Kino’s Journey ~ The Beautiful World ~ Episode 4: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Episode four of Kino’s Journey was an unusual one, even by Kino no Tabi standards. The action turns around and focuses on Shizu, with Riku the dog as his companion, rather than on Kino and Hermes. He boards a ship country and becomes one with the local populace, bonding especially with a non-speaking girl named Ti. As he walks through the ship day after day, he begins to realize not only are the residents’ lives unsustainable, but their entire nation will soon sink.

The twist here is that the guiding class is actually comprised of A.I. units, who let Shizu take command after he defeats them (along with Kino’s help). Shizu frees the people, but they don’t want to leave their comfortable surroundings. Shizu accepts that they cannot leave, punctuated perhaps by the fact the residents are very childlike, having grown that way without a modeling parent generation.

Although Shizu ultimately decides to take responsibility for Ti (we’ll see how that goes with the former prince’s critical condition), I was amazed by a few things. Despite his care for the people, Shizu seems to very easily give up when the people protest. He also sends Ti initially on her way. This all seems rather cold of the warm-hearted prince, and against his character. Indeed, it’s perhaps Ti’s wounding of him that wakes him back up.

Ti eventually thanks Shizu for taking responsibility for her (?), but Shizu says that thanks are not necessary—I wonder if that is because he believes it to be the right thing to do, to care for others as if it’s a necessity. Which brings me to the question for this week. With Shizu trying to protect and entire country, then leaving them to their destiny, and with the power we have in the lives of individuals and that our countries have as a whole when it comes to foreign relations, what is our responsibility?

Do we have a responsibility to care for others?

Please comment below – I’m eager to know your thoughts!

9 thoughts on “Kino’s Journey ~ The Beautiful World ~ Episode 4: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

  1. Between total strangers, a limited responsibility, to warn a fellow human being of danger ahead.

    In Shizu’s case, his responsibility is greater since he decided to fight against the ship’s leaders and destroy their system. He also promised the AI to lead them. It is very irresponsible to destroy and not help rebuild.

    I was pretty disappointed at how disinterested he was in actually taking on the responsibility. Throwing open the doors and saying “Go forth” doesn’t cut it, especially since when he knows their history. He should have tried harder to explain.

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    1. I was disappointed by his action, too, primarily because I thought it ran contrary to his character. Kino – well, I might have expected that of her. 😂

      Why do we have any responsibility for a tots stranger? Is that more of a choice or a responsibility do you think?

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  2. Shizu appears to have been a loner for most of his life, and that likely contributes to him not knowing how to persuade and to lead them to do what he wants. And, as a foreigner in that particular country, he does not possess that much authority. In order to get citizens of the seaborne country to do what he wants, he might have had to use force, which would probably have turned out for the worse.

    As for how much responsibility we have to care for others, I rather like Aesop’s fable about the driver and his donkey. The two are on a mountain road, and the ass sees that he can more quickly reach his destination by going down the cliff. The driver hollers and tugs at the ass to deter it from its fatal course. However, it’s all to no avail, and the tired driver eventually lets the ass have his way lest he himself tumble from the cliff.

    So, while we ought to remonstrate with people who make bad decisions, we have to let asses go their own way in the end.

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  3. Personally, it reminded me of how we can share Jesus with people and show them the truth of the gospel but they might very well refuse it (depending on how you view irresistible grace I suppose, I know very little about that so I can’t really comment in that regard). But for me it struck a personal chord because my family is not saved (sometimes I even doubt my own, I admit) despite attempts to speak with them about it. Though I do think there was a better (less rushed) way of showing this because yeah it did seem against his character. And also, was I the only one that was completely shocked when he got stabbed?! And Kino didn’t even react! I guess him taking her with him anyways might be a symbol of Grace? Or just weird 🙂

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    1. Haha, yeah, the entire last few minutes was strange…but I thought the decision that he made to bring Ti along made sense, and certainly fits into the theme of grace. And I also definitely see the comparison with evangelism, especially personally when it comes to family.

      By the way, it’s common to wonder about our own salvation. This article, I think, is really helpful in considering where we are in regards to that (it’s one I’ve referenced quite often in the past): https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-do-i-know-i-m-saved-ask-pastor-john

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  4. I’m not sure if you’ll read this post since it’s been a while since the episode came out, but have you heard of the allegory of the cave? You can search it on Wikipedia, and I think that the story is very similar to the ideals presented between Shizu and the people.

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    1. Thank you, Anon, you’re right! It absolutely fits that famous allegory. In fact…I think the author must have been influenced by it in creating this journey. Thank you for the insight!

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  5. I am fresh from watching this episode a few minutes ago so I wanted to write out my thoughts. For me, Shizu did the right thing with what he did but I think he should have convinced the elder by showing him the flooding. It’s his word vs. theirs, and he’s the new guy/traveler. They won’t believe him.

    But, even if he WERE to show the elder, he might just say that the tower will take care of it. Unfortunately, blindly following someone like they were was unwise. When the evidence of deception is clearly in front of you, people should stand up to the tyranny. Just like it’s happening in a few countries that are run by dictators, when people are stepped on and mistreated in that way, riots/mutiny/protests are bound to break out. Even if they didn’t have parents or whatever, I find it hard to believe that out of ALL those people not one person decided it was wrong what was going on. If Shizu found out all those problems in a few days….I am sure they would have figured it out much sooner.

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    1. Yeah, you have to accept this strange world for all it is for the episode to make sense, almost like this is a completely brainwashed/robotic society without exception. Otherwise, exactly what you said—Shizu should have gone further and someone, if not multiple people, would have listened.

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