Seirei no Moribito (Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit)
Watched 2011 roughly
Completed Episodes: 26
Aired: Apr, 2007 to Sep, 2007
Producers: Production I.G, Viz Media, NHK Enterprises, Media Blasters
Disclaimer: This are my own opinions are in no reflect anyone else. If someone disagrees, feel free to comment with your own
Seirei no Moribito is based of the first novel of the ‘Moribito’ series, written by Nahoko Uehashi. Originally published in 1996. The story is a fantasy epic containing themes about how letting traditional culture fade, may not always be a good thing. One of the main plot lines of the story is the lack of knowledge due to the old customs having faded. Leaving the only information in such things as nursery rhythms and myths with many versions.
Having never read the novel, I can only review it compared to other Animes and not compared to its original format. It is a good anime, and one which is rather underrated. What this anime has, is what films don’t. Enough time to make you fall in love with the characters.
One of the key differences between this anime and many others is there is a strong female led. Balsa. A 30 year old bodyguard, who has survived against great odds and refuses to kill in order to live up to a past debt. She is a formidable fighter, and the anime does not attempt to ruin this by needless fan service. Arguably maybe more people would have watched it if it had been ‘sexed’ up but I prefer they hadn’t. She is a respectable and solid character. Something which is very rare in anime. She has a love interest. A herbalist, Tanda who is well liked by his people and does his best to ten to everyone’s injuries. Tanda and Balsa’s relationship is bitter-sweet but is a nice side to the story line.
As fantasy stories go, the idea of a cursed prince is a common one and this is no different. Or is it? Believed to be cursed by a demon who his ancestor defended hundreds of years ago, the Emperor secretly orders the execution of his son, Chagum, to spare the land of such evil. The Emperor weeps over his decision but nothing can be done. Luckily, Chagum’s mother steps in and hires Balsa to protect young Chagum. Chagum undergoes many changes throughout the story. Growing closer to Balsa emotionally and learning how to survive himself. Chagum is a pampered prince, but he is not spoilt. He does what he can to help and rarely complains. Without giving the main plot away, eventually things are put to rest and he returns home a hero. The goodbye scene between Chagum and Balsa heart wrenching to say the least, having watched them go though so much together and now they part.
The story contains many characters. All of which are well rounded and well portrayed in my view. The anime was Gold to me, because even after 3 years, I can remember much of the plot. Unlike many of the anime I watched back then. It is a rather unique story, one which i hope to read in paperback now they have released an English translation.