English: Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit
Synonyms: Guardian of the Sacred Spirit
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 7, 2007 to Sep 29, 2007
25 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.291 (scored by 24848 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action adventure drama fantasy
SynopsisAt a time when the balance of nature still held the civilizations of mankind in thrall, a single drought could spell the end of a society and doom its inhabitants to piteous deaths. Prince Chagum has been imbued with the power to stave off the drought and bring new life to his empire. However, this is a suspicious time, and he is accused of possession by an evil spirit.
Court advisors only see one solution. Chagum must be put to death by his own father's hand. His salvation is in the form of Balsa, a spear woman and mercenary from Kanbal, the kingdom across the mountains. Her skills are legendary, and although reluctant, she is held by a mysterious vow to save eight souls before she dies. Can she fend off an entire empire and make Chagum her eighth soul?
Related AnimeAdaptation: Seirei no Moribito, Seirei no Moribito
Characters & Voice Actors
Seriei no Moribito (or Guardian of the Sacred Spirit), is not your normal anime. It began life as the first in the ten volume Moribito series of fantasy novel written by Uehashi Nahoko, and although these novels were intended for children, they gained many adult fans. In fact, the novels proved to be so popular that they the first volume was adapted into a manga, an anime (directed by Kamiyama Kenji, who directed Ghost in the Shell SAC and 2nd Gig), and even a radio drama. The novel is also scheduled for release in english in mid 2008 because of the immense popularity of the anime adaptation.
Seirei no Moribito has some of the smoothest and most fluid animation of any anime produced over the last few years. Production I.G. managed to produce one of the best looking anime of 2007, and with it, managed to introduce one of the most unique and interesting female leads in anime.
The colour palette is very "Ghibli-esque" as it mainly uses greens, browns, blues, etc, but Production I.G. has made good use of them for the characters and environements, and the overall effect gives the show a feeling more reminiscent of "Monoke Hime" or "Gedo Senki" than anything else.
Character designs are exceptional throughout the show, most especially the main and immediate supporting characters. Balsa is exceptionally well designed, and far more realistic than many other fantasy female leads. Her character is fairly muscular and stocky, yet without the extremely toned muscles shown in most other fantasies. Facially too, the designers went for realism more than anything else. Balsa is not beautiful, but not ugly either. She's plain (in a sense), and is most definitely a woman, not a girl.
The other characters are also designed very much with realism in mind, and this actually helps to pull the viewer into the show in a big way. It's also nice to see that attention was paid to the animals in the show as well, and it makes a nice change to see a horse in anime that actually looks like a real horse.
One thing that should be mentioned here is the design influences. Many people relate thise series to China and Japan because of the very obvious visual references to those countries (i.e. the palace, the emperor, the ninjas, etc), however this is really only a small part of the whole. In truth, Seirei no Moribito isn't simply based on China and Japan, but is actually based on the greater Indo-Chinese region. This is reflected in the differing facial structures, customs, practices, etc, that are seen in the show. Balsa and Jiguro are originally from Kanbal, a country that shows a number of elements of Northern India/ Kashmir, Nepal and Tibet. This influence also extends to Balsa and Jiguro's fighting style, which is very different to that of the stories other combatants. The backgounds, still scenes, the rural settings, even the mountainous regions and jungles, are very clearly based on a region of South-East Asia stretching from India to Japan, and it's a rarity to find this kind of scope or depth of detail in anime.
The animation quality throughout the show never really lets up, and the action sequences are especially impressive. The fights are swift and well executed, and the movements of the combatants is especially impressive during the action scenes. Production I.G. have also paid attention to the different combat styles used in the show as well, and have managed to include these in the animation, which gives the fights a far more "authentic" feel.
Each episode opens with a very nice, and rather catchy, J-rock/pop ballad called "Shine", which was performed by L'Arc-en-Ciel but never released as a single. The rest of the music in the show (composed by the famous Kawai Kenji), adds to the atmosphere and overall feel of the show. The dramatic moments, fights, and even the slow-paced scenes are all emphasized with some great background music.
The sound effects are exceptional in this show, especially as this is more of a "historical" fantasy. The background noises, the grunts, clucks, whinnies, and other noises of the various animals, the clash of steel on steel, etc, breathe life into the series, and makes the setting that much more "real".
It goes without saying that the star of the show is Balsa, the spear wielding warrior woman, and Balsa, as a character, is one of the strongest and most unique female leads in any anime. She is muscular and stocky, possess many skills (not the least of which is her formidable fighting ability), has a strong sense of right and wrong, is very rarely indecisive, and is sensible in many ways. As I've said earlier, Balsa is no beauty, and this again sets her apart from many other female leads, as the designers generally try to make lead women in anime "attractive" to male audiences.
Chagum, on the other hand, is exactly how you would expect a young prince to be, but without the arrogance (which makes a nice change). What makes this series really work though, is the attention to character development that both Balsa and Chagum receive, and how, as each of them develops, their relationship with each other changes.
There are several other characters who appear throughout the series (Tanda, Touya, Saya, Jiguro, etc), all of whom receive a certain amount of development because of their association with Balsa. The nice thing about the development of the supporting characters is that it is often directly linked to the development of either Balsa or Chagum, or both in some cases. This is most especially true in the case of Jiguro, who was Balsa's guardian and mentor as a child, and is the one who taught her how to fight with a spear. The various references and flashbacks to this character slowly begin to make sense as the series progresses, and with this clarity it is possible to understand Balsa's character even more.
There is a downside to the characters though, in that there are other characters who receive little to no development. In addition to that, the characters who do receive development rarely get it continuously. Strangely enough though, this does very little to impact on the story or the viewers enjoyment of the show.
The story is actually a nice role reversal of the typical "rescue the princess" scenario and, although it's meant to be a serious fantasy action drama, there are some genuinely humourous moments.
The story flows at a nice steady pace throughout the series, and although it does slow down from time to time, these are effectively the times when the majority of the character development happens. The premise was good on the whole, and although the story at times seems more like stock fantasy, there are enough differences, as well as some great character development, sound and animation, to make watching this a worthwhile experience.
This isn't a light-hearted series, but it also doesn't become overly dramatic. It doesn't focus so much on action that it gives up areas of the story, and it never lets the story become so bland that you get bored of watching. It's an interesting show to watch and the pacing of the show, as well as the slow delve into Balsa's past, serve to ensure that you keep watching.
Although the plot may be simplistic at times, this isn't really a show that suffers from it, especially as the show itself is more character driven than anything else. The main focus of the show, from beginning to end, are the characters. This is emphasized by the fact that the action and drama clearly take second place to each of the characters.
Overall I'd recommend this show to any Ghibli fan, and also to anyone who like shows like Claymore, Slayers, or even Rurouni Kenshin or Sword of the Stranger. It's an extremely enjoyable example of how good a fantasy series can get if you do it right, and because of it's characters, it will appeal to fans of many different genres. read more
They say 95% of all anime is complete and utter shit, with the remaining five representing those titles even relatively good. And among that 5%, Seirei no Moribito belongs into whatever number of shows it is which are not just relatively, but genuinely good.
Seirei no Moribito is a fantasy adventure story which mostly focuses on the characters of Balsa and Chagum, a prince of a powerful Empire whose forced to exile due to the continued assassination attempts on him conducted by his own father, and their journey together. Those who prefer complex storylines with intricate twists and turns may look elsewhere; the travels of Balsa and Chagum, their struggle to dispel the pursuit sent after them, and how they deal with the water spirit's egg that's laid within Chagum are indeed the plot's most prominent elements.
Not to say the story's simplicity is a shortcoming, quite the contrary in fact. It is for once pleasing to see a storyline you can actually understand at first glance instead of having to take guesses or be completely lost in the mock artistry of the show's creators. Not to say simplicity would be the story's main attraction either, for the careful and thorough way Balsa's and Chagum's life together on the run is depicted, Chagum's transformation from a sweet and pampered prince to a smart street kid, and how the relationships between the main characters develop and deepen is plenty to keep the viewer entertained.
The characters are another of the show's strong points, especially, with the way how they seem to shatter almost almost all of the major clichés and all. Balsa is without a doubt one of the strongest female characters in anime of all time, she being pretty much the most capable warrior in the whole show and able to handle everything short of magic on her own. To top it off, she's noble-minded (yet not naive) and lack's arrogance (yet not confidence). Perhaps, by putting all of this together, one might notice themselves watching also one of the most shameless mary sues as of late, but amidst Balsa's pure coolness, one is also easily bound not to care.
All of this saying almost not a word about Chagum, the boy prince of Yogo Empire who's forced to flee his home with Balsa. He carries the water spirit's egg that's said to keep the lands from drying over within him, but unlike almost all the other young male characters in anime shouldered with a heavy burden, he's not constantly whining about his fate. In fact most of the time he deals with his lot, of leaving behind his comfy life as a prince and carrying a capricious spirit egg within him with easy enough acceptance and even enthusiasm.
Other characters deviating from the norm are Tanda, a doctor who's actually the one to tend to the reckless female warrior's wounds instead of the other way around, and the prophets at the Imperial Court who, although proud, aren't arrogant and conservative enough not to learn from their mistakes nor ignore good advice.
Production I.G, a quality anime studio responsible for such acclaimed titles as the Ghost in the Shell movies and TV-serieses, makes sure that the art and animation in Seirei no Moribito earn their place among the other aspects that make this show so great. Even the most intense battle scenes flow fluently, the beautiful sceneries clearly depict a world untouched any industrial revolution, and the character designs are as much a treat to the eye as any of the aforementioned.
But despite being a show remarkable in it's quality, Seirei no Moribito does leave a few lingering regrets in its wake. A fantasy show as this is, we could've learned a bit more about those elements in this one. We hear of "star diviners", of other worlds that seemingly exist paraller to that which is mostly shown in the series, we see some magic, and so on. But all in all the fantasy elements in Seirei leave me more confused than fascinated, for all the supernatural stuff is either explained too briefly or not at all. A bit deeper thoroughness in this department would've been in order.
Another point of some chagrin in Seirei no Moribito is what I'd like to call beating around the bush with the characters' relationships. From the early episodes on we see that there's something going on between Balsa the fighter and Tanda the healer, with the two being childhood friends of opposite sex and all. The romantic tint in their relationship is obvious, yet _NOTHING_ concrete happens between the two in the show. An honest, full blown romance between them could've done much in the way of bringing some good extra drama and maturity to the show, for the platonic nature of their relationship despite the obvious hint at a love story-setting gave the series an ever so slightly childish look at times. Later in the show Chagum also becomes friendly with a girl his age in a village just happening to be on the path of his and Balsa's (and Tanda's) journey, and the crazy shipper in me says they shouldda hooked up as well ;P.
Though not necessarily much of a gripe, since anime music failing to impress me is more of a rule rather than the exception, a bit more ambitious musical investment from the creators wouldn't have hurt the show either.
Putting side to side the good and the bad, the end conclusion is what I've (hopefully) let you readers understand throughout the review; that this is one damn great of a show worth chalking up to your to watch-list no matter what genre of anime you'd usually prefer. Because even though an action-adventure-fantasy wouldn't sound like the killer combo just for you, Seirei no Moribito holds such a cast of characters and story to it that it is sure to reach the hearts of many viewers regardless of their usual appetite. read more
Both set in a mythical world. Each has its own intricate story line that actually follows sense, and politics. Great action scenes for both too (Seirei no Moribito has amazing ones). Check out the other if you've seen one, they're both highly entertaining and more 'mature' shows.
Complicated characters and unordinary story in an beautiful, magical world. If you miss the climate of Seirei no Moribito you will fellin love witch that anime
12 Kingdoms, 3 tales, 1 anime
Just the overall feeling and character design.... The oriental settings in both suit my taste very well... I would say Juuni Kokuki is paced a tad faster (after finishing Seirei no Moribito) and has more depth to the plotline, while Seirei no Moribito has lush landscapes and focuses more on Character development; both have their own merits though.
They are both epic fantasy titles,with great story and animetion.
In both the main character is a woman.
The stories are different but both Anime include fantasy and adventure. They share a similar atmosphere, a great scenery and a female leading character. I was watching Juuni Kokuki first and I was really happy to find Serei no Moribito when searching for a similar Anime.
Deals with a girl transported to a magical world. Both series scrutinize the realms with minute details.
Both series posses almost similar Asian-like settings, strong female leads, dramatic battes, and storytelling method. However their are obvious differences which make watching the series worth while. If you like this series, I have no doubt you'll like this as well.
Based on epic fantasy novel series written by well known jap authors. Set in a lush fantasy world filled with mythical creatures, magic and a rich lore. The story in both cases has some political intrigue ('palace politics'), strong elements of supernatural, a colorful cast of characters as well an ass kickin female lead.
People who love fantasy stories (stuff like Narnia,The Hobbit LOTR etc) will definitely love this. But they're also recommended for anyone who needs something feel-good to 'unwind'.
Both epic stories set in the past with strong female leads with great spirit. While Juuni Kokuki is more grand, Seirei no Moribito shares the same style and grandeur.
Both anime are adaptations of novels based off of ancient China. The atmosphere of the two shows have the same feel, rich and detailed with compelling characters, excellent scenery, and incredible music. It has everything you need to ignite your sense of wonder, but the stories are different enough that you won't feel like you're watching the same show twice.
Fantasy. Strong female lead.
Both series introduce us to a beautiful rich world in a completely evolving mythology and that is the basis of the history of anime. With fine, fighting and engaging stories these animes equate perfectly.
Both series are about young, sheltered children who are exposed to the outside world through their guardians.
Younglings being guarded from pursuers by skilled fighters, whilst indulging in slice-of-life 'parent-child' bonding on the side. The settings are different, the genders are reversed AND the ages/age-gap also differ (Kurenai's bodyguard lead being but a kid himself), but the core elements of protecting a child from danger and gradual bonding between characters makes these two easy to compare.
Even though these two animes live in a different setting, the same aspect of protecting someone who's very important is there.
Other than the most basic fact about someone protecting another person who is younger yet a higher status, they have other things in common too.
Both have a solid, high quality animation, and goes for a more realistic art style. The caretakers are somewhat unusual choice, and not exactly the first choice to be a child's guardian. The kids themselves may strike to be spoiled at first, but it's just environmental differences, not their true personalities, and it doesn't take long to warm up to them and really adore them.
The plots are massively different, but they are both engaging stories.
In both shows the main characters are burdened with protecting a child from their powerful families. Kure-nai and Moribito both have wonderful character development and you get to watch the children grow through interesting predicaments.
The action sequences are also done wonderfully well.
Both main characters are martial artists who'll play bodyguard for a child.
Notably both anime's place a lot of emphasis on character developement,
even more than the actual martial arts-action.
Kurenai and Seirei no Moribito are both stories of an older bodyguard protecting a young child, how they bond during the time they spend together, and how that bond changes those involved. The children are both from higher class places and thus they have a lot to learn when they leave their homes to be protected. Also, the fighting scenes in both series are few and far between, but very well choreographed.
At first glance, these titles don't really appear alike. The stories and characters are very dissimilar, but they do share a common thread: a child from a privileged family is disenfranchised, and a guardian is reluctantly appointed to care for them. The guardian takes the role of surrogate parent as well, while protecting the child from harm and/or capture.
In both series we have sheltered children who are entrusted to strong guardians. While children learn more about outside world, guardians have to do their best to protect them form non other but their own, powerful families.
Well, these two series are rare gems we don't see often these days.
Kure-nai and Seirei no Moribito has several similarities though. In fact, right from the start, there's the theme of parenthood. Both series features a main character who acts as a surrogate parent for a younger character. They are the guardian of that individual and vows to protect them no matter what.
The main kid who has to be protected in both series are from a family of history and traditions.
Both series' main characters bond is a dynamic focus and explores many aspects of it throughout its subsequent episodes.
Opening Theme"SHINE" by L'Arc~en~Ciel
Ending Theme"Itoshii Hito e (愛しい人へ; To the loved one)" by Sachi Tainaka
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