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Anime Review: "KIno's Journey" (2003)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"KIno's Journey" official blu-ray cover.

"KIno's Journey" official blu-ray cover.

Quick Info

Director: Ryutaro Nakamura
Distributor: Sentai Filmworks
Runtime: 325 minutes
Released: February 26th, 2019 for blu-ray, December 13, 2011, For DVD
Availability: Streaming dubbed on HiDive, subbed available on DVD and blu-ray

Story Summary

Kino’s a traveler that journeys to many countries, observing the various cultures and places she goes to on her Motorad named Hermes. We learn more about Kino as the anime progresses, each episode has no overarching plot. She often observes things about the people she meets and the places she visits and only stays for three days.

There are all sorts of cities that Kino visits, a land of books, a land with a collarless where people constantly fight, a land of books with a library, and many other places.

The Episodes Are Interesting!

The individual episodes are interesting and unique. The countries Kino visits are always unique and interesting places with unique situations and quirks that make the countries memorable.

Every country has a unique setting and quirky characters that all have different goals and things that they aim for in their respective countries.

I like the episodes because while Kino travels, we always learn something about her throughout her journeys.

Hermes is also a quirky and interesting Motorad, AKA sentient and talking motorcycle. He’s quirky and snarky and it makes him a memorable character.

Trailer: Kino's Journey [ADV Films]

Kino in a field of flowers with Hermes.

Kino in a field of flowers with Hermes.

The Animation Is Dated but the Art Style Is Unique

The Animation is dated, but it still looks good. I like the art style and while the animation is not as fluid as some of the modern anime out now, The art style is still nice and I like the character designs.

The sepia tone used in the anime makes the episodes memorable but the animation can be a little stiff at times.

But the art style also made some of the episodes very memorable because of the visual style the anime used.

The anime looks nice, but if you’re expecting something that looks new, this isn’t it. But I love the atmosphere the art style gave Kino’s Journey (2003) and I prefer it over the newer remake Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- (2017). The remake wasn’t “bad” but the original Kino’s Journey has a more memorable art style than the newer anime.

Overall, the visual presentation is unique and memorable and I enjoy the animation of Kino’s Journey (2003).

Audio and Subtitles

Audio:Subtitles:

English (reviewed)

English (DVD and blu-ray)

Japanese (DVD and blu-ray)

The English Dub Is Good

The English voice cast is good. ADV had a cast of many voice actors that went on to become very famous later.

Cynthia Martinez is interesting as Hermes. She voiced Lina Inverse in the Slayers OVAs and this is a different role for her to play, but it’s an interesting role that she played and Hermes is a fun character as a Motorad.

Kelli Cousins is great as Kino. She didn’t do a lot of voice acting, but her role as Kino is her most memorable one. I liked her voice acting and she did a great job. I hope that if she ever sees this review that she’ll be proud of her voice work in this anime.

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There are also many appearances from voice actors during the early parts of their career, Vic Mignogna, the late Cris Ayres, Luci Christian, Monica Rial, Chris Patton, and many more. It’s very interesting to hear them in older anime and see how they’ve all progressed over the years.

The English dub is excellent, it’s a little old so the voice acting is not perfect but it’s still very well done.

The Japanese audio with English subtitles is only available on DVD and blu-ray. Sentai Filmworks doesn’t have the streaming rights for the original audio and subtitles. You will have to buy a physical copy to hear the original Japanese version.

I’m very surprised by this because Sentai Filmworks usually has the Japanese version of most of their anime up on HiDive, but Kino’s Journey (2003) is English dubbed with no Japanese audio available for streaming.

Kino's Journey - All the Way

The Soundtrack Is Nice!

Ryo Sakai composed the music for Kino’s Journey and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a great soundtrack that is very atmospheric and memorable. The songs sung by the characters are very beautiful and nice to look at.

The opening song is "All the Way" by Mikuni Shimokawa and it’s a very beautiful song. It is a very pleasant song that puts me in a good mood and I enjoy the opening.

The ending song is "The Beautiful World" by Ai Maeda. It’s a very beautiful song that also helps you relax and enjoy the journey, like Kino.

I enjoyed the songs used in the episodes as well. It’s a great soundtrack that adds to the anime.

"Kino's Journey" Is Disjointed

The story of Kino’s Journey feels very disjointed because the plot is very episodic. There is no overarching plot throughout the episodes. Each episode has Kino journeying to a new country and then getting involved with the inhabitants during their daily lives.

The story feels less exciting because not everything in the anime is action-oriented. The story isn’t held together by an overarching plot so it might not keep your attention.

Not everyone likes episodic anime so this isn’t an anime that will appeal to everyone. It’s something you’ll love or hate so you’ll have to decide if you want watch it.

"Kino's Journey" Is a Wonderful Hidden Gem

Kino’s Journey (2003) is a wonderful anime that not a lot of people know about these days. Many people remember the more recent remake Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- (2017), but this is a great anime that is a nice and relaxing anime. It does have some darker themes and stories but overall, it’s a relaxing atmosphere that I enjoyed a lot.

I did enjoy this anime a lot and I’d always heard good things about it, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it until recently.

I enjoyed watching it and I think many other anime fans will enjoy it too.

The people that Kino meets during her journey.

The people that Kino meets during her journey.

Reader Poll

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Great stories, characters, and world-building

Episodic anime doesn't work for everyone

Nice animation and art style

The animation looks dated

Good English dub

Great soundtrack

My Grade: A-

Kino’s Journey (2003) is a wonderful anime that not a lot of people know about these days. Many people remember the more recent remake Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- (2017), but this is a great anime that is a nice and relaxing anime. It does have some darker themes and stories but overall, it’s a relaxing atmosphere that I enjoyed a lot.

I did enjoy this anime a lot and I’d always heard good things about it, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it until recently.

I enjoyed watching it and I think many other anime fans will enjoy it too.

My Rating

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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