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Kino No Tabi: Book One of the Beautiful World

Review

Kino No Tabi: Book One of the Beautiful World

written by Keiichi Sigsawa, Illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi

Kino
is a traveler. She rides on Hermes, an extremely impressive talking
motorcycle. Together they explore strange and bizarre countries and
lands, rarely staying more than three days at a time. Kino believes
it only takes three days to get to know what you need to about a
place. Then it's back onto Hermes and off to another
adventure.


KINO NO TABI is, quite honestly, a beautiful and fairy tale-like
adventure with some extremely magical moments. Opening the book
reveals a simple sentence: "The world is not beautiful, therefore
it is." This is a great conceptual anchor for the story as Kino
often finds herself in what would be considered non-beautiful
territory, such as the Land of Majority Rule, a ghost town of
hollow halls and vast graves, where a horrific King killed those
who disagreed with him.


Throughout KINO NO TABI, we see that our hero is no mere passerby
taking in the sights. She becomes involved. She is a seeker of
knowledge and yet she is also willing to stand strong should she
need to. This is quite prevalent in the segment entitled
"Coliseum," where those admitted into the city-state are
automatically entered into a savage tournament whereby the victor
gains citizenship. Though not her first choice, she is ultimately
left no choice but to fight, as refusers become slaves. She must
take on the incredible swordsman, Shizu.


The Beauty to be found in the Beautiful World is not necessarily
pretty. It can be brutal. It can be tragic. The story itself,
almost in a travelogue narrative, is incredibly reminiscent of
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, perhaps sprinkled with a liberal touch of "The
Twilight Zone." KINO NO TABI, while entertaining and sometimes
humorous, also provides moments of introspection and occasionally
borders on the philosophical.


After enduring some white-knuckle moments, Hermes asks Kino near
the novel's end why she travels, why she never settles and
undertakes a normal life. Kino never answers him. From the stories
contained here, one can plainly see that it is the journey that
keeps Kino going, that keeps her satisfied with her life, no matter
how difficult it may be. It is the adrenaline rush and the
uncertainty of it all that is life for her, as it is in all great
adventure tales.


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Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on October 18, 2011

Kino No Tabi: Book One of the Beautiful World
written by Keiichi Sigsawa, Illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi

  • Publication Date: October 10, 2006
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1598164554
  • ISBN-13: 9781598164558