Notes on Episode 5 of Kino’s Journey (2017): Country of Liars

Management: This post is Part 5 of a cour-long project consisting of mental notes, observations, and musings of every episode of Kino’s Journey (2017). I will endeavor in this feature to avoid making any comments about the show’s technical aspects, but I may end up comparing it to previous episodes of Kino’s Journey (2003) when the story ground the former covers begins to overlap with what the latter has already explored.

Notes on Episode 5: Country of Liars

Management: This country was not covered by Kino’s Journey (2003).

This episode of Kino’s Journey has us returning to Kino and Hermes again from the show’s previous point of view sidetrack with Shizu and Riko. The show actually has Kino visiting two countries this time around instead of the suggested one in the episode title. The former country foreshadows a bit about how Kino and Hermes set about traveling in the first place, covered in Land of Adults in the fourth episode of Kino’s Journey (2003). The latter country draws some arguable parallels with the Country of Visible Pain, featured in the first episode of Kino’s Journey (2003).

Kino’s journey to the Unnamed Country reflects both the revolutionary and subtle ways that travelers both influence the peoples they meet to and are influenced back by these same peoples. Kino is given a very enthusiastic tour of the museum of the founder of the current regime. The previous regime was tyrannical. The founder was a traveler. The founder gave up his traveling lifestyle to overthrow the previous ruler to become the country’s new leader, ushering in a new wave of peace and prosperity for that country’s people. The tour guide speculates grandiose things about the now deceased founder based on the belongings he left behind that the museum now archives. Like the actual museum, which is just this deceased founder’s modest-looking house, Kino judges that the former traveler is a much humbler man than the tour guide is led to believe. For instance, the tour guide assumes that the deceased founder’s gardening trowel was used by the man to plant seeds wherever he went on his travels. Compared to this rosy comparison, Kino comments that the gardening trowel was actually the tool the man used to dig latrines and scoop poop. Similar dynamic happens with a knife.

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[Crunchyroll Article] “How to Watch ‘Kino’s Journey'”

Non-Management: I sent another pitch to Crunchyroll, and another pitch got accepted. Here are the fruits of that: a piece on Kino’s Journey.

I’d like to give a big thanks to Crunchyroll for commissioning my article. Below is the (summary) short to the article. If you’re interested in reading it, click the link embedded in the title or at the end of the short:

How to Watch “Kino’s Journey”

Presenting a useful, if not definitive, way to understand and appreciate Kino’s Journey.

What’s a good way to watch a show like Kino’s Journey? Take it from someone who recently traveled to Japan—no matter where anyone goes and wherever cultures differ, the people we meet aren’t all that different from ourselves. No matter how strange their customs, there’s a recognizable and relatable logic to them. Like Kino, we just have to have the right frame of mind to recognize that… READ MORE HERE

 

Notes on Episode 4 of Kino’s Journey (2017): Ship Country

Management: This post is Part 4 of a cour-long project consisting of mental notes, observations, and musings of every episode of Kino’s Journey (2017). I will endeavor in this feature to avoid making any comments about the show’s technical aspects, but I may end up comparing it to previous episodes of Kino’s Journey (2003) when the story ground the former covers begins to overlap with what the latter has already explored.

Notes on Episode 4: Ship Country

Management: This country was not covered by Kino’s Journey (2003).

We begin this episode following Shizu the swordsman exiled-prince and Riko the talking dog, instead of Kino the traveler and Hermes the motorrad. The Kino’s Journey light novels mainly cover stories in Kino’s perspective, but a few tales from Shizu’s perspective are thrown in there. Their approaches to different countries, citizens, cultures, and customs contrast sharply enough between each other that one is able to observe and comment on certain things that the other tends not to notice or appreciate as clearly. That’s a plus for curious audiences. These characters’ observations and comments are just as much for their own benefit as it is for the audience’s enrichment. In many ways, while they are able to get along with each other amiably, Kino and Shizu are foils to each other.

The show hasn’t quite explored Kino’s backstory yet, but it has covered Shizu’s. Unlike Kino, who for the most part acts as her own free and curious agent, Shizu is weighed down  by his tyrannical father’s legacy. Kino travels without any intention to plant roots because to learn and have fun. Shizu wanders to settle down because he no longer has a home he can bear returning to. Kino tends to take a more distant and hand-off approach to the places she passes through, while Shizu tends to involve himself more deeply and intimately with the societies he visits. Unless Kino gets really upset like in Episode 2, she doesn’t try to voice or act on the reservations she has towards the societies who host her. In Episode 3, in fact, she offers up her own non-injurious solution to a problem one country initially considered deadly force to address — saving some people from dying while keeping in the good graces of some others. The first episode dedicated to Shizu, Episode 4, has him trying to radically change a society he stays at because of his own moral outrage.

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