「雲の中で」 (Kumo no Naka de)
“In the Clouds”
This week’s episode might not have had much of Kino in it, but instead, we follow a girl who is later named Photo (Minase Inori). Photo’s entrapment in the camp of wealthy slavers puts her religious affiliations through a rough test as her beliefs to deny hatred or obey orders come at odds with her harsh captors. Despite being given the knowledge that her village pawned her off as an orphan to these people who cruelly mock her, her constitution is strong as she hold onto the affirmation that she would rather die than commit any sins against her moral code.
What ends up pushing her to the edge, however, is remembering that the greens that her slavers cooked into their soup were poisonous when it was too late. She goes through a myriad of different thoughts and actions in her anxiety and despair over accidentally killing everyone in the camp. She tries to warn them about the poisonous soup, and becomes distraught enough to try to drink some herself, but her efforts come undone in an ironic twist of fate as a child throws rocks at her and her soup bowl for his own enjoyment.
Her struggle begs to question how far someone’s moral barometer can be stretched for the sake of self-preservation. She’s willing to die several times during the episode, but as she overhears a boy in the village wanting to buy the slave so he can mutilate her, she screams in horror in a tone that, after a while, sounds like that sharp noise teenagers used to put as their ringtone to send messages in class without the teacher knowing.
She also admits to the old man who was only mostly dead from the soup and sympathized with her that she had begun to feel horrible about the thought of letting everyone die appearing in her head. It scared her that her convictions were constantly challenged by her judgement on whether she should’ve put in the effort to try and stop them from eating the deadly soup. The older man also saw it fit that he wanted to push her to think beyond her self-destructive beliefs by taking the gun she intended on dying with, and turning the barrel on himself at the last minute. The older man is one of the more fascinating villagers in the camp as he pities her way more than the others, but also becomes her greatest challenge as the actions he takes to make sure she lives and moves forward deliberately contradict her morals.
Additionally, the motorrad Sou (Ogata Megumi) she finds in their wagon after killing the villagers, she’s applauded for the clever way she took everyone out even though it was the furthest of her intentions. The motorrad encourages her to find a new lease on life as it tells her the best way to die is to keep on living. Although she spent much of her enslavement seeing the poor circumstances she’s stuck in as fate’s test on whether she’s earned the right to live or not, it is the ideas of those outside of her faith that ultimately act as the catalyst for her to move onward to a different town where she was able to make a prosperous living as a photographer.
It wasn’t the most eventful episode of the series, but it was fascinating to see how other characters within the universe survive and persist without Kino. The series paints such a unique world where you can have peaceful villages, technologically advanced nations, and backwards countries where tyranny and slavery are prominent. Photo’s journey from being an orphan to a slave to a free photographer was a riveting watch, especially when it explored the inner turmoil she faced as she’s faces and overcomes her worst fears head-on. It was heartwarming to see how charming she looked now that she is able to take care of herself and live comfortably. I’m also proud that I could pinpoint that Sou was voiced by Ogata right off the bat because I knew it sounded suspiciously like Komaeda when Sou got cheery about the way Photo took everyone out. But it’ll be interesting to see how many stories we’ll get that are self-contained without Kino’s direct involvement.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Next Friday, I’ll be away for a trip. I’ll be back in time for Imouto sae and Animegataris, but I’ll miss out on the initial release of Kino no Tabi Episode 07. Because of this, don’t be too alarmed if another writer picks up Kino no Tabi next week or if I make a double post of 07 and 08 the week after.