It’s a standard fantasy story setup: Wandering warrior with a complicated past gets stuck in a situation involving the child of royalty, danger appears on all sides, a ragtag misfit team is assembled to protect the child and save the land from a dire fate. When done well this makes for a solid storytelling structure.
But let’s flip two of the usual bits, shall we?
What is it?
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (originally Seirei no Moribito) started life as a fantasy novel, the first in a series. For our purposes, it’s a 26-episode anime production from about a decade ago.
What kind of story is it?
At its core, Moribito is a fantasy adventure story which takes place in a kind of analogue for historical Asia. That’s nothing new, of course, anime loves doing that sort of thing all the time. In this case the setting is used to build a tale of adventure, betrayal, noble sacrifice, and a bit of the fantastical.
Oh, and instead of a knight rescuing a princess, you have Balsa the spear-wielder rescuing Chagum the prince.
Don’t worry, she’s plenty capable.
Why do you like it?
The quality of storytelling is all I need to recommend this to you. Moribito isn’t a wacky comedy, nor is it a grimdark grind. It’s well-structured, full of interesting and compelling characters, and reaches a satisfying conclusion.
What might one not like about it?
It’s not always a fast-paced action series, and while there are some stupendously well-animated fight scenes that’s not really what the story’s about. Set your expectations accordingly. Other than that, there isn’t much to object to here that I can see. Maybe you don’t like the “fantasy” parts of a fantasy adventure? That aspect is kept low-key most of the time, for what it’s worth.
Other thoughts about it?
Not really, no. I know this sounds like a cop-out but seriously, this one isn’t that complicated.
Where can I watch it?
Turns out that Hulu is streaming Moribito, as of this writing. It’s also available for purchase on Amazon.