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Kino's Journey (A.C.G.T., 2003)

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Kino’s Journey - the Beautiful World is a 13-episode series produced by A.C.G.T. and released in 2003. Based on a popular light novel series by Keiichi Sigsawa, it presents an episodic tour of cultures and social situations, each illustrating some issue in the human condition. Kino, the traveler, accompanied by her sentient talking motorcycle, ties the stories together, though she makes a point of staying no more than three days (and two nights) in any single place, so that she will never be tempted to settle down.

The visions of social world are at times whimsical but tend to be sad or brutal, hence the subtitle has an ironic edge. Yet the theme of the series is, “The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.” This paradox suggests that the ability to sense ugliness in a culture implies that beauty is a real possibility, engrained in the consciousness of Kino and the audience. In any case, the complexity of the worlds that the series samples, and the philosophical questions they evoke, has gained this series a niche audience, enlarged when it was remade in 2017 with enhanced CGI animation.

The 2003 series was directed by Ryutaro Nakamura (1955-2013), best known otherwise for directing Serial Experiments Lain, another dark, mystical series with a strong following. Character design was provided by Shigeyuki Suga, also a veteran of Lain (gengas, scene design), who had carried out the same task for Boogiepop Phantom.

Sketches from this series are not common, though a set of rilezu were made from some of them. A good sampling of these can be found in Tabbycat’s Cel Gallery. This gallery also has the largest online gallery of sketches, including some original backgrounds from the series. Another fine collection is held by Celluloid Central. Other sketches (sometimes very rough ones smuggled out of the studio) can be seen in Cenbe’s Cels, in Grico Anime, and in Eddie’s Cels and Sketches.

 Ep. 2: Kino listens to the traders’ “Song for Travelers”: layout and roughs

 Kino listens to the traders’ “Song for Travelers”: genga and douga

 Ep. 2: Kino and Hermes pull the traders out of the snow: layout and roughs

 Kino and Hermes pull the traders out of the snow: genga and douga

 Ep. 3: Kino listens to the tradition-bearer: A1

 Kino listens to the tradition-bearer: B2

 Ep. 3: Kino takes leave of the Tradition Bearer: rejected “start” keyframe

 Kino takes leave of the Tradition Bearer: A1

 Kino takes leave of the Tradition Bearer: A2

 Kino takes leave of the Tradition Bearer: A1 and A2 gengas

 Ep. 8: Nimya as a child: First stage

 Nimya as a child: A1

 Nimya as a child: A3

Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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