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:


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Karandi James

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Kino’s Journey Episode 12: A Fittingly Bland End

Review:

We’re seriously going to end this fairly dull anime with an episode about Kino getting chased by sheep? Really? This is really what you want the audience to remember? And yet, I can’t say I’m overly surprised given this show hasn’t really done much of anything since the first handful of episodes that really seems like it is aware that it should consider the audience.

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Despite Kino being able to have avoided being pinned against the ravine by the sheep if she’d actually taken Hermes on an angle past the second herd, and despite the fact that they were sheep (okay, we find out they are fighting sheep but they’re sheep) Kino ends up getting a last stand style scene where she just mercilessly sets them on fire and shoots down any resistance. It is stupid, it is unnecessary, and the presentation is obnoxiously grandiose consider she’s fighting with sheep.

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Farewell Kino’s journey. I won’t miss you and the only revisiting I will do will involve writing a whole series review about all the ways you went wrong.

Lastly, a reminder to vote in the reader’s poll for best and worst anime of the season. If you haven’t voted click here.


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Autumn 2017 Week 12

And now we see the season trickle to a close and say farewell to some pretty good shows, though some are carrying over into the next season and others still have an episode or two to go. It has been a great way to end the year and I’m bringing my first complete year of blogging (2017) to a close.

 One week left to vote in the reader’s poll for best and worst anime of the season. If you haven’t voted click here.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 32)

Finally a slightly less amazing episode which means I can stop repeating the same gushing words. This second season is still amazing mind you, but this episode is definitely more just your average slice of life fair. If you were marathoning this show, you’d be happy with the relax while watching this but week to week it just kind of makes you wait for the next week.

Land of the Lustrous (Episode 11)

Land of the Lustrous has been a really interesting watch this season, though it seems like it may drop below Girls’ Last Tour when I reflect on the season as a whole. I guess we’ll see what final episodes deliver from each of these shows. Still, despite the slight mis-step this week, there’s a lot of room for this show to end well.

Girls’ Last Tour (Episode 11)

The cat has actually proved itself to be a fine addition to the very small cast in this show and I wonder if we’ll get answers or merely continue to paint the outline of the past in this show before the end. Either way, it has been a very satisfying watch and one I would fully recommend.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 11)

We see the continuation of Elias’ story and his history is interesting. It will be good to see more of his story later as clearly there’s a lot of steps in between what we’ve seen and him choosing to buy Chise but that is a story for another episode. Overall this remains really great viewing though I am finding myself more put off by the slow pace at times.

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Usually Entertaining

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Finished)

Just Because (Episode 10)

While this remains slow and has some issues with its production, it remains quite a good high school coming of age/romance story and I’m glad I picked this one up. Looking forward to the final two episodes.

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Okay, I Guess

Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart (Episode 5)

I said last week the stretching of the conflict between Haruki and Miou was reaching silly proportions but this week proved me wrong with Haruki finally making me dislike his character with his actions this week. Still, they did finally bring things to a head so next week should be back to sweet again.

King’s Game (Finished)

At some point you just have to wonder what were they thinking and just go with a story particularly one like this. Much like everything else, from a logical or sensible point of view the conclusion is pretty terrible, and yet I can’t say I disliked watching it. Applying any kind of logic filter to the events will just end poorly but if you just want to see a death game play out you will get exactly that (just don’t ask for reasons why or any kind of satisfactory conclusion).

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 11)

And this show remains strictly functional. The story works well enough and we’ve built to a nice and dramatic climax. No real complaints except nothing really to compliment either other than being a functional story.

UQ Holder (Finished)

Right. Um, so that’s finished.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 11)

Episode 11 may have been a reasonably good one, had it come in the first half of this series. At this late stage, all I can really say is it was okay, better than last week, and move on.

Black Clover (Episode 11)

And episode 11 killed the tiny little bit of hope that episode 10 gave me that this show might be improving. But at least they didn’t let me get my hopes up too high before dashing them on the rocks of mediocrity and repeated punch lines.

Anime-Gataris (Episode 11)

And this show continues to fall down the list and may end up being classed as ‘they made this’ after the show has finished depending on how the last episode plays out. Bizarre is about the nicest thing I’ll say for the most recent episode.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Finished)

Well, still no real clue as to why they bother holding the whole Juni Taisen thing (vague indication that it is some political thing but no detail) and no real indication as to what, if anything, changed as a result of the winner. However, this still gave us a fairly decent final episode. Overall, this wasn’t great, but I didn’t dislike episode 12.

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 11)

Yep, this continues its pattern of being boring even as it attempts to set up a final battle for the season’s end. Maybe that will give us a minor thrill in closing but to be honest I won’t expect much and that will limit my disappointment.

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They Made This?

Dies Irae (Episode 10)

Stuff is happening and things are getting burned. There’s also now giant skeleton things that set stuff on fire. Oh, and the main character just stopped time. I guess there is an audience out there for this but it is just too random and incoherent for me.

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Tried and Dropped

Evil or Live (Episode 4)

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 2)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)

 


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Kino’s Journey Episode 11: Poor Pacing Continues to be a Problem

Review:

So this week we get some history on Kino and how she got her name and met and began travelling with Hermes. Which could have been an interesting story if they’d put it back at episode 2 – 4 when I was still kind of interested in Kino and thought maybe this show might be pretty good.

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However, having endured aimless episodes, episodes without Kino at all, and episodes that rush through content (or have none) I gave up caring about the title character a fair ways back so an episode 11 reveal of a tragic childhood kind of misses its mark.

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There are some interesting ideas in this episode and as an individual episode it actually isn’t bad. It just doesn’t have the emotional impact it needs this late in the season when so many viewers have already disconnected from Kino.


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Kino’s Journey Episode 10: Pointless

Review:

You know, I don’t mind a story ending with ‘and then they all died’ as long as it feels like there was some message or point the story was trying to get across. Other than they stubbornly won’t evacuate, I really got nothing out of this and to be perfectly frank this whole episode just left a bad taste in my mouth.

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And that’s really all I have to say about this episode. It’s excessively happy and nice for three quarters of the run time and then, here’s a twist, we’ll kill everyone. Kino’s Journey is really not doing much for me at this point in time.


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Kino’s Journey Episode 9: Disjointed Fragments

Review:

The episode title claimed various countries and it wasn’t kidding. This episode we jump between Shizu, Ti and Riku and Kino and Hermes as they travel about. The end result is a fairly mish-mashed episode with ideas and countries fighting for your attention and the usual lack of subtlety I’ve come to expect from this show.

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The opening observations of the bandits of the groups passing by were amusing enough but ultimately just set up for a joke about Kino’s master and didn’t connect to anything else of serve any purpose.

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The country with the point system could have been really interesting if they’d bothered to actually explore the notion but instead they just explicitly lay it out, including the major flaw in the system, and then we just move on.

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Then we have some random cooking thing that somehow connects Kino and Shizu again, a random country where Shizu and Ti make a point about wishes. Again, that could have been interesting but nothing was done with it. And lastly a country we don’t get to see at all because Kino’s had their memory wiped on departure.

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While not one of these things was bad, the episode as a whole was lacking in cohesion and impact and overall just another meh moment in a series that hasn’t done much to impress during its run time.


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Autumn 2017 Week 9

And we are closing in on the end of the season with some shows having only a handful of episodes left. Regardless of how things go, Autumn has been my favourite season overall. Even the lesser shows this season have been pretty entertaining if for no other reason than to tear them apart, but there’s certainly been a lot I’ve really enjoyed. They might not make it all the way to the end, but the week to week has been pretty fun.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the season so please share them in the comments below.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 29)

It is probably getting repetitive of me to say, but this was another fantastic episode. We pulled away a little from directly dealing with Hina’s bullying, however that gave the episode a chance to focus on the ripple effects that situation is having on the other characters in the show and hwo it is changing their words and actions. This show has been amazing this season and is truly unmissable at the moment.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 8)

This was a great episode for Chise and Elias and really just gave me exactly what I wanted going in to this show. There’s not a lot to say other than the character relationships continue to develop, the show looks beautiful, the music is fantastic, and overall it is a fairly magical experience.

Land of the Lustrous (Episode 8)

Land of the Lustrous has continued to impress. While the distinct visuals are certainly what drew me in initially, now it is very much Phos’ character journey and transformation as well as the world itself that draws me back each week to this show. It shall be very interesting to see how this ultimately plays out.

Girls’ Last Tour (Episode 8)

Not much more to say about this. It has been consistent in tone, style and quality and has felt worth the watch so far. A nice and relaxing viewing experience to be found with two very charming characters facing the end of the world.

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Usually Entertaining

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Episode 9)

My fear that this show would slump in the end was kind of alleviated this week with a strong second last episode and both of the main characters showing us just why we have put up with all these silly misunderstandings so far. I’m really hoping for a good final episode and this show has continued to be one of my favourite watches each week even with the little bit of a slump in the second half.

Just Because (Episode 7)

Indecisiveness should be one of the seven deadly sins. It is incredibly painful watching a character hesitate over and over again. I think wrongful action would be better than inaction in some of these situations because while they are inactive nothing will change at all. Not for the better or the worse. Anyway, this is a slice of life, high school romance thing that works quite well and as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the characters when they walk or run isn’t that bad looking.

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Okay, I Guess

Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart (Episode 2)

This is not my favourite genre and it isn’t exactly blowing me away, but it is hard to fault this show on any particular aspect. It isn’t overly ambitious and is cute and charming as it delivers its story. I can definitely see romance fans getting into this one.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 8)

Yep, Kino’s Journey has dropped. Another episode minus Kino and instead following Shizu who just isn’t interesting enough to be bothered with. It has been quite a number of episode since I was really entertained by this show. It isn’t bad by any means but it isn’t really doing much to make me feel that it matters whether I keep watching it or not.

Anime-Gataris (Episode 8)

The mid-season slump continues with this show. It isn’t broken but it hasn’t managed to be anywhere near as entertaining as its earlier episodes once it has had to try to build an actual plot. We’ll see what the season’s end brings us and whether this show can bounce back or whether it fizzled early on.

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 8)

This continues to go through the motions as we move closer to a climax. There were some positives from this episode but a lot of pretty standard and expected moments as well as some more filler and time wasting. There’s only so many times the main characters can escape the villains clutches before the villain starts looking way too pathetic to be taken seriously.

King’s Game (Episode 9)

Emotionally this show has me far more invested at this point in time given we’re fully focussed on the current game and aren’t guaranteed of what the outcome will be (even though it seems relatively obvious there is room for a twist). Not to mention, this show knows how to push just far enough on the gore and tragedy to get an emotional rise out of its audience without being too gross to watch (though that is a subjective measurement). Lacking in logic, this story won’t be for everyone, but fans of bad horror will be enjoying the ride at this point in the season.

UQ Holder (Episode 9)

And I’m still echoing concerns that this show is in no hurry to go anywhere devoting a lot of this episode’s run time to a random girls want to wash guy’s back at the baths sequence. There was some actual plot development this week, but you had to wait a long time to get there.

Black Clover (Episode 9)

“Ahhhh!”

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Episode 9)

So a tiger walks into a bar… and that’s it. No punch line or purpose. Much like this show so far. It has three episodes left and I just don’t know what it could do at this point to actually make me care.

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 8)

Well, they’ve officially run out of people to abduct the heroine so I guess that counts as plot progress. This one is more about watching the pretty colours on the screen than the plot at this point.

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They Made This?

Dies Irae (Episode 7)

Can these guys please destroy the world already so that the show will end? Or at the very least can the ‘hero’ find someway to not seem totally useless just for one episode. That would be the best I can hope for from this show at the moment.

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Tried and Dropped

Evil or Live (Episode 4)

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 2)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)


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Kino’s Journey Episode 8: Now, You Do In Fact Have Kino in Kino’s Journey, Correct?

Review:

We’re back to Shizu, Riku and Ti starting with Shizu recovering from when Ti stabbed him the last time we saw them. Turns out, Shizu is no smarter this time around and given Kino made zero appearances this week, I have to wonder what the point of anything in this episode was.

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Shizu encounters a country that seems pretty stable and calm, until the blood covered man with the severed head appears. Turns out he was a teacher and he’s just killed all his students. Now, while the authorities are investigating this, Shizu is told the man is a victim of radio waves because generations ago the population were enslaved with chips in their heads. When Shizu asks some fairly sensible questions, they get defensive insisting the radio waves are responsible for this aberrant behaviour (and clearly this is a go to excuse because otherwise the population might believe some people just snap).

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So far it is fine even though it is obviously just a story and can’t possibly be true. What makes this episode fall apart is Shizu’s response. He actually thinks if he can prove the radio waves aren’t responsible the people will be happy. Um… They need those radio waves or else they will have to take actual responsibility for bad things happening. No one is going to appreciate you saying it isn’t true.

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And what do you know? When Shizu, Riku and Ti return from the radio tower and try to tell the truth they get accused of being under the radio waves influence. The predictability of this and pointlessness of it given they don’t actually get to any kind of point just made the whole episode fairly dull to watch. We finish with a mini-story about Riku and Ti bonding but I don’t care about either character sufficiently to care.

This show has just kind of become pretty much a nothing watch. It doesn’t really do anything wrong but it doesn’t do anything worth remembering either.


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Autumn 2017 Week 8

So much fun and contrast in this season as I jump between the sweet romantic, to more comedy based romance, to pure fantasy, to post apocalytpic slice of life and then just horror, shock and gore. Really enjoying following a long with everyone as we navigate this season of anime. That said, below is my current list and everything below King’s Game is pretty much not fun to watch at this point. They haven’t been dropped because I’m hoping they either improve after the mid-season and have a good end game, but to be honest, I’m thinking anything I’ve ranked below King’s Game at the moment has more than a few issues to overcome. There were also a couple of no shows this week which made my review schedule a little interesting.

Let me know which show you think will have the best final this season?

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 28)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the theme of bullying dealt with in such a fantastic manner. It is something that really only works because of the strengths of the characters that we’ve had an entire season to connect with and because of the visual style of this show and the end result is something truly moving and amazing to watch unfold. Once this storyline is concluded I am going to binge watch the entire section again and I’ll probably go through an entire tissue box as it leaves me emotionally wrecked.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 7)

This was a great episode for Chise and Elias and really just gave me exactly what I wanted going in to this show. There’s not a lot to say other than the character relationships continue to develop, the show looks beautiful, the music is fantastic, and overall it is a fairly magical experience.

Land of the Lustrous (Episode 7)

The world moves into winter and Phos still hasn’t come to terms with their new legs or how to use them but their desire to get stronger and to be useful remains. I must admit, this was a very beautiful winter world and Phos’ journey continued to impress.

Girls’ Last Tour (Episode 7)

Another week exploring the world and looking for food. The girls are really in their element when it is the two of them trying to achieve a goal. This continues to be a sleepy but fun show to check out each week and it always leaves me feeling relaxed and calm.

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Usually Entertaining

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Episode 8)

Right, unless this picks up for its final two episodes it may find itself crashing down into the ‘Okay I Guess’ category as the last two episodes have been a little underwhelming. I still really like the two main characters here and I really want this to end well, so fingers crossed it picks up again.

Just Because (Episode 6)

No episode this week.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 7)

Once again, an episode that works well enough and is kind of interesting, but overall this series is pretty flat. I’m thinking next week this will probably drop to the category below. Still pretty to watch and very laid back story telling. There’s certainly plenty to like about the show but it just isn’t holding my interest as much as some of the other shows this season.

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Okay, I Guess

Anime-Gataris (Episode 7)

Another fairly ordinary episode that works well enough but isn’t overly entertaining (or at least I wasn’t particularly entertained). While this show has been a pleasant surprise and has managed to have me laughing many weeks, as the season progresses the lack of any kind of overall plot direction has started to hurt this and the reuse of the same conflict over and over again isn’t helping at this point. Hopefully the show can end on a high note but this mid-season slump is definitely noted.

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 7)

Yeah, this was back on track this week. Almost predictably so. Yet at least it felt like the plot was moving and that we are finally getting closer to more conrete answers. Cardia also feels like she has actually made a lot of progress as a character so hopefully this will end well. This series hasn’t been exceptional but has mostly continued a long in its own unspectacular way with only a few mis-steps.

Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart (Episode 1)

Cute romance story that so far hasn’t done much but set things up, but is certainly watchable and has potential. Will see how it goes.

King’s Game (Episode 8)

With the focus now firmly on the game in the present time period, I actually found a lot more to enjoy about this episode. There’s something far more compelling about viewing events in a horror where you don’t know who the sole survivor is going to be. While the animation, story and characters are all still pretty dreadful at times, this remains entertaining and I feel picked up a bit this week.

Black Clover (Episode 8)

Black Clover is making a good argument for why a series should be completed in its entirety before it is allowed to air and why people who promote shows should be forced to watch them in their entirety before they are allowed to promote them. That is all I have to say about this one at this point.

UQ Holder (Episode 8)

The lack of overall drive continues with Fate admitting that it doesn’t really matter whether Tota comes with him now or not and so any sense of urgency that may have been kicked off by this whole abduction attempt goes straight out the window. So, still watchable and that is all.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Episode 8)

I’m bored with this. Really, incredibly bored. Four episodes left and to be honest I really wouldn’t mind if they all just died from the poison at this point.

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 7)

No episode this week.

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They Made This?

Dies Irae (Episode 6)

Okay, mostly this show now makes sense and it is truly dreadful. Unless there is something resembling a master plan that they just haven’t shared with us yet the villains essentially break stuff because they can. Oh wait, it is because his very existence brings destruction. There’s an excellent plot line for you.

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Tried and Dropped

Evil or Live (Episode 4)

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 2)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)


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Kino’s Journey Episode 7: The Art of Reimagining History

Review:

Obi Wan Kenobi probably said it best when he told Luke, “So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.” History is open to interpretation and two people given the same set of facts may very well draw different conclusions. It gets even muddier when you mix in people’s emotions and the pride of a country. And it is this perspective that this week’s Kino’s Journey looks to highlight and while it does it well enough, as always this show kind of lacks subtlety.

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It is almost as though they start from ‘and this week the message is’ and then find a way to shove that into the viewers face repeatedly throughout the course of the story. The story itself, this week, is actually kind of interesting as we have Kino relating a story their master once told them about a country with a clock tower and then when we get to the end of the story Kino arrives in the country. The man she speaks to their has a different version of the same story but just in case you were wondering who was lying there’s a fairly obvious visuals clue and then Kino verbally draws attention to it. Just in case you missed it.

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Honestly, I like this show well enough, but it would be better if they could just let the story speak for itself.


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