Kino’s Journey is a 2003 anime adaptation of Keiichi Sigsawa’s series of light novels with the same name. The show follows a young woman named Kino and her talking motorcycle Hermes as they travel from country to country, encountering new people, and intriguing moral scenarios. I was first introduced to it several years ago through my work in gaming ministry. One of the non-Christians we interacted with at the time loves to talk about ethics and philosophy, and he enjoyed Kino’s Journey so much that he shared it with my boss. My boss then shared it with me, and it instantly grabbed me with its wit, writing, and complex moral and philosophical themes. I even led a class at my church on this anime, showing episodes to the group and then leading a discussion.
So then, I’d like to take some time to explain why an anime over a decade old is worth watching.
Morality and Philosophy
Kino’s Journey is rife with engaging moral and philosophical scenarios that are practically begging to be examined. In every place that Kino goes, she encounters something different: a town where people can read minds; a city where all work is done by machines; a society where children at the age of twelve undergo a medical procedure to become a “perfect adult.” Most of the time, Kino takes a detached, analytical approach to these situations, while on occasion, she sees fit to intervene in some way or another. In every case, though, philosophies compete with one another and ideologies face their logical outcomes. The variety of topics found in the series allows for a wide range of discussions covering numerous aspects of philosophy and ethics. There are even times when the characters act in ways that are arguably inconsistent with their own beliefs, providing even more fodder for debate and discourse among viewers. In the midst of this, we bring our understanding of the Bible to the table, seeking out Scriptural truths that apply to the scenarios portrayed in the show.
Kino and Hermes
Kino and Hermes themselves form an entertaining duo. Kino makes a point of staying detached from the people she meets in her travels. As such, Hermes is the only person (or perhaps “sentient being”) in whom Kino sincerely confides, and she often bounces her deep philosophical thoughts and ideas off of him. Hermes, in response, tries and usually fails to grasp the depth of what Kino is discussing, but does so in a charming way. His witty retorts and misquoted sayings inject a dose of comic relief to the show and pair well with Kino’s more straightforward, matter-of-fact demeanor.
High-Quality English Dub
The dub for Kino’s journey is excellent, and I highly recommend it for those of you who prefer or otherwise enjoy dubs. Both the main and side characters are well-performed, and the cast features some big names in anime voice acting, including Luci Christian, Vic Mignogna, and Monica Rial. The dub makes the show accessible to people who don’t regularly watch anime, which is great since this show is best watched and discussed with others. This proved invaluable to me in leading my church class, as it was good enough to capture and hold the attention of a bunch of non-geeky church folk, including senior citizens.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go check out the show! Kino’s Journey can be streamed via either HIDIVE or VRV. And if you want even more, a new Kino’s Journey adaptation was released in 2017 (available via Crunchyroll or VRV). Some of its episodes cover the same stories as the 2003 version, while others are entirely different. See how the two versions compare! Just be sure to share and discuss Kino’s Journey with other people: geeks and non-geeks, Christians and non-Christians, young adults and those with many decades of life experience. It’s a wonderful way to display how our faith and beliefs intersect with geek culture.