Journey with Kino’s Journey – First Stop – The Value of Experience (Monthly Watch)

I am now watching Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World (also known as Tabi no Kino in Japanese). The series has an episodic, metaphorical, and allegorical nature, reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels or Voltaire’s Candide, but more sombre. As such, I think it lends itself well to being watched one episode at a time, and also to being discussed, or kicking off discussion, so that’s what I aim to do. The first four episodes have been posted before, but had been put on hold due to how much energy writing them demanded of me. I’m excited to resume the journey once more, and will be bringing over the older comments as well.

There will be a new post on the second (or third if it begins early) Monday of every month (next post: February 11th) , each covering one episode of Kino’s Journey, or the films. You can buy the series here, or watch it dubbed on Hulu here, if you live in the United States. Each write-up might differ in style, length, and focus. I might spend more time on the episode, its ideas, or what it made me think of, or feel. These write-ups assume you’ve watched the episode, and the discussion that’ll follow could be had on the episode, the points I raised, or the questions I pose. Well, let’s get to it.

Episode 1 – “Land of Visible Pain -I See You-“

Kino's Journey anime episode 1 / Kino no Tabi anime episode 1 - Jealousy of birds

Well, this was interesting. This reminded me more than a tad of Mushishi. Travelers who do not wish to get too involved, a new place and a new story each time. Likewise, I suspect the best way to watch this series would be an episode a day. After catching up with what the anime-club needs, I’ll probably watch it that way. Also, like Mushishi’s Ginko, I suspect we’ll see Kino and Hermes taking a more invested stance at some point. Continue reading

Netoju no Susume – On Compersion and Virtual Identities

Netoju no Susume anime review - Recovery of an MMO Junkie anime reviewYou know that feeling where you’re watching kids run around, laughing, and it brings you joy? Or perhaps when your best friend is celebrating a promotion at work, and you feel happy for them? Or, say, when you watch a romantic comedy, or an underdog story, and when the couple kiss or the protagonist overcomes all struggles, you fistpump and/or cheer? There’s a term that encapsulates this feeling, this emotion, which comes from the polyamory circles, and that term is “compersion,” take to mean, “Joy at the joy of others.”

To some degree, one could say that all romantic comedies operate off of our desire to see the couple hit it off, but while some romantic sub-genres (see Harem RomComs, as per my write-up on Nisekoi) work more off of wanting the story to take its “natural pathway,” some shows, such as last season’s Netoju no Susume (or either “Recovery of an MMO Junkie” or “Recommendation of the Wonderful Virtual Life” in English), really do bank on us feeling compersion for the characters, and desiring them to be happy, because our own happiness depends on it (to some degree, don’t get too crazy here).

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the entire show.)

Continue reading