Kino no Tabi 07 “Entertainment: the Greatest Good”

kino no tabi 07 dodging bullets

Those who are about to die, the “gladiators,” for putting on what apparently was an unusually entertaining set of fights, was rewarded by the king. Now, how would a king reward those who were still about to die? What can he give that can properly compensate the value he was given in turn?

He decides to give them entertainment.

I just can’t let this go. It seems to say so much about we are, or at least I am as a consumer.


Even if I spend most of my money to cover the survival needs of my family. The actual rewards of work isn’t the actual accumulation of currency, but rather of time. Time spent with loved ones are particularly valuable. But outside this, how do I spend my time?

Entertaining myself, by virtue of pursuing my hobbies: tennis, watching sports, reading books and manga, watching films and anime, and making content published here on this blog. The list alone suggests not an insignificant time spent on entertainment.

This indicates that, despite the third world status of my country, our economy, I pretty much live a first-world consumer-driven lifestyle. My choice of entertainment and the resources required to acquire them may be different from someone who lives in the USA, GB, or Japan, but I and anyone like me from these places don’t have much of a fundamental difference between the citizens of Kino’s current destination.

The only difference is that while they actually enjoy live murder for the sake of gratuitous entertainment, we only like ours virtual or fictional.

Entertainment is serious business. In many anime-related blogs or sites we read and discuss the nature and state of the industry of our particular source of entertainment. It’s that serious to us.


This particular arc of Kino no Tabi suggests that we are particularly slaves to gratuitous entertainment. It gets the better of us. We watch shows to experience demonstrations of particular elements we like. We have a database for them; fetishes are rather commonplace in this medium.

Does Bakemonogatari work without the titillation? Or better yet, does the attempt at a clever monster story get in the way of the gratuitous fanservice? Why exactly do we watch Sengoku Basara? K-ON!!?

Since the cost of entertainment is death in the coliseum, the allegory as indulged implies that fanservice is meaningless. It does not enrich us. It does not make us grow in intellect nor in wisdom. Is there a value judgment here? Maybe there is.

The play the king offers to the gladiators is interesting in itself. It references Shakespeare, with its “The stage is a world and the world in turn is a stage” nod to As You Like It. How does the narrator of the play entice the viewers? A list of ‘database’ elements:

  • Heroes
  • Swordplay
  • Star-crossed lovers
  • Dazzling romance
  • (and of course,) Cruel death

The thing is, Kino no Tabi isn’t so disingenuous as to make the whole episode (or arc, for that matter) about this perhaps damning allegory. The gladiators don’t finish the performance, making their excuses.

Kino fights in the tournament and wins predictably, but this isn’t to say the outcome wasn’t surprising:

  1. Kino murders the king.
  2. Kino adds the rule she is privileged to: Without harming the slaves, and without fleeing the land, the only way to decide the new king is for the first class citizens to fight it out.

Kino is coooooold. Ruthless cold.


I don’t even know what to make of this. It’s one thing for Kino to kill the slavers in ep 02 as she was defending herself. But to legislate something that will cause legalized murder on a large scale – to say nothing of cold-blooded regicide… sure they were bad people, but Kino in this episode became more vigilante and less traveler.

This isn’t my favorite arc in this show.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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13 Responses to Kino no Tabi 07 “Entertainment: the Greatest Good”

  1. Ryan says:

    Such a wicked outcome, really. You know I think there might be an argument that Kino is in favor of destabilization. Thinking about the way she functions as a traveler, almost nomadic, there’s very little to say her lifestyle has any stability whatsoever; much is left to her abilities and chance. It might be interesting to ponder what Kino’s perfect vision of the world would be, is everyone a traveler as well? Are there even countries or central ruling bodies? Seemingly she may prefer anarchy, but I don’t believe it’s malicious.

    • That certainly is an entertaining thought. I don’t think Kino has a set view on government and/or social systems. I think the interesting thing about the story is how Kino is forced to consider things, take stands on issues she has very little experience about.

      However, things like what happened in this episode could happen after all.

  2. Pingback: Star News » Kino no Tabi 07 “Entertainment: the Greatest Good” | We Remember Love

  3. This entire arc is a great reminder to us that Kino is in fact a human. It’s hard to believe, I know.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I believe she did that to force the citizens who were uninvolved bystanders to experience that which they enjoy until the last one standing. There are at least 2 outs which are possible and which possibly she already thought about
    i) Everyone agrees to change.
    ii) Those not willing can leave.

    Both require high levels of difficulty to achieve (obvious for the former, abandoning the cushy life for the latter) but is not impossible. This links to the great line in Eden of the East. The abuse of power is when remorse is divorced from it. Both the citizens and the king had power of a sort but few if any had remorse. When karma comes to collect, its not gentle or nice.

    • The abuse of power lies in the removal of remorse in its use?

      Interesting. Power in itself, as a means to an end, involves the threat of sanction. It involves victims who, are compromised. Their options are narrowed. So to use power is to necessarily compromise others to a degree, and to lose remorse for doing so is abuse.

      This is what I’m getting from your take on it.

      The question now is, in Kino’s cold rule, is there any remorse?

  5. I really want to check out Kino no Tabi once I clear out backlog anime. I always say that and end up getting it anyways, though.

  6. kadian1364 says:

    The move to kill the king was a surprise; in every other situation Kino never harms others unless they make gestures of direct physical harm. How about this: if Kino had in mind to make that law beforehand, she thought surely the king would never go for it and he would take drastic measures. Remember he sniped the woman simply for the thought of her law. Preemptive assassination? Now that’s cold as ice.

    As far as the law itself, I feel Kino always makes an attempt to “play along” with the natives; if in Rome, do as the Romans. If we try to define Kino as a set of constant personality traits, it doesn’t make much sense, but it definitely fits the country. She is the traveler that applies the mirror to the city’s true face.

    And don’t trust strange, brooding men with cute, fluffy dogs. That is all.

    • Hehe.

      If anything, Kino’s behavior as a protagonist brings out the maximum dramatic effect from the ironies and inconsistencies presented by the countries she visits, and this is one of the starkest examples.

      My mind keeps coming back to the Country of One wherein she refused to become a citizen. I wonder if her decision to not participate is as consequential as her legislation here.

      I think not, since that country already doomed itself and this one has a chance for a do-over. However, what did Kino learn, if anything from the Country of One?

      I can’t tell, but there is some form of acknowledgment that any do-over is violent. Can make an omelet w/o breaking eggs &c — but not as a justification of the means because I hesitate to think that the means is something Kino is attached to. Rather an acceptance of the loss of life… though I wonder how invested she is, how much she really cares for those she rules… her temporary constituents as they were.

  7. TRazor says:

    Whoa, this reminded me to finish writing that analysis of all 13 Lands of Kino. (It would probably be titled The trzr23’s Guide to the Land of Kino. or something like that. Watch out for it 😀 !)

    I also learnt a new word reading this : disingenuous. I have experienced an upsurge in my palaver after referring to the bibliogrophical content from We Remember Love.

    Kino never became cold. She always was cold. The lack of guidance in her early life, the harsh training procided by the Master and her own disbelief in humanity after visiting several inhumance towns forced her to form a shell around herself. It was only in 13, where all her beliefs were proved wrong and she saw herself in the perfect future, did she loosen up a little.

    • I think my episodic blogging of Kino no Tabi is FAR from my best work. This I think has to do with how I ended up not really liking the show at all. If you point a gun to my head, I’ll have to say that it’s a failure of animation, and is better left as some kind of book of ironic aesop’s fables in a sorta fantastic semi-dystopian setting with a weak overarching narrative.

      • TRazor says:

        I disagree on all counts, but that’s just my opinion. There’s no rule that everyone should like or hate an anime.

        But then again, it’s hard to believe there are people who like the currently airing Rio Rainbow Gate, so meh, anything’s possible.

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