Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Seirei no Moribito - Guardian of the Sacred Spirit

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Original release by Anime-Kraze
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Seirei no Moribito takes place in a country resembling ancient korea or china, ruled by an benevolent emperor (as far as ancient emperors go). Balsa - a highly capable spear wielding warrioress - witnessed how the emperor's youngest son fell from a bridge into a raging river and jumped in to save him. Just when it seemed that they would both be crushed by floating debris, a mysterious force surrounds her and the prince, preventing them from being crushed. Whatever this force is, the astrologer-historians of the imperial court determine, that this force comes from a spirit inside the prince and will destroy the empire, unless killed itself. Thus the benevolent emperor orders to have his son killed (but he feels bad about it) while Balsa is hired by the empress to protect his life.

This is a pseudo-earth fantasy series , although without elves, orcs and similar. It features spirits and shamans and "the other world" though, paying homage to asian folklore. Despite the mystical elements, the action moves along pretty realistical lines. The protagonists are human and the combat is within human levels, meaning there are no special moves or other superhuman feats with the exception of some displays of shamanic magic. But despite that, the action scenes are highly captivating due to the smooth animation and convincing choreography.

The characters themselves are detailed, convincing and grow as the story progresses. The character design is a bit unusual for this kind of story, but it's a good thing, really. E.g. Balsa is a beautiful but muscular and battle-scarred woman in her late twenties - as opposed to the usual 16 year old warrior schoolgirls that seem so popular in shonen type animes. Chagum - the young prince - is used to a spoiled palace life, but he is neither arrogant, demeaning nor imperious - he's rather lost without his mama. Neither are the "bad guys" simply evil - but that is nearly a standard feature of many animes.

The visual art is beautiful and detailed, making a feast for the eyes at times. Trees inside a forest, little cracks in cliff walls, dust whirled up by galloping horses - you can see the effort the studio made in creating this. The music accompanies the series well but doesn't stand out, producing no memorable songs.

Sex&Violence: Pornwise, no sane person should be able to find anything objectionable. There are plenty of battles and even though Balsa takes great efforts to not kill anyone, the same doesn't apply to others. Even so, every battle is firmly embedded in the story and not just inside for the sake of action.

Conclusion: Great anime with a captivating story, a couple of plot twists and solid action. It's a bit toned down when compared to your usual action flicks and it probably appeals more to an elder audience - or a more demanding one. If you prefer romance to panty shots and martial arts to big fucking fireballs, then you have found the right series. Highly recommended !

4 comments:

Andrew said...

One of the best anime's out today, and a truly amazing novel series (well, I've only the read the first one so far).

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