A spoiler-free breakdown of the stories that will be featured in the new Kino's Journey anime.
Kino is on a journey around the world. The destination: nowhere in particular. Together with a talking motorcycle Hermes, they travel across many lands and discovers the world’s imperfections, but that is what makes the world beautiful.
The first thing you should know about Kino's Journey -the Beautiful World- is that you don’t need an introduction to get into this series. Each story is standalone. According to Keiichi Sigsawa (the author of the original light novels), this series is “a completely new remake” with no relation to the original anime series. You’ll figure out the point of the series within a minute of starting the first episode - the main character is on a journey to discover different aspects of the world, never staying in one place for too long.
At a stage event at the Dengeki Bunko Festival 2017, it was announced that this new adaptation will prioritize the fan favorite stories. These were selected from a “favorite country” poll carried out among light novel readers in 2015. This makes sense - there are now over twenty volumes of Kino’s Journey stories in publication, so there is a lot of material to choose from. Why not choose the stories that made the biggest impact?
The stories that will be adapted are as follows:
“Coliseum” (コロシアム) - Volume 1
“The Country of Adults” (大人の国) - Volume 1
“The Kind Country” (優しい国) - Volume 2
“Amidst the Clouds” (雲の中で) - Volume 3
“The Country Where People Can Kill Others” (人を殺すことができる国) - Volume 5
“The Troublesome Country” (迷惑な国) - Volume 7
“The Ship Country” (船の国) - Volume 8
“The Country With History” (歴史のある国) - Volume 8
“The Country of Liars” (嘘つき達の国) - Volume 7
“The Country of Electromagnetic Waves” (電波の国) - Volume 9
“The Grassland for the Sheep” (羊たちの草原) - Volume 20
Plus various other countries from volumes 9-17.
Note that these are rough translations and the official subtitles may be slightly different. Also, this list is not necessarily the order that the episodes will air in. The series doesn’t really follow a strict chronology, so look forward to seeing what comes up each week.
Some viewers of the first Kino’s Journey adaptation that aired in 2003 will notice that some stories in the 2017 Kino’s Journey were also in the 2003 anime. For example, “Coliseum,” which will be adapted in the second episode of the 2017 Kino’s Journey, is widely considered one of the highlights of the 2003 series. (For a more detailed perspective from a returning Kino’s Journey viewer, check out this article by Ink and Natasha.)
The first episode of the 2017 Kino’s Journey adapts “The Country Where People Can Kill Others.” This ranked fifth in the popularity poll, so it’s quite a beloved story. It’s also a great story to begin a Kino’s Journey adaptation with, not just because it makes you ponder the distinction between law and taboo, but because it perfectly sets the tone for the series overall. There is real danger in this world, enough to make you worry about Kino, even if this lone traveler does happen to be an expert sharpshooter. But people are more or less just people, capable of both kindness and cruelty. As always, the ending leaves a lot of room for thought.
In other words, this is Kino’s Journey as it’s always been, just with a fresh layer of paint (and Yuuki Aoi in the lead voice role). Light novel fans will probably get the biggest kick out of this, but I have no doubt that fans of the 2003 anime series will continue to enjoy this, while newcomers can easily hop into the fray. Kino’s Journey is an easy recommendation for just about anyone.
Kim Morrissy (@frog_kun) is a freelance writer and Tokyo correspondent for Anime News Network.