Episode Reviews

[Highlights] Kino’s Journey Ep. 4 (Land of Adults)

Backstory time! This episode feels more poignant and aesthetically intense than the last few, in a way that I rather loved.

  • Took me a while to figure out that Kino was singing a lyric version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D at the start of the episode. I’ve never heard Canon in D with lyrics before, and I love how soothing it is. The two other times it gets sung in this episode solidified my love for it.
  • This is the first episode to take us through a country without actually visiting it. Kino has good reason not to visit this particular one, since she’s essentially an exile from the Land of Adults.
  • The quote at the beginning: “Though I did not know the place, I set out for the land of my dreams. Having arrived at the land of my dreams, I found that I did not know the place.” Kino missed out on being an adult in the Land of Adults, and never got to the bottom of why the country was run like that, so perhaps she didn’t know the place. Where is the land of her dreams?
Kino’s first/last transgression
  • The Land of Adults is another cautionary tale about why scientists shouldn’t be allowed to run anything. This episode feels a lot darker though, because the protagonist now is a direct victim.
  • Pre-Kino “Kino” refuses to give the traveler her name, and present-day Kino is reluctant (or unable) to remember what it is. Perhaps it has to do with Kino not digging the girly girl identity imposed on her, or maybe her young self is too aware of the fact that her name doesn’t matter when she’s becoming a fully-integrated adult in a few days.
What Hermes doesn’t yet see
  • Young Kino’s world is largely a mute one. She speaks little herself, and we often get no sound when others are speaking. Yet, when the traveler Kino comes around, he not only talks, but sings. Then Hermes comes to life and further infringes on the silence of young Kino’s country.
Adults discuss the responsible response to accidental manslaughter
  • I wonder how the adults’ brains are reconfigured. When young Kino expresses that she doesn’t want to undergo the adult transition surgery in front of the Inspector, there’s real fear on her parents’ faces. Their emotions are in tact, but wired to support rather than contradict responsibilities?
  • With this kind of set-up, you kind of know that the only way “Kino” is going to become Kino is if the original Kino dies, presumably in some horrible way that leads to commemoration. And thus, Kino makes his final transgression (by renouncing his traveler’s neutrality) while Kino makes her first.
  • So much effort to pull out a knife. It’s an absurdly comical scene and I love it.
  • All the red in this episode: flower field, young Kino’s ribbon, the sky when traveler Kino mentions traveling, blood, flower field. And does anyone else associate Canon in D with the colour red? I know I always have for some reason.

This episode is all about transgressions. Yet, at its core, it’s really more about adaptation than revolution. The traveler Kino shows young Kino an alternative “adulthood,” which Kino inherits more than she actively chooses. Even her adopting the name “Kino” after Hermes calls her that is an accident that she adapts to rather than a conscious decision. Her current life plan of traveling to different places, needless to say, is also not an original idea. This lack of a personal purpose seems like something Kino is still struggling with, as her evasion of Hermes’ questions suggests in Episode 1.

Overall, very impressed with this episode (again), and I look forward to learning more about Kino.

Previous episode highlights:

13 thoughts on “[Highlights] Kino’s Journey Ep. 4 (Land of Adults)

  1. That was a great backstory episode. It’s interesting watching this in Japanese because her form of speech changes. During her childhood, she uses “Atashi” when she says “I”, but in her current state, she says “Boku” which shows a huge divergence in character by ditching the feminine-exclusive way to say “I” in Japanese. This plays a huge role in one of the Kino movies which delves more into her backstory. Fun fact about the original “Kino” man: His voice actor is the same person who plays Kakashi in Naruto and Kisuke from Bleach among several other characters.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is why I usually talk about Kino as they/them. Kino is a character that doesn’t care about their gender and honestly, knowing it doesn’t change why they are at all because that’s not the point of the series. Of course, you know all that already. 😁.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That makes sense with you using those pronouns for Kino. I agree that Kino’s gender isn’t the main focus of the whole series even with the flashback moments or switching gender pronouns in that character’s development.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks for bringing the Japanese pronoun change to my attention! I started out using “they/them”, but switched to “she/her” when I saw that it was how the Wiki referred to Kino. The more I think about it, the more I think “they/them” makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No problem! It’s very fascinating knowing about the dialogue change in the Japanese version especially since there are multiple ways to say “I” in Japanese. Great, now I want to listen to the band Watashi Wa after talking about this, but I digress. Haha! Yeah, the gender identity stuff does come again in another episode and the 1st movie. Of course, Kino’s real name is completely different in the dub and the Japanese version since it relies on wordplay that wouldn’t make any sense when translated in English.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Scott! I don’t think I’ve enjoyed doing episodic write-ups as much as this before. Kino’s Journey has plenty to say and is a pleasure to dig into.


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