[Readers Request] Kino’s Journey (2003) – Episode 3
I may as well be overthinking it, but it seems the number three is very significant in this show. For episode 3 we get three stories of places Kino visited at some point. I assume these travels are presented in the chronological way in which they happened, though for the one in the middle it might not make a difference. Kino also continues to abide by her rule of staying for three days only, even if the hosts beg her to stay longer.
The first scene is quite a powerful one as Kino is talking to a woman who says the world will end in three days. Kino and Hermes are a bit puzzled by this claim, but Kino still goes around the country shopping and observing the inhabitants. who attend to their work or just gather to talk while wearing mourning clothing.
While in this country we learn that these people have received a book of prophecy from another place and one of the priests has interpreted the prophecies and discovered the world is ending. One really nice quote from here is when Kino tells Hermes ‘Isn’t it interesting? When someone says something, someone else is there to interpret it.’ Well, it was something along those lines, but I really liked it. These are the kind of thought-provoking lines that end up making this show very memorable. The fact that we need a sort of ‘interpreter’ for natural languages that we can understand is something that really shows the depth of human communication and human nature.
On the third day the world doesn’t end and the people of the country are beside themselves with confusion as they don’t know how to live on when they had given up so readily before. Another priest walks up and takes the place of a prophet as he reinterprets the lines in the prophecy. This was also quite memorable! Someone else will take your place is needed be, if you disappoint, but also we will create meaning from things, even if there isn’t any.
The next place Kino visits is a country that’s quite peculiar. The entrance guard announces Kino’s arrival and the whole town receives her enthusiastically with a sort of event. Kino can’t help but notice the cat ears these people are wearing and they tell their story of a coup d’état that happened in this country ages ago. Eventually the townspeople invite Kino to dance with them, but she politely declines.
Once she moves on from the town, she runs into a woman who leads her to a house where an old scholar is waiting. They discuss the countries’ traditions and their custom of making up a new tradition every time a traveler shows up. I thought this situation sounded both sad and impressive. It’s sad to think that these folk feel like they have no identity now and someone else has to tell them what their story should be, but at the same time their never-ending creativity and drive are impressive.
My favorite story has got to be the third one though, for more than one reason. First off, I really liked the melancholic feel of the gondola ride along with the minimalistic backgrounds and the female voice droning a sad poem. The story of the tragic poet was really amazing. The animation changed a bit and it had a really nice style. The greek tragedy parallelism didn’t go unnoticed either. The cherry on top was finding out that this story was connected to the first one as the poet’s story and poem became a book and it’s what was later called the book of prophecy in the other country.
The poem was very interesting too, intricate and hard to memorize but with a lot of rich symbolic meaning. That has definitely been my favorite place so far! The fact that the tragic poem is repeated down from generation to generation and it’s a tradition now, the identity of the place, also makes a deep impression, even if Kino only observes as a witness.
The closing scene with the military attack of the religious town with the book of prophecies onto the sad country really brought things full circle and the question of whether the prophecies were true or not keeps ringing in my mind even now.