Direction: Left to Right
By: Keiichi Sigsawa (story), Kouhaku Kuroboshi (art)
Type: Series, Novel, incomplete
Genre: Seinen, Action, Adventure
Destination is a state of mind. Kino wanders around the world on the back of Hermes, her unusual motorcycle. During their adventures, they find happiness, sadness, pain, decadence, violence, beauty, and wisdom. But through it all, they never lose their sense of freedom. This work tells the tale of one girl and her bike and the road ahead.
How to describe this series? Amazing doesn’t seem to do it justice, it feels inadequate. Sigsawa creates a story that is invigorating, new and immersive.
Granted this is an old novel now, and it’s only the first volume that’s available. However despite this i still feel it’s well worth investing the time in to reading it. The characters are perfect, alive in a way you rarely see in a light novel.
Kino is an amazing lead, my only real complaint about her really is that she goes from being a lost little girl fleeing for her life, to being a bad ass girl wielding more weapons than the NYPD. However even with this i still can’t help love the character.
When she’s matched with Hermes the banter that goes on between them is amazing, the teasing they do to each other is hilarious.
The one thing i will say about this series, and bare in mind this is bases solely on the first volume, is that there is no real underlying story. Each chapter is a new city, with no real correlation to the previous ones. However the chapters are amazing reads, two of my favourites are the short one about the old guys on the train tracks, and the last one about the prince returning to kill his father the king.
I have to admit i was surprised at just how well this style of story worked. Jumping from town to town every three days is a great plot premise. I was also surprised at how the chapters didn’t feel rushed and cramped. rather Sigsawa gives just enough information to form a conclusion on the town or city and then move on. In the course of the volume I never found a chapter where it didn’t give you enough information to form a conclusion.
I do hope that the subsequent volumes give some time to the original Kino, since i would love to know more about him.
The thing that makes this such a great series is that it has characters you end up caring about in one way or another. Even though you only see the characters for one chapter, Sigsawa brings them to life in a way I’ve rarely seen in a light novel. In so much as they’re alive from the start, there’s no need for a few volumes for the characters to come into their own. Which is just as well really, since as i said they’re only around for a chapter.
This was released by Tokyopop and it’s now a hard to get title, though not impossible. I found my copy at Book Closeouts a online retailer that buys publisher returned books and sells them for really cheap prices. If your in the US or Canada it’s worth buying from them, UK or Europe bear in mind that postage will cost you almost as much as what the books do, so you need to weigh the costs carefully.
Back onto Tokyopop, the translation and editing of this volume are pretty good as far as i can tell. Though for some reason they altered the chapters, so they aren’t in the same order as the original Japanese. No idea why they did this, and no answer was given by Tokyopop. They also claimed that there was licensing problems which is why they were unable to license subsequent books. Though they never clarified the problems, which has lead to speculation running rife as to why.
Despite this being a single volume of a series, i do highly recommend it.