Very minor spoilers this time, but they are still spoilers so… SPOILER WARNING.
In this week’s episode, we get five different segments focusing on the travels of Kino and Shizu.
In the first segment, we get some banter between two bandits, who consider ambushing Kino and Shizu.
In the second segment, Kino visits a country that operates on a virtue points system. If a person accrues enough points, they can get away with minor crimes—because as long as their points don’t go into the negatives, they won’t be jailed for it. Of course, there’s a very obvious loophole that can be exploited here…
In the third segment, Kino visits a country full of cooks. The cooks ask Kino to cook for them, which leads to interesting results.
In the fourth segment, Shizu and co. visit a country with a unique tradition of writing down wishes on pieces of paper, and then sticking them to a wall in the hopes that they’ll come true.
In the fifth and final segment, Kino and Hermes visits a very pleasant country… but Kino claims they don’t remember anything at all about it.
Man this was a weird mish-mash of stories. I’m going to review each segment one-by-one.
The first segment was a little weird. I would have dismissed it as being completely pointless if not for the fact that Kino is finally revealed to be a girl here. How the hell did that bandit even know Kino was a girl, when nearly everyone else who has met Kino didn’t realize it? I was hoping that Kino’s actual gender reveal would have been saved for a more important scene but… whatever. The only thing this segment served to do is to further cement the fact that Kino and Shizu are not to be messed with.
The second segment was… probably the worst out of the lot because it was kind of dumb and felt really out of place. You can’t just slip in such a dark story in the middle of generally fun/silly stories! It totally ruins the mood of the episode. Anyway, the segment was just about an old dude who finally has enough virtue points to get away with killing a person. What I felt was dumb about this episode was… why the hell is this dude telling a complete random stranger about this, in broad daylight, in freaking PUBLIC? He had essentially a villainous breakdown in front of Kino while they were outside at a café… and no one took notice of this??? What the hell. Like… if someone were going on about wanting to kill a person in public I’d probably be a bit more concerned about this.
Anyway, the man’s dream was to kill a person… which motivated him to gain as many virtue points as possible. I guess the irony here is that, even though he was motivated by an absolutely despicable goal, it ended up making him an extremely good person; to the point that he simply does good deeds out of habit now. In the end, even when he’s about to die of some incurable disease, he still can’t bring himself to kill anyone. Alright then. I kinda get the message of this story, but it definitely could have been delivered much better. Preferably not as a short segment in the middle of an episode full of silly shorts.
The third segment was a bit too “wacky” for Kino no Tabi standards, but it was just a silly fun segment so I can’t fault it too much for that. What I will fault it for is bad animation and bringing in the trope of “tomboyish girls are bad at cooking.” I guess Kino can’t be good at everything but… having them being bad at cooking is such a tired old cliché.
The fourth segment was set in a nice Chinese-inspired country that I really wish had been explored more. But alas, the whole thing just boiled down to Ti taking potshots at the country’s citizens for simply wishing for things rather than taking action on it, or something. It felt a little mean-spirited somehow, even though it did fit in with the general tone of Kino no Tabi.
The fifth segment was about a country where travelers have to take a drug upon leaving… so that they will forget everything that they saw in the country. I don’t have much to say about this segment since it’s meant to be infuriating—Kino doesn’t remember what they saw, and we will also never be able to “see” what the country is like. Based on Hermes’ words though, it was supposedly a very nice country.
Overall, this was an okay episode, I guess. I don’t mind short segments, as long as they are well-written. Heck, I don’t even mind comedic aspects in Kino no Tabi, as long as they fit the tone of the series. The shorts in this episode… unfortunately kind of fail at both of these aspects. Kino no Tabi works better as a “one country per episode” deal, I think. While this was certainly an interesting format for Kino no Tabi, I really hope they don’t do this again.
By the way, there was an anime afterword from the light novel author at the end of this episode, which was pretty cool. I wish they had saved it for the final episode of the series, as it felt a little out of place here.
Out of five: