Kino (キノ） is the main character of Kino's Journey. She is a composed, stoic, and precocious teenager who travels with her motorrad, Hermes in search of a country with specific desired characteristics. Due to her androgyny, her gender is often confused by both viewers and other characters in the series.
Kino is a fifteen or sixteen-year-old traveler. Although she appears apathetic at first, she is a caring and understanding person. She travels through different countries to experience their customs and understand their histories, but she never stays longer than three days—the reason for not staying in any country longer than three days is revealed during a conversation between Kino and Hermes. In the anime, Kino states that she never stays longer than this amount of time in any particular place because she is afraid of settling down, and would thus cease being a traveler.
Kino is an excellent markswoman with amazing speed, agility, and accuracy. She initially traveled with a revolver persuader "Canon" which takes six .44 caliber bullets that she used solely for the execution or maiming of other humans or hunting. She was later gifted with a semi-auto persuader, "Woodsman" which replaced her revolver's purpose of hunting. She uses "Woodsman" if she is hunting down other humans down without an intent to harm or kill. Kino is rarely known to use a sniper persuader "Flute," but when she does, it is used for hunting and long-distance combat. She makes use of many knives hidden in various locations in her clothing for cooking, distraction, and close-combat. She also carries a ballistic knife that doubles as a triple barreled gun complete with a laser sight as a final deception tactic when she is cornered. She uses all of her weapons with extreme proficiency, if not flawlessly.
While adept at being a survivalist, she has a knack to disappear with impeccable timing to prevent physical and/or emotional harm. She often monologues many times to Hermes that she is no "God" and will only take in her environment and the many countries that she visits as they are. Although she is persuaded many times to sway events into the favor of many people during her travels, she is never tempted to follow up proving her unwavering discipline to her principle; "The world is not beautiful; and that, in a way, lends it a sort of beauty."
Her honesty is brutal, and her self-loyalty trumps all of her actions. However, she is known to assist others out of her own inconvenience simply because "she wants to."
Kino has a sweet tooth; it is used as comic relief against a bleak backdrop of survival and hardships of travelling. Another source of comic relief is her preference for tidiness; she is vexed whenever she cannot maintain a well maintained physical figure/appearance.
Kino was born in the Land of Adults with the name "Sakura". Her birth name is a flower of her homeland which closely resembles that of an insult (i.e., nekura meaning dark-mooded) which resulted in her often being teased.When Sakura was eleven years old, she met a man named Kino who was a traveler and needed somewhere to stay. She offers to let him stay at her parents' hotel, which he gladly accepts. During his stay in the country, he finds a broken motorrad (German word for motorcycle) frame and restores it. He asks her what she thinks they should name it, and she asked him in return what he called his previous motorrad. He told her Hermes, and Sakura decided to name the newly repaired motorrad Hermes as well.
He soon discovers from her that in the Land of Adults, children undergo a medical operation on their twelfth birthday that transitions their lives from children to adults, destined to complete a single task with a smile no matter how arduous or boring the work. Kino responds that in other countries, adults are able to shape their lives in accordance to their likeness. That evening, Sakura ponders upon Kino's statement and wonders whether or not she is required to undergo the operation. The next morning, on her twelfth birthday, Sakura asks her parents if she could bypass the operation.
Her parents immediately turn hostile, along with the entire town, for bringing up such taboo. Her father grabs a knife, ready to kill the "mistake" he made. Kino takes the knife intended for Sakura, mortally wounding himself in the process. At that moment, Hermes becomes alive and suggests to Sakura that she should ride him in order to escape and survive.
She quickly escapes the town with the help of Hermes, and renames herself after the man that had saved her.
Hermes: Hermes and Kino have a special bond that goes beyond that of a simple friend. As between all motorrads and their riders, they have a mutual contract—Kino provides the balance, Hermes provides the speed, and together they can go anywhere they wish.
Kino (original): Kino was a traveler that visited The Land of Adults two days prior to Sakura's operation date to turn children into adults. On his last day, Sakura asked whether or not she could skip the operation, consequently infuriating her parents. Kino took the knife that was meant for Sakura and mortally wounded as a result. Sakura changed her name to Kino shortly after escaping from the Land of Adults and became a traveler as a constant reminder of why she is still alive.
Shishou - After Young Kino/Sakura escaped from the Land of Adults, Hermes ran out of fuel and she was left to starve or die of thirst. However, as luck would have it, Master found Young Kino/Sakura and nursed her back to health. Young Kino would then become Master's pupil in the mastery of survival, gun skills, and travelling for three years. Master was the original owner of the 1851 Colt Navy Revolver Kino is known to travel with on her right hip. Although it is implied that Kino "inherited" Master's revolver, the sidearm was actually stolen alongside food, medicine, fuel, (and metaphorically, Master's luck), when Kino initiated her journey as a traveler. Kino is requested many times who her mentor is, however Kino simply tells them, she taught herself in order to protect Master's identity for her own safety.
Shizu- In "Colosseum -Avengers-", (both in the anime and light novels), Kino meets a master swordsman, named Shizu, who was the prince of the Land of Tournaments. During the finals of the tournament, Kino fires a well-aimed explosive round that kills the King, which was Shizu's objective all along. They go their separate ways although their similar travels allow them to intersect paths occasionally. Shizu travels with a big, white-furred, talking dog named Riku and later with a small girl with a fondness for explosives.
Kuro Sakangawa- In issue 37 of the new light novel series, Kuro Sakangawa is introduced as a quiet leisurely ex-soldier, who joins Kino in what he describes an "odd job": retrieving the head of a murderer to bring to a king and collect a bounty. On their way to this location Kuro and Kino are surrounded by bandits in a forest clearing where Kuro is shot repeatedly losing his left hand and his right eye. Kuro then travels with Kino for another year before committing suicide where he admits his love for Kino as she simply finishes him off with her revolver.
Kino's Arsenal Edit
Kino's arsenal contributes from three main persuaders combined with tactical wit. She readily keeps "Woodsman", a Third Series Colt Woodsman Match Target , on her back holster, and an 1851 Colt Navy Revolver ,nicknamed "Canon", on her right holster. Occasionally Kino uses a two piece detachable, silenced, semi-auto sniper rifle which highly resembles an Arisaka Type 99, named "Flute." Her rifle is wrapped in her tent canvas when not in use, closed, broken in two pieces, and scope lens covered. In the anime, it is stored in a large case, disassembled.
Apart from the conventional gunpowder, Kino is also known to deploy a green liquid gunpowder substance that exponentially increases the firepower of her revolver. She has only used this specialized round once in her travels so far.
Her four green box pouches on her utility belt carry extra munitions and gunpowder to her revolvers and rifles. Her pouches are detachable and can be reconfigurable to her liking. In the light novels, she usually stores lead ball rounds and gunpowder for her revolver on her front right, Woodsman shells on her left front, and generally spare rifle cartridges, empty casings, and/or portable food rations in her rear pouches.
She carries several knives all around her body. She keeps two on each forearm, two on her waist, three if she is wearing cargo pants, one in each boot, and a ballistic knife that has a laser sight and three .22LR bullets. It is unknown where she received her ballistic knife as Shishou was never in possession of one.
Although Kino has several weapons at her disposal, she does not readily accept the idea of body armor. The only armor she wears are her steel ankle/shin protectors and steel forearm guards, but usually stores them in the suitcases loaded onto Hermes.
Her ultimate weapon at her disposal is her piercing tongue. Remarkably precocious and incredibly disciplined, her wit combined with her tactical skills enable her to avoid engagements whenever possible and with luck, she is able to avoid death or confrontations among citizens of countless countries and other hostile travelers. Her stoic expression complements her dialect to make herself percieved as coldhearted and threatening. During a conversation with Hermes, Kino explains to her motorrad that she carries a heavy burden by simply carrying persuaders (both physically and psychologically). She repeatedly explains herself to Hermes that persuaders are tools used to take away a life as well as to prevent the taking of a life (her own), and must be employed as a last resort or not at all whenever possible.
- An inconsistency is revealed in the anime as her revolver, the 1851 Colt Navy, is a .44 caliber. Although the physical design of the pistol is an 1851 Colt Navy, due to its flathead lower receiver and octagonal barrel, it housed a .36 caliber design. The .44 caliber was utilized for the 1861 Colt Navy which had a smoother barrel finish and an expanded lower receiver design.
- "Gakuen Kino" (lit. "Japanese School Kino") is a parody of "Kino no Tabi" (lit. "Kino's Journey") where Kino is a lazy but cheerful schoolgirl who fights evils that come to her world. In simplisitc terms, "Gakuen Kino" is a fanservice version of "Kino no Tabi."
- A chibi version of Kino was portrayed in the introductory bonus anime clip of the 15th anniversary of the Dengeki Movie Festival (2007).