Title: Moribito: Guardian of the Sacred Spirit (Seirei no Moribito)
Genre: action, fantasy, drama
Released date: April 7, 2007 – September 29, 2007
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Animated by: Production I.G.
Comment: Seirei no Moribito follows Balsa the spear woman who is entrusted with the duty to protect Prince Chagum from being assassinated by the emperor without knowing that the prince carries the magical egg that will blessed the land with water. Their journey involves many battles, hardship and the magic which exists only in myth. The sound and animation of the anime is very good, colorful and energetic.
Moribito also has strong environmentalism implicated in the story. The Water Spirit will lay an egg every hundred years and dies bringing drought to the land until the egg hatches in spring with the help of La Lunga the monster then the egg is carried to the sea by Nahji bird. This cycle remained intact until the Yogo, the current rulers, conquered the land and with them came technology; iron and steel. The cycle is interrupted. People’s ancient wisdom and respect to the Mother Nature is erased. The history is rewritten to stabilize and justify the new empire. This is exactly what’s happening nowadays, is it not? I also like the reverse of male and female’s role between the two protagonists. In most stories, men are always the one who fight the enemies and women always wait at home and heal the wounds but in Moribito, Balsa is the warrior who wanders around and fights the foes while Tanda, who has no combat skill, is always waiting and gives Balsa support when she is in trouble.
My complaint about this anime is its uneven mood and pace. As the series progresses, Seirei no Moribito gradually transforms itself from a fast-paced, action-packed anime into a slow, drama anime in the middle and finally ends as folklore inspired, fantasy anime. It is really fun and exciting at first when Balsa and Chagum tries to escape from their pursuers, there are great spear and sword fight scenes to behold but around episode 7 through 12 the anime literally comes to a halt. These unnecessary episodes are about trivial things which are not related to the main theme such as the episodes about gambling or the farmers’ festival. And when the viewers reach the final part of the series, the anime turns into a folklore fantasy involving parallel worlds, supernatural creatures and a lot of magic. When considered separately, the first part is a good action anime and the second part is a good fantasy anime. But considering the whole series, it isn’t as satisfying as it should be. Imagine yourself having a really beautiful shirt and really nice pants but when you put them on, instead of looking good, you look strange. I think this is the situation here. Nevertheless, these flaws are only minor and I’m sure many people will not see this as a flaw at all. Conclusion: Seirei no Moribito is without any doubt a good anime but it doesn’t excel because it cannot not decide whether it wants to be an action, drama or fantasy anime.