Kino’s Journey premiere episode is the perfect introduction for newcomers. While fans of the older anime and light novels praise the series for its philosophical lens on cultural differences, it might be more accurate to call it a series of parables – much like The Boy Who Cried Wolf and other famous classics.
The story follows Kino and her talking motorcycle, Hermes, as they travel to different walled-in countries. They spend three days at each place, since “you can learn the important parts of a culture” in that period.
All of this serves to deliver various messages and worldviews to the viewer in a slightly neutral fashion. We know that Kino has a mysterious background and had a master at one point, but she and Hermes don’t spend time on it. Instead, they observe a country where killing is allowed.
Kino tries to visit new countries without viewing them through her own cultural lens, but she does have pre-conceived notions. Before arriving, she expects this nameless country to be unruly and littered with dead bodies but is thrown off with how peaceful it is.
Of course, a twist happens at the end that might cause some fans to think deeper on their own values. On the surface, the premiere is a Libertarian’s wet-dream, but the story is really talking about just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. It also explores if the threat of violence can deter more violence.
Kino’s Journey will satisfy any viewer’s sense of wanderlust without getting too bogged down with abstract ideas. The episode moves fast, distills its ideas into bite-sized concepts, and delivers a satisfying conclusion. Later episodes won’t be as easy to digest, but the premiere does a great job laying down expectations for viewers.