Where to begin? While there is no such thing as a perfect story, Guardian (Moribito) comes so close that the distinction isn't worth mentioning. It takes, what could have been, stereotypical characters and situations and uses them in a way that's full of depth, emotion, and originality. Even those who are not Anime fans can still watch this, become engrossed, and come away feeling like it was a worthwhile endeavor. It's best viewed on a large screen with high resolution for several reasons: first, there are minute details that will be missed (like the two tears that fall from Tanda's face during the funeral scene); and second because watching lush and beautiful scenery on a tiny screen is almost unpardonable. While there are those who have very strong opinions about dub and sub options, I believe this series should be viewed with the original Japanese language and subtitles. Given that the English dubbing isn't horrible (as in many cases), you still miss quite a bit of nuance and inflection used by the Japanese voice actors that simple doesn't exist in the dubbed version. Also, there's Balsa's voice... you'd be hard pressed to find an English speaking actor who can reproduce her deep and resonant tonal quality while retaining a feminine feel. I've always believed that good storytelling was about causing the reader or viewer to become so engrossed that they actually develop concern for the character(s). Guardian does this so well that before you realize what's happened, you're sitting on the edge of your seat, shouting at the screen. In every respect, this story is what visual entertainment should be at it best. Thus far I've watched this series from beginning to end not fewer than three times and it remains fresh and entertaining even now.
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