As much as I enjoyed the first episode of Kino no Tabi‘s 2017 version, I did consider the possibility that its commentary could be more of a one-off thing than anything else. That concern ultimately carried over into the second episode as we have another country for Kino explore and commentary that seems exclusive to the scenario. There doesn’t seem to be an overarching plot or theme in sight and I’m getting the sense that these scenarios are created simply because they sounded interesting or cool on paper. That’s a little worrisome since an episodic structure can run stale if we’re going “monster of the week” (or rather, “country of the week”) style.
It also doesn’t help that this episode is a bit weaker than the first one. There’s still plenty to like about the show. The script is competently written and Aoi Yuuki’s subdued performance as Kino is pretty darn good. The visuals aren’t godawful either. But man, this episode feels so pedestrian to me. I will admit that the premiere was a little silly with the whole “murder is totally legal” gimmick but give the episode credit, it at least stands out to you and the justification behind it turned out to be pretty clever.
By comparison, this episode felt like it was pretending to be clever. A country where people duke out in a coliseum is cliche in of itself and I figured out the twist with Shizu long before it was properly revealed. Furthermore, Kino was awfully straightforward this episode. Of course, she’d be the one to assassinate the King and of course, she’d naturally not hold onto the title. I suppose her decision to let the population implode until the last one standing becomes the new ruler was rather sinister (and it’s implied, Kino did it to avenge a friend who got killed in that arena). But honestly, I don’t really find anything that thought provoking about it. Like….no shit, the people would kill each other for the throne. What else is new?
Also, this show’s internal logic just gets weirder by the second. Am I really to believe that a talking, sentient motorcycle is common knowledge or an everyday occurrence in this world but a talking dog isn’t? I feel like it should be the other way around.
I didn’t have a terrible time sitting through the second episode but I did find it way less interesting than the first one. One hit and one miss is not enough to really tell if the show actually varies that much in quality but I am very concerned at the moment. I may give it one more shot just to be safe but time’s been on a bit of a premium as of late and I’d rather spend time with anime that has immediately appealed me within the first three episodes.