Episode five of Kino no Tabi concerns itself with how we choose to live our lives. It begins with Kino finishing up a stay in a country where she and Hermes speak to another motorrad, once belonging to that country’s greatest hero, but now standing still and on display as an artifact at a museum. The bike feel he’s in “hell,” stuck and unable to do what he is meant to, which is simply to ride.
Most of the episode, however, focuses on Kino’s next journey, to a nation where she meets a man who has gone insane waiting for his lover, apparently now on a journey, to return to him. We later find that she neither went on a trip or left him; the lover, who was the nation’s former princess, was killed by the man during a coup, leading to his insanity. The residents don’t have the heart to do anything more than play along with him, keeping up the lie.
A further, more remarkable lie is exposed when the man’s caretaker reveals that she is actually the princess. She survived the ordeal, and returned years later out of love for the man. She doesn’t mind that he doesn’t recognize her or understand that it is she he has been waiting for. The former princess is happy to sacrifice and remain by his side, even in his condition. But as the show ends, we learn something else—the woman’s lie isn’t the most shocking secret of all.
But all these falsehoods, down to the citizens trying to keep their friend from hurt, are all based in love. All the people in the town, all the liars, carry a burden. I’ve asked the question before about whether it’s ever okay to lie; this week, I want to focus instead on the reason for that lie—on love, and especially because there were some tender moments in this series that I thought were pretty heartfelt. It made ponder the nature of love and wonder how I would describe it using the best wording I could and in a succinct manner. And so I lay that same question out before you:
In one sentence, how would you define love?
Please let us know in the comments below.
Kino’s Journey is streaming on Crunchyroll.