Kino suddenly remembers their master, and tells Hermes a story about an event that happened in their master’s youth.
Kino’s master (merely called “Master” throughout the entire episode) was also a traveler like Kino. Master traveled with a man her age, who was simply known as “Apprentice.” One day, they visited a country with a large clock tower. Master quickly realizes that the police of the country are corrupt, after Apprentice gets framed for a crime and jailed.
The rest of the episode is dedicated to Master giving the policemen of the country retribution for their corrupt actions. Kino also ends up visiting the same country their master did, which looks to be in a much better state after the incident.
Not even gonna bother putting a spoiler-warning on this review, because there was no real “twist” and the plot was fairly straight-forward. We get to see the story of someone sorta related to Kino in this episode. It’s Kino’s master, whom Kino learned their sharpshooter skills from. When Kino is actually training under Master, Master is already an old woman. This episode tells the story of Master’s younger days, so we’re essentially getting a re-telling of a re-telling–as Master told this story to Kino and Kino’s recounting it to Hermes.
This episode was kind of amusing, especially after the mid-way point where it bordered on becoming a comedy. But, I don’t know; there was just something about the story that felt lacking when compared with past Kino’s Journey episodes. Perhaps it was just that this episode was so predictable. A big problem I’m noticing with Kino’s Journey is that they make all the antagonists almost comically villainous. I thought this series was supposed to be one that embraced the “gray mortality” trope, where people aren’t strictly defined as being “good” or “evil,” but rather as people with complex morals that change depending on the situation. The policemen of the country that Master visited were acting so blatantly corrupt from the get-go that it was obvious they would get some kind of retribution later on.
I guess it was also hard to suspend my disbelief for this episode, because things got pretty ridiculous real fast. This episode really makes the weird technological inconsistencies between countries appear more obvious. This took place what, 50 years ago? And yet the technology in this kingdom, and tools that Master and Apprentice had, were more advanced than some of the countries that Kino visited. What??? But the point where my suspension of disbelief broke was when Master was breaking into prison to bust out Apprentice. She ended up donning some kind of skin-tight outfit, akin to those seen in cheesy spy flicks. I threw my hands up in the air when I saw this, because seriously; what? Did Kino’s Journey just suddenly switch genres? Also… how the hell did Master manage to put bombs in every single trash can in the country, when there were so many police around? The episode also conveniently skips over how Master managed to infiltrate the prison, because actually writing up how she did so would be too hard.
I guess this episode is a prime example of why series tend to focus on the students/apprentices rather than the masters… We already know that Master is an amazing, super-awesome and skilled sharpshooter; so we already know from the beginning that whatever situation Master got into, she would win. I started getting a bit tired of this episode towards the end, since there was no suspense in it. I didn’t even think it was possible for Kino’s Journey to have filler episodes, considering the extremely episodic nature of the series, but… this felt like a filler episode. I guess it’s nice to have episodes like this every once in a while, to give us a break from really emotional/serious episodes. Honestly, I would have preferred watching Kino train under Master, rather than watching Master decimate everything because she’s apparently just that good. At least this gives us some context for how Kino ended up becoming such a skilled sharpshooter themself.
Overall, this is an entertaining enough episode if you can forgive how ridiculous and vastly different the tone is from every other Kino’s Journey episode thus far. Most of the episode is done in a sepia color scheme, which I guess is a cool effect to show off that it’s a flashback of sorts. I personally found that it made the episode very boring visually. As characters, Master and Apprentice are okay; but there’s really not much fun in watching characters who are so amazingly good at what they do that they don’t face much struggle.
Out of five: