Episode eight of Kino’s Journey takes us once again away from Kino and Hermes, this time following Shizu and Riku on their travels after they’ve picked up Ti. The trio is looking for a country in which to permanently settle, while simultaneously helping Ti learn how to function in a less volatile, more usual manner. Neither has been easy.
During the first half of the episode, the three happen upon a country that Shizu takes a liking to. Things begin to go awry, though, when a mass murder occurs; it’s blamed on radio waves apparently sent out by ancient transmitter towers. Shizu questions the authorities in regards to this explanation, as it makes little sense (he has also seen the eyes of the murderer, which make him appear to be under the influence of drugs).
Later, the country turns on Shizu, Riku, and Ti, who had gone out and found evidence that the radio waves had nothing to do with violence in the country. Smacking of vigilantes, the residents, including law enforcement and journalists, claim that the three are now under the influence of radio waves. Of course, Shizu is able to lead his group out safely.
The second half follows a day in life of Ti and Riku, with Shizu out earning money for their travels. The two bond a bit as Riku teaches Ti and also comes to understand her a bit more. Later, when discussing the day, Riku guiltily explains that he would have killed Ti when she stabbed Shizu. But he now knows her better and sees her as a friend.
That idea, that we judge one another quickly without all the information, without knowing that person, is a theme that connects the two half-episodes. In the first, the residents of the country deem the travelers as under the influence of radio waves and as a danger, rather than as the kind, helpful people we as the audience know them to be. In the second half, Riku comes to know Ti better after initially identifying her only as a threat.
In my life, I all too often make judgment calls about people based on limited information and without grace. Sometimes, that quick judgment is necessary, but in other instances, it can be poisonous. I dehumanize people around me—those who do me wrong, individuals in the news or in human interest stories, or even entire groups of people, if I’m being completely honest. I simplify them, as if they’re objects, rather than consider the complex conglomerate of environment, experience, genetics, and all sorts of other variables that make up a person. I also fail to apply grace when I would hope that would be applied to me.
I have a feeling I’m not alone in doing such. So my question this week is about how we think about those we know very little about:
Do you see strangers humans, in all their complexity, or as something less?
Let us know your thoughts below!
Stream Kino’s Journey on Crunchyroll.