Title: Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Seirei no Moribito)
Studio: Production I.G.
English Production: Geneon Entertainment
Year: 2007 (Japan) / 2009 (English)
Synopsis: The Kanbalan female warrior Balsa comes to the Shin Yogo Empire after a 2 year absence in order to have her spear repaired. While there, she saves the life of the Prince of the Empire (Chagum) and inadvertedly sets herself up as his body guard. The boy is revealed to be the carrier of a spirit and becomes hunted by those sworn to protect the Empire. Through their journey, Balsa and Chagum find themselves entangled in a much larger story involving the fate of the Empire.
Story [9/10]: The story of Moribito is unique and compelling. It has many twists and turns and leaves you guessing at critical junctures. Very hard to predict and it never dulls.
Characters [8/10]: The characters are diverse and feel natural but many of them can get particularly annoying at times. There arent any blatantly horrible things about any of the major characters, but the main issue is the lack of originality in characters. With the exception of Balsa, manyof the characters echo the typical archetypes found in te genre. On the other hand, the development and growth of many of the main characters throughout the series, especially Chagum, is perhaps the series greatest strength.
Visuals [9.5/10]: The art in this series is simply phenomenal, especially onsidering that this is a weekly television series as opposed to a movie or OVA. The colors are amazing, the backgrounds gorgeous, the action scenes fantastic, and the character models are a welcome departure from typical anime style. Visual pleasures are abound and are the most enjoyable parts of the series.
Audio [8.5/10]: The voice acting was excellent (English dub version). All of the actors chosen fit their characters superbly and deliver convincing performances. The background music is also excellent and set the mood for many scenes and sometimes not only emotionally add to the scene, but make the scene. The only drawback in terms of audio for this series are the opening and ending themes. Neither are really exceptional IMO, nor do they really "fit" the series. When I watched the series on DVD, I skipped the opening and ending themes EVERY episode besides the first. And I'm the kind of viewer thatypically watches the opening and ending EVERY episode.
Overall [9/10]: Overall, Moribito was a great series. The story was captivating and never stalled, the characters were interesting and grew as individuals, the visuals were simply gorgeous and the voice acting and BGM were well chosen. Whatever shortcomings the series does have are eclipsed by its merits and it is well worth the watch on adultswim and even purchasing the DVDs, especially so for fans of the fantasy and feudal genres.