Kino’s Journey (2017) Series Review: Aimless Wanderer’s Journey Fails To Connect

Overview:

Kino travels from country to country with her talking motorrad Hermes. She stays in each country for three days and then moves on.

Review:

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for episodic stories (even highly formulaic ones) so Kino’s Journey was something I thought I could get in to. I’d never seen the original (hadn’t heard of it until this new series came out) so I didn’t go in with expectations or comparisons like some viewers, and yet after my initial fairly positive impressions during the first 2 – 3 episodes, the show essentially bombed. So what went wrong?

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A lot of the blame needs to be placed on the lack of cohesion in this story, which is a weird criticism to give something that is episodic and yet makes sense. When I think about something like Natsume Yuujinchou that used a fairly episodic approach through most of its seasons, each season still has an over-arching theme that is developed and most stories somehow connect us to that theme. Even something like Ghost Hunt has characters who develop over the course of their encounters and relationships that change so even though the individual stories can be viewed in isolation, watching in order adds something to the experience as there are solid narrative connections.

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Kino’s Journey lacks this. Kino is not an interesting enough (or explored enough) character to make their development (not that there is any) the linking thread (plus Kino is missing from a number of episodes of Kino’s Journey). And there seems to be no central idea other than one of selfish desire and even that isn’t really explored it just kind of is.

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As a result, individual episodes have to be judged on their own merit as stand-alone stories and not one of these episodes has sufficient depth or strength to really hold up. Some of them are outright badly written and completely pointless.

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That isn’t to say there are no good ideas or interesting moments in Kino’s Journey. There are plenty. However, the story isn’t interesting in delving into any of these or giving them the exploration they need to be something more than a throw away line or idea. You will swiftly be moved on to more mediocre moments and wondering just why you bothered to watch the next story at all.

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Overall, this one just wasn’t worth the time. It looks good enough but isn’t dazzling. The basic premise is solid but nothing is every really done with it. Some of the support characters we meet along the way are interesting enough but as this is an ongoing journey, none of them hang around long enough to save the show. And episode 12 is a joke gone wrong so just spare yourself. Definitely not one I can recommend.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Kino’s Journey Episode 5: A Little Dull This Week

Review:

This week Kino took us to two countries. The first where they memorialized the motorrad of a previous traveller who apparently became a great leader. The Motorrad was thrilled with being confined to a memorial mind you, asking Kino to smash it to bits after they said they couldn’t ride him out of there.

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Then we journeyed to a land of liars where we get told the story of an uprising against a tyrannical king. You kind of know you aren’t getting the whole story and then you get two further additions to the story putting it into a different perspective. It is interesting enough but essentially people sitting around and talking about something that has already happened.

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While the first couple of episodes of this were slow, they were pretty engaging. These last two episodes have been a lot flatter and I’m feeling my interest fading. Hopefully the next story is engaging again.


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Karandi James.

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Kino’s Journey Episode 2: Story Crafting Done Right

Review – Episode Spoiler Ahead:

There was something magical about this episode even as we started with a vision of a woman speaking with Kino in an incredibly ambiguous fashion and then we get straight into a new country, one that Kino has apparently been wanting to visit. Yet on arrival, things are not as expected (which plays directly into the audiences’ expectations).

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For a set up so common, what Kino’s Journey then does is  take us through a rather thought provoking series of events that have us both backing Kino and question their choice in how to deal with the situation. Other characters similarly have ambiguous motives so while the plot progresses in a more or less routine fashion there is plenty for the audience to contemplate.

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What truly works though isn’t the shocking climax of the fights, because that was pretty telegraphed by Kino’s earlier question about stray bullets and a number of other hints, but rather just how well all the moments of this episode connect.

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Perhaps the most powerful scene of all comes after Kino leaves the country and is throwing rocks into the water. The conversation between Kino and Hermes is both illuminating and maddeningly vague leading you to speculate about the intentions of the characters involved.

All and all though, this episode really stepped up defied my expectation that this episodic series might be dull. This episode was truly a treat to watch.


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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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