「優しい国」 (Yasashii Kuni)
“Kind Country”

This was definitely one of the most harrowing series of twists that Kino no Tabi has offered so far. A majority of the episode is built on how surprisingly wonderful the villagers of the Kind Country are to Kino, and how her bond with Sakura grows as she starts to see her as a little sister while she guides her around town. And then, they hit you with a punch in the gut as a volcano destroys the entire town after Kino leaves. As she rummages through the bag she was given, she finds that the town knew that they were all going to be killed that day, and decided as a collective to stay behind to give the town one last hurrah. As if that wasn’t painful enough, she also found the seed that Sakura found with Kino, claming that she can have it because she won’t need it. It’s like this story wants to torture you with how agonizing it is to know that all of these people are now dead and gone.

In particular, memory is important to the Kind Country to such a high degree that their behavior when Kino comes over hopes to have her act as the town’s living will, making a good impression on at least one person so that they won’t be forever known for their past behavior towards travelers. The brief mention of Shishou by the gun shop owner makes me think that she imprinted something on the town to make them completely turned off from making life easier on those who pass by, but it took some strength for the town to focus more on the positive memories built around their town such as the story told in the play. The owner wanting to give away his gun for her to take with her on her journey was also very bittersweet in hind-sight as now he can life his last days knowing that his prized possession will live on through the travels Kino goes on. Their awareness of the town’s negative reputation about travelers seemed to be the one thing they wanted to correct before they were all wiped out, so to roll out the red carpet for Kino meant hopefully having her preserve their memory.

What’s immensely heart-wrenching about their desire for preservation is how much of an impression Sakura made on Kino. Many of the great memories that Kino was left with as she left town were how she was able to share sentimental moments with her tour-guide Sakura, enjoying the town’s festivities, food, and sights together. It was sweet to see how caring Kino was to her, giving her a part of the bouquet she caught at a wedding, and going far enough to immerse herself into the town’s culture for her sake. Sakura was also adorable in how excited she was about showing Kino around town, and hanging out with her during her stay. It’s a huge reason why it was too much to bear hearing from the letter that Sakura could have left the town with Kino and lived had she not expressed interest in inheriting the inn. I was looking forward to this episode because the last one was a lot of fun, but the story of the Kind Country was way more powerful and depressing in comparison. I’m wondering how the next pair of episodes that were selected for this adaptation will fare now that we’ve gotten some interesting ones lately, especially since the next one is adapting the Land of Adults.


  1. The old anime did better.
    Sorry, I’ll be that guy.
    Still, the lack of any sort of visible direction in this new series hinders my ability to enjoy these dumb stories. The ending hadn’t much of an impact on me, and neither on Kino by her reaction.

    1. You are right. It was natural in many ways. You can breath that air, feel the life around Kino’s journey. It was unique. You can felt its loneliness. The cycle of life, the choice. The girl/human who spoke with the only companion, the motocycle. Just one way to live observing other ways.

      New series along with it’s modern visual graphics looks like any new anime. You have a girl, you have some stories, you have another characters. You can watch, you can feel. The monitor screen is in front of you.

  2. As long someone is healthy body, has food and stuff all can be rebuild. But why they go down with their City? Why they trow their Life away?

    This was meaningless. Sometime they really want to hurt us, just… just because

    1. Remember that those people were rejecteds by the world, they lived there alone and isolated, they wish for no other place. I can understand them coming to terms that that would be the end of their story. Not because of what other people wanted, because they wanted to end that way.

  3. Fun fact: Sakura in the old Anime was voiced by Yuuki Aoi, who now voices Kino. And I think Sakura was one of her first roles, so she spoke wth one of her first roles.

    Spoiler old Anime:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  4. Not to jump on the ‘old anime did it bettaaaaah’ bandwagon, but someone–the director or whoever–is dumb. They included the conversation with the gunsmith, but cut the part where Kino explains how Shishou told her to pretend not to know Shishou if anyone ever asked (I forget why.) They cut that part even though it explained Kino’s response to the gunsmith’s question alluding to Shishou. Little things like that bother me.

  5. Just…why…. I keep on think of Orange episode 12 when I think about this story.

    I haven’t seen much of the old anime, and I really hate to compare it to the old one. It’s just nice at times to enjoy this series for what it is. I think I prefer Sakura’s character design a bit more here, and the gunsmith was definitely better here I feel.

    I really liked how expressive Kino was here, and this shows in her interactions with Sakura. Kino’s an awesome gun-wielding traveler, but don’t forget, she is still a teenager. In all the countries we seen thus far, she’s been kind of neutral in a mature-way, but seeing here in a town treating her especially well is nice. I guess it’s kind of nice to see her so….happy..for a lack of a better word here.

    When I first read Kino’s Journey, I had questions about Kino’s character, whether she was a good person or not. She’s steadfastly neutral in all her encounters, never trying to change things or such, just visiting and passing by, never really leaving any lasting change if any. I feel that this episode for an instant showed a bit of how Kino is a good person by showing her sadness at the situation. In some ways, the old anime expressed it a bit better through her body language and expression; here, she seemed still slightly emotionless for my taste, but it’s alright. For me, I guess seeing this genuine sadness is proof that Kino’s a good person. Correct me if I’m wrong; perhaps I just genuinely want to see Kino like this.

    I read the manga of this story, and I read a translation of this on Baka Tsuki. In the translation, the wording was slightly different. This episode followed the manga. It’s this change from the translation that kind of confuses me. Is it truly egotistical for Kino to feel this way? Pragmatically, Hermes is right in that he can’t take two passengers, and subjecting Sakura to Kino’s life is questionable. Also, if Sakura’s parents were forced to do whatever it takes to save her, is that egotistical of them? Given the reputation of the town, is it egotistical of them to change after their bad reputation?

    I guess to cap this comment off, I like your theory on the gunsmith and Shishou. This is but a theory but…

    Show Spoiler ▼

  6. Also, one last tidbit: it’s interesting how Sakura became the guide for the town for Kino and Hermes. Assuming their reputation is one that spans over a long time, I wouldn’t think that Sakura would have been subjected to it (at least that’s what I assumed), so seeing innocent Sakura sort of represent the town is fitting for a town trying to change their reputation.

    1. The episode told you the reason.
      They were a people persecuted with no roots, that made that place their home, reason why they were so aggressive with visitors. That was their place, they didn’t want to live in any other place. They came to the conclusion that that was their destiny, the end of their story, they choose to die with their country.
      It’s questionable? Perhaps, but it’s their choice, that was the story in this episode, judge the way you finds best.

  7. In the old version, Kino’s expression as she realised what was happening made for an incredible climatic payoff. Kino is always nearly expressionless so seeing her shocked had a strong impact and conveyed well how horrific that eruption was. In this version, while they did a nice job of showing the lava flowing through the town, Kino’s reaction is more important but was poorly delivered. I mean I never bothered to compare old and new anime but this time the disparity in direction is so baffling.


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