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"The world is not beautiful, therefore it is."
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Kino no Tabi, known in English as Kino's Journey (and also using the English title Kino's Travels on official Japanese merchandise), is a Light Novel series by Keiichi Sigsawa which was adapted into a thirteen-episode TV anime series in 2003, one OVA, and two films. In 2017, it received two back-to-back manga adaptations, and a new anime with a new studio premiered October 6, 2017.

It follows the travels of a teenager named Kino as she wanders across the world on her talking motorcycle Hermes, encountering all manner of eccentric people and cultures along the way. Yet the world is as dangerous as it is beautiful, and Kino is often confronted by the uglier aspects of human nature. All that keeps her going is her quick wit, the pistol at her side, and a steadfast rule to stay in a country for no longer than three days and two nights.

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See also Allison & Lillia, a more lighthearted action-adventure series from the same author-illustrator team. Compare Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro. See Gakuen Kino for the High School A.U..


This show contains examples of:

  • Accomplice by Inaction:
    • The citizens of the Coliseum country ultimately let their king do as he pleases because he gave them what he wanted. Possibly because of this, Kino doesn't have a problem with decreeing that the citizens must fight to choose a new king, resulting in the populace turning on and killing each other.
    • Kino herself becomes this when she meets a man who agrees to travel with a woman in atonement for killing the latter's fiancee. The woman, unwilling to forgive the man, shoots him to death, then says Kino could have stopped her if she wanted to. Kino nonchalantly says she has no desire to play god.
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  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Older!Shishou has more traces of her younger self beauty in the 2017 adaptation than the 2003 anime.
    • In the manga, the Sole Survivor of the country that overthrew its king is relatively slim and handsome, whereas he's fat, scruffy and disheveled in the 2003 anime.
    • King Yukio in the 2017 anime has a more down-to-earth appearance compared to his 2003 version, who was practically a jester in king form.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Kino's hair, jacket, pants and eye color were all changed for the original anime adaption. Averted with the 2017 reboot where Kino's updated anime character design closely follows her LN character design better.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The 2003 anime significantly lengthen/alters the Coliseum/Avengers arc, giving King Yukio and the guard escorting Kino additional characterization, as well as adding semifinalists with their own characterization and having Shizu appear several times before his fight with Kino to foreshadow The Reveal that he's the king's son.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: A minor case, but in the Coliseum arc, adaptations tend to refer to King Yukio as having children, plural—which raises questions when Shizu is clearly alone sans Riku. In the novels, he's stated to be an only child.
  • Adventure Towns: Though frequently subverted when Kino passes through without affecting anything.
  • The Alleged Car: Master and her partner ride an antiquated Subaru 360. The novels make it a point to describe just how rundown it is every time.
  • Ancient Tradition: Played straight a few times, then lampshaded in one episode, where the citizens of one country continually make up new, ridiculous traditions for travelers, though Kino points out that pranking the tourists might actually be this country's tradition.
  • And This Is for...: In "Fields of Sheep," Kino dedicates a headshot on a man-eating sheep to a man who died while being pursued by said sheep, since Kino ended up taking the man's car and persuader.
  • Answer Cut: In Episode 4 of the anime, Kino's father demands to know who gave her the idea to refuse the operation. The camera then cuts to the original Kino.
  • Answers to the Name of God: Averted.
    Shizu: My god....
    Kino: I am nobody's god.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Kino. This is one of the main points of the story.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Hermes the Talking Motorcycle complains that Riku the Talking Dog shouldn't exist.
    • Kino's skepticism about the possibility of humanoid robots, despite traveling with a sentient, mechanic companion, and having seen many kinds of sophisticated robots along the way.
    • Kino is as disbelieving as the other characters when Nimya talks about the concept of airplanes, even though the idea of a flying vehicle shouldn't be anywhere among the weirdest things she's seen.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • When Kino meets the Sole Survivor of a country that decided everything by majority rule and executed those who disagreed with the majority, he refuses to let Kino leave. Kino then suggests that there are three people here- Kino, Hermes and the man- and asks what would happen if Kino and Hermes deemed the man to be in the wrong. Cue Oh, Crap! as the man realizes he'd be executed.
    • In "A Peaceful Country," when Kino is disturbed by the museum curator's defending her decision to have a genocide competition in lieu of war, the curator challenges Kino to come up with a better plan. Kino has no response.
    • In "Land of Necessity", Kino is manipulated into killing death convicts as part of the country's version of the death penalty. She's less than thrilled when she finds out, and appears somewhat judgmental when the country tells her that while they apologize for offending her, the system is a necessity. However, when they then ask Kino if she considers killing people for her own survival to be a necessity, she has no rebuttal. They point out it's the same principle.
  • Arranged Marriage: The "Land of Couples" is all about these, with everyone ending up in one as they're not considered true adults until they marry. Unsurprisingly, the land is rife with Domestic Abuse, not helped by its attitude that women should Stay in the Kitchen.
  • Art Evolution: Being a series that's over a decade long, it's pretty staggering. It also explains why the anime Kino looks so childlike compared to the illustration in the recent novels, since the early novels had a much 'rounder' artstyle.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Despite the cutesy, storybook-like character designs and illustrations, it features a lot of mature philosophical/political parables and on-screen murders.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The merchant family in the 6th episode of the 2017 anime reboot. Though she didn't intend for it to happen, their horrendously cruel mistreatment of the slave who would eventually be named Photo made their deaths via poisoned herbs prepared by her very satisfying.
    • Kino once travels to a country that managed to achieve peace with its former enemy by competing to commit genocide against a defenseless tribe. You'd expect that the tribe would be portrayed sympathetically, but then the tribe decides to kill Kino in revenge, despite knowing full well that Kino is not part of their persecutors. As such, it's hard to feel bad when Kino kills one of them in self-defense.
    • In Episode 1 of the 2017 anime, Kino encounters a man asking her to carry some of his luggage. She of course declines, until the man pulls a gun on her. She notices the townsfolk were walking away, until the man gets his hand shot by an old lady with a crossbow. Demanding why they are attacking him when he learned killing wasn't prohibited, the town's leader tells he just because killing isn't prohibited does not mean it's permitted. He gets executed on the spot.
  • The Atoner:
    • An unnamed man that Kino once met, referenced in a flashback is this. He killed a man, and afterwards regretted it and became a bodyguard to his widow, following her to the ends of the earth and protecting her from any danger. Subverted when she kills him instead out of revenge.
    • Photo felt like this after the merchants who took her in as a slave die of food poisoning without her making another attempt to stop them. So the motorrad disagreed, saying they deserved to die.
    • The "Kind Country" being hospitable to Kino was an attempt to atone for being hostile to outsiders in the past.
    • "A Tale of Olden Days" has a politician flee his country, due to an uprising from the people who want him dead for his misdeeds. Master and her disciple are hired to escort him out... and Everyone Has Standards ensues as he's horrified by the way they utterly massacre the people trying to kill him. The epilogue reveals that in atonement, he dedicated his life to the next country he settled down in, which may or may not have been the lesson Master and her disciple were trying to impart.
  • Author Appeal: Keiichi Sigsawa appears obsessed with minutiae of all sorts of technology, judging by the overly-detailed descriptions of all weapons and vehicles that appear, plot-centric or not. Even his pen name is based on a gun brand. He also has the tendency to write some of the weirdest postscripts to exist.
  • Badass Longcoat: Played with. Kino is a badass, and she does wear a longcoat, but the two are rarely at the same time. Usually, Kino takes off the longcoat before combat because it makes it harder for her to draw her guns. Additionally, she only wears the longcoat while riding Hermes.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Subverted, as Kino wears metal wrist guards when she blocks Shizu's katana with her wrists, and is seen equipping them before the match.
  • Berserk Button: The citizens of Kino's home country are cheery, good-natured people who go about their lives with a smile on their faces due to an operation when they turn twelve that makes them unable to not be satisfied by everything. However, if you ask if there's another way to become an adult, as Kino does, they fly into a homicidal rage and try to murder you.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Implied in "Fields of Sheep." Kino finds a man whose car was stopped at the edge of a cliff in a region infested by man-eating sheep. Upon examining the man's dead body, Kino notices that his shin was broken and he was unable to walk through the pain, then sees a persuader in his hand. She doesn't outright say that the man committed suicide, but the implication is there.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Kino is a very polite, non-judgemental, and often generous character, who does not seem to take any pleasure in fighting, even if it's the only option. Someone delivering a threat, though, will be dead before they know what's going on.
    • Likewise, Shizu is polite and helpful—even more so than Kino—but he will respond to threats against his person in kind.
    • The citizens in the country where murder isn't prohibited are all friendly and polite to Kino during her visit and it really isn't an act. If someone kills or attempts to kill in the country though, the citizens can and will kill the offender for breaking the law, as the man that threatens Kino for her refusing to help him carry his luggage to the country earlier finds out the hard way.
  • Bifauxnen: Kino has passed herself off as a boy, though in one case it was just that the people around her immediately presumed as such.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first anime has one. After all cruel, strange or simply unusual countries that she visited, Kino gets into a strange city with friendly people, where everyone is happy and where one girl reminds Kino of her as a child. Moreover, she herself begins to change as a character. However, at the very end, Kino gets a real Heroic BSoD when she sees how the whole city with all its innocent and happy inhabitants dies under the lava from the volcano.
  • Blade Enthusiast: Kino is nearly always shown to buy knives when visiting shops, sometimes only because they look 'pretty'.
  • Blood Sport: One episode features a pair of cities whose constant warfare has been replaced by regular pogroms of the local villages. The cities compete to see who gets the most kills.
  • Bookends:
    • Episode 1 of the 2017 anime begins with Kino encountering a traveler, who, bored with his peaceful country, wants to go to the country Kino is about to visit in order so he can kill with impunity. At the end, Kino, leaving the country, sees another traveler who's tired of having to kill to survive in his violent homeland, and hopes to find a safe place to live.
    • Episode 4 of the 2003 anime/Episode 11 of the 2017 anime begins and ends with Hermes tipped over in a field of flowers, as well as Kino singing. The start of the episode is in the present day, and the end is just after Kino sets out, before shifting back to the present.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Kino kills the king, a.k.a., Shizu's father from the Coliseum chapter.
  • Born Lucky:
    • The slave known as Photo is considered this. Despite being orphaned and sold as a slave, she miraculously survives an incident that kills her owners, takes possession of their goods and settles down in a small village, with her fellow residents accepting her despite knowing about her past.
    • Kino also tends to have miraculously good luck at times. Invoked in "Beginner's Luck", where she talks about how travelers need luck, and sure enough, good fortune strikes right at that moment.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Kino's guns seem to have them...sometimes. The anime's better about keeping gun capacity in mind.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • While the anime adaption is largely faithful to the novels, most of the violence was toned down, and some of the characters that Kino meets or the countries Kino visits are portrayed as much more sympathetic. The first film, Kino's Travels: Life Goes On was much more offending in this regard.
    • In-universe, this occurs in an interview Kino agrees to, with her distinctly family-unfriendly past and explanation of traveling's brutal realities significantly altered for the final product.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Shizu and Kino meet each other again, Shizu is ecstatic to meet Kino again, as Kino was the one who saved his life. However, Kino is apathetic to their reunion, and even has trouble remembering Shizu's name.
  • But Now I Must Go: Kino's modus operandi. Reach next town, stay for three days and two nights, then gone.
  • The Caligula: The king from the Coliseum two-parter is incredibly Axe-Crazy, from killing his father and wifenote , to forcing anyone that comes in his territory to kill each other to gain upper-class status.
  • Cannibal Larder: In A Tale of Feeding Off Others after the three men Kino saved turn out to be slavers and Kino has to kill them all in self-defense, Kino takes a closer look inside their wagon: it's the second time it's seen, but this time, we get a better idea what the three men meant when they said they had to eat their cargo to survive...
  • Captain Ersatz: In the "coliseum" episode, Kino fights knockoffs of Batman, Clint Eastwood and Luke Skywalker. This wasn't so in the original novel where the fights were only briefly described.
  • Cargo Cult: One of Kino's journeys takes her to a country calmly awaiting the imminent apocalypse, as foretold in their holy book of prophecies, which is revealed later to actually be the stream-of-consciousness work of a great but grief-stricken poet whose mind snapped when his wife took her own life to serve as gruesome inspiration for a poem full of sorrow as per the King of their country's orders. Said "Prophecies" come true, as other nations band together to destroy the nation....because of the poems.
  • Casting Gag: Combined with You Look Familiar and Remake Cameo, Aoi Yūki plays Sakura in the 13th episode of the first anime of 2003 and Kino in the new series of 2017. This is doubled by the fact that Sakura is a copy of the main character in her childhood.
  • Catchphrase: Hermes says Yes, that's it! each time Kino or some other person corrects his idioms.
    • The readers will know immediately that a story will focus on Shizu & co. if it starts with the following introduction: My name is Riku. I am a dog. I have long, fluffy, white fur. I look as if I'm always smiling, but it doesn't mean that I'm happy all the time. I was just born this way.
  • Celibate Heroine: Kino seems to prefer living as a lone traveller and shows zero interest (romantic or otherwise) in the people she comes across.
  • Character Gender Confusion: Kino, as she's mistaken for a boy several times. Her character design in the novels is noticeably more feminine.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Before Kino's final match in the coliseum, she's shown preparing wrist guards and making an explosive bullet.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The old man in the Kind Land who gives Kino the Woodsman was actually Master's partner/student and they traveled together in the past. He is a main character in the novels, appearing during the flashback journeys of Master.
  • Child Soldiers: The focus of "What It Means to Fight and Die", which pulls no punches in making it as horrific as possible.
  • City of Canals: The Sad Country.
  • Clones Are People, Too: In "The Land of Identical Faces", everyone is a clone, but despite the initial in-universe Uncanny Valley, they're shown to live happy lives and recognize themselves to be individuals. Kino actually struggles more with distinguishing between non-clone twins when talking to someone outside of the country.
  • Close-Call Haircut:
    • In the novels, the young Shishou's hair has a ragged, gunshot appearance, as though this is the only way she cuts her hair. Given the way she's been known to cut down trees later in life, this is perhaps unsurprising.
    • Also, in the first coliseum fight, Kino faces an assassin with a bladed boomerang that manages to give her a tiny shave on the way back. Later Kino does this deliberately, clipping the hair of Shizu to test his resolve. He doesn't flinch.
  • Comic-Book Time: Despite the fact that traveling is noted to take days just between nearby countries, and seasons are mentioned to be passing, the main characters don't appear to be aging—Kino, for instance, is always described as appearing in her mid-teens.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The 2017 anime compresses the Ship Country arc—one of the lengthiest stories in the series, but also a necessary story to adapt to introduce Ti—in order to fit it in a single episode, via taking out some of Ti and Shizu's interactions, most of Shizu and Kino's fight, and altering the final confrontation with Ti.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Kino's home country, the Land of Adults, is a place where people over twelve get a brain operation that allows them to be happy while performing any task. Thus, nobody is ever unhappy at their job... or at anything else... including state-sanctioned murder. Questioning this system is the only thing that seems to make them angry and promptly go Ax-Crazy on the offender.
  • Crapsack World: Perhaps as part of An Aesop, every major land and town Kino visits in her travels ends up having some major flaw. From corrupt rulers, to amoral slavers, to strict and downright Disproportionate Retribution laws, among many others. One of the times it seems like she's come across a seemingly-flawless village ends with the whole place wiped out by an erupting volcano, as the idealistic society was effectively people having come to terms with their imminent and inevitable deaths. Everywhere and everyone has flaws, and many characters end up having to figure out for themselves if they even want to pursue happiness in these numerous scenarios.
  • Continuity Nod: Lots of these, especially in the novels.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Kino, who even goes as far as to use the decapitated head of an enemy's comrade as bait once. Kino also uses a gun in what was supposed to be a knife duel in a lesson during training with Shishou.
  • Computer Equals Tapedrive: In keeping with the eclectic technology of the series.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Heartbreakingly averted in episode 13. When the volcano erupts, Hermes gives us a stark description of how the people in the village below died with their blood boiling in their bodies.
  • Cool Bike: Hermes, the sentient motorbike who is Kino's only companion and closest friend.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Kino thoroughly maintains the Woodsman and the Cannon every night, gets up at the crack of the dawn to practice shooting, and always carries two guns and many, many knives, and a gun disguised as a knife, just in case.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Master and her student took on a job to get rid of a couple who ensnares passing travelers for their dinner and fun hobby.
  • Cruel Mercy: Kino tells the Sole Survivor of a country that killed each other through majority rule that under his rules, she could have him executed if she and Hermes voted against him. She decides not to do so, and simply leaves him behind, possibly knowing that he will likely die, just like his wife did.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: In A Kind Country, Kino tells the guards at the gate she plans to stay three days. At the end of those three days, the guards show up at the hotel she was staying at and abruptly ask her to leave, holding her to her earlier promise despite her having changed her mind. At first it seems kind of cruel considering how friendly everyone in that town was, but they at least send her off with some food and ask her to visit again sometime. Later that night, Kino wakes up just in time to witness a pyroclastic flow quickly engulf the town within a matter of seconds, killing everyone there. The bagged lunch also contained a note from Sakura's mother which told her the adults knew about the impending doom, and chose to stay behind. So by kicking her out so suddenly, they actually saved her and Hermes from death.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In the novels, many of the stories are cruel enough to make the viewer suffer their own BSOD.
    • One episode where Kino helps a stranded group of people survive a harsh winter, we found out they were slave traders who had eaten their previous haul and look to enslave Kino to make up for it.
    • Another episode has Kino visiting neighboring countries who used to constantly be at war. When Kino asks how they achieved peace, she finds the opposing countries have made their battles into a game in which both countries see who can slaughter the most inhabitants of an adjacent defenseless village. And just to twist the knife further, the "innocent victims" in that village have taken to senselessly murdering travelers, simply as a means of venting their frustration.
    • In another episode, A Kind Country, Kino finds a country so likable that Kino nearly breaks the three day rule of staying in one place, yet the townsfolk mysteriously refuse to let her stay longer. When Kino leaves, the next day she wakes up to find the country destroyed by a nearby erupted volcano.
    • In "A Land Without Walls", Kino comes across a seemingly friendly traveling clan who, of course, are actually much more sinister than they present themselves as. She's saved by one member who brings down the clan by burning the grass that the adults have become addicted and literally dependent on—including himself. He decides to spend his remaining days encouraging the clan's children to lead new lives, before the withdrawal can kill him. The children kill him before he can explain how despicable the adults were, only seeing the murderer of their families, before the children then smoke what little remains of the grass...
    • Subverted with "A Land of Identical Faces". While the concept of a country full of clones might seem unsettling, it's made clear during Kino's stay that this is a peaceful, friendly nation... and then another country, disturbed by them, razes the country to the ground. However, as it turns out, all the people survive and take the destruction in stride as they begin to rebuild.
  • Dead All Along: In the viewer participation drama, one of the possible paths results in Master receiving a wound from a laser-like attack. To everyone's surprise, she's unfazed and the wound begins to close (without her noticing it). The audience and her partner realizes that this must be why she has never "ever" been grazed by a single bullet before.
  • Deadly Euphemism: If someone talks about "persuading" another person, they almost inevitably mean they're going to pull a gun on them.
  • Dead Man Writing: Sakura's mother leaves Kino a letter in the breakfast she gives Kino, which Kino opens and reads after the volcanic eruption wipes out the country. A second note in the same bag strongly implies that Sakura also knew about the coming eruption.
  • Death Seeker: In one of the stories, a country gathers its suicidal citizens and grants their death wish by sending them off to war. They happily abide.
  • Decade Dissonance: In most cases it's best to think of the different countries as existing in separate universes. Handwaved, in that travel between towns is dangerous and rare, and few individuals could ever imagine leaving their town.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Kino herself in the second anime series, since a large portion of the episodes either only feature her as a supporting character or cameo appearance or she doesn't even appear at all.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • A major theme among several countries Kino visits, which practice things that would be considered unthinkable by most modern countries.
    • Also occurs occasionally in stories about duelling countries, such as in "A Land Divided" where one country hunts forest animals but considers killing sea creatures to be inhumane, and a country that thinks the opposite. Kino, on her part, is perfectly fine with both.
  • Democracy Is Bad: The town run by majority rule quickly falls apart when the majority proves willing to execute anyone who questions the status quo.
  • Demoted to Extra: Shizu and Riku in the first series don't get any focus beyond the Coliseum episodes.
  • Did Not Think This Through: In the story about the country where killing is legal, a man seemed to think that by living there he'd be able to live a life of murder with impunity. He openly mugs Kino under threat of death in broad daylight, and is absolutely shocked to discover that, by virtue of living in a country where killing is legal, anyone is free to kill him if he pisses them off, which he just did by threatening an innocent in public. The townsfolk proceed to execute him and save Kino's life.
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • Various countries have its citizens blase about things that would be horrifying to anyone else. In "Country Of Adults," Kino's parents and the other adults are remarkably calm as Kino's father prepares to kill her then stabs the original Kino when he intervenes.
    • Kino, Shizu, etc. also have a case of this going on most times, as they've witnessed so much on their travels that not much seriously fazes them anymore.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Kino is a badass gunslinger with a talking motorcycle. Shizu is a badass swordsman with a talking dog.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Sole Survivor of a town where everyone votes for any decision, and whoever is in the minority is killed, kills himself when Kino and Hermes outvote him while visiting.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • In "Fields of Sheep," Kino buries the dead body of a traveler she finds while escaping the sheep, then asks to use his car and persuader against the sheep.
    • "Land of Journalists" has Kino implicitly angry that the original Kino's memory is being besmirched, as she discreetly tries to fix it.
    • In general, the main characters pointedly avert this—looting corpses is pretty much a necessity while traveling.
  • Emotionless Girl: Master/Shishou when she was young. She does mellow out and become much kinder by the time she teaches Kino how to 'persuade' (fighting) though.
    • Tifana when Shizu and Riku first encounter her in the Ship Country.
  • The Ending Changes Everything:
    • In "A Kind Country," the revelation that the country was doomed all along casts the citizens' actions throughout the episode into an entirely new light, particularly Sakura's parents encouraging her to join Kino on her journey.
    • In "Country of Liars," the man's final confession that he knew all along that his housekeeper is the princess he loved turns the entire story on its head.
    • In Episode 10 of the 2003 anime, it turns out that the supposedly robotic housekeeper was actually an elderly human woman, and that the family she served are the robots she made a long time ago. As such, the family isn't being ungrateful when they dump the meal the nanny made down the trash disposal; they actually can't eat it.
    • In "A Land Not Permitting Discrimination", the people criticize the immigration inspectors living outside of the city walls, describing them as barbarians who always wear masks and are unwelcome in their beloved society within the walls... and then it's revealed that the people inside the walls are living in a dumpster, and the immigration inspectors are living in vastly better conditions who understandably wear the masks for hygienic reasons.
  • Enfante Terrible: Several characters, and arguably, Kino.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Two countries achieved peace with each other by turning their wars against each other into a competition... in which they commit genocide against a defenseless tribe. The architect of the plan is a woman who lost all her children to war, and met a woman from the opposing country who felt the same way. The first woman tells Kino that Kino will understand how she feels once Kino has children.
  • Everyone Is Armed: A few countries that Kino visits has everyone carry around weapons, whether to be ready for a fight, out of love for the weapon itself, or to dissuade violence with mixed results.
  • The Evil Prince: King Yukio murdered his father, a good king who was strict with his son, then became a cruel ruler who kept his subjects entertained with gladiatorial games.
  • Exact Words: In a country Kino visits, the law states that murder isn't prohibited. As a citizen points out to an offender, just because something isn't prohibited doesn't mean it's allowed. The offender is then promptly killed for threatening to kill Kino in public.
  • Extended Disarming: Kino, when being held at gunpoint by some slavers, drops many, many knives. This leads one of the slavers to remark, "Are you a knife merchant?!"
  • Fanservice:
    • Nimya in the "Land of Wizards" episode; it's the only time it really shows up in the anime. Also played straight in some of the illustrations.
    • The High School A.U. spinoff Gakuen Kino is basically a fanservice series.
  • Face Death with Dignity: One of Kino's opponents in the Coliseum, an old man with a flamethrower, insists that she finish him off, and when Kino agrees, he closes his eyes to await the end. She ends up knocking him out, though.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The trio of slavers aided by Kino before she knows their profession.
  • Foil: Kino to Sakura. Both are girls whose names (in Kino's case, her original name) are derived from flowers, and both meet a traveler named Kino at a critical point in their lives. Kino refused to follow in her parents' footsteps and become an "adult," resulting in her fleeing her home. Sakura refused her parents' suggestion to travel in favor of staying at home and inheriting the inn.
  • Foreign Queasine: In a welcoming feast in honor of travelers, Kino was served raw seafood (still moving), grilled monkey, sheep brains, whale steak and elephant steak. She loved it.
  • Freudian Excuse: The museum curator Kino meets in "A Peaceful Country," as well as an acquaintance of hers from her country's enemy, both lost family members in a war, and so came up with a plan to compete to kill the indigenous peoples in lieu of war.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Neither Kino nor Hermes approve of the museum curator's plan, with Kino pointing out that she's causing pain to the families of the people the soldiers kill, while Hermes has a similar opinion.
    Hermes: "Sure, I feel sorry for her because she lost her entire family, but I could do without that kind of peace."
  • Full-Circle Revolution: One country overthrows the king, who'd executed anyone who disagreed with him, then not only executes the king and his family, but also anyone who they see as a threat to the new order.
  • Furry Reminder: Played for laughs with Riku's occasional quips that remind Shizu that he is still a dog.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Kino's hometown does this via an operation on everyone's brain before they become adults. She just barely escapes the same fate.
  • Gladiator Games: The aptly named Coliseum (Avengers) arc sports these, where travelers compete for the right to become a first-class citizen (and to avoid becoming a slave).
  • Gratuitous German: Hermes is called a motorrad throughout the first series. "Motorrad" is the German term for "motorcycle". Kino's name is also German for 'movie theater'.
  • Gun Porn: The firearms in the series tend to be described in loving detail.
  • The Gunslinger: The title character herself; specifically, of The Quick Draw variety. Notably, she's one of the rare few of the type who is seen actively practicing the skill regularly.
  • Had to Be Sharp: Every traveler in this series did, given how dangerous the world is for them.
  • Hate Crimes Are a Special Kind of Evil: Kino visits a nation where the wars between them and their neighboring nation are now settled by seeing how many members of an indigenous tribe can be killed by the competing armies. The people targeted had nothing to do with the war between the two nations, and are targeted because they aren't part of either nation, and also incapable of defending themselves against the superior weaponry their oppressors possess. Though little is said, it is clear that these two nations have Kino, who rarely if ever expresses a moral judgement of the nations traveled through, disgusted.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Apparently Riegel, a notorious serial killer, went through this after living in the country where killing is allowed. He has nothing but kind words to Kino and listens to her travels. When Kino was face to face with the man who wanted to live in his country so he can kill, Riegel and his townsfolk arrive save Kino while executing the man. Kino parts ways with him after she leaves.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The original Kino dies protecting the protagonist's life, in her backstory.
    • Rafa's plan to have Shizu buy her involves this, as it turns out, as combined with the money she obtained from selling her organs, she's pulled her family out of poverty even though it means her death.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Younger!Shishou during her traveling years with her then-partner, Aibou, have stories that dedicated their time together.
    • Shizu, particularly in the 2003 anime where he only showed up once, compared to the novels where he regularly has his own stories that are largely separate from Kino's, including a few that chronologically take place before his debut.
    • In the novels only, Photo, who had a single episode focusing on her in the 2017 anime, has adventures that actually deviate from both Kino and Shizu’s stories together.
  • How We Got Here: About once a volume, one story starts off with its ending out of context, and then a later chapter reveals how things reached that point.
  • I Call It "Vera": All of Kino's guns are named. "The Woodsman" is a .22 Colt Woodsman Match Target semiautomatic pistol; named after Kino shot off a branch to take out a bandit/the gun's real-life counterpart (Apparently, this was an added detail in Tokyopop's English translation; in the novels, it was already called "The Woodsman" even before it was given to Kino by the old man in the Kind Land.) "The Cannon" is a .44 Colt 1851 Navy single action revolver that takes liquid explosives instead of gunpowder; it's named after what it can do. Later in the novels Kino acquires "The Flute"; a Arisaka type 99 bolt-action sniper rifle.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The ending of the episode where Kino saves the three starving men in the tent.
  • Immortality: Several chapters of the novels have played with different versions of the concept.
    • Kino visited a country after hearing rumors that none of its citizens ever get sick, hoping to learn their secret. It turns out that everybody gets their healing factor from the bite of an insect. As usual, there's a catch: they only live for 50 years after getting bit.
    • In one chapter, Kino talks to a depressed man who claims to be immortal. The truth is he's an experimental subject on transferring memories to other people generation after generation. But the purpose of the experiment is to actually discourage people from seeking immortality, and will go on until the man goes mad.
    • Once, Kino meets a 12-year old boy who is actually 93 years old already.
    • In volume 18, Master and her student arrives at a country filled with babies in capsules. Apparently, this country considers remaining an infant for life as the most ideal form of immortality. Except they don't live forever.
  • Important Haircut: Kino's hair was cut into its current style after it was stained with blood from the first person she killed.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: One country has so much surplus of weapons, they decided to use them to entertain their citizens with an annual fireworks display.
  • It Gets Easier: Kino, Shizu and especially Master have killed so many people they don't even feel remorse anymore. When minor characters call them out for murdering so casually, they reply with I Did What I Had to Do.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Shishou and Aibou in "The Kind Land" episode were Bifauxnen and Bishounen during their travels together.
  • Karmic Death: When the Sole Survivor of the country run by majority rule refuses to let Kino leave, Kino asks what would happen if a majority vote of Kino and Hermes decided that the man was in the wrong. The man promptly has an Oh, Crap! reaction as he realizes he would be executed in the same way as all the other dissidents. Subverted when Kino leaves the man alone, quite possibly realizing that he'll probably die of a disease, like his wife did.
  • Kick the Dog: Shortly before the merchant family and their entourage succumbs to the poison, the son of the family proposes brutally killing their slave, who'd tried to warn them about the poison, to become strong enough to protect the others, and his parents and their companions approve of it. That final act of cruelty ensures that no tears are shed over their deaths.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: One country focuses on increasing their crop yields to the exclusion of all else, and ends up ostracizing a scientist for bringing back knowledge that doesn't help with that. His protégé, a young woman named Nimya, receives similar treatment when she tries to build an airplane, but the country changes their minds when they see the airplane fly.
  • Land of One City: Most countries Kino visits consist of a single city.
  • Laser Sight: Kino's semi-automatic pistol is equipped with one. "The Bothersome Country's" laser is compared to a much more powerful version of that laser.
  • Legacy Character: Kino takes on the name of the previous Kino, a traveler who stopped by her country. Likewise, the original Kino named the motorrad he repaired "Hermes" after his previous motorrad.
  • Lethal Chef: Kino is apparently a terrible cook. When the doctor in volume 7 says that the cooking was delicious, Kino is visibly surprised, remarking that that was the only time someone said that with a straight face, and the only characters we see enjoy it had been starving for weeks. While they were training together, Master was so terrified of Kino's food that she wouldn't let her cook.
  • Limited Wardrobe: It's made clear that the main characters have only the one outfit, as they can be identified in stories even if not mentioned by name. Justified as they're travelers, so they actually don't have spares.
  • The Lost Lenore: In "Country of Liars", Kino is greeted by a man waiting for his lover, who left on a journey and had yet to return. Kino learns later that the man was driven mad with grief when he unwittingly killed her during a revolution he took part in. Things get twisted, however, with the dual reveals that the woman killed was a double and the man's caretaker is, in fact, his lover and that the man is aware of fact but hasn't let on. Both are content to leave things as they are.
  • Lonely Funeral: In Episode 8 of the 2003 anime, an old man who studied abroad ends up being ostracized because he couldn't increase the crop yield. His funeral is held without any attendees besides the pallbearers.
  • Malaproper: Hermes does this sometimes, as he refers to a volcanic eruption as a "corruption."
  • Magic Realism: Any fantasy elements in the world tend to be lowkey or simply accepted as fact. Given how strange the non-fantastical countries can be, magic is hardly the weirdest thing to go around, even if there's the occasional case of Arbitrary Skepticism.
  • Mature Work, Child Protagonists: The titular Kino is a Vague Age, but still clearly young compared to the adult characters who appear in the series. In the course of her travels, she encounters a group of slave traders who, when snowed in, ate their "goods"; a country where a brutal form of democracy saw the losing end of a vote subjected to the death penalty; a nation where travelers were forced to compete in gladiatorial games to the death; and a land where warfare between two nations had been turned into a competition to see who could slaughter the most members of a nearby native tribe.
  • Mercy Kill: Shizu delivers this to Rafa, granting her a quick death rather than a slow, painful one from her artificial organs failing.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: This is the entire plot of the premiere of the first series, where one country developed a technology to allow its citizens to read one another's minds. This becomes so unbearable that they all move out to the countryside and stay out of each other's "mental ranges."
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Episode 4 of the 2017 series, after Ti stabs Shizu in the chest, you can see the ship's doors slowly close, and the ship pull away from the shore.
  • Mind Screw:
    • The Land of Books episode, especially at its end, when it's suggested that Kino is just a character in a book which is itself part of a virtual reality simulation cooked up by the last man on earth to entertain his daughter...or maybe that guy was just crazy.
    • "Various Tales" has Kino go through especially bizarre adventures with various characters she's met on her journey... only for the end to reveal it was All Just a Dream that younger!Kino is having, with no explanation as to how she dreamed of people she's yet to meet.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: In the first episode of the 2003 anime, Kino meets a man whose wife left him because he didn't share her interest in flowers, and she didn't share his interest in music, although the word choice implies that they were merely indifferent to each other's hobbies. This is Played for Drama, since being able to read each other's minds caused a small difference of opinion to spiral out of control and cause them to be unable to live with each other.
  • Mirroring Factions: Two countries that are at "war" formed a truce so that instead of fighting each other, they make a sport of slaughtering the civilian population of a third country. The victims in turn "fight back", by capturing clueless travelers and brutally killing them, invoking very similar arguments as the other two did. It looks like the only reason they are the ones getting slaughtered is because they just don't happen to have a military.
  • Misplaced Retribution: When Kino encounters some members of a tribe that are being slaughtered, they decide to kill her in revenge. She denies having anything to do with the genocide, and they believe her, but decide to kill someone in order to get their revenge.
  • Mugging the Monster: Subverted and lampshaded in episode nine of the 2017 anime. A young bandit being trained by an elder one is on the look out for easy targets. He first sees Shizu with Ti And Riku. The younger one thinks they're easy pickings. The Elder wisely disagrees and even more wisely tells him to leave them alone. Next the younger spots Kino and thinks she's an easy target. The Elder again wisely disagrees. He then tells the younger that their ideal target carelessly attacks anyone, to the point they'll someday attack a weak-looking opponent that turned out to Curb-Stomp Battle them. Played straight when it turns out the reason the elder is so wise in picking targets is years ago when he was younger he tried to rob Master and her apprentice.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Photo's reaction when her hesitation in warning the merchant family about the poison they're eating (although she doesn't realize that it's poison until the dinner's on the table) costs everyone but her their lives.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Ti after being taken in by Shizu and Riku.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Photo, so much so that even during her time as a mistreated slave, she never hated her home country (who sold her out in the first place), or even the the merchant family full of assholes who constantly beat her just for breathing the same air as them.
    • Shizu is a generally friendly individual. One country describes him as the nicest traveler they've had, and during the Ship Country story, he pleasantly surprises the citizens by choosing to do menial labor rather than be an overseer who has a more comfortable job pushing the citizens around. (He did it more so because he was hoping for physical work to stay sharp, but it's implied he also found the idea of the other job distasteful, and it's worth noting that he's the only traveler to ever not choose it.)
  • No Antagonist: While Kino might get into conflict with some characters who are hostile to her in her journey, the overall plot has no antagonist to speak off: Just Kino going place to place in search of cities to travel to.
  • No Ending: The 2017 anime ends with Kino taking a nap in a field on a beautiful day, declaring that it's the end of her journey, and when she awakens, another one will begin. In The Stinger, she wakes up and sets off on Hermes once again.
  • No Name Given: Master/Shishou and her apprentice have no given names. Instead, Shishou is referred to as 'the woman' or described as 'the beautiful woman with long hair'. Her student is referred to as 'the man' or described as 'the slightly short but handsome man'.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: In the second episode, Kino meets a trio of starving merchants who had been snowed in all winter and had eaten their cargo early on to survive. Only, they were slavers, and their cargo was people destined for the slave market.
  • Noodle Incident:
    Hermes: (in response to Kino being forced to disarm to enter a country) This is still better than that time when you had to wear those weird clothes to get in.
    Kino: ...I don't even want to think about that anymore.
  • Not Enough to Bury: The fate of the museum curator's husband in Episode 12 of the 2003 anime.
    "One year, they brought my husband's legs home to me... because they couldn't the find the rest of him."
  • Not So Stoic: Kino holds a reserved demeanor throughout, and though she remains open and pleasant, she keeps a guarded calmness throughout. This peels away in some rare moments.
    • "A Peaceful Land": After learning that the whole reason for the peace in this land was violently killing the native population to maintain peace of mind, she departs, but not before questioning such violent ideas. Later, she's attacked and almost killed by the native population who use similar logic and it all just leads up to a cycle of people killing those lesser than them. After driving them off, Kino looks considerably shaken before leaving with Hermes.
    • In "A Kind Land", Kino's reaction to the town's destruction completely strips away the calm neutrality she maintained for much of the series.
    • One of the stories in the second series' ninth episode has a scene of Kino completely losing her cool over the fact that staying at a country Master recommended required a Mind Wipe of having been in the country in the first place. Even more frustrating for Kino, Hermes remembers everything (as the drug used only works on humans) but promised not to say anything about it.
    • In Episode 10 of the 2003 anime, Kino gasps in shock when her hosts dump the meal their housekeeper made down the garbage chute while the housekeeper is away, then lie and claim they enjoyed it.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: The hero of the revolution in "Country of Liars" pretends to have gone mad with grief over the loss of his love and doesn't let on that he knows that his housekeeper is actually his lover. He keeps up the facade for the sake of his love, and of the revolution he and his friend led.
  • Offing the Offspring: In Kino's home country, any child that doesn't submit to a medical procedure similar to a lobotomy and brainwashing at the appropriate age is killed.
  • One-Man Army: Kino, Shizu and Master. Kino singlehandedly kills an entire band of war veterans and mercenaries in a few chapters, but Master is even more impressive as she takes out hundreds of people all in one chapter. Meanwhile, Shizu slashes away at 22 bandits armed with rifles in just one afternoon.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted. Injuries inflicted by persuaders are serious. Kino's opponents are incapacitated after getting shot in the legs or arms. In volume 8, Master and her student's aiming skills enabled them to keep every single one of their attackers alive by aiming at their legs, but gave them a limp for the rest of their lives.
  • Only One Name: We never do learn most of the characters' full names, including Kino's.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kino. Well, Parental Attempted Murder, at any rate.
  • Parrying Bullets: Shizu, in the Coliseum episodes, deflects bullets with his sword.
  • Percussive Maintenance: When Hermes says embarrassing things, or just acts like a total jerk, Kino usually shuts him up like this.
  • Pet the Dog: The unnamed member of the asshole merchant family freed Photo by unlocking the chain around her neck and had her perform a Mercy Kill on him, after digesting part of the poisonous soup that was slowly killing the man.
  • Pinned Down: In the Land of Heroes, while fighting 7 veterans, Kino does this with a sniper rifle. The end results are a man losing several limbs and another having half of his head blown off.
  • Planet of Hats: Elevates this trope to an artform.
  • Poisonous Friend: One pacifistic woman travels around to spread her peaceful ideals in spite of the danger, but unbeknownst to her, he's been killing anyone who would threaten her. Kino and Hermes suspect the woman would kill herself if she ever found out what he did for her.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The two formerly warring countries in Episode 12 of the 2003 anime don't wipe out the indigenous people they're competing to kill, since doing so would be wasteful, both of the people they're competing to kill for the sake of peace, and of the government's defense budget. By merely "hunting" the indigenous people, they keep military spending down.
  • Professional Killer: Master's apprentice is implied to be one. In a chapter adapted to the second anime, it was shown that one of his belongings is a briefcase containing persuader accessories and tools for assassination.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Due to her androgynous appearance, Kino is sometimes subjected to this, sometimes letting it pass uncorrected.
  • Properly Paranoid: Being this is a necessity while traveling. Kino, Shizu, and Shisho, for instance, don't accept drink unless they're certain that it hasn't been laced.
  • Pull the I.V.: Averted. In one of the chapters in the novel, Master's student joined the front lines of a war carrying the IV drip, including the stand.
  • The Quiet One: Ti/Tea qualifies by not talking most of the time, and sometimes speaking without fully saying the word when she does talk.
  • Raster Vision: The 2003 anime is deliberately made to resemble this.
  • Reformed Criminal: The citizens of the country where murder isn't prohibited judging by rumors are heavily implied to have been criminals that just want to live a peaceful life. Regal the serial killer admired by the man wanting to be a citizen to freely kill people is the polite old man that invites Kino for tea on her last day to tell him stories about her travels.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In "Historical Country," Kino's master doesn't just break her disciple out of prison, but instead of sneaking out of the country, holes up in the clock tower and snipes the soldiers sent to surround her. Not only does the government grant them safe passage out of the country, it even pays them to leave.
  • Revenge Myopia: Kino meets a woman and the man she had hired as a guard as they're about to set out on a journey. She sits with the man for a while, and learns that he had killed her husband several years ago accidentally while robbing his store, and had been reformed and set free by their justice system, on the condition that he make it up to the woman by mutual agreement. It's made clear that his reform and desire to help the woman any way he can in penance for his crime are genuine. They part, and later Kino is riding through the woods when she hears a gunshot... It turns out the widow was not as big on redemption as her society was.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: While the series has plenty to say on corrupt rulers, it also doesn't shy away from how the process of overthrowing monarchies can get very bloody, including the massacre of entire royal families regardless of individual members' guilt.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Subverted. She's actually human, and an inventor, who started believing she was a robot after a severe trauma. The actual robots are VERY obviously non-human.
  • Rotating Protagonist: Downplayed, as the majority of the stories are focused on Kino, but Shizu and co./Shisho & co./Photo & co. will each get A Day in the Limelight about once per volume.
  • Running Gag:
    • Hermes misusing figures of speech, to a point where Kino has to wonder if he's doing so intentionally. The game takes this to another level by including a mini-game where the player has to guess the correct proverb.
    • In the novels, Kino always asks Hermes to wake up early. Still, he has to be beaten awake almost every morning.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Kino is a girl, but her traveling clothes and demeanor both encourage the people she encounters to miss that and assume she's a boy/young man, due to their preconceptions about travelers. In the first light novel Kino's gender is only revealed after more than half of the volume.
  • Schizo Tech: Not just between country to country, but even within the same country. A place might have both psychic nanotech and cobblestone streets and typewriters and phonographs and talking robots, while another country has hoversleds and tape-based computers. The eponymous character's equipment includes a racing motorcycle made between 1929 and 1940, a pistol from 1947 to 1955, a revolver from 1851, and a rifle that comes from the 1930s.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Kino is pretty much the master of this trope, as she'll immediately bail on situations if she feels that she's stayed long enough. (Contrast to Shizu who'll stick around long enough to try and help or to Shisho who'll stick around to make things worse/turn things against the other party.)
  • Self-Deprecation: "Sane people don't become writers, Hermes."
  • Shamed by a Mob: The man Kino encountered in episode 1 of the 2017 anime wants to go to the country where killing is allowed, and when he was allowed citizenry, he tries to bribe her by demanding half of her stuff just so he can make a living there. The moment she declines, he pulls a gun on her until he gets shot by an old woman with a crossbow. The entire mob at that point were armed to the teeth, and their apparent leader tells him while murder is not prohibited, it is not permitted. The man gets executed on the spot.
  • Shoot the Dog: Kino has to do this several times, and several stories revolve around this idea.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story: A number of stories end up as this. A prime example would be the railroad scenario, in which Kino, going backwards on the tracks, encounters in order: a man who's spent 50 years repairing the tracks, a man who's spent 50 years destroying the repaired tracks, and a man who's spent 50 years setting new tracks. In her usual fashion, she elects not to tell them that they're all wasting their time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Episode 3 of the first anime, a soldier, relieved that the plan to attack the country Kino left managed to avoid involving unrelated individuals, says he loves it when a plan comes together.
    • In the preview for episode 9, Hermes asks Kino what she would do if she had a typewriter that was a talking cockroach. And Episode 9's subtitle, "Nothing Is Written", and opening in the desert, may be references to Lawrence of Arabia.
    • In the episode "Her Journey", a king offers a boon to an old man, whose only request is that the king move out of the way of the sun. This is a common folklore attributed to several philosophers and mathematicians. Also, the alleged wise hermit was part of country's experiment with The Ludovico Technique. As in A Clockwork Orange, it ended very badly for him.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Kino's "Master", in the first movie, in the series' usual brutal, understated fashion.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Kino meets idealists and cynics all throughout her journey, each one with their own thoughts and opinions on the state of the world or more often the country they live. The most prominent example of the series' contrast between cynicism and idealism is the episode "Her Journey -Love and Bullets-" in which a young woman and a man traveling together cross paths with Kino. The woman claims to be on a quest to bring peace to the world and proclaim the glory of pacifism. Kino asks how she could have survived this journey so long without encountering any danger that would have to be solved with violence. To which the woman responds that she doesn't know, she has always assumed that they've just been lucky. The truth is the man traveling with her has quietly killed off anyone in their path who might make themselves a problem. He kept this a secret because he loves her and doesn't want to shatter her vision of an ideal world.
  • Stealth Escort Mission: Kino encounters a man and woman traveling the other direction. The woman is an Actual Pacifist, and explains to Kino that they're traveling unarmed in order to spread a message of peace and love. Then when she's out of earshot, the man reveals to Kino that he's packing heat. For the entire trip, he's been sneaking ahead and dealing with any bandits or outlaws before they can threaten the woman, so she never realizes he's been killing on her behalf.
  • Stealth Insult: Kino meets a man who overthrew the king of his country, a tyrant who'd executed anyone who disagreed with him. Unfortunately, the newfound system of majority rule executed all dissidents the same way until only the man and his wife were left, at which point the latter died of a disease. As Kino says goodbye to the man, she calls him "Your Highness," thereby saying that he's no better than the king he replaced.
  • Steampunk: Several countries have this distinct feel to them.
  • The Stinger:
    • "Ship Country" has a post-credits scene revealing that Shizu survived being stabbed, and Kino successfully prevented Ti from blowing herself up.
    • At the end of the 2017 anime, Kino wakes up from her nap and embarks on another journey.
  • Straw Critic: One country has an entire council of them to decide which books are deemed harmful or harmless. At one point, the Librarian calls critics "an evil breed".
  • Take That, Critics!:
    • The whole episode 8 of the first anime is in fact a thinly disguised attack on literary censorship and critics who are portrayed by a handful of pompous snobs who self-actualize themselves with the help of criticism and bans of any fiction or scientific literature other than children's books and reference books.
    • The episode also contains a light Take That, Audience! using the mocking image of avid readers as a conspiratorial group of people, half of whom lost touch with reality.
  • Talking Animal: Riku, Shizu's loyal canine retainer.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • One country Kino went to was bombarded with artillery cannons, missiles, and a bomb implied to be a FOAB for creating clones. Of course, no one is actually killed by this, though no buildings are left standing.
  • Telepathy: One country has developed a concoction that would allow citizens who drink it to read the minds of others who also drank it. Then everyone drank it, nobody wanting to be left out of the brilliant discovery. This turned out badly.
  • Three Kinds of Science Fiction: The Land of Wizards episode is the gadget variety.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • A country Kino encounters in episode 5 of the first anime was ruled by majority rule, and began to kill off the minority voters. Eventually only two people were left alive because of it.
    • The merchant family shown in Episode 6 of the 2017 anime serves poisonous herbs in their food, and refuses to listen when their slave warns them. Their motorrad reassures their slave that they died due to their own stupidity.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: If a country seems perfect and the story isn't going to end it with being destroyed, there's a good chance it's actually harboring something sinister instead.
  • Trapped in Another World: The crossover campaign Travelers and the Labyrinth Country from Danmachi: Memoria Freese involves Kino and Hermes(The motorcycle, not the god); Photo and Sou; and Shizu, Riku and Tifana ending up in Bell's world after getting caught in a fog.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Ti's stock of grenades. Riku has to convince her to leave them behind when she goes outside for a walk.
  • Try Not to Die: An important rule for all travelers. Kino gives this advice to the man who serves as a woman's bodyguard in atonement for killing her husband... not long before the woman kills the man.
  • Unfinished Business: One of the characters introduced in the viewer participation drama is revealed to be a vengeful ghost of the princess of the ruined country. It was a traveler who caused the demise of her country, so she takes revenge on all passing travelers by luring them to their deaths.
  • Untranslated Title: The first novel was released in English under the title "Kino No Tabi".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one seems the least bit surprised that a motorcycle can talk, and no explanation for how Hermes is sentient is ever provided. Similarly, it's never explained why Riku can speak; when Shizu asked, Riku's answer was pretty much "why not." Lampshaded by fellow Sentient Vehicle Sou, who tells Photo not to question it, and whose narration acknowledges that no explanation exists so there's no point in even wondering.
  • Vague Age: Due to Comic-Book Time being in effect.
    • Kino is 12 when beginning training with Shishou, but other than that no age is revealed. The woman who voices Kino in the English dub is just a circumstance of the casting; it's implied that Kino is meant to be 11-12 during the flashbacks, and around 15 for the rest of the series.
    • Averted in the novels as it's stated in volume 10 that Kino started traveling 'three years after her 12th birthday', meaning that Kino left Shishou at the age of 15. However, it's insinuated that several years had passed since she started traveling. The stories are not generally in chronological order, so her age in each story is up in the air, though she's consistently described as being in her mid-teens, at least.
    • Similarly, Shizu is 22... at some point in his chronologically early appearances, but it's unclear how much time is passing between stories.
  • Voiceover Letter: In the 2017 anime adaptation of "A Kind Country," Kino gets one from Sakura's mother, as well as Sakura herself, which she opens after the volcano erupts and destroys the country.
  • Walking the Earth: The premise of the series. Kino travels from country to country, not staying for more than three days at a time, and says traveling is the only way she knows how to live.
  • Was Just Leaving: The chief uses this phrase when kicking Nimya out after refusing to listen to her plea.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The museum curator in Episode 12 of the 2003 anime lost her husband and sons to war, so she managed to broker peace with the enemy with the help of a like-minded woman in the enemy power... by turning the war into a competition to kill indigenous peoples. She fully acknowledges that they're killing innocent people, but notes that this was the only solution that would appeal to the enemy countries' violent and competitive nature, and claims that the overall death toll is lower than when the two nations were fighting each other.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In Episode 4 of the 2017 series, Shizu has an encounter with a gunslinger working for the rulers of the Ship Country. Eventually, the gunslinger's disguise comes off, revealing the person as Kino herself.
    • In Episode 10 of the 2003 series, there are few. First, the nanny takes Kino to a cliff over a lake, and when the light is right, it reveals a relatively recent city submerged underwater. Second, after the robotic nanny passes away, the family places her body in a grave next to the remains of her husband and children, the latter of which are represented by human skulls. Third, the family take off their heads, revealing that the three of them are robots.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: In the 2003 series, Episode 4 details Kin's origins. Episode 13 is either this or Anachronic Order, since it takes place before episode 1.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Naturally, there's one when Kino stays in Japan.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Kino and Shizu. Further enforced since it's implied that she did go back to her home country once more — only to find it in a complete ruins.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Kino's appearance in the first anime is quite different from the descriptions and illustrations in the novels. In addition to having a different hairstyle and eye color, wearing differently colored clothes and being much taller, she is noticeably more feminine in the novels. The second anime's design follows the novels much more closely.
  • You Remind Me of X: It's strongly implied that Kino sees a lot of herself in Sakura, a girl she meets in "A Kind Country." Like Kino, Sakura is the daughter of a couple that owns an inn, and often gets mocked for her name, like Kino did. The difference, however, is that Sakura insists on staying in her country and inheriting her parents' inn, despite most likely knowing that her country is about to be destroyed by the volcano.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • In Episode 7 when Kino shoots the king. It also happens quite frequently in the novels, and is described quite graphically.
    • In the country run by majority rule, the punishment for disagreeing with the majority, one they inherited from the previous king, is to be dropped head first onto the pavement. When people are shown being executed, you can see a blood splatter, possibly implying that the victims' heads split open.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Land of the Dead - Spirit of the Dead chapter of the sixteenth novel, Land of the Dead is infested by undeads.

Alternative Title(s): Kino No Tabi

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