Episode Reviews

[Highlights] Kino’s Journey Ep. 12 (A Peaceful Land)

Back again with another procrasti-post! This episode really isn’t one of the series’ strongest. It feels kind of wrong that it’s the penultimate episode in the series, when the episode prior to it could probably lead into the finale more nicely.

  • It’s called the “Land of Peace,” but wait, there are tanks and statues of soldiers everywhere! What sophisticated irony.
  • The Land of Peace has seen…15 years of peace. Makes you wonder what they were called before that. Where do you draw the line between “current event” and “history”? I remember my high school history teacher saying that she only recently started teaching 9/11 as a “historical” event in 2016, so maybe the cut-off for her had been 10-15 years. I was a toddler when it happened, so I have no strong feelings about the classification of 9/11 as a historical event, but it’s understandable that people who remember it find this shocking. The Land of Peace is a lot more eager to put things in the past though.
  • Okay, I thought it was a neat concept at first – having two warring nations fight each other in a friendly annual sports match. But no! The twist is that they compete against each other in a genocide against an indigenous tribe and see which side kills more people. Why bother with the initial formation anyway??
  • Obviously, we’re supposed to condemn this and see it as disturbing, but the entire premise feels unbelievable and lacks the severity to deliver an impact. Who is this tribe, and how have they braced themselves against these annual massacres? They ought to have. Why did the two nations have conflict in the first place, and how has switching targets to this defenseless tribe solved any of their existing issues? Sure, we should see this solution as illogical and morally bankrupt, but it takes too much suspension of disbelief – too high of an effort for a viewer to make for the Dystopia-of-the-Episode that they have little reason to care about.
  • This episode is subtitled “Mother’s Love.” The museum curator was the one responsible for coming up with the “peaceful” solution to war between the two nations, after all her children were killed during previous conflicts. Again, there seemed very little reason to care about her or her flashback children, and the ridiculousness of the solution made sympathy even more difficult.
  • Kino is ambushed by the remaining tribespeople, who attack Kino…not because they want revenge, but simply because they can only be satiated by…violence? Okay, maybe what this episode wants to say is “an eye for an eye makes the world go blind,” but what it reflects is a complete lack of understanding of what constitutes vengeance.
  • The tribespeople literally go up to Kino and say, “we know you’re innocent, but we want to kill somebody to compensate for our suffering.” If you’re bloodthirsty enough to kill a random passerby, would you really rationalize violence so…rationally? No villain believes that they’re evil, and these people aren’t even villains.

All in all, this episode felt hammer-fisted and lazy in execution. If someone in my family got hit by a car and died, I’m not going to go running over somebody else’s pet cat and feel better after doing so? The episode completely undermines the the individual and collective human emotions behind suffering, revenge, and self-rationalization.

Neither does Kino as a protagonist learn anything new about themselves or the world. Just another silly dystopia – moving on! The moral lesson of most of Kino‘s dystopian episodes can be summarized by “don’t be a sheep,” but some episodes get more creative with exploring the fantastical premises (e.g. Ep. 3 (Land of Prophecies), Ep. 10 (Land of Books)), and some introduce characters that feel more involved or shed some light on Kino’s own character (e.g. Ep. 4 (Land of Adults), Ep. 6 (Coliseum)). Even in the more moralizing episodes with stories that feel straight out of Aesop’s Fables, there’s usually some interesting twist – something worth probing into in these episode highlight posts. This was kind of a letdown.

Hopefully the finale is a return to form!

2 thoughts on “[Highlights] Kino’s Journey Ep. 12 (A Peaceful Land)

  1. I think that what they were trying to get at is that these people are unwilling to give up their bloodlust. It is also about racism. They settle on an unfortunate third party so that “real” people don’t get hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand what they’re going for, but the execution felt a bit too simplistic for me. I felt like the backstory and characters would have to fleshed out more for its moral message to be convincing.

      Liked by 1 person

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