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Moribito: Guardian Of The Spirit- The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

Moribito- Guardian of the Spirit- The Complete Series Blu-ray

“Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit” never quite reaches its potential.

After a female warrior (Balsa) saves Prince Chagum from drowning, the Second Queen hires Balsa to become Chagum’s bodyguard. This job turns out to be more than just a mere protection gig, however, as Balsa learns that Chagum is believed to be the guardian/home to the egg of a water spirit. Since Chagum’s father (Emperor Mikado) wants his son dead, Balsa (and her trusty spear) must now journey to the mountains with Chagum in order to protect him from assassins and hunters.

Over the course of the 26 episodes of “Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit,” there are other key plot lines that involve Chagum struggling to leave his family behind, a trusted Doctor (Tanda), a magic weaver named Torogai, Balsa and Chagum hiding at a watermill, star readers, orphan friends of Balsa’s (Toya and Saya), spirits and souls, a martial arts tournament, a deadly drought, water spirit mythos, and egg eater creatures.

After a fantastic set-up, ‘Moribito’ looked as if it would be a fun-filled adventure series that comes off as a cross between a samurai film and a Miyazaki film. Unfortunately, the middle portion of the series meanders badly and ruins the potential that the series had early on. Had this been a 13 episode series instead, it would have really improved a lot of the series’ pacing and story problems. Admittedly, the 26 episode format does give a lot for room for some intriguing characterization (especially with Balsa in episodes 21 and 22), but most of the series feels like it’s on hold. There’s far too much time spent on Balsa and Chagum hiding from hunters with the threat of the egg spirit hatching at some point. Rather than just making viewers wait for the final episode to conclude all of the major plot points, it would have been nice to see the story go somewhere.

On the plus side, the animation work by Production I.G. is flat-out incredible here. The backdrops, landscapes, buildings, action and even the individual character models are positively striking. I’ve said it before, but being swept into an anime series via the environments and setting is a major plus. Even if the series has its shortcomings, ‘Moribito’ at least makes it easy for the viewers to buy into the world that these characters inhabit.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The 2D and 3D animation of “Moribito” is gorgeous. This is one of those hi-def anime transfers that really stands out.

Audio Tracks: English and Japanese DTS-HD 2.0. How does it sound? Despite being mere 2.0 tracks, the English and Japanese tracks still deliver. The English dub is mostly decent, but Chagum’s voice acting is dreadful. The Japanese track is probably your best option here as it is consistently well acted.

Extras:
* Clean opening and ending credits.
* 3 original Japanese trailers for “Moribito.”
* A 5 minute promo film and a pilot film presentation that contains interviews and footage.
* Non-subtitled Japanese cast and crew press conference and discussion panel.

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September 30, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | ,

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