Within the beauty of this world of ours is a fight for survival. This survival could take place in the cityscape, the countryside, the wilderness, the desert, and even the coldest tundra. Our titular hero of Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World knows this all too well, as evident by the run-ins they’re subjected to throughout their rides. In its sixth volume, Kino has their closest call yet, one that should shock the system while not being surprising at the least.

Continuing on their ride, Kino and Hermes stumble on three men on the verge of starvation. They aim to assist as best as they can, going out to hunt for woodland creatures that’d make a fine meal. However, the kindness backfires when the true intentions of these men are shown with sharp fangs and wet saliva. For the first time in awhile, Kino is left wondering of what their outcome will be.

The notion of survival plays strongly in media, and Kino’s Journey is no different. Throughout the original light novels and this manga adaptation, Kino experiences one close call after another. Despite their headstrong ways, they realize that only through quick thinking can they get out of a deadly situation. But it’s when Kino’s cornered by those whom they gave a helping hand to when one comes to realize that too much of humanity will bite the hand that feeds them, rather than simply appreciate the assistance that comes along.

It makes me wonder how Kino can keep trusting those around them, but perhaps the answer lies in the title of this series. This is a beautiful world that we all live in, and simply prisoning ourselves over the wickedness that stains the beauty is perhaps a far greater regret than anything else. That is what the original author Keiichi Sigsawa is attempting to demonstrate in these run-ins that Kino is having, as there will always be an equal balance of good and evil that humanity will face.

This is very evident in Kino’s other story in this volume. Being taken in by an automaton and the family that keeps them, Kino opens their eyes to the joy and happiness that the world can deliver on a silver platter. While the story itself turns out to be a sad affair, the lesson that’s demonstrated is one filled with hope and kindness. Even if manga adapter Iruka Shiomiya may have given away the surprise with their character designs, the moral that’s placed doesn’t lose any of its meaning or deepness.

We all wish to experience the joy that this planet can offer, but that also means having to take the many bumps on its lengthy road. The sixth volume of Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World greatly showcases that with the stories presented in its pages. It’s a scary place, but soon after you pass through the rotted woods of Earth’s wickedness, you’ll soon be greeted by the breathtaking valleys and flower fields that regenerate the soul. Maybe soon, Kino and Hermes will find a permanent spot where this beauty can be seen for eternity.

FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Vertical Comics

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