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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Kino no Tabi Vol. 1 by Sigsawa Keiichi 
15th-Oct-2007 11:06 pm
EDIT: See comments for additional information regarding this release.

Sigsawa, Keiichi. Kino no Tabi: Book One of THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD. Trans. Andrew Cunningham and Maya Bohnhoff. Los Angeles: TOKYOPOP, 2006.
          Summary: Illustrated by Kuroboshi Kouhaku. Kino, mysterious traveler, appears one day in the world of a little girl. After he sacrifices his life for hers, she escapes on his motorcycle Hermes and assumes her savior's name. Now a traveler herself, Kino explores frightening yet wondrous world, stopping no longer than three days in each locale.
          Comments: So. My first "Pop Fiction" experience, Trinity Blood was just "okay." This, on the other hand, is actually good and was, on hindsight, an admirable title with which to inaugurate the new imprint. Though the initial frame story about a girl who replaces a seasoned male traveler did not capture my imagination, her subsequent adventures (of which there are five in this volume) do. My favorites were "The Land of Shared Pain," about how, paradoxically, perfect communication between people causes the total breakdown of society, and "Three Men on the Rails," and evocative meditation on the ultimate meaninglessness of life's work and accomplishments. The other three stories were more conventional, predictable condemnations of the violent, self side of human nature. But, at his best, Sigsawa reminds me of the Lois Lowry who wrote The Giver. (Yes, that's a compliment.) This young adult fiction uses science fiction tropes that instruct as well as resonate.
          The prose of the TOKYOPOP edition is reasonably readable and not unreasonably stilted. My primary gripe is not about the release per se but about the release schedule in general. Man oh man, this book debuted A YEAR AGO, and volume two won't be released until at least March 2008?! Oh, what the f*ck? We can have two volumes of the mediocre Trinity Blood in under six months, but Kino no Tabi takes a year and a half??? At that rate, all eight volumes will take them twelve freakin' years! I feel like I've been blasted back to the bad old days of VIZ. Where is the justice, people? And, for that matter, where has your good taste got to?
          Notes: paperback, 1st American edition, 1st printing; first published in Japan by Media Works in 2000
          Rating: 7/10 - A lovely and addictive little piece of speculative fiction. Unfortunately, if you get hooked you'll then be condemned to wait on TOKYOPOP's sloooooow release schedule.
16th-Oct-2007 03:37 am (UTC)
I didn't know Kino no Tabi was a novel series as well as an anime ^^ I really enjoyed the (albeit short) run it had. Very sparse, sparing animation that fit the contemplative themes.
16th-Oct-2007 03:40 am (UTC)
Hmm. Maybe TOKYOPOP dropped the ball somehow in the advertising campaign? I mean, usually the anime-tie-in light novels are the ones that sell, right? ^^;; So why not Kino no Tabi? People were saying the anime was good (I haven't seen it).

That slow release schedule is making me see red...
16th-Oct-2007 05:33 am (UTC)
Actually, it's the other way 'round. The anime is based on the novels. Same goes for most of the light novels getting released over here.
16th-Oct-2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
I KNOW that the anime is based on the novels! (What do you take me for??? *bwa ha ha*) It's the US release that is essentially a tie-in...
16th-Oct-2007 05:44 am (UTC)
Man oh man, this book debuted A YEAR AGO, and volume two won't be released until at least March 2008?! Oh, what the f*ck?

Heh - what allegedly happened (no confirmation, but I've heard this rumor from a couple of people - including two Tokyopop employees) is that the author was so ticked that Tokyopop reordered the chapters that the license is actually now in question.

Ah, Tokyopop - how they manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory so regularly is truly a mystery to me.
16th-Oct-2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
As in, they didn't get permission to do that? Oh, you gotta be kidding me...
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