Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anime: Mononoke (モノノ怪)

A highly stylistic 2007 anime, Mononoke chronicles the supernatural encounters of a medicine seller. His ability to exorcise demons is dependent upon the discovery of spirit's shape (Katachi), truth (Makoto) and reasoning (Kotowari). This brilliant production gets 8.5/10 rating for a wonderful tapestry of techniques, storyline and animation.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Anime: Seirei No Moribito 精霊の守り人

Seirei no Moribito (Moribito: Guardian of The Spirit 精霊の守り人) is a wonderful discovery for anime lovers. The 2007 anime chronicles the adventures of Balsa (a spearwoman/warrior) and a young prince, Chagum. Full of substance, Seirei falls into a mixed genre: feudal (historical) - fantasy - action - martial arts.

The character development has a moderate undertone similar to Howl's moving castle. However, the length of drama allows more opportunity to display more depths and variations. I can find no fault in the characters and yet, they are rendered with flaws. Most of the characters wear a clock of melancholy, silent desperation to survive and to reconcile with their past and destinies. But despair not, the wonderful scenery and detailed artwork would provide some distraction from the gloom.

The unlikely pairing of Balsa and Chagum is the highlight of the epic. Never too melodramatic, it still induces sympathy and pride in the way the characters deliver each meaning and intention eloquently, both in gestures and in words. At one point, the star diviner, Shoga's character portrays some inconsistencies but his persistence makes up for them. Tanda is one character that you would definitely root for and the rest of the supporting casts are given adequate attention and detail to make this whole series worth watching.

Contrary to the dark and tragic ending of many Japanese movies/mangas/animes, Seirei renders an atypical hopeful saga of different cultures and people growing amidst struggles and sacrifices. The divine execution and manipulative antics of the opposing unseen powers are conveyed with a high sense of surrealism and revelations. The fight sequences, actions and movements are choreographed and animated with fluidity rarely seen.

Another wonderful discovery is the beautiful soundtrack. The OST is almost on par with some of the Ghibli productions featuring beautiful classical, folk and instrumental pieces such as Kizuna, Daichiyo, Mizu No Tami, Tanomareya and Michishirube by Kawai Kenji. Overall 9/10.