Yes, that's right. It really doesn't get much better, or more original, than this. I have been adoring anime selectively for years now, and I know what I'm talking about. If you like anime because you love complex, strange characters traversing exotic and inventive settings rendered into living beauty, you will not be disappointed with Kino's Journey. If you like jarring, explosive violence that positively glows with style, the kind that only seems to make its way out of Japan, you will not be disappointed with this series! This is not exactly a violent series, but in no way does it shy away from it, either. It strikes when you do not expect it and out of an emotional and mysterious backdrop, and, in this way, is similar to the The Dancer Upstairs (not anime). If you've seen both, you will know what I mean.
Be warned, KJ is cerebral stuff for people who enjoy new ideas. It will not be square and constant reaffirmation of concepts people are already familiar with, the kind of watered-down, generic pseudophilosophy that prompts people to pat themselves on the back because they can understand. Do not rent Kino's Journey if you want to be reminded of what you already know.
This series has the capacity to touch you, to change you, to draw you in more deeply than anything you've seen yet. Think Spirited Away times three. The two are on par as far as emotional involvement, but Kino's Journey goes well beyond, and is an extraordinarily relevant piece of literate filmmaking. It's helpful to know that the talking motorcycle is not some kind of fairy tale motorcycle from children's anime or other cartoons. The motorcycle (Hermes) is one of the keys to the thematic setting, in that he is a machine bestowed with an artificial intelligence and representative of technology seen from a timeless perspective and thus, very mythical. His presence never crosses over into science fictiony stupidness. The series unfolds as Kino explores countries and locales so different from one another it's hard to imagine how it all fits together--but it does, and superbly. Just to go along for the ride with Kino and Hermes the motorcycle makes it worth watching.
The animation is quite appealing and has the look of watercolor on textured paper.