I was honestly disappointed in last episode, especially since the Coliseum episodes were one of the defining story arcs in Kino no Tabi’s initial animated series. But with this new episode erased all doubt.
Kino and Hermes takes a break beside a lakeside, only to be interrupted by an earthquake. The source of the earthquake is a several hundred meter tall moving city going through the valley. Catching up to it, they are greeted by an official who explains that he fulfills many jobs, with immigration officer being one of them.
The first part of the tour of the moving city is the massive reactor that powers the city, the output requiring them to move as to not overheat the reactor. Other places are shown with Kino finally given a room. With such luxurious accommodations, Kino falls asleep, this time without the “Cannon” persuader in arm’s reach. Hermes tries to warn Kino before the other falls asleep, only to be told in the morning that falling asleep with wet hair results in a messy bird’s nest in the morning.
The two are shown around the rest of the country and the top level, where a class graduating from prep school is painting a mural of the most memorable thing they’ve seen in their travels. They’ve discussed the path behind them, destroyed by the country’s movement, but they as people have come to terms with their destruction as they moved. Before they could continue, a red alert sounds and the immigration officer and the duo make their way to the main command center. Meeting the President of the country, they have come across another nation whose border wall has completely encompassed the plains ahead.
The immigration officer, doubling as their diplomat, asks the commander of the wall to allow them to pass. He refuses, even when the immigration officer/diplomat points out that their wall doesn’t allow them to go around. With no other recourse, the city deploys a protective dome over the top level, and the two countries come to a head. The other country open fire with no effect, and the moving country uses a high-output laser to cut through the border wall.
Passing through an agricultural center, the diplomat and general exchange words, with the diplomat casually asking him to move residents out of the way, and the general pointing out if they had any care for the environment or other nations.
As they pass through the nation, the other nation, unable to effectively stop them, target the mural with wire-guided anti-tank missiles. Unable to accurately target the missile jeeps without killing the soldiers, Kino suggests using a Persuader. With no one skilled enough to do so, Kino volunteers.
Kino is tethered to the diplomat’s truck as the traveler takes up position outside. Taking aim at the guiding machinery, Kino disables all of them as well as shooting down two fired missiles, much to the delight of the citizens of the country. The country passes through, though the General demands they stop and talk about reparations.
Dropping Kino off, Kino makes the observation that they could easily conquer other nations with the kind of power they have, though the diplomat/immigration officer points out that it isn’t the life they choose. Every nation and man causes some problems for their fellows, regardless what happens.
Bidding them farewell, Hermes thinks it was an interesting but bothersome country. Asked, Hermes explains both, with Kino agreeing. Hermes explains the obstructing country was too greedy in building their wall across the plains, as well as having such a high toll. Unsure where the moving country will go now, Hermes points out for sure that Kino’s actions with the obstructing country will be on the mural for the next class, embarrassing the traveler.
This is the thing that makes Kino no Tabi, Kino no Tabi. A sense of mystical and almost black and white scenarios in which there is often more than meets the eye. The fantastical (and highly science fiction part) of the episode comes from the moving country. A large cylindrical country with three sets of caterpillar tracks, it moves along the world in an eternal travel. Partly because of its highly efficient reactor that would overheat and melt down if the energy isn’t used up, and partly as a learning experience for their nation.
With such high technology, nearly indestructible walls, and powerful weaponry, they have all the power to topple other nations but doesn’t, preferring to be a nation of nomads.
The other nation, an expansionist and seemingly unfriendly nation, saw their wall and weapons no match for the other nation. Though it seems this is a bit of karma, as they have sealed off the only navigable plain around them, and have been charging high tolls to get through their nation. Kino had mentioned the toll being high. I took it that it reveals that the pair had encounter the country before and the price of entry was Kino’s semi-automatic Persuader, the ‘Woodsman’. The reason Kino was resting near the lake was probably thinking of how to get around the expanded country.
Regardless, it was an interesting question on a nation’s right to land, the effects of humanity on the environment. And the fact it allowed us to see more of Kino’s arsenal. She obtained a rifle, called ‘Flute’, in the latter novel stories, but it was an Arisaka Type 99 that had been reconfigured for semiautomatic use. This one seems to be modeled after the M14.
That said, I’m pretty sure I also would’ve like to have encountered this nation in my travels. Warm sheets, clean guest pajamas, and endless hot water for a shower, I can see why Kino didn’t sleep with her persuader across her chest unlike in the country in the first episode.
Anyways, with the next episode, I am more confident in the direction the show is going though.