Characters from the Moribito series and its adaptations.
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Voiced in Japanese by: Jun Karasawa (radio), Tamaki Oka (radio, young), Mabuki Andō (anime)
Voiced in English by: Cindy Robinson (anime)
Portrayed by: Haruka Ayase, Kaya Kiyohara (young), Naho Yokomizo (young)
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritThe main protagonist of the novel series and a wandering spearwoman from Kanbal.
- Action Girl: She is a wandering spearwoman who works as a bodyguard for hire to save eight lives in exchange for the eight lives her mentor killed in her defense.
- The Atoner: She works as a bodyguard to save eight lives in exchange for the eight lives her mentor killed in her defense. In the anime, she has added the additional caveat not to kill anyone in the course of her quest, after her lifelong friend, Tanda, pointed out that killing people to save people is an oxymoron.
- Badass Normal: Some of her opponents use magic, she never does.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: In the anime, she receives some serious injuries during the anime, but none of them leave visible scars. We can assume she must have a nasty one on her stomach, but her clothes are rather modest and only show her arms and face, which remain untarnished.
- Blade on a Stick: She uses the superior reach offered by a spear, allowing her to attack her opponents without killing using the blunt end.
- Blood Knight: In the novels, it is stated that Balsa is painfully aware that her love for fighting and guilt are two of the reasons she probably will never change her current lifestyle. It's even more apparent in Wanderers about her early teenage days.
- Boobs of Steel: In the anime. Not terribly obvious when she's in a kimono and using a Sarashi, but Balsa has large breasts. This is obvious when she's wearing her normal clothes.
- Combat Pragmatist: In the anime, in times of desperation, Balsa will start brawling and fight dirty and does whatever it takes to ensure Chagum's survival. She's fine if she has her spear with her, but if she loses that, you better prepare to have your eye socket crushed in by a rock.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her father who was Royal Physician at that time had his best friend Jiguro take his six-year-old daughter and escape their homeland, because he was blackmailed by Prince Rogsam, who wanted to become the next king of Kanbal, into poisoning the King. If he hadn't had done that, Balsa would have been long dead.
- Experienced Protagonist: She is already a pretty renowned bodyguard by the start of the story, which is part of why the Empress asks her to protect Chagum after she saved him from drowning. Her deceased master, Jiguro, began teaching her at age 12. By the time she was 16, Balsa could already fight better than the men in their area and spent the next twelve years honing those skills.
- Failure Knight: She agrees to protect Prince Chagum despite the danger (and the attempted trickery) because she feels she has to atone for the eight lives her mentor killed in her defense; furthermore Chagum is also a Replacement Goldfish for herself, as he is in pretty much the same situation she was in as a child.
- Famed in Story: As she later discovers, despite never having her most heroic deeds officially recognized, she becomes world-famous thanks to certain Wandering Minstrel...
- Friend to All Children: She kickstarts the entire story by becoming the bodyguard of Chagum, a young boy. She swiftly becomes a major Mama Bear to him, as well as a Parental Substitute. Additionally, she met Toya and Saya when she saved them from a group of thugs. Toya seems to regard her as an elder sister, and states that he would willingly "go through fire and water for her."
- Genius Bruiser: She is highly intelligent as well as a capable warrior.
- Guile Hero: She puts her intelligence to good use when outnumbered.
- Heroic Vow: She has vowed to save eight lives in exchange for the eight lives her mentor killed in her defense. In the anime, when her childhood friend and healer, Tanda, called her out on how many lives she was taking in her efforts to accomplish that goal, she further swore never to kill.
- Lady of War: She's able to read the situation and assess the battle, uses a spear as her weapon, prefers to fight her opponents honorably (even if they don't), looks quite graceful while doing it. But she's always mindful to spare her opponents' lives in the anime.
- Little Miss Badass: Even as a child, she was really good with a spear.
- Mama Bear: Don't even try to hurt the children she's protecting.
- Married to the Job: She always puts her job as a bodyguard first, making her unable to fully commit to Tanda.
- Martial Pacifist: In the anime, she's sworn an oath never to take a life and has a near-Heroic BSoD on one occasion where she thought she'd violated it.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Balsa is a veteran Action Girl and The Stoic. Her childhood friend, Tanda, is a gentle House Husband who honed his healing skills by patching up her wounds over the course of 20 years.
- Nerves of Steel: She almost single-handedly, really quickly and without hesitation amputates Tanda's hand to save his life.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: Her 'relationship' with Tanda. Or so we thought.
- Not So Stoic: There are a few occasions when her stoic facade crumbles quickly.
- Outdoorsy Gal: As a child, she really liked climbing trees, etc.
- Parental Abandonment: She lost her mother to illness at five and her father to Prince Rogsam's plot at six.
- Parental Substitute: She pulls double duty as guardian figure and bodyguard to Prince Chagum, after being hired to protect him. At one point in the anime, she even gives him a knife, a symbolic tradition of coming of age in her home country. Earlier in the anime, Tanda even points out that her vow to protect Chagum until he's safe means that for all intents and purposes she has become the boy's mother.
- Redemption Quest: She works as a bodyguard to save eight lives in exchange for the eight lives her mentor killed in her defense. In the anime, she has added the additional caveat not to kill anyone in the course of her quest, after her lifelong friend, Tanda, pointed out that killing people to save people is an oxymoron.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When she was a teenager, her primary motivation was desire for revenge and hate directed at Prince Rogsam for making her childhood living nightmare. She really wanted to kill him, but he died before she could do it.
- She Knows Too Much: In Guardian of the Darkness, Yuguro tries to have her killed because she knows the truth about his past where he supposedly killed Jiguro and retrieved the rings of the King's Spears.
- Slave Liberation: In the anime, she spends all of the Second Queen's gold to liberate the slaves owned by the Blue Hand. This frees them and creates a diversion from the manhunt.
- Technical Pacifist: In the anime, she is not above wrestling people into submission, knocking the wind out of them, simply pummeling them senseless with the blunt end of her spear, or smashing someone's face in with a rock. However, she has sworn an oath never to take a human life and never deals fatal wounds or fights to kill — in one case she's forced to do so, she goes into a Heroic BSoD after the battle (though she later learns her opponent survived).
- These Hands Have Killed: She doesn't use the phrase directly, but her entire life so far has been about saving lives because she feels responsible for her foster father having to kill eight men (his own best friends, who were all members of a king's Praetorian Guard, to boot) to keep her alive.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: In the anime, she refuses to take a life, no matter the circumstances.
- Time-Shifted Actor:
- In the radio drama, she is voiced by Jun Karasawa as an adult and by Tamaki Oka as a child.
- In the live-action drama, she is played by Haruka Ayase as an adult and by Kaya Kiyohara and Naho Yokomizo as a young child.
Voiced in Japanese by: Shōtarō Ōkubo (radio), Naoto Adachi (anime)
Voiced in English by: Mona Marshall (anime)
Portrayed by: Kai Kobayashi (Guardian of the Spirit), Mizuki Itagaki (The Anguish of the Destroyers and Balsa's Fate)
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritThe second prince of New Yogo, protected by Balsa at the request of the Second Queen.
- 100% Adoration Rating: In the anime, the people of Yogo love him, and for good reason. He's a good prince.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: In the anime, after having a form of gambling explained to him for the first time, he not only very quickly works out the odds involved, but also how the con-men running the game are rigging it. He ends up driving them out of business by winning everybody's money back, using the con artists' own tricks against them.
- Demonic Possession: Subverted. The Mikado wants Chagum dead in the belief that the water demon possessing the boy will cause a drought. In reality, Chagum carries the egg of Nyunga Ro Im, a benevolent water spirit cherished by the native Yakoo people.
- Distressed Dude: In Traveler of the Indigo Road, a pirate ship takes him to the Southern Continent after a Talsh spy kidnaps him.
- Elemental Eye Colours: He carries the egg of Nyunga Ro Im, a benevolent water spirit. In the anime, he also has a noble, innocent personality typical of blue eyes.
- Faking the Dead: In Traveler of the Indigo Road, Chagum fakes his own suicide to escape from the grasp of a Talsh prince. Later, he travels to Lota and Kanbal to forge an alliance between the two kingdoms in order to stop Talsh from invading the rest of the Northern Continent.
- Family Honor: Chagum believes in this to the extent that he ends up making a bet to eat slugs if he loses what amounts to a wrestling match and disobeying Balsa to defend it in episode 12.
- Fish out of Water: He has to flee the palace under the protection of Balsa because his father is trying to kill him in the belief that he is possessed by the legendary water demon who once brought a terrible drought. Going from a life of luxury to being on the run is a bit of a harsh transition for him, though he adapts well later on.
- Friend to All Living Things: In the anime, whether a baby bird or a frog, he cares about them all. This ends up saving his life as the very baby bird he and his brother took care of ended up saving the egg of Nyunga Ro Im.
- Important Haircut: His long hair is cut short by Saya to help disguise him in episode 6.
- Mister Seahorse: The egg of Nyunga Ro Im is inside of him and waiting to hatch. However, doing so has Rarunga chase and trying to kill him.
- Noble Fugitive: He's on the run with Balsa because his father wants to kill him to avoid what they perceive to be a greater tragedy.
- Non-Action Guy: He's a prince with no combat training who serves as the Living MacGuffin in Guardian of the Spirit. Balsa gives him a little training while he's in her care, though.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: In the anime, he didn't even know that people had to spend money to own shelter, a fact that deeply shamed him considering how much Balsa spent to ensure they could get away.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Later in the novels, Chagum embarks on a dangerous journey alone to stop the Talsh empire of the southern continent from invading New Yogo, Kanbal, and Lota.
- Screw Destiny: As the Guardian of the Water Spirit, Chagum will be pursued by Rarunga, which seeks to devour the egg of Nyunga Ron Im within him as it hatches by tearing him apart. Everyone seeks to avoid this fate. They succeed.
- Significant Wardrobe Shift: In episode 24, upon reaching 12 years of age, he changes the child-sized peasant kimono he had been wearing for new clothing more fit for the prince he is - in more than one way, as it includes a Yogo kimono over a Yakoo tunic (the two peoples of his kingdom), with a Kanbal style sash (like Balsa's).
- Spare to the Throne: In the anime, he apparently received schooling because his older brother, Sagum, suffers from a Soap Opera Disease, and becomes the heir apparent after his brother succumbs to it. In either case, he is remarkably calm (although clearly not too pleased) about it.
- Tired of Running: Chagum eventually states this in episode 19, having been forced to flee the life he had grown accustomed to twice and knowing he'll be pursued by Ra Runga.
- Took a Level in Badass: During episode 23 and onwards, Chagum becomes an Empowered Badass Normal, capable of leaping through trees with inhuman ease, resisting the cold, and running on water while in possession of the Water Spirit.
Voiced in Japanese by: Kenzō (radio), Kouji Tsujitani (anime)
Voiced in English by: Peter Doyle
Portrayed by: Masahiro Higashide, Kirato Wakayama (young)
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritA magic weaver and Balsa's childhood friend, who is awaiting her return.
- An Arm and a Leg: In Guardian of Heaven and Earth, after the battle with Talsh forces, Tanda is heavily wounded and Balsa has to amputate his arm to save his life.
- Identical Grandson: In the anime, Tanda resembles his grandfather according to the villagers of Toma.
- Inept Mage: Torogai mentions that he doesn't have an ounce of talent when it comes to magic weaving, but he's excellent at treating injuries.
- I Will Wait for You: He has been waiting for Balsa to finish saving eight people so he can settle down and marry her, then he has to end up waiting a little longer. He indicates his impatience in a typically reserved, Tanda-like manner, but he can't bring himself to marry another, even though there seem to be eligible women who would be happy to settle down with him.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Balsa is a veteran Action Girl and The Stoic. Her childhood friend, Tanda, is a gentle House Husband who honed his healing skills by patching up her wounds over the course of 20 years.
- Nice Guy: The first thing he does upon finding a child nearly drowning by his home is to invite him into his hut to warm up.
- Non-Action Guy: He makes up for his lack of combat skills by being The Medic for Balsa.
- Time-Shifted Actor: In the live-action drama, he is portrayed by Masahiro Higashide as an adult and by Kirato Wakayama as a young boy.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the anime, Tanda is the first to land a blow on the Egg Eater because he noticed the flowers allowed them to interact with them.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In Balsa's backstory in the anime, he called Balsa out over how many people she was killing and asking if saving eight lives could have any meaning if she killed so many more in the process. Balsa, as we see, took it very much to heart.
Voiced in Japanese by: Misako Watanabe (radio), Ako Mayama (anime)
Voiced in English by: Barbara Goodson (anime)
Portrayed by: Reiko Takashima
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritA Yakoo magic weaver who learns of the egg within Chagum and is familiar with Balsa and Tanda.
- The Beast Master: In the anime, she's tamed a wolf at least three times her size.
- Cool Old Lady: She's definitely not young, but she's someone not to mess with.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Torogai is either the shortest or second shortest amongst all the characters in the anime.
- Never Mess with Granny: In episode 4, she dispatches two Hounds with ease. In episode 20, she gets them all to back down from harming the Yakoo.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: She doesn't care who you are. She will get to the point and talk brash about whatever it is she needs to.
- Self-Duplication: She can create mud dolls of herself through magic weaving.
Kingdom of New Yogo
Voiced in Japanese by: Atsushi Ono (anime)
Portrayed by: Tatsuya Fujiwara
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritThe current ruler of New Yogo and the father of Sagum, Chagum, Mishuna, and Tugum.
The Second Queen
Voiced in Japanese by: Tomoko Saitō (radio), Emi Shinohara (anime)
Voiced in English by: Tara Platt (anime)
Portrayed by: Fumino Kimura
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritThe mother of Chagum.
- Take Care of the Kids: When she suspects that her husband is trying to kill their son, Chagum, she tasks Balsa, who happened to stop the most recent assassination attempt, to run away with him and keep him safe.
Portrayed by: Kōnosuke Takahashi
Debut: Traveler of the VoidThe third son of the Mikado by the Third Queen.
- Posthumous Sibling: He was born to the Mikado after the death of his oldest son, Sagum.
- Practically Different Generations: Traveler of the Indigo Road reveals that Tugum is three while his surviving half-brother, Chagum, is fifteen. Their deceased half-brother, Sagum, would have been seventeen if he'd survived the ending of Guardian of the Spirit.
- Related Differently in the Adaptation: In the live-action drama, he's the third son of the Mikado by the Second Queen rather than by the Third Queen, making him full brothers with Chagum.
Voiced in Japanese by: Yūsei Oda (radio), Hirofumi Nojima (anime)
Voiced in English by: Steve Staley (anime, credited as Steve Cannon)
Portrayed by: Kento Hayashi
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritA young Star Reader, who seeks the truth about the water demon of the founding myth.
- Astrologer: He can predict events through the use of the stars.
- Manly Tears: In the anime, he cries upon believing that Chagum has been killed and he could do nothing to stop it. And later on when Sagum dies.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: In the anime, Shuga never got to tell Sagum his brother was alive because he wanted to find proof. Sagum died just after he left to do so.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's the only Star Reader who suggests working with the Yakoo and is doing his best to help everyone come out alive.
Toya and Saya
Toya voiced in Japanese by: Sota Murakami (radio), Mayumi Asano (anime)
Saya voiced in Japanese by: Ryō Hirohashi (anime)
Toya voiced in English by: Yuri Lowenthal (anime)
Saya voiced in English by: Erika Lenhart (anime)
Portrayed by: Seishirō Kato (Toya), Riana Saijima (Saya)
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritA pair of orphans that are friends with Balsa and Tanda.
- The Ace: In the anime, Toya mentions Saya is pretty good at everything she sets her mind to.
- Arranged Marriage: In the anime, Toya mentions that Saya is so impressive that she's getting marriage proposals. It's Played for Drama when one of the families pressures Saya into agreeing to one of the proposals, leading to the Astral Projection incident. It's called off afterward.
- Astral Projection: In the anime, Saya drinks a wine steeped in a flower that sends her soul to Nayugu. She's stuck outside of her body until Tanda retrieves her.
- Do You Want to Haggle?: Toya explains that being able to haggle is a skill Chagum needs and demonstrates.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Toya was prepared to make one in episode 17 by setting fire to the watermill to warn Balsa off and then be tortured, but one of the emperor's men got them to drop it and told him to value his own life more.
- Living Emotional Crutch: In the anime, Toya can't do anything if Saya isn't around for him. Likewise, she has a crush on him, and being arranged into a marriage to someone else leaves her unable to return her soul to her body.
- Made a Slave: In the anime, some slavers tried to take Saya to enslave her, but Balsa saved them.
- Not Blood Siblings: Toya considers Saya his sister even though they aren't related by blood. They get married late in the novels.
- Young Entrepreneur: Toya acts as an errand boy and then gets his own shop by episode 16.
Kingdom of Kanbal
Portrayed by: Shidō Nakamura II
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritThe previous king of Kanbal and the younger brother of Naguru.
- Cain and Abel: Downplayed. He ordered Karuna to poison his brother, Naguru, for the throne of Kanbal.
- The Evil Prince: He blackmailed Karuna into poisoning his brother, Naguru, for the throne of Kanbal.
- Spared by the Adaptation: He's alive and well in the live-action drama, a major departure from the source material since Balsa becomes a wanted criminal trying to assassinate him.
- The Usurper: He blackmailed Karuna into poisoning his brother, Naguru, for the throne of Kanbal.
Voiced in Japanese by: Yoshi Sakō (radio), Rintarō Nishi (anime)
Voiced in English by: Kyle Hebert (anime)
Portrayed by: Kōji Kikkawa
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritThe foster father of Balsa and one of the past King's Spears.
- Blade on a Stick: He was the best spear wielder of Kanbal.
- Long-Dead Badass: He trained Balsa in her youth and defeated a dozen of fellow spear-wielders over the years, several at once. The only thing that killed him is an illness, a few years prior to the main story.
- Parental Substitute: He raised Balsa as his own since he left Kanbal with her for her safety.
- Stay in the Kitchen: He initially refused to train Balsa, saying women lacked the muscles to fight. In truth, however, it's more because he didn't want her to live a life of bloodshed, and he eventually began to train her.
Kassa and Gina
Kassa voiced in Japanese by: Kensho Ono (radio)
Gina voiced in Japanese by: Yume Miyamoto (radio)
Debut: Guardian of the DarknessThe nephew and niece of Jiguro through his sister, Leena.
Voiced in Japanese by: Norio Matsui (radio)
Portrayed by: Ikkei Watanabe
Debut: Guardian of the DarknessThe older brother of Jiguro and Yuguro and the father of Kahm.
Voiced in Japanese by: Daisuke Ryū (radio)
Debut: Guardian of the DarknessThe main antagonist of Guardian of the Darkness. One of the current King's Spears and the treacherous younger brother of Jiguro.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Despite acting nice towards his family, Yuguro betrayed one of his brothers for an offer of prestige by Rogsam, the same usurper who framed Jiguro for treason to feed his lust for power, despises one of his nephews for being like Jiguro in personality, attempts to kill another for getting in the way of his ambition for eternal prestige, and, in the climax of the novel, has the gall to blame Jiguro for turning him into an outcast by escaping with "someone else's daughter."
- Consummate Liar: He's known how to deceive people since his childhood.
- Empty Shell: He loses his mind after the Giving Ceremony, which is a fitting end for him as it renders him no longer capable of deceiving and manipulating people.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He doesn't understand selflessness, compassion, or love, considering his deceased brother, Jiguro, a pathetic fool for sacrificing everything he had — his family, his friends, and his prestige — for young Balsa, who, in his words, was "someone else's daughter."
- It's All About Me: In the climax of Guardian of the Darkness, he rants about how Jiguro turned him into an outcast by escaping with "someone else's daughter," ignoring that Rogsam was at fault for turning his entire clan into outcasts by framing Jiguro for treason.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He plans to overthrow the Mountain King and gain free access to luisha against tradition, which would enrich the poor people of Kanbal. He actually cares more about achieving eternal glory for himself than the lives of his people, including his family and followers.
Portrayed by: Kenji Furuya
Debut: Guardian of the DarknessThe son of Kaguro.
Voiced in Japanese by: Akihiko Ishizumi (radio), Keiji Fujiwara (anime)
Voiced in English by: Patrick Seitz (anime)
Portrayed by: Yūsuke Kamiji
Debut: Guardian of the SpiritBalsa's father.
- Take Care of the Kids: He told his old friend, Jiguro, to take care of his young daughter, Balsa.