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Kino no Tabi -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series – 11

「大人の国」 (Otona no Kuni)
“Country of Adults”

In the original books and the 2003 anime, Kino’s past life as a young girl named Sakura was intended on being a surprise reveal. The writer(s) even wanted to make Kino gender-neutral for the most part as to not overshadow the story with everyone and their grandmothers pointing out that Kino was a female adventurer in the narrative. It’s not the best kept secret though. I, myself, am guilty of letting her sex slip around the first episode. Unfortunately, this sentiment is carried through in this adaptation since the reveal that Sakura is Kino this whole time is hindered by the many times the characters in past episodes were like “Hey viewers! Kino’s a girl!” By the time we got to this moment where we find out Kino’s past as Sakura, it will make you say “oh, that’s good to know,” rather than “wait, that’s Kino!?”

The order in which the episodes were laid out is problematic not just through the early reveal of Kino’s sex, but through how the preceding episodes compliment it for the worst. They put Country of Adults after Kind Country, but the latter would fit a lot better into the narrative far later because Kind Country is where Kino starts shifting out-of-character with her desire to break the 3-day rule, the parallels between the Sakura she used to be and the Kind Country’s Sakura, and the one point where Kino gets emotional. Country of Adults should’ve been much earlier to give us a general idea of what Kino has gone through to cause her to feel significantly different about the Kind Country. It would have us reflect on how Kino found some kind of innocence that she might’ve had in the past through the Kind Country’s Sakura, or how seeing the town get wiped out got enough shock and sadness out of her to have made her think that it was foolish for her to have tried to humor the idea of going back to being how she was when she was Sakura.

It’s a shame because it is an amazing story of when Sakura took on the name “Kino” and her occupation from an old traveler. The Old Kino had been the one person to influence her to think outside of the possibility of having surgery done to “become an adult” when he told her of the many possibilities one can take in their life. The singing was also very beautiful with Aoi Yuuki singing both in the past and present. The animation was on-point, and it adapted the story on-point. The visuals when she left the village with Hermes was stunning. It’s just the circumstances behind the pacing and order of the episode that overshadows what could’ve been an otherwise wonderful episode.

December 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm
  • December 15, 2017 at 2:07 pmAnonymous

    Putting aside the timing of this episode, it doesn’t seem too bad at all. I like the visuals, and the creepy old man had the most disarming smile. I also really liked how the episode made use of its colors. The muted greys indicated that it was a flashback, but it really brought a sense of foreboding as events play along.

    Also, seeing Kino with long hair and bright eyes is nice. It really is nice to see her eyes like that when compared to her current self. So younger and less world weary (is that the right term here?).

  • December 15, 2017 at 2:08 pmWorldwidedepp

    So, Kino’s Bike friend ist older then her.. So when did he “born” into this World and how many “Masters” did he let ride on his seat?

  • December 15, 2017 at 3:52 pm1993espada

    Why is Kinos eye colour always changing? We had green, blue and now purple.

    • December 15, 2017 at 5:01 pmPanino Manino

      I think that this is something that changed with time in the novel’s official arts. So I believe that they change colors accordingly.

  • December 15, 2017 at 6:52 pmskyhack

    This is REALLY good, but the original series will always be better to me.

    In this particular episode, the first series, with the benign personas of the townspeople later becoming irritation, then indifference, was like the line in “Tommy” – We forsake you, gonna rape you, let’s forget you, better still. Chills.

    The townspeople in the later series seem similarly disengaged, then furious, but those sickly grins put me off a bit. It made the evil physically apparent, where this wasn’t the case in the 2003 series. For me, that makes the earlier rendition much more disturbing, and one of my favorite episodes of any anime.

    • December 16, 2017 at 8:47 ammac65

      Yeah, I think remakes are always a very hard sell,
      but in this case, I too believe the original captured
      the author’s spirit better – at least the stories
      seemed deeper and better told to me. I’ll have to rewatch
      the original episode again to confirm my feelings…

    • December 16, 2017 at 6:46 pmPanino Manino

      “It made the evil physically apparent”.
      My devil’s question for you is, “are they really evil”? Was necessary to portray they “as evil”? This “remake” have the bad habit on my opinion of exaggerating the bad sides of people and societies leaving no ambiguity for interpretation.

  • December 16, 2017 at 5:06 pmblargnobia

    Okay that was terrifying. Her parents turned on her in an instant… since violence isn’t really associated with lobotomies, I wonder what part of the brain they take out for that surgery.

    I liked this episode, but yeah, they kind of missed an opportunity to give Kino some semblance of character development. Did they make Kino’s thought process about Sakura more clear in the 03 anime? I don’t remember.