First Look: Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World-

Alternative title(s): Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World
Light Novel Adaptation by Lerche
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Kino travels throughout the land with her sentient motorcycle, Hermes. Adhering to a hard rule of only staying at one location for three days, Kino finds herself in a variety of interesting locales, many of which have their own strange customs and beliefs.

Gee’s verdict: Back Along For the Ride

I was hesitant and frankly am still hesitant about the existence of a new Kino anime but the first episode has done a decent job of convincing me that if nothing else, this new anime at least understands the fundamental core of what Kino’s Journey is all about. In many ways, this episode was as textbook as a Kino’s Journey episode could get. It starts with Kino journeying to a new land, meeting a stranger along the way who gives some exposition on this new land and its strange customs. Kino arrives at said location, takes in the local culture and interacts with its people, observing their ways. It climaxes with the reveal of the true twist of the town’s dark secret and its commentary on human nature. Kino leaves, and the episode bookends with an interaction similar to the one at the beginning. It’s as standard as you can get, but as an introduction to Kino’s Journey for an entirely new generation of anime viewers, it’s an effective and succinct primer.

As for other factors, beyond the new artstyle which will probably take some time to get used to, it’s Kino up to her old tricks. Still as taciturn as ever, she serves as our impartial observer, never making her own judgements on the bizarre places she goes, leaving it up to the viewer’s’ own interpretations. At this point the question is where it goes from here. If it’s just another 13 episodes of Kino doing her thing, I’m totally fine with that. In an age where LNs and their adaptations are dreadful power fantasies brimming contrived drama, it would be immensely comforting to see the original king of the LN game make its animated return in all its deliberately paced and somber glory. My worry of course is that anime in 2017 is not anime in 2003, and that whatever attempts Lerche might make to “modernize” Kino’s Journey will only be detrimental. Still, that first episode gave me some optimism where I previously had none, so for now I’m coming along for the ride.

Artemis’ verdict: Well That Was… Fine

I mean just what I said. The first episode of the new Kino’s Journey was fine – nothing more, nothing less. It didn’t change too much from the original Kino’s Journey, which I’d say is overwhelmingly a good thing, since I doubt there’s any major change that could be made that everyone would be okay with. And that’s exactly the problem with creating a sequel to a classic, especially one that’s neither expected nor necessary; you can’t drastically alter anything because then you’d be ruining it, but you’re also stuck making something that’s no longer particularly original or innovative. To be clear, I didn’t dislike what I saw here, and I’m genuinely happy at the thought of watching more. The new Kino’s Journey looks and feels like a perfectly competent update to a series that is, if not amazingly popular, then certainly highly respected. I’ll likely keep watching it precisely because it doesn’t seem to want to mess with an already tried-and-true formula, which just so happens to be one I very much appreciated when it aired nearly a decade and a half ago. But because that also means I know basically what to expect, I just can’t bring myself to be overly excited about it.

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