Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kino's Journey

Kino's Journey is an example of a kind of anime I really like. There are definitely other kinds I enjoy as well, but I feel like this sort of show is one that's unique to the medium, and simply couldn't exist in another form, at least not on US television. It takes place in a unique fictional setting, and doesn't really bother with explaining itself or the history of the place, it just puts you in that world and lets you enjoy some stories in it. Haibane Renmei is something I reviewed fairly recently that is sort of like this, although Mushi-Shi is a better comparison because they both feature mysterious protagonists traveling alone and encountering strange situations week to week without much continuity. Kino is the star of this series, a girl of undetermined but fairly young age who visits various countries for no more than three days with her talking motorcycle. She's well equipped with guns and knives to protect herself, but often episodes resolve their stories with no violence committed at all.

Kino does have a past history that explains how she got to this position, but the show doesn't overly concern itself with the details. We see how she ends up setting off from her home to become a traveler, and that's all we really need. A lot of the situations she encounters are unusual but not really dangerous, and sometimes she doesn't even need to do anything, she just takes in the tale of wherever she happens to be along with the audience. Other times people need her help, and she may or may not agree to offer it depending on how she's feeling. Sometimes someone just wants to hear a story from her travels, and once in a while she has to use her weapons to right a wrong, help someone, or save her own life, but this is rare enough that it's always exciting and important without resorting to ever getting too over the top or bloody. It's interesting how often her presence is entirely peripheral to the plot at hand, and puts her in the same position as the viewer, just seeing what's happening because it's interesting. It's not the most dramatic or shocking story, but it's a pleasant and thought-provoking one. It's the sort of show people always ignore when they talk about how brainless and silly anime is.

No comments: