Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Kindred Spirit?

I have recently been watching Kino's Journey, a japanese animated series about a young traveler in a beautiful yet dangerous world.  This anime, in addition to it's gorgeous artwork, is very compelling and well written, based on a series of light novels.  Each episode has Kino and  motorcycle companion Hermes visiting a new 'country', but living by the rule of only staying 3 days maximum.  Each country has vastly different cultures and technological advancement, and it is a way for the author to explore various deeper moral questions about how people live, treat each other, on a personal level and as a whole.  There are many parallels to society today, and great societies of the past, complete with faults and dangers.  The author leaves much to the viewer's interpretation, and it is a very introspective show.

Kino was purpose made to allow the viewer to slip into the role.  Kino's gender is even left ambiguous for the first 3 episodes, and often confused by people Kino encounters.  I felt a sort of kinship with Kino as a traveler and the desire to go out and explore the world.  Even the ugly parts of the world can make the rest look beautiful, and this is a prevailing theme of the show.  I would highly recommend anyone to watch Kino's Journey, though it might be a little brutal for younger viewers.

I leave this post with one of my favorite quotes among many from the show:

"Though I did not know the place, I set out for the land of my dreams.
Having arrived at the land of my dreams, I found I did not know the place."

Here is a sample of the english version, though I greatly prefer the original japanese voices with subtitles:

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