Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Review

moribitoStory:
Balsa is a bodyguard for hire, but in all her travels she has never been tasked with a more challenging ward than Prince Chagum, a sweet and caring child with the misfortune of housing a water spirit’s egg, a thing the royal house will not allow to live. Fearful for her son, the empress hires Balsa to keep him safe but her skills alone may not be enough against the entire royal house’s army…

Violence:
This show doesn’t use violence for shock value, however there is a lot of it considering the set up. Expect cuts, blood and death. It’s tastefully done, but definitely a show deserving it’s TV14 rating.
Side warning: At one point, the prince learns how to kill and skin wild animals to eat during winter. Again, it’s not focused on for long, but seeing animals being gutted can be extremely disturbing for some, regardless of how short the scene is. Be well warned.

Language:
Some b-words and d-mns are the worst, but they are rare things.

Nudity:
We don’t get any of this besides a scene of Balsa being shirtless while her wounds are tended to. It’s not sexual at all and the screen keeps to her face. Is it sad how happy that made me? Probably, but honestly I loved how clean this show was in this sector.

Theology/mythology:
This is probably going to be the determining sector for a few people. This story’s world has it’s own folklore, religions and customs. This makes the story incredibly believable and rich, but it also means the idea of the afterlife, magic and monsters can’t be ignored. These are active parts of the story and if anything like that bothers you, skip this title.

Personal impression:
This show was amazing. Easily the best show I’ve watched in a long time. The world is vivid and has a rich history of its own. Despite how much background needs to be revealed it’s never done in the dreaded info-dumping manor. Instead, it comes about naturally or through conversation. I never felt as if the information being given was forced in any way.
The characters are also unique and their development is slow at times, but very deliberate. There’s no point in which I felt their arcs were wondering aimlessly. The lead Balsa is especially amazing to watch. She’s a strong woman but is not treated the way most “strong women” are in anime. She gets a mixed bag of opponents, some which see her for her skill and some of which only see her gender, but the series, and her character, take this in stride. I never felt as if the show was pushing any agenda. Things in that world simply were and the characters dealt with it as best they could.
The music and art are also exceptionally good, as expected from a Production I.G. work. But still I felt as if this show’s art was especially so. The movement was amazing. Balsa’s weapon of choice is a spear and her movements in combat with it are beautiful to watch. Even soft scenes of nature are skillfully rendered, from dragonflies in the air to frogs leaping around in a rice paddy farm. The fact that this level of art remains consistent for twenty-six episodes is… well, let’s just say that it’s rare enough to see mediocre shows keep up these days.
If I had to find a flaw in this show it would be one arc in which, for around five to six episodes, there is a massive communication failure between leads. For no reason. It’s actually pretty obvious the creators wanted to make a plot reveal later more dramatic, but it’s very frustrating to watch as both characters are walking side by side for DAYS without discussing things they would normally be discussing. It’s a break from an otherwise very well written script and that makes it stand out all the more as a bad chunk. Thankfully it does get resolved eventually and the excellent scripting from before kicks back into place.
Overall this show is amazing and a very high recommend from me. My only regret is that I didn’t see this show sooner.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 26
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, adventure, action., drama
Company: Production I.G.
Production: Media Blasters
Official streaming: Yahoo View

Advertisements

Ramen Fighter Miki Review

Story:
Miki works with her mother in their family ramen shop. Well, she attempts to work anyway. As it turns out, Miki is often distracted from her job by various other things, from playing baseball with the neighborhood kids to fighting Megumi, the bakery shop daughter across the street. While she obviously can’t deliver ramen in any orderly fashion, Miki can’t be docked points for fighting spirit. In fact, she has a bit too much of that.

Violence:
This show has a lot of violence. In fact, about 80% of this show is fighting, though often in a very over-the-top manor. There is blood on occasion, though it’s not in large amounts. Limbs get twisted wrong, bones break and bruises are pretty common place as well. Although the ridiculousness of these fights is for comedy’s sake, it’s still not PG material.

Language:
The worst language in this show is the “illegitimate-son-word.” Unfortunately this word is used pretty often in the heat of battle.

Nudity:
There’s no nudity in this show, wonderfully.

Theology/Mythology:
One character, a school teacher, looks very creepy and is often referred to by frightened people as a ghost or “vengeful spirit.” She isn’t one, of course.

Personal Impression:
This show is not at all to be taken seriously. It’s comedy, though not in the typical style of comedy. Ramen Fighter Miki is pretty much a parody of fighting shows and thus a lot of its laughs come from over-the-top fighting moves and ridiculous dialog. For those that have seen a great deal of fighting anime, these joke are hilarious. However, it’s not the kind of funny that everyone can get into. And for people looking for pure comedy, the jokes might seem weak. And for those looking for epic battles, this isn’t the place they can be found. And for those looking for good story telling and well built characters… Let’s just say this show plum forgot such things existed.
Overall this show is a good (though short) show to watch for fun. Especially if you’ve seen a lot of fighting anime and have wondered how seriously people take some of the cheesiness involved. But if parody comedy isn’t your thing, than Ramen Fighter Miki might leave you with just a raised eyebrow or two.

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub only
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fighting, comedy
Website: N/A
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screen shots:
   

Streaming Pick of the Month: Ramen Fighter Miki!

Do you like crazy fighting and really don’t care about a coherent story? Congratz! This anime was made for you! Miki is the daughter of a Ramen shop owner and takes her job about as seriously as she takes her fighting, which is sporadic and over-the-top at all times. Her constant rival, bakery shop owner Megumi, is more than happy to fight her regardless of working hours and the two of them duke it out day after day, involving anyone that comes by in their battles. Aside from basic Common Sense, of course.

This 12 episode series is currently licensed by Media Blasters and is available via Crunchyroll for free viewing.  Click here to start watching!

Note: Streaming shows are not always available for free viewing. Be sure to watch the shows of your choice before they’re gone!