jess's Reviews > Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World

Kino no Tabi by Keiichi Sigsawa
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Dec 28, 11

bookshelves: 2011, yaf, ladyish
Read in December, 2011

I didn't know anything about this book before I cracked the cover. I picked it up when I breezed through the YAF section of the library looking for easy books to hit my 2011 reading goal. (i'm a little behind on my goal.) I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this little book. Apparently there is an anime series, and possibly also a movie about Kino. I'll watch them... someday. Anyway, this kind of reminded me of a gender-fucking Little Prince but without the mushy stuff, and a lot more guns.

The basic plot:
This girl lives in a town where, on your 12th birthday, you have an operation that makes you into an adult, which basically means you are able to tolerate doing things you do not like or want to do all day, every day. A strange traveler comes to town the week before this little girl's operation, builds a magical motorcycle, and plants some questions in the little girl's mind, like, is there another way to grow up without the operation? and why would you want to be a grown-up if that means you have to do things you hate? Etc, etc. The little girl takes the name Kino, gets on the magic motorcycle and escapes her murderous, strong-armed parents forever. She travels from city to city, meeting the locals, hearing the histories and tragedies of each place. She stays in each town for exactly three days and then moves on. Her motorcycle, Hermes, is her companion through it all. The places they go are pretty messed up, but everywhere has its problems, right?


My favorite things:
The morals Kino learned in each town about peace, violence, how people relate to each other, and the importance thinking for yourself.
There's a talking motorcycle.
Kino's gender ambiguity, which I can imagine was a lot more interesting in the original Japanese. Still, I have always appreciated the girls who pass as boys sometimes.
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