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BEDA Day 17 – Moribito I: Guardian of the Spirits

April 17, 2009

Ya know, I am damn glad Scholastic got this novel. :]

Moribito 1: Guardian of the SpiritMoribito: Guardian of the Spirits
by: Nahoko Uehashi
published by: Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine Books imprint)
Summary: Above all, before everything, Balsa is a fighter. She protects children and adults, the rich and the poor, in a quest to redeem eight lives lost for her sake. She is a master of the short spear and expert in the martial arts, dazzling even her opponents with her fearlessness in combat.
And she will need every one of her skills in her latest job: guarding the Second Prince, Chagum. For the prince is the Moribito – the Guardian of the Sprit – chosen to deliver the egg of the water spirit to its home in the distant sea. If he fails, a drought will devastate the land of New Yogo. But as Balsa and Chagum travel across the country, learning more about the spirit and the secret history of the empire, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster: Rarunga…and the prince’s own father. (from Scholastic)


Like I said, I’m damn glad Scholastic got this novel. They have the money and power to make this do at least fairly well. And it means that the translation and production value is exceptionally high! For example, I haven’t seen paper this high quality in a really long  time, and that’s including all the regular English novels (and all my textbooks D: ) I’ve read lately. For some reason, Scholastic decided to print the whole novel in blue ink; while this may sound really strange, it works surprisingly well as it’s a darker blue and not too far off from the normal black ink. I was really shocked when I first opened the novel, but got used to it really quickly.

The lists of characters and places and names at the back of the novel was incredibly useful, especially at the beginning of the novel, when I was just getting used to the characters and places. For someone much younger than me (or less used to Japanese names), it would probably be even more helpful. The only thing I think would help is if the lists were at the beginning of the novel; they work well enough at the end of the novel, but there’s always the chance you’ll accidentally ruin the ending for yourself if you flip to the back, but not far enough to get to the lists.

I really enjoyed reading the author’s note at the end also. It’s always nice to see how excited authors are that their works are going to be published in other languages, and it’s especially nice when the author’s notes are written especially for the English edition of the novel. ;]

The volume is hardback (there is a paperback version available for 8.99, but the hardback is only 12.23 on amazon so why not pay the extra 3-ish dollars?), which is super nice. The cover is also fantastic; though it appears that they didn’t use the original Japanese cover, I really like this one. It depicts one of the first events in the novel fantastically, so I don’t mind the change at all really. It’s not like the changes Tokyopop made to their light novel covers, which were absolutely terrible. I actually think this cover is an improvement on the Japanese version’s.

Balsa, the main lead, is really the one who carries the entire novel (well, she is the heroine, I guess that’s what she’s supposed to do. xD ). Though it really isn’t very common for a 30-year-old woman to be the hero of a children’s novel (yes I completely admit it, this novel’s for kids). That doesn’t really matter though, Balsa is completely kick-ass, and I wish my mom were more like her. xD That, and I really hope she gets with Tanda sometime in the near future, all the tension is killing me!!! D:

It’s really a shame that the anime only went through the first volume of the series, I really would have liked to see more of the series animated. It’s also a shame that the anime didn’t get good enough ratings on Cartoon Network/[Adult Swim], so they only showed the first 10 episodes. D: Thank God Nahoko Uehashi’s Kemono no Souja Erin is being animated now. :3

If/when I have kids, they are most definitely going to have to read this. :] Just like I’m forcing them to watch Miyazaki movies. xD

The next volume in this series comes out May 1st, and I am absolutely buying it!


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