The Junkyard presents a review by Daz of the anime series Moribito: Guardian of The Sacred Spirit:
Of everything that I have watched recently, Moribito: Guardian of The Sacred Spirit has been the best. Hands down. I have found myself in a bit of a rut as of late, frequently watching things but nothing really giving me what it is that I need… Fulfilment.
There have been too many shows that show great promise but fall back on overused tropes and safe, familiar territory. I have needed a show like this for such a long time. I think Rainbow was the last time I was truly engaged in something for 26 episodes (NOT including the currently airing Vinland Saga which has me gripped tight).
This is what I crave, to be fulfilled in a way that no other medium can do, like always I guess. The quest to find amazing shows is never ending but it’s so worthwhile. I mean, it’s good to watch trash every now and again (it’s good for the soul) but this is my goal: to be amazed at something I’ve never seen before and knowing I will be different just by basking in it’s existence.
Moribito does just that.
The story is about Balsa, a woman approaching her 30’s who is tasked with the job of saving a cursed prince from the emperor as it is said that a water demon will bring about a drought and famine. Ancient myths tell of a similar story of the first emperor slaying a water demon and saving the land, hence the emperor’s motivation.
Folklore and myth are very real in this show. At first I thought it was all just some hokum but the boy actually does have a spirit inside him and it’s woven neatly into the story. This gave everything a fantastical vibe in a show that I thought was going to be grounded in reality. At first I was put off by it. I have grown so weary of magical stuff and I didn’t need any more at this time but the story was too interesting to let it get in the way.
We then begin a journey of growth, danger, discovery, sadness, joy; everything you could possibly want from a show. It truly is a masterpiece. I know that is a big claim but I feel it deserves it. The direction is phenomenal. One of my favourite things is detail: little things that aren’t really noticeable but are missed when they aren’t there. That’s what you get with this show. I’ll give you an example…
At one point, the Prince is sad and he blurts something out to Balsa and her companion whilst they are eating. The camera pans back to get them both in shot, they both look at the boy and then turn to look at each other and then at the boy again whilst putting their spoons down. EVERYTHING in that moment lets you know just how much they care for that child without a word being spoken.
This medium is all about exaggeration. Things need to be over-expressed so the point comes across to the audience. When I see subtle nuances like this where the director is treating the scene like a live action feature, it adds a level of realism that isn’t that often seen. Well, not to the same level anyway.
The show is based on a series of books and I was going to pick the first one up but I don’t think it could live up to the amazing job that the director has done. I am literally blown away with it. It’s everything I’ve needed for a long time… and more! I was certainly sad when I found out that this was the only adaptation as they could have easily given the rest the same treatment.
This is a straight 10/10 for me. I could talk about it all day. The action scenes, the dialogue, the coming of age story, the pacing, the characters. This is a truly, truly under-appreciated gem. DT