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Moribito: Guardian of Darkness




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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 672
Location: Tokorozawa, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:17 am Reply with quote
I just ordered it from Amazon.co.jp, and it should be here within a week. I figured I'd start a preemptive discussion thread for this anticipated book.
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Analog_Now



Joined: 17 Jun 2008
Posts: 211
Location: Montréal, Québec

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 1:44 pm Reply with quote
I was just wondering all the Moribito books follow up on each other?
Like you must read Guardian of the Spirit before reading Guardian of the Darkness.
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Ingraman



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 924

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 3:24 am Reply with quote
Analog_Now wrote:
I was just wondering all the Moribito books follow up on each other?
Like you must read Guardian of the Spirit before reading Guardian of the Darkness.


It's probably a good idea to have read Guardian of the Spirit prior to Guardian of the Darkness, but it's probably not absolutely necessary. The main character is the same for the two books (and all of the Moribito books, I presume but I don't know), and the second book covers some more of Balsa's back-story about spoiler[her departure from Kanbal and Jiguro, and the politics and plotting in "current" times].
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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 672
Location: Tokorozawa, Japan

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 11:01 pm Reply with quote
I would suggest reading the first book first. It has a slightly different feel than the anime, so it could be pretty jarring to just jump into Guardian of Darkness.

Ingraman wrote:
The main character is the same for the two books (and all of the Moribito books, I presume but I don't know)...


You are mostly right. There are actually two series that intertwine in the overall saga: Moribito and Tabibito. The 5 Moribito (Guardian) books cover Balsa's journey, but later on in the saga, 2 Tabibito (Traveler) books are thrown in, which continue to the story of Chagum. (EDIT: After looking at the book summaries on Wikipedia, I'm a little unsure as to whether Balsa is the main character of the third book or not. It seems like Tanda might actually be the main character. Time will tell.) The final story in the series is, by title, a Moribito book, but it apparently it concludes both of the series. Scholastic has already stated its intent to publish the entire saga, which, at the rate they are going, will be finished in about 3-4 years. (EDIT: Maybe longer. I was going by story count. There are 7 stories, but 10 volumes.)

Anyway, the second book arrived in the mail for me yesterday, and I couldn't be more pleased. They published it in the same style, but made a few aesthetic changes. Underneath the slip-cover, the first book is white, but the second book is black. The first book, since it dealt with water, was printed in dark-blue ink; this book, since it deals with darkness, is printed in a smoky-gray ink. Most importantly in my opinion, they kept the same translator between the two novels, and I believe they plan on using her to the end. This really helps with continuity.

So, I have only read two chapters, but I already give this book an A+ for presentation!
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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 672
Location: Tokorozawa, Japan

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:44 am Reply with quote
Quick note to the mods: Chronologically, this is a double post, since nobody has posted a reply yet, but thematically, it's different. Please don't merge it with my previous post.

I just finished reading Guardian of the Darkness, and since it'll probably be a while before we see a full staff review, I'll post a quick review here.

For those of you wondering, "Is it as good as the first book?" The answer is, "No, it's better." The first book, though good, fell into two storytelling traps: (1) Having a long period of time in the middle of the book where nothing happened, and (2) Making the reader learn a new language in order to understand what was going on. Nowhere in this book are you going to find things like this: Rarunga's purpose for existence is to hunt the Nyunga Ro Im, who exists simultaneously in both Nayugu and Sagu. The Juchi Ro Gai told me that Rarunga hunts by the scent of the Shigu Salua. No, this time the extra vocabulary is is dropped to a bare minimum. The pacing is also much more believable, with Balsa's journey happening neither too quickly or too slowly.

However, for those of you wondering, "Is it as good as the anime?" the answer is simply "No." These are young adult novels, and feature-length movies would probably be the best way to faithfully adapt them. Production I.G. expanded the first novel greatly, and if you skip the first novel because you've seen the anime, the brevity of the book can be rather jarring.

Short synopsis: In this book, Balsa returns to her native land of Kanbal to put to rest the ghosts of her past and reunite with any family that might still be alive. In the process, she learns that hers and Jiguro's story was not forgotten with the passing of the previous king, but altered in order to fit the desires of the current regime. What should have been a simple trip home becomes a history-altering event as the truth is brought to light and Balsa must fight to clear her mentor's name.

The Good: Uehashi's depiction of an adult returning to a place they knew only in their childhood is quite believable. I went through the same range of feelings and emotion after returning to my childhood residence after a period of over 10 years. The new characters, particularly Yuka and Kassa, are very strong additions to the Moribito cast, moving beyond simple foils to Balsa's character into three-dimensional characters in their own right. Also, Kanbal feels like a distinct culture separate from New Yogo, though there are enough connecting threads to make it really seem like the two countries exist in the same world. Finally, Balsa retains her quality of acting like a real (albeit ridiculously brave) human given the circumstances she is in. The book never requires you to know what happened in the first volume, but neither are the stories of Chagum and Tanda forgotten, as they have affected Balsa greatly. Still, the author has written this book in such a way that you could read Guardian of the Darkness first and not miss out.

The Bad : Tanda, Chagum, Torogai, Shuga, and the Hunters are not in this book. Though that helps this to be a standalone story, it's a minus for those of us who wanted to see more of Tanda. The new characters in this book, though they are strong, seem cut from the same molds as previous characters. The "Nine Spears of Kanbal" are a bit too similar to the "Eight Hunters of New Yogo," and the relationship between Yuguro and the King seems a bit too much like the relationship between the Mikado and the Master Star Reader. Also, the story once again revolves around a recurring festival that helps the people to prosper. Uehashi also has an annoying tendency of switching point-of-view characters mid-chapter. So, for most of the chapter, we're listening in on Balsa's thoughts, but then we'll get two paragraphs of Yuka's thoughts, only to be thrown back into Balsa's head. The end effect is not as good as it could be.

Overall, however, it's a fantastic read that stands out way beyond most light novels I have read. It is much more akin to The Twelve Kingdoms than it is to Shakugan no Shana or The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and it is leaps and bounds ahead of most of the stuff that Tokyopop used to pump out (.hack//idontcare and Crest of the Stars, I'm looking at you). That, and Scholastic has pulled out all of the stops in terms of presentation. It's printed with high-quality ink on high-quality paper. The translation only feels out of place once or twice in almost 250 pages (for example - a goatherder who has never ridden a horse shouting "Hold your horses!"), and I'll be darned if I came across a single typo. This book was clearly made for collectors, and I am happy to pay. It will sit proudly on my shelf.
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nerei



Joined: 08 Jan 2005
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 2:16 am Reply with quote
I read from wiki about the Guardian series and just realised that Seirei no Moribito is the first of 10 books, instead of being a stand-alone book, which was the impression I got after watching the anime. It does give off the Twelve Kingdoms feeling. I think I'll greatly enjoy this series provided the chinese translations are in process (only the first 2 books out so far)!

Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Very Happy
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GrimmHime



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:51 pm Reply with quote
Oh I forgot about this! I knew I had to get the second book soon. I'm really glad to hear that about the second book! I gotta get it now. Smile
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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 672
Location: Tokorozawa, Japan

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:00 pm Reply with quote
nerei wrote:
I read from wiki about the Guardian series and just realised that Seirei no Moribito is the first of 10 books, instead of being a stand-alone book, which was the impression I got after watching the anime.


It's actually 7 books released over 10 volumes. One book is actually 2 volumes, and the last book is actually 3.
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wandering-dreamer



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:02 pm Reply with quote
Has an English release date been announced yet? I just read the first book and I thought it was published in November and so was hoping for the second one to come out by the fall...
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BleuVII



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
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Location: Tokorozawa, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:34 pm Reply with quote
It's been out for 2 months now.
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wandering-dreamer



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:34 am Reply with quote
Whoops, well I'll have to keep an eye out for it at my local B&N.
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Edwriter



Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:04 pm Reply with quote
I agree that the second book is better than the first and reminded me more of Tolkien and the Hobbit in the complexity of the world-building while not being quite as YA.
Does anyone know what the title of the remaining books are or will be and when I can buy them.
Amazon is a little confusing- popping up 12 Kingdom and Dragon Sword and Wind Child which I do not believe are the same series.
Any info available?

Kind regards
Ed
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wandering-dreamer



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:12 pm Reply with quote
Wikipedia has the translated titles for the rest of the novels but I've been poking around and haven't seen any announcements yet on when the next book is coming out. Makes me a bit worried but Scholastic has been doing such a fine job so far that I won't outright panic.
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wandering-dreamer



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 1711

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:25 pm Reply with quote
Hate to double post but, relating to my last post, it sounds like Moribito is on indefinite hiatus since it didn't sell as much as the publishers were hoping. The forum posting has a direct quote from one of the editors of scholastic and I'm crushed to see that the other 8 books will likely never see a release over here. Gah, and they were such nice releases too.
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vashna



Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 1313

PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 11:26 am Reply with quote
I haven't yet got a chance to buy a Scholastic copy, and I'd still like to read at least the first novel despite what that post might suggest about the newest ones. I hope you don't mind me asking, but being Scholastic Books, did the publisher make the translation a bit simplified, or is it relatively faithful?
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