restlesswings: (Default)
Kino 「キノ」 ([personal profile] restlesswings) wrote2013-12-21 10:19 pm

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If you ask the traveller who she is, she will identify herself only as Kino, a traveller. Her partner is Hermes, a motorrad; a sentient motorcycle capable of speech.

Calling her a young boy or a little miss will earn the same reaction, "please don't call me that. My name is Kino." Otherwise, she will accept either gender pronouns without comment, neither denying nor confirming.

Her life is a journey bound by one rule: she can spend only three days in any single country, before leaving. Three days is all she needs to understand a country, its history, and its people, but the true reason is because she fears that spending any longer will cause her to become too attached to leave.

She is quiet, stoic, and non-judgemental. She will speak to the best and worst of people with the same level of politeness. She might try to point out what is wrong, in hopes of getting them realize their own mistakes, but she takes a very passive role in life. When asked why she did not prevent someone from killing another, she simply stated, "because I am not a god." She passes no outward judgement on others, despite having her own reservations.

She hate greed and tyranny. One matter she will be vocal about is standing against the killing of children. She cannot stand harming them.

But even at her lowest, Kino never screams or shouts. She may quietly despair, but her inflection is always severely limited. Her speech is polite, but always to the point. She easily comes across as hollow and emotionless.

She suffers from dissociative fugue due to a traumatic incident in her childhood. She was raised in the Land of Adults, where children become adults at the age of 12. Their rite of adulthood is unique: a mandatory operation to be performed on the child's twelvth birthday, akin to an emotional lobotomy, which will enabe them to do everything with a smile, "even jobs they hate."

Kino (who was not named Kino, then, but implied to be named after the Sakura Lily) was prepared to undergo the operation, until she meets a traveller, an older man named Kino, who leads her to question whether or not adulthood simply meant being able to do the things you hated. What real happiness can be found in a life like that?

He opens her eyes to other possibilities and makes her curious about travelling. He brought with him a motorrad he intended to name Hermes when he starts him up, but never gets the chance to do so. Lily asks her parents an innocent question: "what would happen if I decided not to get the operation?"

This shocks and scandalizes her parents, who chastise their "terrible child" and turn on the traveller, because of his influence on her. Finally, they choose to kill their daughter, disposing of their failure with a smile, but Kino dashes out at the last second and protects her, sacrificing his life. At that moment, she becomes traumatized and, with the dead Kino's coat on the motorrad, she starts it up and takes off. Unused to driving it, she crashes after driving for some time in a field of flowers just outside her country's borders. He asks who would do such a mean thing and, not listening, she whispers "Kino." She is initially surprised, but then confidently declares her name to be Kino, throwing away her old identity.

Over the course of her travels, she often says that "they say when people see birds flying in the sky, they get the urge to travel," but when questioned as to who said it, she answers that she doesn't know.

After she's saved from a wild animal that nearly killed her by a female marksman known only as Shishou (Japanese for "Master," not that Kino knew), she is trained to fight. She becomes an excellent shot, but when she meets a man wearing the same coat she acquired from the deceased Kino, she learns that it originates from a country nearby. Shishou is unsure of how ready uncertain little Kino is for a life of travel, but sends her off as a test. At this point, her identity is very unstable and sometimes, she still doesn't believe Kino is her name. She travels to there, intending to explain herself to the deceased Kino's family. Kino spends quite some time dressed in the fluffy pink dress, apron, and ribbon she left her country with, sometimes using male and other times female pronouns. When she reaches the original Kino's land, she ends up in yet another horrible situation: the woman she mistook for Kino's mother was a madwoman whose traveller son was killed abroad; she has attempted to kill many travellers, seeking revenge.

The woman nearly stabs a drugged Kino with a kitchen knife, but when Kino decides to shoot her in self-defense, she truly casts away her old identity and becomes Kino. When she wakes up, finding her long hair stained in the woman's red blood, she simply cuts it short. She returns to Shishou, now speaking only male in pronouns.

That was how Kino's journey began.

Due to her dissasociative fugue, when things remind her of the old Kino, she lapses now and then into periods of amnesia, unable to differentiate between her and him, as she speaks his words, wearing his coat, on his motorrad named after his friend. At other times, she remembers him and the incident quite clearly, but she does not remember her true name.

On their travels, they later discover a field of sakura lily and Kino crashes Hermes into it to relive the memory. He follows on cue, asking who would do such a mean thing.

Hermes believes that the most important thing for a traveller to have is a decisive nature, but Kino believes it's good luck. She is far from decisive and her journey is aimless, with no goal. It will likely continue forever. She fears settling down, because then, she would cease to be a traveller. A traveller is her identity and without it, who will she be?

Kino is very human and far from altruistic, but she tries to help people when she can, particularly if their situation mirrors her own. Even when pitted against others in battles to the death for the amusement of a tyrannical leader, she tries to urge them to surrender, reassuring them she will accept them, so they can leave alive. But, she also will not help or save others simply because they are human. She helps people sometimes seemingly on a whim, such as when she assasinates the tyrannical king who forced everyone to fight to the death... she does not see herself as noble or kind; her occasional indifference and inaction when it comes to solving largescale problems in the countries. Sometimes, she simply convinces herself she cannot do anything and this makes her hate herself. When her self-loathing is at its highest, the beauty of the world around her and the people existing within it become most prominent to her, so that is her reason for travelling. To better appreciate this world and earn an opportunity to both see and maybe even do some good in this world.

Kino gets along very well with Hermes, her sole companion on her travels, even though he often makes smart-alecky and irreverent comments, which she only lightly chastises him for. She often has to correct him for his malapropisms, but they work well together and she relies on him, while he has utmost faith in her abilities.

Kino often thinks about food, because she has to live off rather bland portions and sometimes, whatever she can hunt. She is an absolutely dreadful cook and has only ever been complimented for her cooking by three men she saved from the verge of death. Even Kino's hardened Master genuinely fears Kino's cooking.


Kino was born in the Land of Adults, a country where children become adults at the age of twelve by undergoing an operation that will rid them of the child within themselves, by rendering them capable of performing any task with a smile, regardless of how much they hate it. The adults are so brainwashed that anyone who refuses or even questions the operation will be killed on the spot. Kino was prepared to accept it as simply the way of the world, until she met a traveller who came to stay at her parent's inn. She shows him around and teaches him about her country and he teaches her of travelling and inspires her to question the way things are.

Her innocent question inspires her parents' wrath and she is to be killed, when the male Kino saves her. With his words etched in her mind, about birds in flight inspiring people to travel, she escapes with Hermes, with no destination in mind. Dying outside her country would be better... or maybe it's all the same.

She is saved from death by Shishou, a female marksman who teaches her to fight. After a harsh lesson learned in the male Kino's country, she returns to Shishou set in her new identity as Kino, discarding her old identity, in male attire with her hair cut short, never to wear the pink dress and ribbon of her youth again.

She then travels from country to country, spending three days in each.

The only time Kino considers breaking her three day rule is in A Kind Land, where she meets a little girl named Sakura, who was mocked and jeered at by other children for her name, just as Kino was. They even appear to be named after the same flower. This seems to remind Kino of her true name that she had forgotten and the girl's otherwise similar situation as the daughter of a couple running a hotel, also ring familiar, for that was how young Kino met traveller Kino. The little girl shows Kino around as Lily did with her namesake. However, little Sakura was encouraged by her parents to go on a journey with Kino, but the little girl refused to leave her country.

Kino attends a wedding of an unusually young couple and catches the wedding charm Sakura always wanted, gifting it to her, so that she could marry next.

In that country, Kino meets an old man who fixes her damaged Persuader (her gun, The Cannon), the only one she wielded at the time. He is amazed and performs the job for free, returning it to her the following day, asking only whether she knew of a strong, ill-tempered woman who insisted on being called Shishou. Kino denies this, to the old man's sadness, and leaves. Hermes asks her why, but she says it's simply what Shishou advised her to do to avoid trouble.

Regardless, he gifts her with her second Persuader, The Woodsman.

The people were so kind and the country so beautiful, Kino did not wish to leave, despite her initial wariness of the unexpected pleasantness of the visit (the country had a dreadful reputation with travellers), but she was forced out on her third day. Given gifts and advised to not stop until she made it past the ridge, Kino left them.
She awoke with a terrible premonition and watched in horror as a volcanic eruption drowned the entire country; the letter hidden in the parent's gift explained that the adult citizens knew beforehand and had accepted their fate, opting to die in the land they were born. They were shocked to discover they had such a poor reputation among travellers and decided to spend their last days being as warm and welcoming as possible, but no travellers came... just when they were about to give up, Kino arrived.

Kino initially blames the parents' ego for Sakura's death, until she sees that the gift the little girl gave her was the wedding charm Kino caught for her, along with a note: "There is no reason for me to keep this. Please don't forget us."

The little girl knew and had decided to die together with her family.

Kino lingers no longer and continues her journey, together with Hermes.

"The world is not beautiful, therefore it is."