There's something to be said for the use of quiet as a story-telling device.
I did not know what to expect when I first sat down to watch Kino's Journey, but I was quickly captivated by this series.
Kino is an impartial witness, traveling from one land to the next. Her constant companion is Hermes, a talking motorbike with a sarcastic bent.
Together, they explore various social situations, and their potential consequences. Is knowing the thoughts of those around you a blessing or a curse? Is it right to live at the expense of another? What are the consequences of prophecy? Can a society truly divest itself of all its traditions? What does it mean to be a reasonable adult?
We aren't always given answers to our questions, either. Kino is not a judge. She neither condones nor condemns those around her.
In the second episode, we do see Kino fight against a group of slave traders, but this is only after they threaten Kino's own life.
Despite some moments of graphic violence, this is a series that I would seriously consider sharing with children about ten or older.
Oft times thoughtful, it is the quiet moments when we see that which is truly beautiful in the world.
My sole complaint is that Kino's identity as a girl was supposed to be a surprise in the fourth episode, but the ADV english translation reveals it a bit early.
The art style is intruigingly complex and simplistic at the same time, with vivid detail for the backgrounds and mechanical devices, but with remarkably plain character designs. The colors use a great deal of earth tones, and it is nowhere as brightly colored as some anime. The musical score is both vivid and haunting. The voice cast for both Japanese and English dialogue are superb.
Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing a few more like this one.