This is the second movie from the Kino no Tabi (Kino’s Journey) anime series, for various reasons this series has always been in my top 25 all time favorite anime series, so when news of a second movie was announced I was overjoyed.
The movie begins in typical Kino fashion with Kino and Hermes (a motorrad, a talking motorcycle) getting ready to enter another country, Kino has her usual wait and see attitude, and Hermes is usually downbeat and questioning. Kino has a steadfast rule about visiting different countries, never stay more than three days As Kino and Hermes begin to explore the new country, Hermes urges Kino to leave this country and go some where else. As Kino begins to look around the place they are being watched by remote video surveillance. A while later they see a city covered by dome and they go to the entrance and ask a figure on a video feed to visit the city for three days, they are granted admission after they undergo a complete cleaning. Everything that Kino owns is cleaned, and they make Hermes look like new, fixed her gear and even fill up her gas tank. Kino and Hermes begin to explore the city, everything seems clean and perfect, almost too perfect to Kino.
Later that day while Kino and Hermes are in their hotel room they get a request from the hotel’s owner asking if they could visit their sick daughter and tell her some stories of their travels. Kino and Hermes agree to the request and go to visit her the next day, so at the hospital Kino and Hermes tell the girl stories of their travels over lunch. Before visiting the girl they learn that everyone in this country has a certain chance of developing a disease that has no cure or real treatment, but every one’s working on a cure, and they also learn that certain selective groups of people get to live outside the city in reclamation villages. Later when the girl’s parents are away she relates to them a story about a boy she meet and how she wants to get better so she can go and meet him again, he now lives outside the city in a village, and then she gives Kino something she wants them to give to the boy because they can only exchange letters and nothing more.
So, Kino and Hermes leave the city to take the gift to the boy, when they get to the reclamation village they find it barren and then they are meet by a military guy who takes Kino into a underground complex. When they get to the control room (post office) Kino asks the guy to deliver the gift to the boy but he says he can’t because he died six months age, Kino’s asks the guy if he’s been the one sending the girl the letters and he says yes and that he should have stopped writing her when he died or written her and told her to stop writing him. The guard then tells Kino the whole secret of this country, in order to stop the illness from affecting it’s citizens they had to begin human testing so they began kidnapping families that had few relatives and they use them as involuntary human test subjects telling the rest of the citizens that they instead are living a happy and productive life outside the dome (remember the film the Island, you want to go to the island), while all the time their in a lab under the city being experimented on. Kino tells him the gift is his by all rights and says she’ll be leaving now, as Kino turns to leave the solider attacks her from behind. They fight in the control room and and in the end Kino kills the guard, and the girl receives one last letter from the boy telling her he hopes she gets better soon so they can meet in the village. later we see Kino and Hermes and heading down the road again when Hermes asks Kino what kind of country do you want to see next? and Kino replies, one where everyone is happy. That’s all for this movie, below are some screen shots.
You can’t really call this a movie, but since Kino no Tabi Country of Disease showed in movie theaters I guess that it’s technically a movie, but in all other respects this is another episode in the Kino no Tabi anime series. The original anime series lasted 13 episodes with a 12 minute special, and the 30 minute movie called Kino on Tabi Life Goes On, but for many fans this was too short of a run to cover all the interesting aspects of Kino’s world. So the production company has graced the Kino fans with another 30 minute anime fix, and a nice fix it was. All the qualities I loved in the original series is here in the movie, for those new to the series, Kino no Tabi is a travel tale where Kino travels from country to country never stopping for more that 3 days in any one country. Kino takes in the lives and cultures of many countries, she is never very judgemental about the places she visits, but one of the only themes you really get is that Kino wishes for all the people she meets is that they should be happy.
One of the continuing themes of the Kino series is the world is not beautiful vs. life is beautiful, and yes that’s here in this movie too, the world is definitely not beautiful for those chosen to be involuntary medical test subjects but life is still beautiful as shown in the energy and vigor that the young girl shows in her wanting to get well so she can meet the boy she’s attracted to. Really that’s whats the whole Kino to Tabi series is all about, this series always contrasted how cold, cruel and brutal the world can be versus how beautiful life can be in it’s small personal moments. Well if you haven’t seen the whole Kino to Tabi series do yourself a favor and buy or rent the DVD box set and pull a 13 episode viewing marathon.