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YMMV / Kino's Journey

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  • Broken Base: Opinions are often divided about Kino's general attitude. Should Kino react to the massive cruelty and injustice that she meets, or does her neutrality only better emphasize the freedom of interpreting in the work?
  • Complete Monster: The nameless king of the Land of the Coliseum is a tyrannical psycho who runs infamous Gladiator Games for his entertainment. Having murdered his father to ascend to the throne, the king eliminated anyone who may be a threat to him, including relatives and innocent civilians. He then divided the people into poverty and first class, throwing the poor into dangerous living quarters and slavery. Even the first class citizens weren't safe, as the king would execute them if they didn't follow his blood lust. He then created the Colosseum to throw any passing travelers to fight to the death to fuel his psychotic urges. When Kino refused to comply with him by sparing her opponents, the king grew furious and even executed one them in front of Kino. Among the many people Kino encountered, the king was one of the very few who manage to disturb her with his sheer cruelty.
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  • Cult Classic: Although the original novel is obscured by new hits from its publishing house, it still retains popularity as an ageless classic and even got a new adaptation in 2017.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Despite the fact that the show has a rather cartoonish and silly style of art, it also has a rather heavy-handed style of narration, a principled gray morale and the main character whose actions can very easily be interpreted as cynical. Not everyone will like it.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Often at the end of stories, Kino never judges anyone. Kino may like or dislike a situation or person, but won't act unless directly threatened. Kino sometimes philosophically worries about this, but loves traveling too much to give it up.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro and Mushishi.
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  • Les Yay: In episode 8, The Land of Wizards, Kino helps Nimya fly her airplane, one of the few times in the series Kino breaks her neutrality and forms a bond with the girl. After Kino gives her the idea of using gun powder to make the plane fast enough, Nimya tackles her to the ground before the screen fades to black until the next day (but not before Hermes quips "Here's where things get interesting").
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Episode 3 "teaches" the viewer that interpreting someone's abstruse thoughts may turn out to be pretty silly or even dangerous. It's funny, considering how the show loves Mind Screw and freedom for interpreting.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Volume 6 prologue and epilogue. See Tear Jerker below.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: It can be quite sentimental that the new Kino's Voice Actor will become Aoi Yuuki, which played the role of The Woobie Ensemble Dark Horse Sakura from the 13th episode of the original series.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Episode 3 plays with this trope almost literally, telling us about an extremely gloomy city, which is almost 24 hours a day in sadness and depression because of the tradition of daily reading of extremely frightening and disturbing poems.
    • Episode 4. One of the things that adults should NOT be able to do with a smile is murder their children.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: The moving nation in episode 3 of the 2017 series, trampling other settlements with no concern for the consequences, and breaching a massive wall with an energy weapon is strongly reminiscent of Mortal Engines.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The prologue and epilogue of volume 6 consists of an entry of a father's diary on the date Kino is born. The father was crying with happiness when he writes his diary, and vows to live for his daughter's happiness until the day he dies. Cut to ten years later, and Kino's father attempting to stab his daughter to death with a kitchen knife and can't help but feel happy about it, due to the device implanted in his head which makes him feel content on anything he does. He's forced to attack her due to the fact that Kino is against having the same device implanted in her.
      • Worse was that Kino thinks about her mother from time to time in the novels, where she still remembers the latter affectionately calling her daughter her “little flower.” After Kino turned twelve on that fateful day, the memories of her past life and her mother, who she was more closer to than her father was nothing more than a dream to Kino to this day.
    • From what the anime tells they don't actually implant anything, but perform something akin to a watered-down lobotomy. ("They'll open your head and 'pop' the child right outta' you." sounds more like removing some key component that's responsible for questioning and reasoning.)
    • One word: Volcano.
    • The end of Episode 10, where Kino denies three robots their purpose in serving others, which leads to them killing themselves.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Kino's drawn with a non-accentuated figure, hasn't worn a dress since she was young, and has a soft boyish voice in both Japanese and English. It doesn't help that both the novels and the anime keep her gender ambiguous throughout the first parts of the story.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The show may seem like a story about a teenager traveling around with a talking motorcycle with cute character designs, but it's full of fairly unsettling material, and some of the episodes are rather depressing, especially the final episode, which had a Cruel Twist Ending.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Very much, considering that the series has a lot of social An Aesop. In particular, the third episode can easily be treated as anti-religious, and the 12th as a harsh criticism of the Cold War.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Kino very often can look cold and cynical, but especially at the end of the third episode, when she calmly ignores the implied genocide of the whole city, even knowing that she is the only person who can save them. Even Hermes shows more feelings in this scene.


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