Continuing Kino's travels with Kino no Tabi Season 2 seems like a no-brainer considering the long-term popularity of the series. There are plenty of stories left to tell, so the Kino's Journey anime could continue for a second season, never mind Season 3 and beyond.
What younger anime fans may not realize is that the 2017 anime Kino's Journey -the Beautiful World- The Animated Series is actually a reboot of an anime series that first came out in 2003. Author Keiichi Sigsawa (writer of the Gun Gale Online Alternative books, which is getting a 2018 anime) and illustrator Kouhaku Kuroboshi started the story back in 2000 when they first began publishing the Kino no Tabi light novel series. In 2003, the books were adapted into 13 episodes and an OVA episode only to be followed up by two 30-minute movies released in 2005 and 2007.
As of October of 2017, the books are up to Kino no Tabi Volume 21. Unfortunately, the official English translation of the books resulted in only one volume being released in 2006, but there are multiple fan projects that are translating the stories. The ongoing story spans 97 chapters, most of which are self-contained fables about Kino and the talking motorcycle Hermes visiting a new country with its own allegorical tale.
"There are a lot of different patterns my editor and I have in mind for making countries. I come up with the idea and its dramatic conclusion first, and then I make a country that will fit those story details," Sigsawa said in a 2017 interview with Anime News Network. "It's not so much the style of the country that's important, it can often be an island or a city or something else, but it's more the story being used as its basis."
The author says he does not start by considering a philosophical question or message that he wants to impart to the audience. Instead, he comes up with an interesting idea for a country and then takes "Kino to that place so I can tell the story it produces."
Some might argue that the 2017 anime reboot could be labeled as Kino no Tabi Season 2, but Sigsawa called the 2017 series "a completely new remake" with no relation to the 2003 original.
"[T]he staff is totally different from the previous series. The only people who have carried over from that project are the producers," Sigsawa explained. "So it's not a sequel or a second season, it should be considered a completely new remake."
Although the 2017 reboot is not a direct sequel to the 2003 anime, it's also not a full remake since the new adaptation introduces new stories from later volumes. However, there is some overlap and it could be argued that the new version rushed through at least one story.
The 2017 reboot chose to jump straight into the action with several episodes focused on gun battles whereas the 2003 anime built up to those stories. For example, by Episode 2 the fan favorite story about the Coliseum battle was compressed into a single episode whereas the older version used two episodes to cover the story mid-way through the season.
Unfortunately, this meant Kino's motivation for interfering in a country's affairs was inadequately explained until near the end. Kino's decree that everyone immediately fight to the death to become king also came off as heartless (never mind the great sheep massacre of Episode 12!). At the same time, covering the Coliseum story early on was required in order to introduce the characters Shizu and his dog Riku so they could be featured in later episodes.
Kino no Tabi Light Novels Enough Source Material For Kino's Journey Season 2?The first anime's 12 episodes by Studio A.C.G.T. adapted stories from two of the books, while Studio Lerche had 20 books worth of source material. According to MyAnimeList, it was announced at Dengeki Bunko Festival 2017 that the stories for the 2017 anime were chosen based on a 2015 survey of "favorite countries" that was carried out among light novel readers.
Sigsawa says his favorite story is "A Peaceful Land — Mother's Love.". It was the first story that the author wrote, but he started from the ending and worked his way back to the beginning. The number one fan favorite is "A Kind Land — Tomorrow Never Comes." Both of these stories were covered in the 2013 anime but skipped by the 2017 reboot.
If you want to read the light novels and skip stories already adapted by the anime then you'll need to know what was covered. Here is a list of the episodes from the new Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World anime and the corresponding light novel chapters.
- Kino no Tabi Episode 1: "The Country Where People Can Kill Others" - Volume 5: Chapter 2
- Kino no Tabi Episode 2: "Coliseum" - Volume 1: Chapter 4
- Kino no Tabi Episode 3: "The Troublesome Country" - Volume 7: Chapter 1
- Kino no Tabi Episode 4: "The Ship Country" - Volume 8: Epilogue
- Kino no Tabi Episode 5: "The Country of Liars" - Volume 7: Chapter 6
- Kino no Tabi Episode 6: "Amidst the Clouds" - Volume 3: Epilogue
- Kino no Tabi Episode 7: "The Country With History" - Volume 8: Chapter 1
- Kino no Tabi Episode 8: "The Country of Electromagnetic Waves" - Volume 9: Chapter 4
- Kino no Tabi Episode 9: "Various Countries" - Volume 12 Prologue: "Can You Imagine!," Volume 12: Chapter 9, Volume 17: Chapter 9, Volume 10 Prologue: "Get Real!," and Volume 19: Chapter 1
- Kino no Tabi Episode 10: "The Kind Country" - Volume 2: Chapter 8
- Kino no Tabi Episode 11: "The Country of Adults" - Volume 1: Chapter 5
- Kino no Tabi Episode 12: "The Grassland for the Sheep" - Volume 20: Chapter 8
- Kino's Journey Episode 1: "Land Of Visible Pain" - Volume 1: Chapter 1
- Kino's Journey Episode 2: "Tale Of Feeding Off Others" - Volume 2: Chapter 1
- Kino's Journey Episode 3: "Land Of Prophecies" - Volume 5: Chapter 7
- Kino's Journey Episode 4: "Land Of Adults" - Volume 1: Chapter 5
- Kino's Journey Episode 5: "Three Men Along The Rails" - Volume 1: Chapter 3
- Kino's Journey Episode 6: "Coliseum Part 1" - Volume 1: Chapter 4
- Kino's Journey Episode 7: "Coliseum Part 2" - Volume 1: Chapter 4
- Kino's Journey Episode 8: "Land Of Wizards" - Volume 2: Chapter 3
- Kino's Journey Episode 9: "Land Of Books" - Volume 2: Chapter 7
- Kino's Journey Episode 10: "A Tale Of Mechanical Dolls" - Volume 3: Chapter 4
- Kino's Journey Episode 11: "Her Journey" - Original Content, Volume 6: Chapter 1-2, And Volume 3: Chapter 5
- Kino's Journey Episode 12: "A Peaceful Land" - Volume 1: Chapter 6
- Kino's Journey Episode 13: "A Kind Land" - Volume 2: Chapter 8
- Kino's Journey OVA: "The Tower Country - Volume 4: Chapter 11
In addition, the movies extended the story. The 2005 movie Kino's Journey: In Order to Do Something –Life Goes On– was a prequel that showed Kino being trained by her teacher. The 2007 movie Kino's Journey: Country of Illness -For You- was based on the ending of Volume 5: Chapter 10.
Kino no Tabi Season 2 Release DateAs of this publishing, anime production company M.S.C. has not announced anything official about the Kino no Tabi Season 2 release date, although this article will be updated as soon as the anime sequel's premiere is confirmed. However, there can be reasonable speculation about when, or if, the Kino's Journey Season 2 air date may occur.
The ending of Episode 12 definitely seemed to break the fourth wall by having Kino say, "Now, let's start my journey." While this could be interpreted as a giant hint to go read the light novels, the ending certainly left a wide opening for a second season.
The story still needs to provide closure for Shizu, Kino's master and especially Kino herself. When Sigsawa was asked why Kino is still continuing her travels, he was evasive but he did admit the story will eventually answer the question to that central theme.
"I can't really say right now, but if you read all of the Kino's Journey stories, there is a flow to their progression that people will be able to understand by the end," Sigsawa said. "She does have a central motivation that will eventually be revealed, but I can't tell you what it is right now."
Let's just hope Kino no Tabi Season 2 does not require another 14-year wait!