problems. So what does he do? He takes it upon himself to try fixing the problem. The result is a climax that’s actually pretty awesome to watch as he clashes with the country’s leadership. But it also leads to a payoff that, in a way, is kind of heartbreaking. And it says a lot about blind faith in one’s country, or people’s complacency after being a part of one for so long.
The change of perspective affords us a chance to look at the dark side of loyalty to one’s nation, and the challenges in running a nation whose infrastructure is… not what it should be. What interesting timing…
The episode also introduces a new character to the “supporting cast,” Ti. I actually really liked what she brought to things. Particularly how her story implemented the idea of what a person calls home. And the resolution reached with her was satisfying indeed. This goes with the other characters of the episode, however. Two drifters who don’t really have a place of their own, and one group of people who’ve lived in a place for so long, they don’t know how they could be anywhere else. Where is home? Is it the place in which you feel most comfortable? Is it where you feel you most belong? There isn’t really a definitive answer, but that’s what this series does.
But. There is one thing I do have to criticize in the episode, and that was its method of storytelling. Certain elements were strewn throughout that really helped to show us the story without giving away too much information. It was easy to infer certain things, based on what we could observe with our eyes. But a fair chunk of the story is left up to a large exposition dump at the end of the episode, courtesy of Kino and Hermes… who aren’t the focus of the episode. That was a little on the sloppy side.
The first, second, and third episodes of the show did this a bit better. They did have their expository moments at the endpoints, but not quite to this extent. It isn’t that this episode didn’t do any of that, but the issue is more likely that there was just too much information to convey in the first place. The other episodes spread this out a little more, but part of that is due to Kino inherently being more analytical. So it made more sense from a storytelling standpoint. It didn’t hurt this episode a terrible lot, but it was a little jarring in the end.
Speaking of Kino, part of me would like to know what led to her decision to take the route she did in this episode. We don’t see her until that reveal, and the reasoning is never given. It’s fairly obvious what she’s going to end up doing. And it could be chalked up to the more relatable, somewhat selfish quality she has going for her. But it would be interesting if it were to come down to something else.
The show continues to be pretty solid, and enjoyable viewing. This episode also has a much more active protagonist, for those seeking some actual protag-ing. The socio-political themes are as prevalent and thought-provoking as ever, but I’m honestly more interested in the more human themes that are internal, and those are what make this series as enjoyable as it is for me. I wouldn’t say this is a show you absolutely have to watch, but I’d say my verdict on it is that it’s Worth Watching. If you’d rather something else, though, check out our other reviews.
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Fridays at 11:30am EDT.