Friday, July 02, 2004


Long time no see. Yesterday I finished the article I'd been trying to write for the past couple of weeks. I'll try to finish the follow-up to my Daredevil rant within the next few days, but at the moment I'm too busy enjoying my newly-regained freedom. For the time being, I'll recommend an anime, or rather a specific anime episode.

Kino's Journey is a thirteen-episode series about a traveler on an Earth-like planet, who goes from one "country" to another, never staying more than three days in one place. The episodes, which (except for one two-parter) are independent of each other, are less about Kino's personal story than about the peculiarities of the countries visited; it's a bit like a cross between Invisible Cities and Twilight Zone. (The director, Ryutaro Nakamura, also directed Serial Experiments Lain; but there's very little resemblance between the two series.)

The writing is uneven, and the animation is nothing special (though the animation of the main character in ep. 13 is very good). But the final episode, which is by far the best, is so good that I'd recommend watching it even if you have no intention of watching the rest of the series, or started watching the series and gave up on it. It doesn't depend on any of the earlier episodes to be understood; nor will it spoil anything in any earlier episodes (though the other episodes on disc four will). It's unusual in that you really have to watch it twice to appreciate it: not because it's incomprehensible on a first viewing, but because only on a second viewing do you get the full emotional impact. In fact, the first time I watched it, my reaction was that it was pretty good but nothing unusual. It was only upon watching it a second time that I was blown away. Unfortunately, I can't be more specific without spoiling it.

There are times when I don't fully trust my own response to a work of art, and this is one of them. It's possible that I've gone overboard in my enthusiasm: I'm not claiming that it's Tokyo Story. But I really did find it very moving.

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