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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: