Kino's Journey Vol.4  [DVD]
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Characterised by its philosophical tone and relaxed pace, this Japanese anime series, based on the popular novels by Keiichi Sigsawa, follows a young man named Kino and his talking motorbike Hermes. Together they have undertaken an almost metaphysical journey, staying only three days in each country they visit, in an attempt to discover the secrets of life through the places and people they encounter. Episodes are: 'Her Journey'; 'A Peaceful Land' and 'A Kind Land'.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There isn't much else to say about this volume. No doubt fans will wish the series were longer, and given the episodic format, it easily could have been done that way. But the creators seem to have recognized when they'd produced just enough of a good thing before it gave out. Kino's Journey, the series, like its protagonist, is a master of the balance between exposition and understatement, telling and showing, staying...and moving on.
The three-day limit is Kino's way of avoiding entrenched complications. While we never do learn why Kino avoids extended relationships (other than with Hermes), the traveler is very much in control of her fate. Kino never goes somewhere by accident, she can take care of herself, and she is doing what she wants to do. The mystery that surrounds this figure becomes part of the atmospherics of the series, rather than a story arc of any consequence.
The final stories are all very strong ones. The first episode is a pastiche of a disquieting tale of revenge and atonement that seques into a visit with a wise mane who has somehow relinquished and clinging to the world. When we discover that appearances are not quite what they seem we have to decide what is the nature of this kind of 'wisdom' when it serves an unexpected purpose.
The second episode tells of how two countries avoid the continuance of a 200-hundred-year war. Or rather, how they avoid having that war take their own lives. This is a dark story, one that turns on the unwillingness of people to take any but the easy route. For some people, change is simply not an option.
This is the bleakest DVD of the collection, and the third tale is what makes it so. Kino decides to visit the country with the unfriendliest reputation to travelers, only to discover that everyone is going out of their way to be friendly. Naturally, nothing is as it seems, but the twist in this tale is a double one. This isn't an easy ending for the series and viewers will find more to think about than they bargained for.
This series gets an 'A' for going into emotional nooks and crannies that are most often avoided by both life and animated film. Sometimes there is a strong lesson behind the episodes, but often we are just left with a poignant feeling and a question or two. I like this sort of thing, but many may prefer stronger story arcs and solider conclusions. One thing you can count on, though is thoughtful work and many unexpected twists.
One last note - as another reviewer has mentioned, the Japanese is more ambiguous than the norm. In this last DVD this surfaces as a large number of glaring differences between the subtitles and the dubbing. Since neither is completely wrong this is one of those cases where it is best to experience both.
The first episode is a set of tales on the road. We meet a man who has served a long prison sentence for murder, and wants to make amends to the woman whose fiance he killed. But is redemption through survivors of your violence just, or selfish. We meet a woman who preaches pacifism after her lover was slain by a gun, and her traveling companion who secretly slays any who would dare harm her. We meet "The Master" who taught Kino to live on the road. We meet a wise man who is the first to tell you that he is nothing of the sort. Is self-consciousness the cause of human evil, or is desire? What does it mean to be without desire?
The second episode takes us to a country that claims to be utterly peaceful. Kino soon learns that the peace has come at a monstrous price. Two nations on the verge of annihilation had concocted a twisted resolution to their problem. Rather than kill each other, they would kill an unarmed innocent race, and tally the score for the war. Is the sacrifice of the innocent justifiable when it saves the lives of others?
The final episode of Kino's Journey is set before the first. We had heard of a country where Kino had wanted to stay longer than the normal three days. In this episode, we find Kino journeying to that land. She had heard of a country where the people were inhospitable to travelers, and wanted to see for herself why that was. There, she encounters a nation of kind people, and meets a young girl who is not that different from herself before her travels began. Kino and Sakura become fast friends. But the country has a sad secret, and when the three days are over, Kino learns that it was the pride of the people that made them what they were. Kino vows to continue the journey, and we leave where we came in, with Kino and Hermes in the desert, silently waiting in the rain.
Kino's Journey was a magnificent, deep, and altogether too short, series. The last disc gives some more hints into Kino's past, with the "master" being seen for the first time. However, nothing is truly revealed -- it's up to the viewer to invent the rest of the story. If you have liked the series thus far, this disc is an absolute must, showcasing two of the best episodes since the first disc. Definitely worth watching over and over again.
...Kino's Journey is still continuing on.....