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Kino's Journey

Hermes personality is an A.I.
Their world does have some rather sophisticated machinery. Who's to say the original Kino didn't have some A.I programming knowledge? It could probably get lonely traveling, so why not make your own company?

Alternatively the A.I could have already existed within Hermes before the original Kino fixed him, though it could have suffered some data loss.

Hermes is the first Kino.
Note that Hermes did not speak until after his death. Because Taking the Knife was not enough to save the girl, his soul bound itself to the motorrad to provide further guidance. You didn't really believe Kino-prime's stories of talking motorrads, did you? Hermes is a special case. He seems to have a bit of amnesia though...or he did at first and is covering it up now.

The apparent age regression (the books, in particular, describe Hermes' voice as being like that of a young boy) is for shipping purposes, natch.

This is also why, in the Magical Girl themed Spin-Off Gakuen Kino, Riku the talking dog gets to be human, but Hermes is stuck as a talking cell phone charm (Kino doesn't even have a real cell phone) - he can't have anyone recognizing him.

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Kino is a Slider jumping from world to world.

Some of the towns and "countries" she visits interact, but there are way too many differences for most of them to be geographically anywhere near each other. She'll visit a medieval village one day and then arrive in a technologically advanced civilization the next, and neither will even realize the other is within motorcycle Motorrad distance.

Kino is a Planeswalker.

It lines up with her restless nature and near pathologic wanderlust, it explains her immense combat and survival abilities, and it explains why all of the countries she visits are so eclectic (they aren't different nations but different planes). It also explains her disconnection with other people and her deep connection with Hermes, since only Planeswalkers, The Eldrazi, and constructs (like a sentient motorcycle) can cross The Blind Eternities. We also have a probable point of when her Spark ignited: her desperate flight from The Land of Adults. Possible Mana colors: Red (passion, freedom, creativity, destruction, fire), Green (life, survival, independence, tradition, nature), and/or Blue (intelligence, invention, engineering, stoicism, water).

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Kino is in Purgatory and occasionally Hell, but it isn't a punishment; or else, her enlightenment prevents it from being one.

Clearly, many of the places Kino visits are being cosmically and symbolically punished; but Kino remains untouched by it all. She's a badass Tourist enjoying herself.

No, being born in one of the freakish countries doesn't discount this theory; maybe that's how people arrive. Nevertheless, she has the Zen to appreciate it.

Karma did get her with Sakura's village, but she still had the Zen to learn from it. You can't tell us that wasn't some kind of karmic message.

The First Kino and "Master" from the OVA is a sort of enlightening figure.
This may mean that Kino, after taking the name, is another incarnation of The Buddha, or possibly the Enlightened Man in the Allegory of the Cave.
  • Or, to dovetail the above theory, the first Kino was Jesus administering to the needy in Purgatory. ....No, really.
  • Remember, tropers, no anime is complete without at least one character under suspicion of being Haruhi. Take a sip!
    • Or a Timelord...

The Original Kino is Jesus.
A stranger with unusual beliefs, Kino-Prime comes into town and shows Little Kino a new, more fulfilling way to live. When this is discovered, he is killed for his unusual beliefs- the Inspector is Pontius Pilate, Little Kino's Dad is the one who crucifies him (or maybe he's Longinus). Kino-Prime is resurrected as Little Kino erases her former identity and takes up his mantle. Through her, his teachings live on forever (well, at least for Neo-Kino they do).
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The lands Kino travels are a fantasy separate from her 'own' reality.
We already have the suggestion from the Land of Books episode that what we are seeing is not real, but a sort of fantasy. The countries she visits are clearly not realistic, but feel like they were invented entirely for a story; no effort is ever made to disguise or explain this. Examples: the Sad Country, the Three Men on the Railroad, and the robots with fully articulated hands which somehow need to rely on wax cylinder recordings for voices. All make wonderful stories; none have a sense of reality tothem.

Kino is traveling through her own mind.
Several of the towns she visits could be seen as representing parts of the mind. The Land of Visible Pain (Ep 1) is empathy and is in the state it's in because Kino is not very empathetic. The sad country is self-explanatory, the Land of Prophecies is prediction and foresight, the Coliseum is violence and conflict, the Three Traders in the Snow is about selfishness, and so forth. Kino is retreating into her mind to escape the pressures society puts upon her to 'grow up,' as suggested in the Land of Adults.
  • So Kino is Madotsuki, before the stuff she sees eventually properly messes her head up.

Some of the characters are real people; others are not.
The visual style of the characters varies wildly from characters such as Kino, who look like normal anime characters, to more 'abstract' designs for many incidental characters, such as the priests in the Land of Prophecy or the poet in the Sad Land. The 'real' characters are people Kino has met in reality; the 'abstracts' are constructs or personifications of her mind (see above), or figments of her imagination or the fantasy world she travels.

This seems to be a sliding scale, rather than distinct categories — some characters seem more abstract than others. Figuring out exactly which characters are 'abstracts' and why is left as an exercise to the reader or viewer.

The forests between towns are much more dangerous than they appear.
The position of traveler is held, by townsfolk, with a combination of fear and reverence. Travelers are rare; even incredibly social people like those in the Town of Telepathy would rather lock themselves away from others than travel away from their town. Those we see outside of the towns who are not travelers are equipped with high-tech combat equipment, completely insane, or both: see the soldiers trying to prevent the Town on the Hill from fulfilling the prophecy, the slavers, and the woman who visited the Town of Arenas. Even many of the travelers in the Town of Arena have rather questionable psyches.

The forests attack attachments. Those who travel either have those attachments stripped from their mind (including ones like the ideal of avoiding cannibalism and murder) or pull those attachments into themselves and fixate on them (the woman's flowers). Only those without attachments to other people, to ideals, or to goals can survive traveling and retain their sanity (if one can call that sane).

Kino consciously strives for as neutral personality as possible

This is hardly wild guessing, but Kino clearly wants to avoid having any traits that mark her as anything at all besides a traveler. Through her clothes and demeanor, she defies any gender identity; and she refuses to be defined as either a child or an adult. This is most likely something necessary for her to remain the impartial observer that she makes herself.

Kino is the daughter of the evil king from the coliseum arc, and Shizu is her brother.

They never explain what happened to the other child that was deported. Considering that the king's primary worry was the possibility of the throne being taken, sending Kino to the country he did makes perfect sense. She would grow up in a place where, once she became an adult, the only thing she would want to do would be to follow her adoptive parent's footsteps — and certainly not take his throne.

Shizu was sent to another country to prevent them from teaming up and causing trouble.

In the Coliseum episodes, the king did not recognize Kino because of her drastically changed appearance, which also explains his request to marry her. He didn't recognize Shizu without a makeover, so it makes sense that he wouldn't recognize Kino with one.

The show takes place on Marinus.

Adventure Towns. Schizo Tech. Planet of Hats city-states. Need I say more?

Hermes can't talk
Nobody else ever speaks with Hermes away from Kino, her conversations with him are actually just Surrogate Soliloquy with a bit of embellishment in presentation.
  • Actually, Hermes talks to Riku the dog away from Kino. But maybe he wasn't really talking either!
  • But he did, however, speak to the slavers, and they reacted with viable discomfort to what he said to them.
  • Nymia, the young inventor girl from episode 8 ("Land of Wizards -Potentials of Magic-") talks to Hermes too. (Calling him 'Motorrad' and all.)

Kino stole her back-story.
Kino's back-story in the Land of Adults is extremely similar to the story of Sakura in the last episode. In fact, the "land where travelers are shunned" could have actually been one of the first towns she visited, and after the incident, carries her story on as a memory of her first experience.
  • The first movie, Life Goes On, seems to Joss this.

Kino is a Touga
We know nothing of the world of Haibane Renmei beyond the walls of Glie. It's not unreasonable for that world to be the one that Kino inhabits. In order to maintain the status quo within the walls, all travelers are forbidden from speaking and must learn some basic hand gestures in order to communicate with the Renmei. Glie is basically just one of many countries that can be visited, so long as a traveler agrees to follow the rules.

Kino's Journey takes place in the same world as Adventure Time.
Yes. Believe it or not, the worlds of Kino's Journey and Adventure Time are one in the same. How? Well, it's simple. After the bomb from the Mushroom War was set off the world went into complete chaos. But over time people managed to rebuild society...well in a way. This is why all the countries in Kino's Journey are so different and even have different levels of technology. People scattered and all tried to rebuild civilization their own way, groups of people stayed separate for a while because they feared another Mushroom War. Eventually, they forgot why they were separate in the first place.

The land of Ooo was at the impact site of the bomb so it suffered the most changes from the radiation and is heavily isolated due to the wastelands that surround it.

Kino's personality is the result of not going through the procedure in her own country.
The citizens of Kino's home have had their brains altered to the point that they no longer function the same way as other people do, and this has become a natural inherited phenomenon. Kino was supposed to go through the adulting surgery on her twelfth birthday but she didn't, and rather than developing normally, her brain started developing in an odd way that leaves her disconnected from the world.

The woman Kino faced in the semifinals of the Coliseum arc is the Princess that fled, and Shizu is/was her brother.
As well as looking awfully similar to one another, it is possible the woman didn't remember much about being sent away from the castle, as she says her father left them. She may have been told this as a cover story. In addition, she is the only person the King actually kills himself in the matches we see, and right before he has a panicked look on his face when she mentions the white flowers her mother wanted to see before she died. It's possible that the Queen loved white flowers too, and with the sharpshooter woman mentioning them, King Yukio simply put two and two together or jumped to conclusions.

Kino DOES have moral standards and will stick to them... in her own, very subtle way

Despite being neutral to practically anything she sees, Kino has her own standards and things she disapproves, she just happens to not impose them and will only show it if she is forced to. For example, during the colosseum arc, she is forced to fight many opponents. Despite being show to be clearly able to kill them, she simply opts to take them down by disarming them. At the end, she kills the king in a “stray” shot (Really one she did in purpose to hit him) and them writes a new law that allows the citizens to compete to become the new king. Since this new law states that anyone who doesn’t participate will lose their citizenship, this allows those who don’t want to enter this fight to get out of this madness, but this also guaranteed that madmans like the former king would all die in the middle of the fight. Basically, she not only freed an entire country of a tyrant when she could have just complied with his laws, but after killing him she made the choice that guaranteed that freedom of the citizens for the longest term possible and lowered the chances of another tyrant rising.

This leads to another act of her, the killing of the slavers. After discovering that the people she helped were slavers and that ate their prisioners, Kino initially complies to their orders to disarm herself... and then kills them all, not even trying to spare or disarm the slaver who was paralyzed in fear, despite sparing opponents before, including the ones forced to fight at the Colosseum. While Hermes question on whether or not Kino would still have helped them if she knew who they were is left unanswered, it’s clear from the fact that she killed them all without a second thought that she was disgusted by their acts and that she made sure that they wouldn’t be left alive to capture or enslave other people.

Lastly, the country where people are free to murder each other. The man who she first meets and admits to admiring a certain serial killer is from the get go an obviously murderous man who is up to no good. When he asks Kino to take half of his belongings ahead for him, she refuses, even though she has already done acts of charity before as long as she didn’t enter a conflict. Why? Because she disapproves of what he is doing, and even though she won’t go out of her way to shoot him, she dislikes his attitude and Ax-Crazy personality.

And that leads to the point of this WMG: Kino does have a moral compass beyond neutrality, and she does disapprove of killing without motive/against those who are defenseless, but most importantly, she dislikes those who take away freedom from others and force them to do things against their wishes, probably something she learned due to her own experience in her home town where when someone were to become an adult they were also forced to follow and do a mundane task for the rest of their lives. And while she won’t go out of her way to “impose” her own moral beliefs, as show in the countries that were in peace because they slaughtered the nearby villages, if she IS put in a situation where she is forced to make a moral decision, she will take the one option that leads to the least amount of deaths for those who are innocent and the most freedom possible for them.

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