Type: TV (Based off VN)
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy
Score: 4,8/ 5,0
Based on a novel of the same name: Guardian of the Sacred Spirit is definitely a pearl of Adventure/Fantasy Anime genre. Its beauty lies in top-notch art and animation, attention to detail and amazingly absorbing story. This review is mostly a recommendation so I’ll avoid spoilers and instead try to convince you to give it a chance as the serie NEEDS to become more popular.
The journey begins in a fantasy world, where two co-existing ‘sub-worlds‘ hold nature in balance. It’s the time of sword and spear, where conspiracy and assassination attempts happen on daily basis. It’s a setting like no other, at times it can seem like an old tale about warriors, kings and guardians, but then soon after it turns to a man versus nature battleground. There are many faces to the story, it’s complex and unique. The landscapes are colorful, full of life and beauty: Many times it felt similar to the great serie Mushishi when it came to the aspect of nature and the whole second world that only some people are able to see and try to bring balance to.
It’s not a tale about magic though. If anything, there’s slight druidism and ever so popular in Japanese culture: Spirits. It all belongs to nature, so there are no wands and casting random spells with them to defeat foes. It all goes down to communication with the hidden world and obtaining knowledge. The fighting scenes make sense, there aren’t random power-ups because it’s not a shounen. It’s all about talent and experience with the weapon.
Now that I explained the setting, let’s move on to the plot. The story shows a harsh reality, the young prince has a strange creature’s egg laid inside his soul and the only people capable of even grasping the concept of spirits in the Empire are Star Diviners who are pretty much the priests that spend their time exploring the world’s lore. They don’t seek knowledge from other nations and so there’s a lot of misunderstanding coming out of their ignorance. They easily came to the conclusion that prince has been possessed with a demon that’s supposed to bring drought to the land and since the the commoners mostly rely on rice as the food supply, lack of water would kill millions of people. That’s a risk that the emperor can’t take and therefore orders the assassination of the prince. That’s where the Spearwielding female warrior comes in. Balsa is a traveling guardian for hire, as she made an oath to save eight souls and as it turns out, saving the young prince would be the final. Why would she make a promise like that? That’s for you to find out. I can only say that even though the first episodes make the Anime seem gloomy: it really isn’t. Just look at the images, there’s A LOT of beautiful scenery involved.
The story itself is wonderful for many reasons: It shifts the atmosphere and turns around many times, while staying action-packed and interesting all the way through. Even in the most calm episodes of the serie there’s always something major happening. It’s a one, long, thoughtful chain of events that leads to a greatly satisfying ending. The other thing I really enjoyed were the little side-plots. A good example would be the Blacksmith and the ultimate sword, the Anime needs your full attention so you can actually see that these small parts of the story don’t disappear, that’s the attention to detail. Some of the mysteries stayed as mysteries, but others were subtly ended in such a soft manner that you might not even notice – and if you ask me, that’s one huge reason to rewatch the serie at some point.
Finally I’d like to tell you that Seirei no Moribito mainly focuses on the moral dilenmas, conflict with nature, fate and people’s ignorance. So it’s definitely a journey worth attending for everyone who likes great storytelling together with unique fantasy setting and beautifully developping characters. I wish I could say more, but to avoid ruining the experience I will stop here.. That pearl is for you to take, you just need to be open-minded enough to try.
+ Thoughtful, mysterious and beautiful world
+ Compelling story that has a great adventure feeling to it with many plot twists and small yet interesting side tales
+ Non-stereotypical characters who develop throughout the show
+ Logic and lack of any major plot holes
+ Encourages to rewatch to find out little things that are easy to unnotice
+ Splendid art, animation and music that fits it perfectly and builds the atmosphere
– At the beginning of the serie there were some annoying CGI parts
– It begs for some OVAs, especially because the world in the serie is really interesting and has lots of potential, so it feels wasted with only 26 episodes
– Some of the side characters felt left out at some point