Kino no Tabi – Book one of The Beautiful World

For years I have heard an overwhelming majority of praise for Kino no Tabi, but I never acted upon their recommendations. Finally, however, in order to qualify for free shipping for an online book order, I picked up the first light novel of Kino’s Journey.
I am indifferent towards the main characters. Kino’s naive morals are disagreeable to me, but fortunately, bond by a wise advice, she does not force her values onto anyone, no matter how unpleasant a custom might be for her. Hermes, Kino’s talking motorcycle, comes across as simply another voice, and is lacking in personality. It is the first novel, so perhaps future books will flesh out its character.
As the title implies, the novel follows the adventures of a young girl named Kino. She is a perpetual wanderer, and any city, town, or establishment she encounters she tries to the best of her efforts to only stay for three days. While Kino and Hermes are at a speck of civilization, they, and the reader, inadvertently learns about its history, usually explaining the peculiar culture and behaviors of the location. But because Kino and Hermes are there for a fleeting three days, and also each account of a city lasts a mere twenty-five to fifty pages, the description and history of each city are explicitly stated and very brief. I prefer novels where its world is slowly but surely constructed, using not only history lessons like in Kino’s Journey, but through more taciturn ways such as the atmosphere, the character themselves and their interactions, or the occurrence of certain events. By the end of such a novel a detailed and vivid world is painted, and there is a sense of satisfaction to be had in having seen the gradual composition of a complex world.
Kino’s Journey offers not depth, but rather breadth of locale. The pair visits many quirky places and people, and romantic perspective taken by the main characters strives to highlight the beauty in the sights they see.

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment