The cover of the first DVD compilation released by Geneon Entertainment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I finally finished Moribito on the “new” web-only Neon Alley, powered by Hulu, having started the series on the “old” Neon Alley which I subscribed to via my PS3. I lamentably did not finish the series while Neon Alley was on PS3, though
I did get pretty far in. I eventually failed to keep up because I got interested in other shows, and the pacing of Moribito is just so intolerably slow, and the addition of unskippable Hulu advertising only drags it out further. Luckily I used the advertising
time to go take a urination break, or take to Twitter via my iPad, or play Words With Friends or Bookworm. Sometimes I actually paid attention to the ads, as they were sometimes moderately entertaining.
Set in a fantasy version of an Asian landscape resembling both feudal Japan and ancient China, Moribito is the tale of a spear-wielding mercenary woman named Balsa who is hired by the wife of the Mikado to protect her youngest son Chagum,
who is second in line for succession to the throne. Unfortunately for Chagum, he has been possessed by a water spirit “egg” and is saddled with a terrible destiny and may very well have to die so the water spirit can be born. The Mikado blames Chagum for
the ill fortune besetting the kingdom and secretly orders the young prince to be killed. His mother cannot bear this and thus orders Balsa to take the young prince and flee the palace. Chagum may have to live like a commoner for the rest of his days, but
at least he will live.
Balsa proves to be a highly competent body guard but also slowly develops maternal instincts for the boy. Chagum learns what real life is like outside the palace walls and learns to mix and mingle with the common people, to understand
their daily suffering and challenges, and applies his education and learning to their problems, developing his own wisdom. Meanwhile, the spirit egg inside the boy grows ever more restless, and he is propelled along the path of destiny, waving between the
human and spirit realms.
Balsa has many friends among the common people and they come to her aid time and again. We do not learn fully her back story until near the final arc of the series, where we see that her own early life story bears uncanny resemblance to
the life on the run that Chagum has endured, only now the roles are reversed.
I found myself uneasy right down to the last episode. There is a pleasing payoff, but one has to earn it. This is a good, solid series but it is also what I call a “one and done” series. I do not forsee a need to revisit or rewatch this
show ever again.