精霊の守り人 (Guardian of the Sacred Spirit)

Seirei no Moribito Tera recommended me this series 2 weeks back and it’s been awesome: 精霊の守り人 (Guardian of the Sacred Spirit). The enunciation of the Japanese name is: Seirei no Moribito. It might even qualify as one of the few that makes it into my favorites list. Typically, I take what Tera recommends with a grain of salt, but given that it had a very high AniDB rating, I decided to give it a try and I was amazed at how beautiful the graphics and animation were. The fact the storyline was great was also impressive. I was so hooked that I finished all 26 episodes in less than a week. May not sound impressive to some, but when you’re coming home at 1am and finding time to squeeze in 3 episodes is not easy.

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Story

The story is about a young prince of Yogo named Chagum. A water demon/spirit apparently has possessed him and the emperor and his advisers believed that it is in the countries best interest to kill off the water demon/spirit as the stars are foretelling a drought is nearing. They have no idea how to separate the water demon/spirit from Chagum, so the only thing they can do is kill both the boy and the spirit.

However the mom does not agree, but can’t really persuade the emperor to do otherwise. She hires Balsa, a female bodyguard and entrusts her son to her and probably will never see Chagum for the rest of his life. Balsa agrees as this will be the 8th life she would have saved and completing her promise.

The story goes on from there. I don’t wont to reveal much more as it’ll bound to spoil.

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*** BEGIN SPOILERS ***

Thoughts

Was there really any reason why both Tanda’s and Balsa’s hand had to be used to remove the egg from Chagum? They never really explained how the “spell” was suppose to work for removing the egg.

I assume the bird (Naji) that ultimately came to take the egg was the same bird that Sagum and Chagum injured when they were small and ended up taking care of afterwards. Later on Sagum set it free and it returned to take the egg. I’m also thinking the fact the bird realized that Chagum knew how to get stuff into the bird’s mouth played a role in the egg being implanted in Chagum.

What exactly are those furry animals in Torogai Shaman’s hat? I’m thinking along the lines of rabbits, puppies, and guinea pigs. However, what piqued my interest was the fact that in a flashback during Balsa’s story of Jiguro, her hat was filled with these little furry animals. However, now she’s down to one. The only part of the story that this little furry animal comes into play was Torogai Shaman was trying to sacrifice it in order to save her own life. I’d hate to think all the other furry animals were sacrificed.

When the swordsmith described the ultimate sword being one that cuts one free from one’s karma and does not cut people reminded me of Kenshin’s sakaba sword, also known as the reverse blade sword. A sakaba sword is one where the dull edge is the edge that comes in contact with your enemy, therefore not sharp enough to cut into them. They never did go into details on how this ultimate sword was made, but episodes later when Balsa was fighting against another bodyguard, what appeared to be her slicing her opponent in half only resulted in his shirt being ripped apart, while the body was not harmed at all.

Halfway through the series, I realized that the blue glowing ball during the intermission/interlude was actually representative of the egg, when I saw and realized that there was this little worm that was getting bigger inside it episode after episode.

Very late in the story, they brought up the fact that there can be multiple carriers of the egg (such as the young bear cub), but they never really did explained what would happen if multiple water spirits were born. I thought it was very arbitrary for them to add that.

The fact that there weren’t many deaths (I mean how can none of the 8 elite assassins not get killed during the fight with the La Lungas) made the story less emotionally strong. None of the good guys died either. The only deaths in the story that I can recall was Chagum who died of over-stressing himself from work as the crown prince; Jiguro who died basically of old age; and the 8 spear wielders that came to kill Jiguro and Balsa.

*** END SPOILERS ***

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Music

The music was also amazingly done. The soundtrack was composed by 川井 憲次 (Kenji Kawai) and I’m addicted to one of the songs which has been playing on repeat for the past 3 days: The Song of Naj. There are 2 soundtrack CDs that have been released: Seirei No Moribito Ongakuhen V.1 and Seirei No Moribito V.2 and the music is just astoundingly beautiful.

I also uploaded the clip where the song was played during the anime (BIG SPOILERS):

Seirei no Moribito - The Song of Naj

I’ve also uploaded a lower quality version. For some reason the quality seems to be quite diminished, but that’s probably because I converted from h.264 (mkv) to xvid to wmv. Windows Movie Maker doesn’t like mkv files for some reason.

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