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Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

Alternate title : Seirei no Moribito

Studio : Production I.G.

Licenced by : Media Blasters

Length : 26 Episodes

Year : 2007

Genre : Adventure - Fantasy - Historical

Synopsis :
Balsa is a female warrior that travels to a small town named Yogo to have her spear serviced. As she crosses a bridge, she sees a carriage suspend over the structure, and a boy falls into the water. She immediately rescues the boy and finds out that he's just a child.

The boy she saves is named Chagmu and is the prince of the Imperial family. The second empress invites her to the palace to give her thanks. But that is not all she is called for. Once Balsa spends the night, the second empress makes a request that Balsa use her life to protect Chagmu, and flee the palace. Chagmu is believed to be possessed and because of this, the head emperor secretly formulates a plan to assassinate him. A number of attempts have failed, and to prevent any other dangers to Chagmu, only the strongest warrior can protect him.

Additional Notes:
1) This series ranked #13 in Anime-Source's Best of 2007 poll.
2) Was licensed by Geneon before it folded up in 2007. The license has since expired. The new licenser is now Media Blasters.

Added : 2007-04-09
Synopsis by : Himitsu
Last update : 2010-06-27
Last update details : Modifyinfo
Score : 9.32 Ranked #5 by users
Number of reviews : 19

Link(s) :

Official #1 : NHK's Seirei no Moribito Website (Japanese)
Official #2 : Official Seirei no Moribito Website (Japanese)

A-Source #1 : In-depth review by Faraz

Song(s) :

OP1 : L'Arc-en-Ciel - Shine

ED1 : Sachi Tainaka - Itoshii Hito e / To the Loved One

Release(s) :

2017-10-05 -- Episode(s) 1-13 by MTBB. BT Link
2017-10-02 -- Episode(s) 12 by MTBB. BT Link
2017-09-23 -- Episode(s) 11 by MTBB. BT Link

Found 70 releases. Click here to [ Find them! ]

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Seiyuu [View Complete Seiyuu Data]

 Balsa Gakai Zen Yun Jin Mon Hibi Tonan Torogai
 The Emperor Nino-kisaki Saya Tanda Shuga Chagum Touya Sagum

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Currently displaying last 15 reviews.
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Posted by : Himitsu
Posted on : 2015-08-27        

It's been a while since I've seen a series that was just good all around. I highly recommended this series. Animation was superb for its time. I'm convinced that this can pass as a 2015 show. It was great to look at and their action scenes were enticing and not too long-winded (which I find happens in a lot of anime/movies).

I liked the small cast of characters and they were mostly adult characters. Each person is pretty human and individual. What I mean is that the series portrays each character with their own thoughts, feelings, and desires. No one is perfect. Well... Balsa is an admirable character but of course she's charming because she's also mysterious.

What stood out for this series was that there were absolutely no anime tropes. No MOE characters, no bully trio, no weird flamboyant characters. There are no ecchi/fanservice/anime trope stuff in Moribito. You can turn this anime on and not worry about being embarrassed. Looking for a strong female lead? Balsa is pretty perfect, she's not overly confident but a very skilled warrior. If Balsa isn't enough, there is also old lady Torogai, lol. She was a great addition to the cast and brought some comic relief.

Lots of talking so it could be boring for some. In my opinion though this was great from beginning to end. Well done anime all around.

Posted by : Animeintrostyle
Posted on : 2011-07-30        

Moribito is one of those shows where you can tell it could have been at the number 1 spot of the review database for years. As Moribito does fall a little short of that lofty goal, it still maintains very strong storytelling and a directing pace that's beautiful to watch.

Plot/characters: The story revolves around a female spear warrior named Balsa who takes on the roll of bodyguard for a prince named Chagum. The prince is being targeted by his father the king, whose vast control of the kingdom will make it hard for Balsa to escape with the prince. Although the main premise here is a bit overused, it also stays very solid throughout most of the series. The characters of Balsa and Chagum are strong characters who always find good ways of avoiding stereotype pitfalls. The same can't be said about Toya and Saya who luckily don't have many episodes between them. The pacing by Ghost in the Shell TV director Kenji Kamiyama is excellent and continues to prove that his name is one to watch out for.

Animation: The seamless combination of the well drawn characters with the beautiful, almost watercolor backgrounds, made for a very easy viewing experience. The visuals are really the strongest point of the anime. I felt like I was watching movie quality in every episode.

Music: the opening song didn't do much for me, but the ending song is great and hey, why not make that the opening song? It sounds a lot more like the feeling you get from watching the show. Maybe a bit to much like a romance song you'd hear at the end of an Inuyasha episode, but still. I can't say anything bad about the tracks used during the show itself. Very well made tracks that are put in at the perfect moments to elevate the tension or calm it down as the story needs. The in show tracks are probably a very under appreciated part of the series.

Bad: First off let me say if this section is a big paragraph, then the good things in Moribito should be the size of a book. It takes the most words to explain why I think the show isn't perfect. Anyway...

It would have been incredible if the entire 26 episodes of this adventure fantasy were as amazing as the first 10. The elements that hold this story back is the main plot surrounding the boy. You go in with a lot of questions about the boy, and as with all shows, the inevitable answers are probably not as interesting as you wanted them to be. There's also a lot of back story on the spirit in the boy and that goes on for a little too long. One of the main things that drops this from a 10 to a 9 is the last couple of episodes which lacked a satisfying ending that I think the story deserved. Not to give anything away, but the final battle in those episodes should have been in a different anime. There's also a problem with villains that dropped this show from a 9 to the eventual 8 I'm giving it. As the show starts it gives you an idea of who Balsa's main antagonists are, and I've always felt that in any story if an antagonist either dies or changes their mind then that's fine. Here's the problem: NOBODY takes their place. The show comes to a point where you can't tell if there's really any villains at all, and I'm sorry, but an adventure show needs a good villain. The enemy that they do end up fighting against doesn't have much character to them.

Overall: the show took it's promising start and really held on to it. Sure there were a few problems with the ending, and along the way the action may not have happened as often as we would have liked, but who cares! It's not like you shouldn't watch this show. You should definitely watch this show! I just wish they would have tightened up the story a bit more and gotten rid of some unnecessary characters.

Posted by : CherrynKinnz
Posted on : 2010-05-21        

Eh, sorry to be the rain on everyone's parade. But this isn't as great as everyone's saying.

YES, the fight scenes are very good. But, there are only a few of them, and to be honest none of them were memorable to me.

I started watching this anime with a friend. It was so boring that we actually stopped watching it at episode 9. I decided to give it another try, and it was STILL boring, but it finally got interesting later on. I'm proud to say I finished the series.

The music is flawless, there is nothing to complain about that. The animation at first is very crisp and enticing. During the middle of the series they get a bit lazy. I noticed some things off or something that looked weird, like their faces. They picked up the pace near the end though.

The story, at first is quite intriguing. I was almost hooked on episode 1. Amazing action scenes, potential to be a very well played out story line. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more about the boring peasant life they had to live. Yes, I expected this but it actually got boring to the point my friend and I forced ourselves to watch it until we couldn't stand it. I actually almost fell asleep at one point.

This only got a 7 because the story began to pick up in interesting-ness later on. Watching the episodes felt like a chore but I soon found myself wanting to watch more and more until I actually reached the end.

To be honest, as for now I'm slightly confused on how many high ratings this anime received. I guess this just wasn't my cup of tea.

Posted by : Kimmie-chan
Posted on : 2010-04-17        

I've had Serei no Moribito for two years now and I've finally gotten around to watching it. Man what was I waiting for??

Let's start with animation. The animation for Serei no Moribito is amazing. It's pretty and fluid. The fight scenes have amazing choreography, I re-watched some of the fights over and over again. I've always had a thing for spears, so it definitely made me proud.

The story is pretty straight forward, historical mix in some fantasy elements, politics and shamans. At first it seemed like it was going to be a really fast-past and action packed. But I was glad it went the way it did, you knew they couldn't live a peaceful life, so you were always just waiting for something to happen to kick up something. The setting reminded me a little bit of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Serei no Moribito has great characters. There's no one there that you feel is not necessary. I just realized there wasn't a true villain. Everyone just had to do what they do and in some cases it just happened to oppose the protagonist.

Balsa is pure gar, she's so awesome, I can see why Tanda is hooked hahaha. Chagum... thank god he wasn't a whingy little brat; there are times where he falters a little bit, but you have to cut him some slack he is only around ?10, but he does eventually grow a pair and does what he knows he needs to do.

I didn't really like the opening even if it was by Larc~en~ciel, I skipped it after watching through it the first time, ending was a tune and BGM did what it did, nothing too memorable though.

So yeah overall, no flaws in terms on animation, story and characters. It does lack in the romance, so if people were expecting more may be disappointed. They concentrated on the relationship between Balsa and Chagum, and had Tanda on the side. So I would definitely recommend it to everyone who hasn't seen it yet. If you're looking for moe, fanservice and romance, look elsewhere. Like Molenir said, it's a show you can show the family/friends without feeling embarrassed.

Posted by : Veld
Posted on : 2009-04-11        

A truly amazing story with the best animation and action I have seen.

The Good:

This had absolutely flawless animation. When Balsa was in the most heated fight scenes it was truly beautiful and very fluid. The fight scenes worked out like they would in real life if there were a one on four battle. There was none of the 'fight one guy at a time' thing that is really annoying and unrealistic in most anime.

The story was very intriguing. There was a very real to life world with some very mystic magics. It was very interesting and lifelike. The animation helped this out a lot.

The characters were pretty good. They were all quite likable and seemed well developed.

The Bad:

The only real problem with this anime was that there was not as much action as there could have been. There was a lot of action at the beginning and end, but the middle sort of calmed down. I really liked that section for plot and character development, but there really was beautiful action in the other sections and I just wanted to see more and more of it.

The only other thing to mention may be that there was not much character development apart from Prince Chagum. I don't think there was much wrong with this though. The characters were all fairly well developed. Though I feel the ending could have been a bit better, it was still very solid.


Overall, the most beautifully made anime I have seen. It was truly high class and very lifelike. A beautiful world came to life like it was real. The characters were all very believable and some had very interesting back stories. One of my favorite anime. Easily my favorite for animation. It definitely contained my favorite fight scene of any anime by far. There was a bit of a slow section, but it was still very good and great for the character development. It could have been a bit better, but not much.
Easily 9/10

Posted by : Lightningcount12
Posted on : 2008-08-18        

An epic and visually stunning adventure that portrays the best kind of characters rising up through the most strenuous circumstances.

Story (10/10): Seirei no Moribito takes viewers on quite a journey as Balsa, a spear-wielding body guard, finds herself accepting a job to protect a marked prince, Chagum, form his own father and country. This comes as a result of a mysterious spiritual egg within Chagum, which injects an element of mystery into the story. All the while, the plot thickens with political intrigue of hidden truths and foolish policies within the kingdom, which even the least politically-inclined viewers can appreciate when coming from this plotline. The story on a whole has a touching feel to it, with the main storyline following almost like an epic fantasy tale you would see in a Ghibli film. Meanwhile the episodic middle provided great character growth. I also liked how many themes and nuances were repeated and sown, like Balsa’s past and Chagum’s present and the number 8 (you’ll see). Fans of folklore and mythology will also be drawn into the history, tradition, and culture Seirei’s world. I felt it all led to a great ending, with everything that needed to be, and did not need to be, tied-up.

Character (10/10): Seirei’s cast was great because everyone had understandable and reasonable intentions, even though some were selfish. Though most characters were quickly defined, their personalities were mostly respectable and thus enjoyable. Particularly the strong, caring, and stubborn Balsa, and the considerate, concerned and intelligent Tanda were good characters to watch, because of their complicating relationship and conflicting emotions for each other. The other interesting relationship to watch is Balsa and Chagum. Thankfully, Chagum breaks the "prince stereotype" as he starts out being not too snotty at all, just enough to be believable as a Prince. He comes across as a very noble and caring individual, while also being shrewd and smart when needed. Most kid-being-protected characters are not only bratty, but constantly complain and do stupid things, whereas Chagum mostly understandings his abysmal situation and usually acts with his head-on straight, only occasionally lapsing to keep things suspenseful for the audience. His development to confront his fate is one of the best reasons to watch this anime. Another character whose development drives the story is Shugo, the priest who risks entering a world of lies and deceits to find answers and ultimately be helpful.

Animation (10/10): Seirei has breathtaking animation with scenery that is both realistic and colorful, and incredible creatures and spirits looking very reminiscent of Miyazaki’s artwork. I was very pleased with the variety of background environments, each of which being uniquely beautiful, from the striking green forests to the dark snow-covered mountains. The character designs were also very good, and all the characters looked as real as they felt. Seirei’s wonderful imagery from start to finish makes it one of the best animated shows. The artists created a world truly worth praising.

Music (8/10): Sound effects were right on queue and contributed to the wonderful environment in Seirei. It seemed like the scores during the anime were far nicer and fitting than the OP and ED. The OP was a little cheesy but at least it grew on me and was well animated. The ED was boring and passable.

Entertainment (10/10): The first episode is one that will definitely keep viewers intrigued, and these viewers are rewarded with an epic tale of mystery, lies, parental guidance, love, loyalty, protection and other thematic devices played out at their best. While many say it gets boring in the middle being episodic I disagree, because it shows character and relation growth. Even in the middle there are no dull episodes of the series.

I cannot think of many who would not enjoy Seirei no Moribito, thus I highly recommend watching this true anime masterpiece.

Posted by : SleepyLafiel
Posted on : 2008-04-25        

This review is probably one of the more difficult ones I've had to write. To start out, SnM is not a bad series; in fact, it oozes quality from every pore, from animation to storyline to music. To expect anything less of a Production I.G. work would be folly, as they've consistently put out amazingly beautiful productions, and this was no exception. So why such a low rating for a "good" series? Why did it take 3 months for me to finish watch something that was so high in quality while being fairly unique in both setting and storytelling? And try as I tried to enjoy SnM, I had to be honest to myself; I just didn't like it.

Simply put, it was boring. Incredibly so, in fact. It was so boring that I would rather study and get sleepy than watch another episode. It was poorly and blandly paced, feeling like, at times, the first Lord of the Rings movie. This was probably to be expected, as both works were an adaptation of the first book in a series. And like LotR, the readers of the novel probably had more patience for it; but for me, it was boring to the point where it was a chore to watch. But considering that I'm usually a fanatic for novel-turned-animes, why would a book adaptation that's this rich in production feel like a complete dud?

This was hardly the fault of the source; the dichotomous nature of the setting and the creativity that this world had was different, and had the pacing been better, I would have had an even better impression of it. So to start at the top, the biggest offense was that there was no hook, no conflict, an absolute to any good adventure/drama. In fact, the series tells you that the characters had nothing to do but wait until a given time when they could face their challenges, and the best thing for them to do until then was to sit around and do nothing. Sense of urgency, eliminated. Entertainment value, gas-chambered. There were no character dilemmas, not even internally, with each character established in their beliefs and habits from the start, and remained so throughout. The main character, Balsa, was adamantly stubborn from the get-go, shifting little in terms of behavior. This was a huge problem, because it presents static characters that did little growing, and it was generally uninteresting to watch. Even the prince, arguably the one that grew the most, seems as if he wouldn't have done anything differently from the beginning of the series.

Of course, it could just be me missing the subtleties of the character development, and I'll admit that. But the lack or urgency throughout was an enormous turnoff and carried over strongly into how I perceived the characters, with the exception of the first part (and guess what, the best part in the series); the slice-of-life portion of the anime was also little more than standard, filled with the typical surrogate-family type storytelling. It is no question though, that this is a well produced anime. Animation details are stellar, nearly unparalleled. And although many of the character designs are ugly, it is a brave and more realistic choice even if not pleasing to the eye. Everything in the presentation is painstakingly detailed and gorgeously mundane, with the show rarely cutting corners (the last battle seemed oddly poor, however). But art can be boring, even if it's easily appreciated. The storyline just drags on for far too long, being anything but concise (just like this review!); what could have been explained in 2 episodes is extrapolated into 8, 2 extra hours in human time. I understand they have a 26 episode commitment to fill, but that is ridiculous.

SnM is not a bad series, but the pedestrian pacing and lack of any true antagonist makes for a completely different type of anime: one that feels more like a slice of life family afternoon special than an epic, man vs. nature extravaganza. I didn't like it, but in light of the amazing production values and setting, I can't justify giving it a lower score. For some, this could be the most amazing series ever, and for others, it could be a snorefest. In my opinion, anime should be entertainment first, innovations second, and production values 3rd. If it fails to entertain, then it is a waste no matter how good the rest is. Still, I look forward to future Moribito adaptations, as Balsa vs. The Evil King sounds much better than Kid vs. Nature. I would still recommend it, because I recognize the quality, but I recommend it with the caveat that it is a slow, methodical anime. You won't get the smooth spearing action for 95% of the series, but you will get an uncommonly detailed setting.

Plot: B
Characters: C+
Presentation: A
Enjoyment: C-
Overall: C+

Posted by : seefutbow
Posted on : 2008-02-25        

Having just finished watching Seirei no Moribito, I must say, SnM was one of the best, if not the best, series that aired last year. SnM was good beyond words. The drama, the animation, the background music... the whole series was great.

-The best aspects of SnM was definitely the unwavering animation quality. From the characters to the background, everything was produced with the utmost quality. The character designs contained great detail. The characters' skin tone, facial features, and clothes were all well designed. The backgrounds never lacked any detail and were always produced with great detail.
-The background music was very well done. Each piece would enhance the the scene it was played along with. The background music helped to draw out your emotions as you watched along with the characters struggle and fight.
-The stories themselves. Chagum's unbelievable situation, the mysterious past of Balsa, and the fate of the Yogo empire. The pacing and the way each of the stories unfold make you want to keep watching each episode.
-The characters themselves are enough reason to want to watch the series. From the Balsa, the seemingly stoic female bodyguard, to Torogai, the old Yakue shaman, each character is well rounded and contains much personality.

-I personally didn't like the opening and ending songs all that much. Granted the animation sequences were well done, the music just didn't resonate with me.

-Balsa is the coolest spearwielder hands down. She takes down 4 guys without killing any of them! Enough said!
-Torogai was hilarious at times. She provides much needed comedy relief much of the time.
-Though the series may seem like an action series at first, SnM is definitely not an action series. SnM definitely does more storytelling than hacking and slashing.

SnM is definitely a very memorable series. I enjoyed the series to the fullest, and I would recommend the series to anyone. Don't pass on this great series.

Posted by : du5k
Posted on : 2008-02-24        

Hmm… I consider it as one of the better series of 2007, with a original plot and high quality animations. It didn’t leave much of an impression in me though, like a series of similar genre, Utawarerumono.

The plot style reminds me strongly of common Chinese Historical Dramas; and this time it’s actually pretty cool to see it animated. The plot’s full of twists, although maybe it doesn’t really have any surprises. I’m not too happy with how everything ends, but the whole series round up very well.

Story Style
The fighting scenes are superb without shounen-styled power-ups and such. The character’s feelings are brought out well, and somewhat touching. But sadly even with its originality of the plot, the show lacks impact… The selling factor of the show are basically only about Balsa and Chagum’s relationship, because even as the mystery uncovers, I didn’t find it too interesting. The series could have used more fight scenes though.

I didn’t like the OP. Even if it’s from a pretty famous band, it sounds a little boring at parts, and I don’t think it fits the style of the series. The ED was really good though.

One noticeable thing about this series is how much effort they made to the series in terms of the animation; there’s never really a lousy animation moment, and the fight scenes are superb. The facial expressions, backgrounds are incredibly well drawn, even if they didn’t make any character particularly attractive.

I’ll say… a forgettable, but still enjoyable series. 4 for quality and 4 for enjoyment, totaling a 8.

Posted by : Faraz
Posted on : 2008-02-14        

This is a basic summary of my in-depth review of the show. For more info you can read the full article in the In-Depth Anime Reviews section of the website.

Every year there is one anime that stands head and shoulder above the competition and in a league of its own; this year that title belongs to Seirei no Moribito. The story follows the adventures of Balsa, an incredibly skilled warrior, as she is tasked with the seemingly impossible duty of guarding the life of Chagum, the second prince of the Imperial Family.

The show’s story moves at a good pace and has enough character development and action sequences to keep it from getting monotonous (though some might say that the middle arc drags a bit too much). The ending itself is beautifully done, almost bringing a tear to your eyes.

When it comes to action scenes, do not expect any still-frames, one minute stare contests or lengthy mid-fight discussions. The action in this anime is fully choreographed and as realistic as it could get with extremely fast and fluid movements. The only real flaw that I can find with the show is the fact that every character seems to be morally good and they all end up making the correct decision given the choice; they’re basically divided only due to the circumstances they’re faced with.

Finally Seirei no Moribito has no fanservice to speak of. This is an excellent choice on the part of the creators, since overt fanservice has no place in a mature title like this and this move brings a sense of professionalism that is becoming rather rare amongst anime titles.

Basically what I want to say is that Seirei no Moribito is a masterpiece. It weaves a very entertaining story supported by a great cast of characters. It is also quite beautiful to look at and listen to. I highly recommend this show to anyone in the mood for a good adventure.

Posted by : MrSentimental
Posted on : 2008-01-22        

The artwork here was very, very good. It was Ghost in the Shell/ Last Exile quality (although without any computer generated stuff; It probably wouldn't work for these medieval times anyways). The scenery was great, and the characters looked very appealing.

The likable and interesting characters were the biggest draw for me here. I really wanted to know what would happen to them in the end. The plot was interesting, but there were quite a few slower episodes. I kinda expected that there'd be more action here, but the action that did happen was pretty good.

This wasn't your typical "Warrior Babe" show. Sure, Balsa had a nice figure and pretty face and all, but she was very stoic, proud, and determined. There wasn't really a ton of strong emotions here, but when they did happen, they were good. Other shows have definitely had more of the intense emotions.

The music was good during the series. The beginning and ending themes were only OK, and I skipped over them.

So, I gave it a good score because of the great artwork and because it held my attention pretty much throughout. Worth at least a one-shot. Not sure if it's a "keeper", though. It might be more like Last Exile (which I feel now that I over-rated) which looked real appealing and interesting at first, but in the end turned out to be rather forgettable. Good for pretty much all audiences.
9 out of 10 Rating. 4 1/2 STARS.

Posted by : Molenir
Posted on : 2008-01-10        

Animes that I am willing to show to my family are extremely few and far between. Either because I know they wouldn't be interested, or because the subject matter is such that I would be embarrassed admitting I've actually seen and enjoyed a series like that. Having said this, Seirei no Moribito actually manages to do, what only a few other shows have done. Earn family watchability status. This is a moving piece of drama, without any of the normal flaws such dramas have. The villains are not cartoonish, the plot is not childish, the animation is outstanding. Seirei no Moribito is an anime that sucks you in from the very first episode. It makes you laugh with its characters, and feel pain at their suffering. Its not a hilarious show. Its not the kind of show you watch over and over. What it is, is an epic fantasy story built around 2 main characters. A young prince asked to bear more then anyone ever should, and his bodyguard who is willing to do anything to save him, and in doing so, to save herself.

The animation as I mentioned before is outstanding. I cannot remember a show with better animation then this one. The music was at first irritating. I especially didn't enjoy the OP at first. However the more I got into the story, the more I came to enjoy it.

When I first started watching the show, I was immediately impressed. However the entire way through, I kept expecting a letdown. Either in animation quality, or in the plot. Something I knew would take what was a great show, and make it merely ok. What impressed me most of all however was that there was nothing. From beginning to end, this is an eminently watchable show. The characters make you fall in love with them. Make you hope that things will work out for the best. Another thing that impressed me about this show, is that there were no true villains. Everyone was doing what they thought was best. Either for themselves, for others, or for the empire.

I cannot recommend a show more highly then this. I recomend it for everyone. If you like action, its got outstanding action. Drama, heck yeah. Humor, yes and even occasionally suspense. Definitely give this show a look.

Posted by : blurscrib
Posted on : 2008-01-10        

It has been a long long time since I've watched an anime so refreshing.. Storyline is clear and "pure".. With every single episode, you won't be able to help but get drawn to each of the characters.. There are absolutely no redundant characters in this anime.. everyone has a role and they play it well! And the story.. it will just get you more engulfed in it..

Animation is wonderful from beautiful sceneries overlooking mountains to the buzz of a morning market in the city..

And the music and sounds... Don't even get me started!.. Every tone, every hum is played out flawlessly adding the exact sentiment the anime wants you to feel..

This is a rare Gem among millions.. Really a Perfect 10!

Posted by : Kitsilver
Posted on : 2007-12-04        

A story of real people in a fantasy world where even bad guys can be heroes, and where a single life is intricately bound to another.

At first glance, the story line may seem simple, just a bodyguard saving a boy and getting more than she bargained for. Indeed, the first three episodes contain several characteristics of an action anime, namely: a concrete enemy, a chase, and the best spear fight I have ever seen. Then the pacing changes to allow the characters to truly develop.

Balsa and Chagum are at the heart of this story, and it is their actions that drive the plot forward. They are at once simple and profound. Balsa earns her living as a bodyguard. Chagum is a prince hunted by his own father, the emperor. They're thrown together by fate to take on the "burden that must be borne", and end up affecting each other in ways they don't expect. With Balsa, Chagum is given a chance to live an ordinary life and experience things as a boy that he was always sheltered from as a prince. With Chagum, Balsa discovers something more than what she has always known in the strong and self-sufficient life she has led.

The other characters also have depth that makes for a realism often lacking in anime. There are no cookie cutter "bad guys" here. The Hunter has a reason for wanting to kill an innocent prince. The Emperor finds no joy in ordering the death of his own son. Even the La Lunga, a monster from another world, is tied into the fabric of their world and has purpose.

This show has plenty of things to grab one's attention: the music and animation, intense fight scenes and drama, conclusion of an epic story. But it also takes its time to delve into several truths that make up the human world. The lack of a definable "good and evil". The equality of living things. The importance of story and legend in maintaining identity. And that which is most simple and human of all, the love between a mother and son.

This isn't an action anime and those who are looking for endless fight scenes with ever more flashy enemies should not look here. But if you want something with a strong story, real characters, and plenty of heart, this is a good anime to check out.

Posted by : pholo
Posted on : 2007-11-25        

I'm somewhat hesitant when it comes to the fantasy genre ever since watching Juuni Kokuki (Twelve Kingdoms). While I partly enjoyed watching JK very much, partly I did not because of some of the characters' so-called "development" (i.e. cry, whine and bash about for zillions of episodes, or hundreds of years, that is, and then turn into something completely different in almost an instant).
So when I read the plot summary for Serei no Moribito, I though like, "uh-oh ... not again". But then, a good friend of mine had recommended it and finally I gave it a try. And I was lucky ...
Not only did the characters not suck in any way, I grew to like most of them almost from the start. Even the "villains" have something to them. None of the characters are "flat", they all feel very real, you can feel that they all have lives that reach far beyond the story told. Even the prince being protected deserves his name and title in an utmost positive way. He's a kid, but he's calm, strong and has a will of his own. The characters all develop over the time of the story told, and development is not always predictably linear as with other shows from this genre.
The show features lots of action, but again, unlike other shows it doesn't follow the "next enemy bigger, level up" style. There are slow and calm episodes where nothing actually happens, but only the story progresses onward, as life does. But these episodes are far from being boring. Then there are episodes, where nothing really happens, but you will be nailed down to your chair, fingernails digging into the palms of your hand because the tension is almost unbearable (my favorite, the sword smith scene). And finally there are the fight-to-the-death (or rather fight-until-you-come-to-your-senses) episodes that feature quite amazing fighting sequences.
To make a long story short, if you actually like the fantasy genre, you must not miss this. Fullstop. If you're not that much into the genre but are curious, give it a try. I doubt that you will be disappointed.
If I had watched this show before the favorite character poll, I would definitely have picked two characters from this show. Balsa and Tanda will rank among my all time favorite top-ten for sure.

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