This episode is exceedingly difficult to write about because of the extent of the conceit involved. It’s the kind of episode that almost acts as an editorial about the entire narrative and beyond. What is it? Something to do with how books, the reality in them becomes the only reality we experience, that there’s no telling the difference.
Fiction as ‘only’ fiction, is in itself a fiction. What Kino reads it what actually transpires, what she reads is actually her own way of writing the story, as if the pages were blank – but what if they were really blank?
Nothing is confirmed, and the episode seems to say something about so many things: censorship, the love for books, the nature of critics, and what’s best for the people. I won’t engage the narrative on all those terms because I don’t feel that it was as eloquent as it intends to imply. That said, there is something worth discussing. It is however, more about us than it is about whatever Kino no Tabi is interested in this episode.
Let’s say that some, possibly my anime and manga, offer escapist entertainment for us. What I mean by escapist is that it engages us to occupy a fictional world. A high level of engagement would imply that we are desirous to exist within that world, like a fantasy we indulge.
This doesn’t mean we prefer that world ultimately over the world we exist in, but it pleases us to exist within it as long as we indulge our fantasy. Some indulge themselves longer and harder than others.
Now, this is my challenge:
Pick a fictional world from any anime or manga. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the world in question is completely imaginary. You may choose to be in Frankfurt, Germany in the 1990s assisting Inspector Runge track down Dr. Kenzo Tenma (Monster), or be a high school student that Kurosawa Kakeru faps to (Onani Master Kurosawa). Of course you can pilot a Gundam if you wanted to. It doesn’t matter.
What’s important is that you’re going to be in that world for good. What would you want to accomplish there? What would your life be like?
I’d share mine in the comments. Obviously this exercise isn’t meant to say that you’d prefer a fantasy world over your current one. As far as this Kino no Tabi’s episode is concerned, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway.