I finally tracked down the “Episode 0” fansub of Kino, named “The Tower Country”, on YouTube (after unsuccessfully looking on BitTorrent). The episode is about 12 minutes long and broken into two pieces. It was a fascinating episode, much more faithful to the original series than the “Life Goes On” prequel. I feel like Kino is an addiction of sorts – like Zen koans, they don’t ultimately have any meaning or lesson you can consciously absorb, but seem laden with symbolism nevertheless, and I find myself wanting more. Ask and ye shall receive… there will actually be a new Kino series released in 2007, featuring Kino as a young woman. The title will be “Kino No Tabi: Nanika Wosurutameni” (or, “In order to do what?”).
There’s more info about the new Kino series here and at the official site here but it will take a Japanese-speaking otaku to decipher. One thing is clear though – the manga covers upon which the new series is based demonstrate that Kino won’t be mistaken for a male anymore.
Kino’s Journey: The Tower Country videos via YouTube below the fold: