If any of us were still wondering if Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- was a sequel or a remake, this episode answered it as a reenvisioning of an episode previously animated: “Colosseum – Avengers.” Kino enters a country which she has heard is beautiful and peaceful, but immediately finds herself impressed into a gladiator-style tournament. Players in each round of the of the playoff style battles gain victory by killing his opponent or forcing them to yield. Kino, a smart competitor and an ace in gun draws, excels in the tournament.
Of course, it’s not enough in Kino’s Journey that the bloodlust of the crowds are shown. A further theme comes to light later in the episode, and mostly after the tournament has ended. We discover that one of Kino’s opponents, Shizu, has a personal connection to the king that created the games and seek revenge against him. Kino later brushes asides his feelings by calling revenge foolish, but her actions show that she has thoughtfully considered what vengeance means.
Part of this episode’s twist is that Kino learned about the country via a young man and woman who were going there. Later, Kino and Hermes bump into the woman again, this time along, and she tells the duo that they should go visit the country. It’s inferred that this was the couple shared about in a story by the guards: the husband and wife drew each other in the first round, and the wife yielded, giving her safety; the husband, unfortunately, was killed in the next round. If the wife suffered such lost…why would she convince a complete stranger to experience such awfulness as well? Kino is troubled by the thought, hurling large rocks into a peaceful creek as if to burn off her frustration.
I wonder, too, if Kino’s actions in the ring also smack of vengeance. She ultimately does two things of note in the final round: she assassinates the king through an apparent stray bullet and commands the people to turn against each other. On the surface, it seems like Kino’s way of letting the residents morals take care of themselves: the king receives what he deserves and the people choose to give into their base instincts of greed and violence. But Kino’s care in advising a kind guard to run away shows that she doesn’t feel kindness toward the king and audience, that she has in fact become an avenger herself, as the title of the episode dictates.
Which leads to my question this week:
Why do we feel a need and a pleasure in being avengers? In seeking vengeance and revenge?
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below – I’d love to hear what you think! And I’ll leave you this week with the real surprise in episode two for people like me who’d forgotten:
Kino no Tabi – The Beautiful World – can be streamed on Crunchyroll.