February 26th, 2008

haiku

Finished series: Seirei no Moribito

We've finished watching Seirei no Moribito. My first episode review is here.

Balsa is a spearwielder, who hires herself out as a bodyguard. When she is travelling through a neighbouring country to get her spear fixed, she witnesses a royal ox-cart overturning on a bridge and the second prince falling into the river! She doesn't think twice and jumps after him to save him -- but she also sees a mysterious force-field around the prince...
That evening, she is accosted by two palace guards, and through them she meets the mother of the prince. It turns out that this was one in a series of attempts at the life of prince Chagum, designed to look like an accident. The prince is possessed by an evil spirit -- a spirit that brings droughts, of the same sort that the founding father of the imperial dynasty slayed to preserve the water needed for the rice paddies! But as a mother, the queen does not want to see her son killed, for whatever reason, and so she entrusts him to Balsa. Balsa agrees -- because of her, seven people lost their lives, and she atones for this by saving the lives of others. Chagum will be her seventh and final charge.

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The series is 26 episodes, and there is simply no down-time. Every episode advances the story, gives some background information or shows a certain aspect of a character. Let me stress this again: there are no filler episodes, there are no episodes that don't show anything important to the story. None of the episodes could have been cut without diminishing the series. That is a tremendous achievement.

Visually, the series is stunning. The character designs are very detailed, the backgrounds are lush, and the digital effects blend very nicely into the cell animation.
The music is very good as well, and the voice acting is very good -- only Chagum sometimes sounds a bit stilted, like a child reading his lines.

Good points:
- A credible world that I wish I could get to see more of;
- Superb, epic story-telling;
- A good mix of action and 'slow' stories;
- Technically almost perfect.
Bad points:
- Too short! I want a sequel!

This is a must-see, no other way about it. I'll give it a 9.5.