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: 8.281 (scored by 26463 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, young prince Chagum has been accused of being possessed by an evil spirit: the water demon, which once perished at the hands of the emperor 100 years ago. This could possibly mean great misfortune. Not only for the Imperial family, but for the entire world as well.
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
Seirei no Moribito was one of those rare anime that I commenced with an unshakeable sense of anticipation and with high expectations. I can never resist the urge to assume a show will be spectacular based on the staff or studio involved, even if my hopes have all-too-often been crushed (as was the case with Darker than Black). So, when I heard that Kenji Kamiyama, who is largely responsible for some of the finer creative inputs for both seasons of Gits SAC, was going to be heading this show with Production I.G, it instantly became my single most anticipated series of the year. By the time the trailer came along I was well and truly brimming with excitement. However, the show that I got was both different to what I had hoped, and also not as memorable or entertaining. On some levels, the show is a resounding achievement, and there are moments dispersed throughout when it reaches remarkable heights of excitement, emotion and splendour. Yet, when looked at as a whole, the show has failings that can not be ignored; most notably, flaws in the pacing and the build-up of the story.
The element of Seirei no Moribito that most screams for attention is its stunning production, and here is where my faith in Kamiyama is affirmed. The entire series has maintained an unprecedented quality of art and animation. It has the look and feel of a (good) movie, with a sweeping cinematic mode of directing that befits the stories’ expansive fantasy world, and stunningly realised landscapes that bring the show to life. More so than in any other anime I can recall, the background art in Seirei no Moribito left a profound impression on me - this could well be the finest example of background art in anime, not just for its level of detail, but for the way it is used to enhance the atmosphere of the show and draw the viewer in to its vibrant and striking settings. On top of this, the cel animation, while it could quite easily have been blessed with a higher level of detail to match its surroundings, is amazingly fluid and vital when it needs to be. The use of cel-shaded CG has been popularised among IG’s producers it seems, and it’s generally put to good use in Seirei, to animate hordes of extras in scenes such as in the towns, or when the palace assembles its army. This means that these scenes are bought to life in a way that would otherwise not be possible with a tv anime budget, successfully avoiding the common anime trap of either having a surprising absence of people in the background, or have large crowds of people inexplicably still. Unfortunately, it sticks out a bit too much on a number of occasions, providing a nagging distraction.
I think this show’s production also excels in a way that people generally don’t give credit for, and that is the expertise with which it is directed - Kenji Kamiyama’s style of directing is a subtle yet effective one. Unlike the in-your-face stylistic shots of Akiyuki Shinbo’s work (Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Tsukuyomi MoonPhase, Petite Cossette), Kamiyama has presented this series in a conventional yet fresh manner. The fight sequences, particularly those in the third episode, exemplify this, where the use of camera angles serves to make the fight more engaging while not drawing from the choreography. The wide and distant shots used in and around the palace are excellent at creating its cold, detached atmosphere, and the overall choice of shots is amazingly good at highlighting the show’s beautiful scenery. As he did with his directing work on Gits SAC, Kamiyama has created a visually captivating series.
The music was a surprising achievement from the veteran, Kenji Kawai, whose scores I generally find bland and uninspired. I’m not sure why this anime marked such a great deviation from his usual standards, but the music in Seirei no Moribito is a really crucial contributor to its dramatic impact - from the urgent and threatening battle theme, to the quiet and hauntingly evocative tracks, the music delivers in every respect. I’m shocked to say that his work here was more compelling than much of Yoko Kanno’s recent work, and he wasn’t even creating music with real instruments. Fitting with the visual style of the show, the score music is very much produced in a traditional cinematic way, which does this show justice.
Unfortunately, the show’s content fails to live up to its gloss, and I think this is mainly a failure of the pacing of the script rather than of the story itself (which comes from a novel series). The bare plot is an accomplished exploration of life and adulthood, and of the connection between humanity and nature. It is set in a fantasy world, but at its core it depicts a very down-to-earth, human ordeal. Fortunately, the intricacies and depth to the characters and their relationships is well incorporated into the show - the connection formed between Balsa and Chagum gives the show most of its emotional weight. The other thing that I found to be well written is the development of Chagum himself, as he is torn from his palace life and forced to experience life and shoulder responsibility. It is satisfying to see him grow as a person as the show progresses. Perhaps the egg inside of him is a parallel to his rearing into adulthood. The problem lies in the amount of time the show takes to achieve this development, and in the unsatisfying climax.
My appreciation of a good story stems from its sense of direction toward a climax that brings together all of the crucial plot threads from throughout the show and culminates them in a burst of excitement of drama that pays off the time the viewer has spent watching it develop. Instead, the big event that the show had supposedly been leading up to was a rushed affair with a surprising lack of tension or emotional potency. The show did not have any filler per se, but by the time the conclusion was wrapped up I felt that a lot of the show’s time was poorly spent on redundant subtleties of its character development. The trailer gave a very different impression to what was delivered. Balsa and Chagum living together was nice a pleasant affair, but it lacked a sense of tension or danger that ultimately dragged down the middle of the show. The exploration of Balsa’s character was far too spontaneous and vague for my liking. I did get a strong sense of her character from her actions throughout the show, but I really think she had a lot more potential and that we were never given the kind of insight into her that was frequently hinted at.
All in all, this show left me feeling unsatisfied, like being left hungry after a serving of fine food. The show is of undeniable quality; however the writers behind it failed to capitalise on its full potential, through sloppy pacing that made its stand-out moments seem like a tease, and through its inability to deliver a conclusion that sends off the show at its peak. I recommend this show to anyone with an ounce of patience, as the subtle development of the characters and their companionship is ultimately its most rewarding component. I think this show also succeeds in its fantasy elements - its portrayal of two intersecting worlds is fascinating. Don’t go into this series expecting non-stop, heart-pounding action, because it’s a laidback show about the endearing strength of the human spirit with only intermittent bursts of excitement.
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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