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Kino's Journey Episode 2: Lives of Strangers

What’s the life of a rabbit weighed against the life of a human? Most people would probably say it’s not much; that a human life is obviously much more important than a rabbit’s. But when Kino encounters three strangers caught in a snowstorm and on the brink of starvation, she has trouble justifying stealing one creature’s life to feed another. As soon as she stumbles upon the situation, she is forced to be responsible for one set of lives or another.

In episode 2 of Kino’s Journey, our protagonist continues to struggle the hardships of being a free agent, condemned to make decisions and be responsible for their outcomes. But when she doesn’t owe malice or debt to either the rabbit or the men, what right does she have to make such a decision? And is she responsible when her decision leads to the deaths of both parties? We have an obligation to our own wellbeing, Kino suggests, which justifies hunting for one’s own food. And it seems that same obligation can be bought by others, as, after the men give Kino an expensive ring, she has much less trouble hunting for their food.

The choice of a rabbit life as the stakes in this episode helps maintain the steady somber pace that characterizes Kino’s Journey. There doesn’t have to be tension or climax to Kino’s choice like there would if she was killing a person, so the episode can carry on and develop the significance of Kino’s decisions after the fact.

Certain dub changes indicate both production confusion, and a difference in vision between the original Japanese writers, and English adapters, but nothing significant. The episode also delves a bit further into Kino’s character, and Hermes’ purpose as an object.

  • I think given the circumstances, it could definitely be viewed that Kino made the wrong decision. If human life > rabbit life. And let's pretend things didn't work out for Kino, those men would have gone on taking the lives of a LOT more humans. So Kino actually risked the lives of the 3 rabbits, her own life, and the victims that those three men would have taken for the duration of their lives. – Tatijana 9 years ago

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