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Film Friday- Kino’s Journey: the Beautiful World

Film Friday- Kino’s Journey: the Beautiful World

Kino’s Journey: the Beautiful World, shortened to Kino’s Journey, is a Japanese light novel series written by Keiichi Sigsawa, with illustrations by Kouhaku Kuroboshi. The series originally started serialization in volume five of MediaWorks’ now-defunct light novel magazine Dengeki hp on March 17, 2000. The first volume of the series was published on July 10, 2000 by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko publishing imprint. As of October 2014, 18 volumes have been published, and over 8 million copies of the novels have been sold in Japan.[1] In Kino’s Journey, the protagonist, Kino, accompanied by a talking motorcycle named Hermes, travels through a mystical world of many different countries and forests, each unique in its customs and people. A spin-off light novel series titled Gakuen Kino began with the first volume published on July 10, 2006 by ASCII Media Works; four volumes have been released as of July 2010.

A 13-episode anime adaptation produced by A.C.G.T and Genco aired between April and July 2003 on WOWOW in Japan. Two visual novels for the PlayStation 2 were released by ASCII Media Works, the first in July 2003, and the second in December 2005. There have also been two 30-minute animated films produced, the first in February 2005, and the second in April 2007. A Kino’s Journey light novel was only released as a promotional gift for the second animated movie. Additional merchandise includes three art books, three picture books, and a drama CD. In 2017, two manga adaptations and a new anime series have been announced.

Plot

In Kino’s Journey, the protagonist, Kino, accompanied by a talking motorcycle named Hermes, travels through a mystical world of many different countries and forests, each unique in its customs and people. She only spends three days and two nights in every town, without exception, on the principle that three days is enough time to learn almost everything important about a place, while leaving time to explore new lands. Kino says in The Land of Visible Pain that this principle is probably a lie, specifically noting “if I stay any longer, I’m afraid I will settle down.” The recurring theme of the anime and novels is described by the phrase, “The world is not beautiful, therefore it is [beautiful].” Kino’s Journey explores what the anime director Ryūtarō Nakamura described as “a radical sense of ‘beauty,” and brutality, loneliness, nonsense, oppression and tragedy are often juxtaposed against compassion and a fairy-tale atmosphere.

For protection and hunting, Kino carries a .44 single action revolver (called “the Cannon”, based on a Colt M1851) that uses liquid explosives in place of gunpowder and a .22 automatic pistol (named “the Woodsman”, based on a Colt Woodsman). Later in Kino’s adventures in the novels, Kino also uses a pump action shotgun (based on a Winchester M1897) and a semi-automatic sniper rifle (called “the Flute”, based on an Arisaka Type 99 rifle), along with a variety of other tools, including knives. In the anime, Kino is shown to carry no fewer than five knives, including one which can fire .22 bullets from its hilt. Kino is an unusually quick draw and practices every day before dawn.

Technology in this world exists, sometimes to the level of science fiction, although anachronisms are common (for example, the same land that has talking robots also appears to have phonographs, yet simultaneously the world has only begun to develop heavier-than-air flight). The level of technology also varies from country to country. The world is not heavily magical (the only “magical” elements include land that moves, a talking motorcycle, and a talking dog), although it has a certain fairy-tale quality.

Other Tuesday- Kino’s Journey Light Novels

Other Tuesday- Kino’s Journey Light Novels

While there is a new manga about Kino’s Journey I was not able to find any accurate information about it which is why I did not write about it on Manga Monday.

Light novels

Kino’s Journey began as a series of light novels written by Keiichi Sigsawa, and illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi. The series originally started serialization in MediaWorks’ now-defunct light novel magazine Dengeki hp with the release of volume six on March 17, 2000. The first volume of the series was published on July 10, 2000 by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko publishing imprint. As of October 10, 2014, 18 volumes have been published. The eighth volume of Kino’s Journey, originally published in October 2004, was Dengeki Bunko’s 1000th published novel. An additional volume entitled Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- Country of Theater -Kino- was only released as a promotional gift for the second animated movie. A collection of special chapters entitled Kino’s Journey: the Sigsawa’s World came with the first volume of ASCII Media Works’ light novel magazine Dengeki Bunko Magazine on April 10, 2008.

In commemoration of Dengeki Bunko’s 20th anniversary, Kino’s Journey was serialized weekly from April to September 2013 in several Japanese regional newspapers. The ten stories serialized during this period were included in the 17th volume published in October of the same year. The previous 16 volumes were released with new cover artwork also in commemoration of the anniversary.

The light novel series has also been translated into Chinese, Korean, and German. Tokyopop licensed the novels under the original title Kino no Tabi for release in North America, and the first volume was published on October 3, 2006. The chapter order of Tokyopop’s English release of the first volume differed from the original Japanese release. According to Tokyopop representatives, there are issues with the licensor that have left them unable to release further volumes of the series. Tokyopop used an image from the sixth chapter-title page from the original novel for use as the English novel cover.

The first volume of a spin-off of the regular series titled Gakuen Kino was published on July 10, 2006 under Dengeki Bunko; as of July 10, 2010, four volumes have been released. The series is a collection of parodies originally published in three spin-off magazines of Dengeki hp: Dengeki p, Dengeki h, and Dengeki hpa. The spin-off features Kino as a magical girl in a school setting. Gakuen Kino was translated into Chinese and Korean.