Posted by psgels on 29 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Seirei no Moribito

Spring 2007 came with many excellent and unique series, and Seirei no Moribito is one of them. Produced by Production IG with extremely solid production-values, this series is a true gem for those, looking for substance.

Let me first start with the following statement: Seirei no Moribito does not have an overall genre. While the first three episodes might suggest that we’re dealing with an action or martial-arts anime, you’ll be proven wrong by the middle part of the series, which takes a more slice-of-life approach. A drama also doesn’t quite cut it because it’s got quite a few light-hearted moments, and while some episodes fall in the adventure-category, other episodes just show characters standing and talking. To be honest, apart from any World Masterpiece Production, I haven’t seen any anime that feels more like a novel than Seirei no Moribito.

The big key behind the success of this anime is the immense amount of detail that went in nearly every department of this series. The animation is truly gorgeous and detailed. Characters move more than necessary, they leave footprints on rough, terrain, random bypassers move realistic. It’s almost as if you were in a Ghibli-movie without all the over-the-top fantasy-elements. And to top things: the fight-coordination is among the best I’ve seen, even though there are only four or five of them in the entire series.

And then the characters. Don’t expect any flat characters here, nearly all of them have complex motives that can’t be described in one or two lines, they can think like normal human beings and some of them are quite smart, development is realistic and yet, as the series nears its conclusion you really begin to feel sympathy for them.

The storyline also finally doesn’t want to create the worst-case scenario in the end. All the plot-twists in the series favour realism over sensation. This series knows how to build up a good base for it, and it doesn’t want to ruin this by excessive amounts of forced drama and plot twists like we saw taken to the extreme in Code Geass. The storyline becomes so incredibly solid because of this, and because it moves relatively slow, it makes sure to put enough time to flesh out both the plotline and the characters to an excellent degree, so that it’s able to finish with an excellent finale that doesn’t feel rushed in any way.

There’s one major problem with this series, though. It may have been a tad too long, and many of the middle episodes, while they serve as a way to flesh out the characters, they also border on filler, and the story doesn’t get anywhere for about seven or eight episodes. It’s series like this one that make you pity that series can’t pick the option to take on the length of 1,5 seasons, as this would have been perfect for this series.

The first half may feel a bit tedious because of this, but everything comes together in the end like a charm. The music also fits this series perfectly and easily deserves a place in my top-3 of best soundtracks of the season. If you like series with lots and LOTS of detail, you should definitely check out this series, though you need patience to be able to enjoy it.

25 Responses

  1. Saffire says:

    I agree that perhaps the show would be better paced if it were shorter, though I honestly even did enjoy most of the slower paced episodes that didn’t get the plot moving much of an inch. The only one I really “disliked” in a sense (it was really pretty, though) was episode 13.

    Thanks for blogging. ^_^

  2. shirokiryuu says:

    Thanks soo muich for blogging this show. ^__^ It satisfied my hunger while waiting for A-Kraze’s subs ;___;

  3. man3k says:

    yea, thanx too.. I really enjoyed this show since episode 3 if i remember correctly. People just can’t judge an anime by only the 1st episode after all. SnM in truly a one of the Best shows for Serious Anime Enthusiasts around.

    I’ll probably be bored after Anime-Kraze released their final subs on this. Heck, i’m going to get the DVD version too~ ^o^

  4. Wallace says:

    This anime probably has the best animation I’ve ever seen in anime(not counting movies).

    I liked almost everything, except for the middle episodes, even though they were good, they were almost fillers xD…

  5. Archer says:

    glad this anime was blogged here since it is one of my 5 favorite animes that were ongoing
    what can i say that has not been said,indeed the animation is superb but i did kind of expected this since we are talking about Production I.G and they are really good at what they do,the music also fits perfectly
    they used as material the first novel of the Guardian series and i think many find the middle episodes kind of unnecessary and boring because they are not in the novel,the director decided to expand that part a bit more,but even with that the anime remains a great one that i enjoyed from the first episode and the episodes that were all talk were kind of good to(i am used to much talking from ghost in the shell,another I.G great anime)
    anyway i think that some will love and some will find it boring but even so it remains a great anime and lets hope that IG’s next project Ghost Hound will be at least as good as seirei no moribito

  6. Laure says:

    Congradulations for writing the interesing and pertinent texts. Yes, SNM is one of great anime series. I am not at all disturbed by the slow of middle episodes. It isn’t a problem for me who love the slow rates of animes or of films.
    The graphism is really well worked.

    Again Bravo for your texts about this anime and series Mushishi and Claymore. I really like your critics remarks and your thoughts. Keep up on your super Blog even if I won’t read some critics about others animes. :)

  7. Chris says:

    Thanks to Archer’s comment, now I understand why Balsa reminded me of Motoko Kusanagi from GITS: SAC.

  8. centzon totochtin says:

    Heh, Balsa is much more badass than the Major..
    She doesn’t walk round in her pants all day either, although it does get a bit colder at nights and it is written by a woman, so makes sense really..
    that was an awesome series, they didn’t cop out with a cosy ending either so maybe a 2nd series will be in the running one day.. It seemed like there was a lot more to be explored like the parallel/spirit world etc.
    I just hope they do it justice when the english DVDs come out.

    There was such a great symmetry with her going off into the mountains in the end, just like the start. I want to go to those mountains. They pretty..

  9. tman says:

    wow… that was disappointing… ~sigh~ im surprised so many of y’all liked chagum. somewhere along the line i stopped caring about everything, but tanda and balsa’s relationship. i hate being crushed with disappointment. if anything seirei no moribito has numbed my thirst for great anime. how everything led up to them fighting gigantic squids… omg… saddest thing is that they show had so much potential, and moments of greatness. what happened to the philosophical themes about murder?? that did not even play into anything… i was hoping chagum would commit patricide, and contemplate on what it means to take a life. and for fucks sake i hate balsa for not even seeming to pay attention to the one person that has been there for her for 20 yrs. yet she knew chagum for what a year? yet tanda gets no love? ugh… this reminds me of how upset i was after bakumatsu.

    moribito: 7/10

    if u want to watch fantasy done well, fantasy as a masterpiece watch 12 kingdoms, 12 kingdoms puts moribito to shame. funny thing is that i wouldnt have been so mad if the first 3 eps werent so good. la lunga turns out to be gigantic squids… the highlight of the show?

    “if you cant see me as the cure, then there is not point waiting” every guy that has ever been in love knows exactly what tanda felt at that moment.

  10. JonDarkwood says:

    Since I just watched it over the course of three days, the cons you listed flew right by without even noticing. I guess that’s an up-side to watching through a series that is already completed!

  11. Z.A. says:

    my thoughts are as far as balsa and tanda go, they’re going to meet up eventually and it wont be a 2 year gap like before. we already know about how tanda feels, but the show definitely implied that balsa has feelings for tanda as well. although i have to say that the creators shouldve had balsa to be just a bit more open towards tanda so it doesnt leave tanda feeling like shit. there were a bit too many scenes with tanda and balsa where balsa left tanda feeling like shit.

  12. konnsky says:

    exactly as JonDarkwood pointed out, i have just watched the anime over the course of 3 days and have to agree with above comment. outstanding series throughout deeply immersing kept me entertainted to the very end and even after.. 10/10.

  13. nahrub says:

    that’s what happened when you too focus on what you liked to see, you fail to see the bigger picture. btw, it would be too emo if the prince commit patricide and then contemplate, not to mention barbaric. actually i think that your “stopped caring” made you missed out everything.
    and yeah, superb show, the visual especially. almost all things are moving; pedestrian and other things that are still in other anime. the studio really work hard.

  14. guest says:

    It’s funny you talk about the bigger picture, since Seirei fails to get the bigger picture. It always focus on the small pictures and the climax it produces at the end isn’t anything big or powerful, since it poorly developed relationships and plot events that really mattered. The show needs to learn how to incorporate those small moments into the overall big picture for it to be anything near epic. I too think this deserves 7/10.

  15. nahrub says:

    ??? don’t really get it… this is a 1/10 part of the story (so far). so yeah, the relationship maybe a bit underdeveloped (i don’t see it anyway, maybe i’m a bit blind?) coz most of the characters keep making appearance as the story goes on. and as far as “mattered plot events”, i always leave that for the director to decide. it’s his story after all, who are we to tell what it really should be about? and as for “small moments”, not everything can be put in an equation. sometimes, things just need to be left aside. imo

  16. guest says:

    Authors writes his story but when he finishes writing, it’s ultimately the reader’s story. I didn’t treat it as anything like an equation because how I see the story will be different from everyone else.
    Sometimes, you need to think about and judge things for yourselves. IMHO.

  17. Carebear says:

    I don’t understand why some people say Balsa has no love for Tanda. If you really cared about what was going on between the two, you would have been able to read between the lines and sense that Balsa actually does have lots of feelings for Tanda. But saving Chagum was more important at that time (remember what she said after Tanda’s confession in the hunter’s cave –> Don’t make me think about that in a time like this). And when Balsa was talking to Torogai about familiy, kids and staying in one place, she admitted that she often had the same dream and then looked over to Tanda & Chagum. If you didn’t get the meaning of that scene, you’re better off not focusing on love relations at all.

  18. Reverie says:

    I really enjoyed this series. I personally think the relationships were well established between the characters. It was especially moving for me at the end because Balsa and Chagum ideally established a “mother and child” relationship. The ending made me hope for a second season, for reasons similar to totochtin’s. — Then again, it’s probably just me and my “oh-please-don’t-end-yet” Syndrome. =p — The fights scenes were quite breathtaking and everything concerning the main “idea” of the series was addressed quite well in the end. — Of course, there’s a few loose ends in the relationship department but hey, life’s not that simple. ;D It’s probably wishful thinking but yea, I would not mind a second season. After all, being a bodyguard opens up a lot of options, in my opinion. —

  19. headachebaby says:

    Great anime and I love it. It’s one of my top 10 anime. I finally get to see it after a year it came out and I took 2 days to watch the whole serie. There wasn’t one episode I didn’t like and yes, this anime have substance. There’s nothing annoying about it. It has a great story line and the DETAILS were awesome. Such details in every little thing were touched on. I would have rated this anime more than 91/100. Thanks for blogging this!

  20. headachebaby says:

    Great anime and I love it. It’s one of my top 10 anime. I finally get to see it after a year it came out and I took 2 days to watch the whole serie. There wasn’t one episode I didn’t like and yes, this anime have substance. There’s nothing annoying about it. It has a great story line and the DETAILS were awesome. Such details in every little thing were touched on. I would have rated this anime more than 91/100. Thanks for blogging this!

  21. I do agree with the grading of seirei no moribito. Some people complained in the lack of action of the series, with only a graphically stunning spearfights, but I found the whole plot actually much more enjoyable. Especially the last episode actually, when the bird flies away and am I the only one who almost had his heart sank when hearing the nagi koi koi song? lol

  22. Z.N. Singer says:

    Interesting comment about being to pick to do one and half seasons. I have often reflected on this particular crippling limitation in anime storytelling. People often complain about fillers, but when you have your story time set like that, and it happens that you needed less, not more, time, I think even the best would find themselves resorting to it occasionally, however much effort they might put into making them solid and entertaining. Having so little control over amount of time in which you tell your story…I don’t know how they do it. But it gives me a new perspective on my own freedom, as a writer, to tell things at exactly the pace I please.

  23. Soaringhawk says:

    Like many have said, the relationship between the characters really impacted the success of the series. Whenever they appeared, the fights were amazing to watch, but the quietness is what really stood out. I feel that your grade is pretty just.

  24. Tanz says:




    But in all seriousness, as what psgels said – it favors realism over sensation and /that is what makes this a mature, very heart-wrenching series/.

  25. Starss says:

    What a stunning anime. Once I realised it wasn’t going to turn into a big fantasy/adventure show I settled back to enjoy all the details and depth put into the characters and it was so worth it. It was far too addictive even during all the character episodes I skipped not a single OP or ED and couldn’t stop watching. I finished it in 3 days and got some time to think about and appreciate the fine storytelling.

    Apart from all the action episodes, my favourite part was the blacksmith episode with that delicately prompted story. Balsa is such a beautiful woman, where her strength, spirit, will and ideals make her so, that I really loved the idea of that “ultimate weapon” and also despaired a little that it might be used as a plot point that people’s karma’s might be cut from her life.

    Definitely a series that deserves lots of praise!

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:23 AM)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, even tho it was his highest grossing movie it managed to brought his career to a stand-still. His next film Gods of Egypt looks like it could be fun, albeit it’s just as much as a CGIfest as I, Robot. Egyptian stuff is admittedly rather intriguing, I remember a 2004 French film Immortel ad vitam that blended that with modern themes that became popular for a while.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    *remove second and
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    @Bam: Regarding dark city, such a shame the director of that followed up dark city and the crow and with Irobot.

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