Kino’s Journey is a unique series to describe. Basically, our protagonist, Kino, travels the land hoping to explore many different cultures. As Kino learns about a specific people and their customs, the varying lands provide many different glimpses of humanity in a world that is almost fairy tale-like yet undeniably human.
Based on a light novel series by Keiichi Sogsawa, the Kino’s Journey anime ran for 13 episodes in 2003. Directed by the acclaimed director of Serial Experiments Lain, Ryutaro Nakamura, the series is an adult and surprising anime that was such a shock to me at the time for its message and process. Beautifully animated and presented, Kino’s Journey is unique anime in that its purpose simply isn’t to entertain, but provide commentary about human nature. While on their travels, Kino and her motorcycle encounter things both disturbing and beautiful. Where the series stands apart is the analysis of duality and the discovery of beauty where you may least expect it. Challenging perceptions and deeply affecting in each episode, Kino’s Journey is definitely not light fluff. The subtlety and deftness of the project astounds me even on subsequent viewings and it is definitely a show that deserves more recognition and attention. Made for an adult and analytical viewer, Kino’s is unique anime that succeeds in challenging audiences and is one of he best reasons to watch anime.
An excellent suggestion courtesy of longtime friend of the site Great Rumbler!
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