This was hilarious.
Don’t worry, I’m not dead. Sorry I vanished for several weeks, though. I will say that it’s my fault alone – it’s got nothing to do with the technical difficulties the site has been having. All that’s just an unfortunate coincidence. For me, real life got in the way, which unfortunately tends to happen a lot every season. It’s also kind of embarrassing, since I only have Kino as my only show to cover this season. But despite everything, I’m definitely going to catch up on it. I think way too highly of it to just leave it unfinished, and on the plus side I suddenly have five whole episodes to binge through.
Anyway, I thought this episode was great. There was a lot less to it in terms of philosophical content, but it was amusing and light-hearted, which is not a bad thing given that the past few stories (Land of Liars and In The Clouds) have been rather emotionally taxing. I don’t think the anime has ever shown Master in her youth, either, so it was nice to learn about how much of a huge bully she was when she was a Tabibito-san. Though to be fair, it was the corrupt government’s fault for pushing her that far – she said herself that she wanted to maintain a low profile if possible when she first drove in. Also, I admit I didn’t think of her apprentice as being very capable to begin with (nor did I guess that he was her apprentice until she said so outright). What happened to him by the time Kino went to train with her? Is that something the light novels ever reveal? I’m pretty sure Master was living alone by the time Kino found her in that log cabin, like the beginning of this episode showed, so he must have either left her to travel alone, or died somewhere along the line.
I also liked the way the bulk of the episode was told. Master’s perspective took up the first portion of the flashback, but right when you begin to think that there hasn’t been much Kino in the episode so far, it swaps to having Kino narrate the rest of it to Hermes. And because you were shown the country from Master’s point of view to begin with, you can easily follow Kino’s storytelling while imagining the scenes in your head quite vividly. It was a nice way of doing things, and really helps to make up for the lack of Kino in episodes like this one where Kino doesn’t really play an important role. Not seeing (or hearing) Kino often enough is a minor issue that’s come to mind with this adaptation so far – of course, with it having started to introduce important recurring characters like Shizu or Master, we’re more likely to get episodes where they (and their group) act as the protagonists instead of Kino. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it fleshes out the world and reveals how they might respond to a situation differently. But in the end, I really like Kino and the title of the series is Kino no Tabi. So for me I’ve been rather conscious of this contrast from the first adaptation, where pretty much every episode was Kino-centric.
In light of that, it was good that we had a short scene where Kino visited the country before the episode ended. I was wondering why there wasn’t more time being reserved for that at first, since it was mentioned at the start that Kino would be visiting, but it all ended up making perfect sense since the country was now cleansed of corruption. I can sort of understand why they’d try to hide what really happened when Master came to visit, but it ended up feeling hilarious more than anything else given how the country turned over a new leaf and painted Master in an awkwardly positive light along with it. If only that old man she met had somehow recognised the Woodsman and gotten terrified of Kino as well.