Every once in a while I'll buy and watch a show without any preconceived notions about it (mostly because the cheap as spit pricetag jumps out at me as I'm cruising through the aisles at Best Buy), not even intending to review it... But then something magical happens. No, no hot and busty whores pop out of my TV; but I end up really enjoying the shit out of the show, and I have my faith in storytelling reawakened after being locked up inside of me. Kino's Journey is one such show that totally blew me the fuck away after just three episodes. I'll have to watch it a few more times to be sure, but right now I think it has a good chance of becoming one of my top ten favorite (non porn) shows ever... Animated or not.
What the fuck is it about, you ask? Well, Kino's Journey is mostly like a retelling of Jonathan Swift's old satirific novel, Gulliver's Travels. It's about a traveler who journeys far and wide, and experiences country after country in which the citizens of each land either have strange traditions, different and kooky from what we (and Kino) know, or they act peculiar to newcomers for whatever reason. That sounds like the most boring piece of shit plot I've ever HEARD of, you snarl like the gonnorhea-filled beast that you are. Yeah, it sounded dull to me at first too, until I got to see the countries firsthand, alongside Kino and Hermes (Kino's talking motorcycle). Each country is a commentary on a certain aspect of the world today taken to grand extremes. KJ is definitely not for everybody (i.e. people who don't like to think, retards who don't like to think, people who just like shows about gay, bulging men powering up to punch each other, and fucking morons who don't like to think should not even attempt to watch it), but those with open minds who like to think will really enjoy this 13 episode tale.
There's not a lot of action in Kino, but there is some. For the most part though, you don't need or even want it. Action and violence are used sparingly so that when they do occur it's more shocking and disturbing. And it makes you think. Seriously, the violence in this show will actually make you think. Like I just said: If you are a retard who likes his/her anime stupid and repetitive, stay the hell away.
Probably the best part of the show though is how impartial Kino actually is to the countries she visits. Sometimes she and Hermes will come to a land that has some horrific ideas on how to treat its citizens or its neighbors, and Kino will just watch. She'll see somebody pull a gun on an unarmed person, and she'll just sit there and witness the victim's final moments. After one such execution, where an unarmed man was killed by the wife of a guy whom HE killed years before, the wife turns to Kino and says "Why didn't you... You could have stopped me!..." and Kino responds with almost a bored "I'm not a god." Oh man, that's some cool, cold shit.
Some of Kino's adventures are to friendly places that welcome her with open arms. Some lands are sheltered places where distrust is rampant and travelers are not greeted too kindly. Some countries are just reeeeally freaky, and make you wonder if such places really could exist in any alternate reality. Deep shit, I know. But no matter how swell or fucked up a place is, Kino makes it a point to only stay there three days. That's all the time she feels she needs to understand a land and its people. She'll talk to as many locals as she can, get the dirt on the history of the country, and then move on with more stories to tell to the next traveler she meets, or the next person nice enough to let her crash at their house for the night. I won't tell you anymore about Kino's journeys though, since I recommend this show to everybody with an open mind, and the best part of each episode is trying to figure out the lay of the land before Kino herself does. This is high quality anime smack, man. You'll find that you breeze through the whole series in a day or two (if you have tons of time to kill like me).
After watching all of KJ in a weekend, it got me thinking as to just how cool a life Kino had. Free to go where her heart desired, to fly like a bird in the sky while avoiding all the hawks, eagles and gunfire from below... Mmmmmm, roast pheasant. Experiencing new cultures and lands everyday, and silently judging the shit out of everything. Able to shoot assholes right in the head simply because they deserved it, and then get away scot free because nobody else gave a damn.... Awesome.
Truth be told, I did try to escape from my personal, insane world after watching this series. With just a car full of ammo and Ding-Dongs as my companions I got ready to leave my old life behind me, but I couldn't find any way to actually make my vehicle talk; well, outside of just listening to the voices already inside my head. And without a talking vehicle I just figured "what's the goddamn point." It'd be like Knight Rider without Kitt, or BJ without the Bear... or BJ without Sheriff Lobo for that matter. It's just not done. And that, along with the fact that actually getting out of bed before 3PM on a weekend is pretty much not done either, is why my plans were scrapped before they even began. Instead, I just sat on my back deck and used up all my stockpiled ammunition by shooting the shit out of anything that moved in the woods behind my house. And by shooting anything that didn't move. And by drinking. Heavily.
Not bad. Not bad at all, mortals. See, if you put your minds to it you can accomplish something special and not totally shitty every once in a while. I enjoyed this show for what it was and for the lack of any real morals inside. There was no "message" to be learned with any of that Kino chick's trips, and the she wasn't a big "goody-goody" either. Jesus Christ I hate goody-goodies!
This show is all about the old proverb "It's the journey that's important, not the destination." Which can be true, sometimes I guess. Unless you're talking about my domain. With Hell, it's ALL about the destination.
Normally road movies and shows rock. But this one didn't really do anything for me. Where were all the dick and fart jokes, and the hot co-eds with the big titties? Where was Van Wilder or Blutarski or Tom Green? Ah, whatever.
This did remind me of the time that I went on a road trip with some buddies a few years ago. They were on spring break and wanting to get out of town and see some more of the world or something, and I wanted to drink in new and exotic locations. So we all loaded up the ChiChi-van with tons and tons of alcohol and Slim-Jims, and off we went.
We got plastered before we even made it onto the interstate. Then we proceeded to pick up every vagabond, tramp, bum, hitchhiker, whore, and smelly fuck on the side of the road that we could find. We never asked them where they were going, and they never gave a shit where we were taking them. It was just one giant, rolling party-bus!.... Until we killed that cop. Well, technically the van killed him, and Thomas was behind the wheel at the time... But unfortunately pigs don't seem to give a shit when it comes to pointing blame, just so long as they can beat the shit out of someone, kill a couple of bums, and steal our whores. Goddamn it! They even took away Kitty Kat! She was soooo coming on to me (for only $150 an hour too!).
In the end though, none of us survivors of that little road trip were anymore enlightened than when we started, so I guess it really doesn't have anything at all to do with Keno's Adventure. And one more thing: Was Keeno a guy or a girl? I think I missed that part. And was he/she getting it on with that talking bike? If not, why not. That would make an awesome movie, man.