Kino, a 15-year-old traveler, forms a bond with Hermes, a talking motorcycle. Together, they wander the lands and venture through various countries and places, despite having no clear idea of what to expect. After all, life is a journey filled with the unknown.
Throughout their journeys, they encounter different kinds of customs, from the morally gray to tragic and fascinating. They also meet many people: some who live to work, some who live to make others happy, and some who live to chase their dreams. Thus, in every country they visit, there is always something to learn from the way people carry out their lives.
It is not up to Kino or Hermes to decide whether these asserted values are wrong or right, as they merely assume the roles of observers within this small world. They do not attempt to change or influence the places they visit, despite how absurd these values would appear. That's because in one way or another, they believe things are fine as they are, and that "the world is not beautiful; therefore, it is."
The world is vast, with countless stories and tales waiting to be uncovered. The same can be said about the expansive universe of Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World. Kino, accompanied by her talking motorcycle Hermès, embarks upon an adventure across a multitude of countries, each with their own unique culture, people, and perspective. This is not a tale of grand battles or supernatural powers, but rather an exploration of the inherent beauty and curiosity found within the human condition.
Kino is a traveller, having only three days to immerse herself within each new country she visits. This self-imposed rule is her way of ensuring her perspective remains fresh and unbiased, allowing her to observe, understand, and then move on. Alongside her trustworthy companion Hermès, their trek across differing landscapes embodies a poetic journey of philosophical discovery and contemplation.
Storyline and Themes:
The beauty of Kino no Tabi lies not in its overarching narrative, but rather in the subtle observations and insights gathered from each episodic tale. The anime does a brilliant job of balancing diverse stories, interweaving them with profound real-life themes and dilemmas such as peace, war, inequality, and the essence of humanity itself.
Although the pieces of the story might appear disjointed at first glance, they eventually come together to create a thought-provoking mosaic that is bound to instigate introspective discussions among viewers, all, while avoiding feeling pretentious or overbearing.
Characters and Dynamics:
Kino and Hermès emerge as the ultimate dynamic duo, their relationship personifying the perfect balance between human sentiment and calculated logic. Kino’s impartiality towards the societies she visits, paired with Hermès’ insightful commentary, provides viewers with a balanced and unbiased perspective. While Kino does not evolve significantly over the course of the series, it is her stagnant personality that serves as a consistent lens through which viewers can interpret the narrative.
Artistry and Sound:
Kino no Tabi incorporates vivid assays of artistic grandeur. The animation and character design may seem minimalistic, but it’s this simplicity that allows the viewer to focus more on the story and message. Additionally, the sound design and background music are masterfully employed to amplify the emotional depth of every scene, intensifying the dramatic flair of the anime.
Final Thoughts and Verdict:
In its totality, Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World presents itself as a stunning exploration of societal constructs and human nature, designed with a gentle precision that will capture your heart and provoke your thoughts. It transcends beyond pure entertainment, encouraging viewers to ponder over the narrative and themes presented.
Whether you should rent, buy or stream this series, in my opinion, largely boils down to your personal taste. If you appreciate a subtle blend of philosophy and adventure, then this anime should definitely find a place in your collection!
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