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

Kino no Tabi -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series – 12 (END)

「羊たちの草原」 (Hitsuji-tachi no Sougen)
“Fields of Sheep”

What an odd way to end this. Of all the stories to end on, they choose one where Kino has to fight against a swarm of killer sheep. To say this was ridiculous and out of place for the series would be an understatement. To go from all of these relatively deep yet fantastical journeys into dystopian and utopian societies to Kino moving down CGI sheep as she sets them on fire and jumps over a ravine in Evel Knievel fashion was a misfire. The final note was nice because I would like to see a lot more of the series, and would be open to seeing another season or movie emerge from the returning interest in making more material for Kino, especially with Aoi Yuuki on board. Still, This doesn’t leave the series on a high note, and would have been much better served either cut entirely from the remake or positioned somewhere in the middle. It just seems like there were so many great contenders for where to end it such as the Country for Adults, the Kind Country, or Various Countries, but Fields of Sheep was not a good choice.

Final Impressions:

The most important thing that this revamp of Kino no Tabi has done is refresh the audience’s memories about how great the series was. It glosses through some of Kino’s most memorable stories in a way that is sure to please those who have been itching to see them animated in all their glory. Unfortunately, this revamp is better served as a reminder to check out the original stories or the older anime since this newer show speeds through much of the material. As a result, it loses the emotional core that made many of the stories compelling, and does a disservice to the philosophical conversations that the stories tried to start by racing to their conclusion.

By all means, it is an anime that is still worth watching. Most of the episodes are very well-done in getting their points across on Kino’s perspective and what she learns about the towns she visits. The artwork is stunning, and does an efficient job at incorporating some CGI without it being overly jarring or disappointing. And above all else, Yuuki Aoi remains to be a force to be reckoned with as she did an amazing job at capturing the multiple layers of Kino. Her aloof, neutral behavior she normally expresses outwardly, the vulnerabilities during her Sakura days, and the out-of-character moments where Kino is genuinely frustrated or amused are all portrayed effectively by Yuuki, and any fears that she would be miscast went out the window with her performance in the first episode.

If there’s anything to take away from the series, it’s that Kino no Tabi is still worth investing time into. The lessons and musings we get from her journeys are just as important and significant as they were when the first anime and light novel translations were released. You might not get the most optimal experience of her travels out of this anime and might work better as fanservice for those who have already read/seen the stories before, but that doesn’t undercut how terrific the series is. I would hope that this remake is able to give the series enough momentum to grow, and eventually bring Yuuki back to portray her again, preferably in a movie or OVA. Until then, we still have the light novels to look forward to!

December 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm
12 comments »
  • December 22, 2017 at 1:31 pmArche

    As much as I wanted to defend the 2017 series… that sheep genocide segment was one of the funniest moments this season for numerous reasons and it all started with CG sheep bouncing off the jeep. I’ve been happy with the series overall because while the production might not have had the same polish as 2003, the stories are still intact which I found to be the major selling point of Kino. Some episodes were bad eggs though and I hope if we get a third series the staff will try to put together something more cohesive than letting fans determine the chapters to be adapted

    • December 26, 2017 at 7:32 amChoya

      All this weekend, I was thinking about how astounding it is that they ended this show with CGI sheep being flung around by a truck and set ablaze, leaving behind audible “”BAH-A-A-A-A”s in the background as Kino jumps Hermes across a ravine.

      I agree that the stronger stories shone through some of the production and pacing issues. I would hope to see more Kino in the future, but on the terms of having the production team decide the episodes based on a proper cohesive manner rather than jumbling it together thanks to fan polls.

  • December 22, 2017 at 9:06 pmAnonymous

    As a whole, I was really excited about this episode. I had no idea what I was getting into this episode, having no prior knowledge of events from reading the light novels. After watching it, it was pretty entertaining. As a final episode, perhaps there might have been others more suited, but I liked this one because it gave me something fresh. Seeing Kino be plagued by sheep was interesting to say the least, something out of the ordinary.

    Even there was no direct ‘lesson’ to be learned here, it was fun to see Kino struggle. I don’t think I seen her separate from Hermes willingly, so for her to do so was a little sad. The sheep were a byproduct of the town, but I don’t think anyone would have understood the consequences of letting them out on their own. Do you blame the sheep or do you blame the town for fostering such an environment?

    As a whole, like you said, this series remained faithful to the novels and brought about a sense of curiosity to the series. While the stories may have been rushed and not as emotional as the older series, they did make me look forward to future stories, such as the boy and motorrad-bike. It was also nice seeing how they adapted stories that don’t feature Kino, highlighting the other unique characters that makes this series endearing. In that sense, this series accomplished its task well. I wish it could’ve been more emotional, but if doing so would make it more like the older anime, then it wouldn’t really feel fresh. I think both series have their own merits, with the older showing more emotion while this one provided more interesting stories and new characters, and they work well together to garner interested in Kino no Tabi.

    Also, that ending was really nice. I liked how Hermes admitted that after all they been through, traveling together is so much fun. I hope that I get that feeling one day.

    • December 26, 2017 at 7:35 amChoya

      I am thankful that the series at least helps to renew interest in the series, and I am hoping that in its somewhat hopeful ending that we’re able to see more of Kino’s adventures in animated form considering that many of the stories in this adaptation are still great.

      I can see how the sheep story would have some value within the narrative. As silly as it may be, it would be a great breather from some of the heavier material, and it shows Kino in a sticky situation that requires her to be on her toes and pushed away from her comfort zone as she tries to come up with a solution without bouncing her ideas off of Hermes.

  • December 23, 2017 at 5:57 amPanino Manino

    Was this new season a joke, like this episode?
    For real? Is this what people think when they remember fondly of Kino no Tabi? Standad/subpar direction and dumb action violence oriented stories?
    If you liked Kino 2017 I can’t recommend Kino 2003 for you, and if you liked Kino 2003 I can’t recommend Kino 2017 for you. I can’t see how they’re aimed for the same public.

    Ok, I understand that this is still Kino, but a little curatorship when choosing the stories and tact when presenting them is highly desirable.

    • December 26, 2017 at 7:40 amChoya

      My best guess is that they figured by going for fan favorite stories, they would be able to make a new series that fans would like. The pacing and some of the more questionable choices, however, hinder what could’ve been so much more than something for the fans. What sets apart the 2003 anime from this one is the idea that it had to be its own standalone thing instead of a collection for the fans, so there was more pressure to make sure the stories were curated for a more cohesive piece. It’s why a lot of Greatest Hits albums feel weird if the songs excel the most within their original albums instead of being paired up with whatever made it on the charts years later after obvious style changes.

  • December 23, 2017 at 6:08 amKurik

    Haha…that was equally one of the most creepy sheep related stories I have seen and the funniest….Man…I am gonna look on sheep differently from now on. Give them a wide berth as well for good measure. Nice little episode and great little series. While not the best of the series it has touched on some great ideas and I don’t really mind it to be honest. It will be missed.

  • December 23, 2017 at 5:54 pmThe suffocated

    I enjoy the new Kino series (and this last episode is incredibly fun), but can’t help feeling that its storytelling is weak. Just look at Shōjo Shūmatsu Ryokō. It is a stark contrast to Kino. It’s also an anime about travellers and it’s episodic, but unlike Kino, the two main characters in Ryokō have almost ZERO encounters with other humans/robots/animals throughout their whole journey. We were basically merely watching the interactions of the two MCs every week. They were essentially the only support of the whole show. And they are not even humorous or likeable. Yet, I found Ryokō more fun to watch and easier to attach to emotionally than Kino.

    If you come to think of it, Kino clearly had a higher production budget and it arguably also had a better source material to base on. However, the shojos’ give you detailed accounts of (probably) the final moments of mankind, while Kino can only give you a pack of beautiful postcards. Having a good story is not enough. You need good storytelling too. I think Ryokō is a modern example that a low-budget production can still shine if one tells a story well.

    (Note that I’m not saying that the new Kino is bad. Although it is below expectation, it’s better than your average anime and I did enjoy every one of its twelve episodes. In contrast, I still cannot get past episode 0 of Dies Irae.)

    • December 24, 2017 at 2:26 pmPanino Manino

      “it’s better than your average anime” from my point of view it has the potential to be better than “your average anime”, but it’s not, not with the stories chosen here. It’s exactly what you’d expect for “your average anime”.

  • December 25, 2017 at 9:44 amBlue

    At the risk of sounding like pretentious hipster, I infinitely prefered the old Kino. The production quality of this version was much better, but I think Kino was a lot more thoughtful in the older version. Perhaps it was the stories they chose, or how quickly they went through the matieral, but Kino seems a lot more trigger happy in this version.

  • January 8, 2018 at 1:37 pmKF

  • January 16, 2018 at 1:49 pmSMinstrel

    I just binge-watch through the series, and I have to say I actually quite like it! While the old series is more philosophical, the new one more whimsical, which is actually pretty nice if you don’t comd to it with prior expectation. I think both capture the spitit of source material pretty nicely, just different aspects of it.