Just a few more weeks ’til the fall season wraps up. Winter is looking exciting with second seasons and adaptations, but there are still plenty of cool shows to catch up on before winter sets in!
This week, we’re looking at two fan-favorite shows that you may have heard of, but might be putting off giving a look. We peek at the first episode of the new Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- and Recovery of an MMO Junkie to see what will grab you and keep you coming back for more — and, this late in the season, binge-watching to catch up!
Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World-
Returning from the mists of 2003 this season is Kino, the unflappable traveler making a seemingly neverending journey across a world divided into oddly themed countries. Not like Busch Gardens “oddly themed.” More like “the country where everyone can read each other’s minds and it’s the worst,” or “the country where everyone thinks the world is about to end based on a sad poem written by the country next door.”
The new series starts with just as big a punch, with Kino journeying into a country where killing others is not prohibited. A typical three-day, two-night stay (Kino’s usual length of time) reveals a surprisingly friendly, non-violent side to the country. Until a fellow traveler comes in with the sole intention of getting his murder on.
The Hook: The enduring truth of Kino’s Journey across all media is that nothing is as it seems, and that everything is uniquely beautiful because of that. This first country is no different. Normally there would be nothing wrong with “spoiling” the end of a premiere episode — but as each episode is largely a self-contained story, it’s best if the viewers discover for themselves just what’s so special about this particular trip.
In the long haul, Kino is an endearing character: super swift with combat, stoic but kind, and the owner of a talking motorcycle named Hermes. All of Kino and Hermes’s trips end with the two leaving for pastures new at the end, but having taken away some insight.
Who Is It For: Despite its occasionally grim and violent overtones, Kino’s Journey is a gentle, beautiful show. Even the action is slow-paced, though not in a bad way. If you’re looking for something calm and insightful without being too “red pill,” it’s a strangely comforting watch in spite of (or because of) the ground it covers.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Nowadays, we’re pretty overloaded on MMO-related anime. Shows based on MMOs, shows taking place in MMOs, shows taking place in MMOs you can’t leave because something about a dead girl or a mad scientist, etc. So looking into Recovery of an MMO Junkie can look like more of the same on the surface.
But this is a whole other story. While the first episode consists largely of in-game moments, this gamer meet-cute is on a whole other level.
Former businesswoman Moriko quits her corporate job and chooses the NEET life — only to find that her favorite MMO has been discontinued. She lands on a new one, Fruits de Mer, and rolls herself a blue-haired bishonen knight named Hayashi. The going is tough, until a beautiful pink-haired healer named Lily teams up with Hayashi.
Moriko is eneamored of the angelic Lily and her interactions with Hayashi, losing herself in the romance. Of course, there’s always someone behind the other player.
The Hook: IC romances are awkward because you never know the gender or sexuality of the person behind the character. And we aren’t told straightaway, but OP/ED animations and a near-miss over a piece of friend chicken (and, let’s face it, every piece of key art) makes it fairly clear that Lily’s player has also swapped genders for the game world.
Another, different sort of hook? This show isn’t (at least at the moment) dark. It’s a sort of Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail for the gamer set, with true conflict but a genuine eye to actual romance — something rare in gaming-themed series.
Who Is It For: Wake up, josei, we’ve got a show for you. The show is ridiculously adorable, with Hayashi fawning over his and Lily’s matching gear and getting his butt handed to him just trying to keep up with his new healer sweetheart. Will offline love blossom, too? We can’t wait to find out.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos. Her latest story can be found in My American Nightmare.