"Kino's Journey - A Beautiful World" is based off a series of light novels written by Keiichi Sigsawa. Lots of good anime get a start as a light novel - in fact, "Kino's Journey" was good enough to get an anime back in 2003. The show follows Kino, a young woman who is traveling the world to see and learn as much as possible. Her only companions are the two guns she wields, and Hermes, the talking motorcycle referred to as a "Motorrade" by the people Kino encounters.

The premise

The show's premise is interesting. It's a place for worldbuilding to shine, as the focus of this show feels like it will be focused less on Kino's personal growth and more on the cultures she encounters.

There are a few interesting things about the world that stick out from the first episode, starting with the countries. Kino comes to the country with some interesting quirks, but the first thing we notice is that a wall surrounds the entire country. It's not clear whether it's only this country, or if all countries of this world are walled off in this manner. There also seems to be some level of magic in the world. We don't learn how Hermes is able to talk, but the talking motorcycle didn't surprise anybody, and nothing suggests that the world is technologically advanced enough to create an A.I. There's certainly going to be more of this world to discover, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Interesting stories

The very first country Kino visits is one where murder is legal. We get a glimpse of her curious, polite nature when she sees somebody relaxing by the side of the road and she rides up to him and engages him in a conversation.

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We're introduced to the murder-legal country when Kino gets laughed at because she was told that the country ahead was very polite, and he tells her that he's going there because it's a place where he can be himself and kill to his heart's content. Kino dismisses him and rides off with Hermes. Despite disagreeing with the man, Kino handles the entire situation with a polite attitude, without flinching. She comes across as a quiet but confident character worth watching.

When they arrive, Kino is warned that murder is legal in the country, then they go in to find a very polite town, just as Kino was told. It's so calm that Kino tells Hermes she finds it strange that the public order is so good. The next day she sets out to go on a tour of the town and finds nothing but kindness, although she's sharp enough to notice that most members of the population have guns handy. She also tries the country's famous dessert, a mountain of crepes layered with whipped cream. The next day she goes back to the cafe to split another mountain with an elderly gentleman who offers to buy it for her if she shares stories with him.

A bright future

This episode was very good. It elegantly introduced us to the main characters of Kino and Hermes and hinted at a wider world around them that we've only just scratched the surface. It's unclear where the story will go from here. Nothing suggested an overall narrative to the season. It's possible it will just follow a monster of the week style story where Kino comes to the new country each time. While I won't spoil the ending of this episode, it did a very good job of playing with your expectations for a country where murder is legal. The fall 2017 season is well underway, and this is certainly a show to watch.