Kino no Tabi Episode 8: Land of Radio Waves
Do not provoke the loli.
Whew. Remember what I said, literally one post ago, about there not being enough Kino screen time in this adaptation? Well, it’s another Shizu episode! All things granted, this was pretty interesting. Shizu of course brought up a massive flag the very moment he started talking about how this country seemed relatively ‘normal’, and that it was somewhere he might want to settle down in. The very premise of the series is that hardly any countries can be described as ‘normal’, after all. Each one having its own quirks or unique features is exactly what makes them interesting to learn about. As a result, I don’t think he’ll actually manage to settle down in one anytime soon – which means that, although his purpose for travelling is not for pleasure like he told Ti, in practice it ends up being not so different from Kino because it’s so difficult to find a suitable country in the first place. I’m kind of surprised he is aware of what it means for a country to be ‘normal’ at all, given that he came from a place where they held Colosseum fights all for their king’s entertainment. I guess he’s after a modern environment, with a stable government and economy? Something like the Land of Liars would probably fit the bill, or ironically the Land Where Murder is Permitted. Possibly the Land of Wizards if he’s okay with becoming a farmer. So he’d actually come closer to his end goal if he asked Kino if there were any countries she knew of that fits his criteria, though that’ll never happen because it means Shizu would be removed as a recurring character.
The moment the police sheriff (I think that’s what he is) glossed over the issue of whether the current generation are still affected by the radio waves, I immediately knew that it was all a hoax. There’s no way ‘historical fact’ is an adequate answer, an implanted machine can’t possibly be transferred into someone’s child without their heads being opened up on purpose. Nor was there any chance of Shizu, Riku and Ti themselves being affected by the waves, given that they’re travellers to begin with and have nothing to do with the country’s history. I do think, however, that the way Shizu handled it could have been better. Because it was obvious that the citizens had somehow deluded themselves into believing that any criminal actions were caused by strange radio waves that no-one could control, stop or even go near, it was a bad idea for Shizu to come back and tell them that the radio outpost had long ceased to work – that would require the citizens to accept that all the horrific crimes that occurred were ultimately just crimes, and so he’d run the risk of them turning on him. In other words, they weren’t going to accept any answer that involved denying the radio waves, and that could be seen from the way the sheriff easily accepted Shizu’s turnaround lie at the end that actually, there was this second, fully functional outpost with its radio waves turned to maximum. What Shizu should have done (in order to make sure the public didn’t turn against him) was to beat up the already ruined outpost, take his pictures and then go back, telling them that he had found a very dangerous working outpost that he then destroyed. He probably wouldn’t have wanted to settle down in that place either way, but it’d have made the rest of his stay there more pleasant. How the inhabitants react when the next crime happens (i.e. whether they still somehow blame it on radio waves that shouldn’t be transmitting any longer) would have nothing to do with him.
The other main thing I’m wondering about is the mental state of all these criminals that appear once in a while. Take that teacher who murdered an entire class of his students. When he did that, was he just using the radio wave issue as a convenient cover for his actions? Or did he kill them while genuinely believing that he was being forced to do so by something outside of his control – because remember, the waves don’t actually exist and so the criminals must have some sort of lucidity. That guy’s eyes did look awfully bloodshot, but I think either option is plausible. After all, the entire country is deluded enough to believe that its populace still has these machines implanted in their heads even generations after it was founded – or at least, unwilling to accept the harsh truth that they might possibly have been pardoning real criminals for terrible crimes for centuries. That’s why I thought they were accepting immigrants – because travellers like Shizu wouldn’t run any risk of being affected by the waves, and so over time the issue would dwindle and eventually die out. So it could be the case that everyone in this country is just insane.
Shizu’s lie at the end was a little confusing to me. For someone as non-confrontational as him, it was an awfully vindictive thing to do. Almost Master-like, actually. She’d definitely be someone to stir shit like that on purpose if a country had wronged her in some way. I’m not sure whether Shizu meant to help them at all – Riku mentioned that everyone might stop believing in the radio waves if nothing happens the next day, but that won’t happen if the citizens aren’t mentally sane. Because they could just as easily make themselves believe that they’re going to commit crimes, and then commit them the next day.
Finally, we also had Ti’s Day animated! It was a good fit to round off this Shizu episode since their last appearance was when Ti was first introduced. I think chronologically (i.e. in terms of when the light novels were published) this story was quite far from the Ship Country one, but it does help to round off the rather abrupt ending we had there. If I were Riku, I’d definitely also be wary of Ti – she’s super cute, but she’s also a confirmed murder loli with many concealed weapons. That deadpan stare and her lack of communication makes it really hard to know what she’s thinking. It’s not that she doesn’t think, as Shizu said, but instead we just don’t know whether those eyes are planning anything. Even in the Land of Radio Waves, she hardly said anything, though I think it was clear by then that she was on Shizu’s side and considered herself to be one of the group. It’d be nice to see another Shizu episode where she plays a bigger part.