Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

One of the most important aspects of the visual setting of Kino’s Journey is the mix and use of technology. Although there are countries and societies representative of our own current level of technology, others are about on par to the 1920s or 1930s. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the vehicles the characters use. This is an overview of the most iconic or interesting of the vehicles shown in the series.


Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

Brough Superior SS100

Use in Kino’s JourneyHermes, Kino’s own “motorrad” (sentient, talking motorcycles). 

Image source: Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports on Wikipedia

While Hermes resembles many European motorcycles from the 1920s-1930s, it most closely resembles the Brough Superior SS100, down to the placement and design of the “cowl” (the cover plate between the engine and the rider). Looking closely, this is also probably one of the more advanced and highly sought after Alpine Grand versions of the Brough Superior, given Kino’s taste in technology. 


Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

Datsun Type 11/Datsun Phaeton

Use in Kino’s JourneySeen in the first episode in the “wild west” country where “murder is not prohibited” but also “not permitted” by the populous.

The First Episode of Kino’s Journey Shows How Appearances Can Be Deceiving

"Image source: Datsun Model 11 Phaeton (1932, Japan) on Wikimedia Commons

This is an example where clearly liberties were taken with the design, and yet the moment I was asked “wait, what classic car is this?” I knew it was a Datsun. It most closely resembles the Datsun Type 11 Phaeton. It’s made a bit more rounded than the actual example (like the circular mirrors), but the headlight crossbar and side grills are impossible to ignore. 


Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

Honda MotoCompo

Use in Kino’s Journey: A slave girl taught never to hate or harm others decides to kill herself when her masters are accidentally poisoned. Instead, Sou, a MotoComp motorrad, urges the girl to live.  

Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

The Honda MotoCompo, which came bundled with the Honda City (the precursor to my own Honda Logo), is absolutely iconic. Unlike some of the other vehicles, there’s absolutely no need to talk about altered details here. There’s nothing like the MotoCompo. It’s an entire scooter or motorbike built to fold down into something roughly the same size as a suitcase. Although heavy, it was marketed as being light enough to be picked up by the average Japanese woman. The idea was that you’d buy the ridiculously tiny car for the big Japanese cities (Tokyo, Osaka, etc) and when you were in areas even too tight for that, you’d pull out your ridiculously tiny motorcycle and go the rest of the way. The City and MotoCompo combination was made famous to an international anime audience in You’re Under Arrest.


Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

Honda N-One

Use in Kino’s Journey:  In the “Bothersome Country” episode, all of the vehicles used on the inside of the mobile city-state are versions of the Honda N-One kei car. Most commuters are seen using the normal production version you can buy at any Honda dealership in Japan. The immigration, police, and diplomatic officer drives something much more iconic: the N-One “friendly two-seater” kei truck concept seen only at the Tokyo Auto Salon in 2016. 

Image source: Honda N-ONE on Wikimedia Commons

Clearly someone on the design team of the new Kino’s Journey is a gearhead. The “friendly two-seater” is a concept vehicle. In fact, it’s not even a concept vehicle produced by Honda (which is why it was at the modified car exhibition, Tokyo Auto Salon and not at the more official Tokyo Motor Show). This is a vehicle I actually got to see and touch in person, so I instantly recognized it. It’s not a classic car (although the headlights of the N-One absolutely call back to classic Honda design language), but it’s undeniably an iconic style, made even more iconic by the mini-truck concept. 


Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

Honda XR-Series Motorcycle

Use in Kino’s Journey:  The motorrad of the first popular president of a country that Kino and Hermes visit. The motorrad, like all of the first president’s possessions, is placed in a museum. Hermes has remarked that motorrads exist to be ridden and the president’s Honda XR considers being stuck as a museum piece to be motorrad hell.

Image source: 1993 Honda XR600 式 on Wikipedia

It’s not easy to know precisely which exact model of motorcycle this particular motorrad is, but there are some significant clues. The livery (that is the graphic, color, and paint scheme) is associated with Honda and the general design language puts it likely somewhere amongst the XR-series models. Generally speaking, in the real world, XR “R” models were not street legal, while XR “L” models were. The current model, the XR650L is the longest running, unchanged model, and has been unchanged since 1992. Given the very different world in which Kino’s Journey takes place, the distinctions between the models based on street legality are likely irrelevant.


Image source: TVアニメ『キノの旅』公式 on Twitter

Vehicle: Desert Patrol Vehicle

Use in Kino’s Journey:  This vehicle belongs to the recurring character of Shizu, the former prince that first appears during the classic episode of “Coliseum” in both the 2003 and the 2017 anime versions of this episode. He rides along with his companion Ti and talking dog, Riku.

Image source: US Navy SEALs (SEa, Air, and Land) operate Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV) while preparing for an upcoming mission on Wikipedia

The Desert Patrol Vehicle is a US military production vehicle based on the previous Fast Attack Vehicle prototype. The DPV played a crucial role in the Gulf War’s “Operation Desert Storm.” Currently only the United States Navy’s SEAL Team Three operates DPVs in the Middle East. Shizu’s vehicle doesn’t have the machine gun mount, of course. 


Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- The Animated Series is streaming on Crunchyroll and FUNimation.

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