“Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit” may be set in ancient Japan, but the action and drama make this one of the coolest samurai anime of this decade.
Morobito begins with Balsa, a tough female warrior with a big spear, returning to Yogo to meet one of her friends. Along the way, Prince Chagum travel on a nearby bridge in a norimono (palanquin carried by four men). However, when the palanquin tips over and Chagum falls into the river, Balsa saves him.
As Balsa continues into the city of Yogo, four samurai encounter her. After fighting with them for a while, the samurai ask for her forgiveness. The samurai actually work for Prince Chagum. Chagum’s mother wanted to thank Balsa properly.
Chagum doesn’t just give Balsa a good meal and a place to sleep for the night, though. She asks if she could act as the bodyguard for Prince Chagum. The prince was sick, and nothing could cure him, so his mother called on a stargazer to help him. However, Chagum’s mother suspects that the stargazer is also hiring other samurai to assassinate Chagum. Long story short, Balsa agrees to protect him.
However, there is more to this drama than it appears. The stargazer has found a water spirit within Chagum. The stargazer predicts that the water spirit could destroy Chagum’s father’s kingdom. Ironically, according to the legend, only Chagum’s father, Emperor Mikado, can kill him. But is the spirit as dangerous as the legend proclaims?
This samurai drama is one of the coolest anime that I have seen this year. At the same time, too many people may pass this up as just another samurai drama. However, the epic scale of the animation, produced by Gonzo, is filled with easily the fastest and most intense samurai battle I have ever seen. The intensity literally rivals that of another samurai series, “Rurouni Kenshin.”
Balsa almost dies after her first encounter with assassins, but she manages to rest up at the house of one of her doctor friends. The doctor also lives with a cool-headed priest, who shows off his own warrior skills in the beginning of episode four. The priest is shocked at finding the prince at his home.
The big question is where the story will go next. With an anime as exciting as this, I’m looking forward to watching how this series unfolds.
Image courtesy of haibra.wordpress.com