I just watched the series Moribito. It’s a 26 episode anime on 8 disks. Each episode lasts 25 minutes less if you skip the opening and closing. IMO this is easily worth 5/5 stars as it is simply an outstanding series.
The story is excellent showing signs of being adapted from a novel because of its richness and characterization. While some may complain at the slow pace I felt that the story moved along quite well with only a couple exceptions. There were a few filler episodes only two of which I found annoying. Otherwise all the rest of the episodes do something to advance the story in either an interesting or exciting way.
The nice thing about the story is the way it flows. No crazy plots twists (some twists just not double jointed) caused by characters behaving stupidly. All the characters are smart, well written and well acted. As if a great story and set of characters isn’t enough how about they add in fantastic animation and great sound.
I haven’t seen every fantasy anime made but this has to rank as one of the best ever animated. Panoramic shots look beautiful. Most fight scenes are fluidly animated and look like real people are fighting. Attention to detail abounds in almost every scene. Backgrounds are animated with grass, trees or snow blowing, and fires flickering. People in the background are really doing things. Not only are all the main characters very distinctive but so are most of the background ones. Not to mention it’s in a 1.78:1 ratio.
Lagging only slightly behind the PQ is the SQ. Though Netflix says it’s in Dolby 2.0 it’s actually in 5.1 for both Japanese and English. Not much in the LFE department but the surround sound is very well done. Both ambient and directional sound effects are constantly being used to complement the scenes w/o being distracting.
This anime is not going to be for those who want non-stop action. There’s a lot of scenes with just dialogue but since most of it is significant to the stories progression and well written/acted it stays engaging . Really the best way to think of this series is as an animated novel.
Highly recommended for anyone wanting a “real” story with “real” people that both looks and sounds great. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/moribito-guardian-of-the-spirit/dvd-1