22 April 2007

Seirei no Moribito 1: Female bodyguard Balsa

Two words to summarize the highlight of this first episode: Impressive visuals!

In my opinion, the first few minutes of this episode have the same feel as those Chinese martial arts/"wu xia" series. In those series, often the main hero/heroine wanders through the country, similar to what is happening here.

The anime opens up by showing Balsa reminiscing about the country, remarking that it has been 2 years since she left the place. On the road she has a small philosophical talk with the local old guy, who told her that it's rare to see a female warrior around. Balsa replies that she is coming the the country to do some maintenance on her spear.

Furthermore, Balsa also says that it's the same lifestyle for rich people wherever they go. However, if you don't have money, you will need to adopt the lifestyle of the place you go to. The old man is amused to hear this, as he thinks she is very young. Balsa says that she's not that young, having turned 30.

Soon after, she observed a member of the royal family passing by. While all other peasants around her are kneeling to pay respect, she refuses to do so because she is not a citizen of this country. However, the entourage is in trouble because the animal that pulls the carriage is mad for some reason. As a result, the person inside fell into the water. Balsa quickly tries to help the person, but soon both are in trouble when the carriage that also fell into the water almost crushed both of them. Miraculously, the person that Balsa saved has a protection bubble that comes in handy in this kind of situation. :) After bringing the guy to the shore, Balsa soon left without much fuss.

Later in the day, Balsa is stopped in an alley by some guards from the palace that is looking for trouble. After Balsa beat them with ease, the guards confessed that they just wanted to test her. Their real goal is to invite Balsa to the palace to thank her for her help earlier in the day.
After a feast, she is given a room and a massive bed to rest. However, the day has not ended because the prince she saved earlier and his mother come to visit Balsa's room.

It turns out the mother wanted Balsa to protect the prince as she is worried about his safety.
After some talk and disagreement on the task and reward (Balsa does not want all the money she is offered as it is hard to carry), Balsa finally went on her way with the prince tagged along.

It turns out in the past, eight people died trying to protect Balsa, and as a result she vowed to protect eight people as her thanks. It seems this is the main reason she agreed to take this task. Before she left, the prince's mother asked Balsa how many people she has protected until now, she answered that the prince will be the 8th person.
Balsa and Chagum, the prince, then escaped through the secret exit, while the palace is burned to hide the Chagum's disappearance.

Seirei no Moribito (Guardian of the Sacred Spirit) Official Website
Opening theme: Shine by L'arc~en~Ciel
Ending theme: Itoshii hito e /愛しい人へ (To the loved one) by Sachi Tainaka

From the graph, you can tell that I am very impressed with the visuals in this episode. I think the story can be interesting too, and as this is based on a book, that likelihood is high. There aren't that many books with horrible stories turned into movies, after all.
Episode 2: the chase begins!

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