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.