Kino-pocalypse Now…Or, It’s the End of the World As Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Two weeks have passed since Harold Camping’s end-of-the-world predictions failed to materialize.  As that day approached, I tried to think of something anime-related to blog about, but I couldn’t find anything adequate to write.  Then, I read this entry the other day by the Cajun Samurai on the Christian Anime Alliance boards:

I feel the need to mention that I actually used an episode of “Kino’s Journey” to describe the [recent] “end of the world” prediction made; specifically Episode 3 when the entire population of a city Kino visited believed the world was going to come to an end the next day. Suffice it to say, the world did NOT end, and the explanation the priest gave as to his error was a textbook case of art imitating life.

Kino' Journey Hermes
Kino looking cool against apocalypic-lookin’ skies (Pixiv Artist 3575733)

And so, quite by accident (and two weeks late), I have some comments to share on Camping in relation to anime.

Kino’s Journey became a favorite series of mine after I watched it as part of Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa project last Christmastime.  It’s a show full of wonderful lessons and I’ve listed it as one of my recommendations for Christian viewers of anime.

Episode 3, titled “Land of Prophecies -We NO the Future-“, contains four short stories.  In the first, Kino the traveler comes upon a people who believe the world is about to end.  This is all according to a prophecy by the Priest of the South Tower.  Because those living in the country believe in the idea so ardently, many give Kino whatever she wants (ex. lodging and ammunition) for free.  After all, there’s no need for money when the world is about to end.

Sound familiar?

Many of Camping’s followers also forsook money and their earthly futures, including a man who spent his life savings and a woman who dropped out of medical school.

And also as with Camping, the South Tower priest’s prediction ultimately proved untrue.  The people of the town threw questions at the priest as he embarrassingly proved unable to answer their queries.  Similarly, when Camping first appeared to the public, his words and demeanor seemed that of a genuinely dazed man.

A couple of days later, Camping told the public that the real end of the world would be on October 21.  In Kino’s Journey, it’s a different priest – from the North Tower – that explains the later date for the world’s ending.  The latter priest seemed to be trying to usurp power from the earlier one, who appeared more genuine.

In reality, Camping is more than likely representative of one or the other – a timid sheep, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  At first, I was naïve, convinced that this poor man was misguided and that it wasn’t his fault that so many people believed in him – we all have our own minds after all.  Later, after reading about Camping’s worth and his refusal to return donated money, I’ve changed my view.

Kino's Journey
Don’t they realize this is only episode 3? (Image via Danbooru – artist unknown)

Additionally, each priest based his prophecy on certain calculations.  Camping also had a strange way of figuring his end of the world date.  In both cases, the equations and predictions seemed arbitrary.  Of course, Camping’s biggest failure in his calculations was this: the Bible he claims to believe in emphasizes that no human (or angel) knows when the world will end (Matthew 24:36).  As such, his ideas were destined to fail right from the start, from a Christian perspective as well as a non-spiritual one.

Meanwhile, many of his followers will hang on.  And what will they do until Camping’s next rapture date (October 21, 2011)?  Will they be like the townspeople in Kino’s Journey, asking “what do we do if the world isn’t going to end?”  Will they walk through life, confused and bewildered, or live like there’s (almost) literally no tomorrow?

There’s a lesson to be learned here.  This parable (after all, the entire show can be seen as a series of parables) teaches us to live life in the today without being crippled by the possibilities of the future.  Perhaps Christians should take this to heart more than others in light of Camping’s predictions, being reminded that time on earth is limited – if not by the rapture, by the frailty of a finite life.  Do what we should while we can, for there are some things we can’t do in Heaven.


8 thoughts on “Kino-pocalypse Now…Or, It’s the End of the World As Know It (And I Feel Fine)

  1. Harold Camping’s entire prophecy was based on a false gospel: that if you didn’t believe that the rapture would occur on May 21, then you wouldn’t go to heaven. He believes that Satan is in charge of the churches and that everyone should leave their churches, and that no one was saved between the years of 1988 and 1994. The man is extremely dangerous and allowing himself to being used as a tool of the devil.

    1. I did know about his belief that Satan had infiltrated the churches…but I did not know about much of the other information you’ve mentioned. False prophet, indeed.

  2. Great article! You know, when originally made that post on CAA, I was wondering who would catch onto the similarities between Episode 3 and the Harold Camping incident. There are so many lines in this episode (particularly from those most dedicated to Camping) that are almost verbatim things I’ve heard some of his followers say. One of my favorite lines in this episode comes from Kino when Hermes asks her what will she do if the world ends tomorrow. Kino replies “Even if that were true, is still go to bed for today.”

    1. That is a GREAT line. When I went and rewatched the episode, that stuck out to me. Quotes like this are one of the reasons Kino is a favorite character of mine.

  3. I love that you refer to an anime that I stumbled across not too long ago and ended up liking, much to my surprise. I found many of its episodes and messages profound, including the same episode that you discuss here. I especially enjoy that you use it to give meaning behind the nonsensical belief and behaviors of Camping followers.

    Well written! 🙂

    1. Thank you for the kind comments!

      Yes, Kino’s Journey really is a jewel of a series. For the Secret Santa project, this series was actually my last choice of the three I was presented. But disliked the other two so much that I settled for this one.

      Settling rarely ends up this good.

  4. The interesting part of that episode, as I remember it, is that in the end of it there is a “thief in the night” motif. Another nation, which had the same book, also saw it as the end of the world, but saw it conditional on the continued existence of the City of Prophecy.

    Thus their army came, like a thief in the night, to obliterate the city. The end of their world came just as they predicted, but not as they suspected.

    1. Gosh, I don’t remember that at all. And I only rewatched the first segment of this episode. Now I need to go back and watch it in its entirety.

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