Thank you for following our OWLS tour, everyone. I know that I am just one more stop on this tour and following some great people, so I hope I don’t become the weak chain of this group. That’s why I am putting some extra effort into this by talking about Moribito. You can see all the creative work that Naja posted about this topic by talking about visual novel’s yesterday here and Mel is going to talk Vulnerability tomorrow with Lord of the Ring’s here. Also, here is the link to the Blog tour where you can find each person that is involved with this month’s tour. OWLS Tours are always fascinating, because everyone has their own point of view to discuss one singular topic. I guess that’s whole point of doing this, isn’t it?
For those of you who haven’t heard of what OWLS is may be asking me and other people what that is. Well, that’s an easy question to answer. OWLS, also known as Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, is a group of otaku bloggers who promote the acceptance of all individuals. There will be no judgement of people based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, or disability here. All of this is about humanity for humanities sake and hopeful betterment. Each month, our members are given a topic to write about and each of us approaches that topic in our own way. If you want to know more, please click here to go to our OWLS Blog Page. Find us here and maybe you can join us! We are always looking for more people.
This Month’s Topic
This month’s topic brought to us by our Chief Creative Officer LynLyn is “Vulnerable”
In the month of June, we will be discussing what it means to be vulnerable. To some individuals, being vulnerable could be seen as a sign of weakness, but in fact, vulnerability is actually a sign of strength. In this month’s posts, we will explore what it means to be vulnerable and how certain characters in pop culture glamorize vulnerability. When do we show our vulnerability? How do we express vulnerability? Why should we show vulnerability? These are questions that we will be discussing in our posts featuring characters that show vulnerability and/or sensitivity and what we can learn from them or even our own personal stories.
Kimi ni Todoke
(This post is very light on spoilers, so you can read it no problem. Still, I would recommend watching the series in question before jumping into this post. That’s just me though. Maybe this will help people to get more interested in this show because it needs more of a following.)
About Seirei no Moribito
With a lot of reservations including Escaflowne and other fantasy anime that I haven’t watched yet, Moribito is possibly my favorite fantasy anime that I’ve ever watched. Once again, that comes with a lot of asterisks. It focuses on a very asian inspired world instead of the standard medieval fantasy setting, has a vastly rich world with tons of lore behind it, there is no definitive villain because everything that happens in this show is because of a misunderstanding, and it features a thirty year old warrior women who is equal parts: brave, strong, skilled, and intelligent. There is so much good here that it’s almost impossible to find a single flaw in the writing and/or execution of this anime.
In an ancient land there is a country named New Yogo. It’s a very rich and prosperous nation. In New Yogo, there is a ritual that guarantees the fertility of the nation’s crops for many years to come and centers around a water spirit that must be released from it’s shell. Unfortunately, New Yogo has forgotten a lot of it’s own lore and stores over time. When the water spirit encapsulates itself in the countries second prince, whose name is Chagum, the nation decides that they must kill him to save themselves. Somehow getting entangled in this plot, Balsa gets recruited as Chagum’s body guard. Escaping from the Yogo Royal Palaces, the two lead a very deliberate chase to fool the royal guard before hiding in plain sight for months to come.
Balsa is an absolutely wonderful character. It’s not just because she is a thirty year old action hero with a spear that knows their way around the field of combat. It’s because she has so much depth and sadness hidden behind a steel wall. Born from a country called Kanbal, her father was attached to a regime whose emperor who was recently killed. In order to escape death, Balsa’s father forced her to escaped with a spear wielding body guard that killed nine people to save her on their way to the outside. A toll Balsa decided to repay after she learned to wield a spear herself because she didn’t think her life was worth it. She spends her life as an unattached body guard. With her refusal to kill anyone, Balsa has gained a large amount of scars and wounds all across her body as a form of “payment”.
Strength and Weakness
Balsa is a strong character. The anime never doubts that fact and neither should you, I, or anyone you randomly meet in the street who knows anime. (I guess that last one could be a lot of people.) Her opening defining moment was when the Prince Chagum (we didn’t know who he was at this point) was drowning in a river and she immediately forms a quick exit strategy by tying a rope down before jumping into after him. A perfect example of intelligence and bravery at the same time. Then a few episodes later, Balsa single handedly fought off the five warriors of New Yogo that only three people are supposed to know exist. If she did kill people, they would all be dead. A fact that all five of them admitted. She did get badly injured from that encounter, but the warriors gave her strength extra credit. So no, she has never been physically and intellectually weak at all when it comes to combat.
Balsa’s combat prowess and her nature of being detached is to protect herself from her own personal life. That’s where her major vulnerability lies. Balsa’s body guard nature with taking whatever job because she feels like she doesn’t deserve to exist is sad and pitiful. Just like Balsa continual mental thought process to keep everyone that knows her at a distance because she wants to protect them too. In fact, she only sees these people when she needs them. When Balsa was gravely injured from fighting the five warriors, her psuedo boyfriend Tanda operated on her. Also, when escaping from Yogo in the first place, she paid some street rat kids she knows to send messages for her. No relationships, just acquaintances. It’s a sad way to live.
As you would expect, Balsa starts finding a better way to live when she became Prince Chagum’s body guard. At first, she just considers protecting Chagum as a job and wants him to move as fast as possible to escape his Kingdom’s grasp. Everything changes when they both escape with their lives and live a somewhat normal life in the city. Balsa has only concerned herself with whether or not the person she is protecting is breathing, not whether or not the person is developing the way they should be. Chagum was an absolutely strange case for her, but it changed her for the better.
Chagum is such a fascinating kid. From everything that we’ve seen from him in this anime, he’s definitely the right choice to rule Yogo. He’s a quick study, intelligent, very thoughtful of everyone, but he also needs an example to grow off of to become better. Balsa played that role for him and they grew closer and closer because of that fact. From just caring about one person, Balsa’s life style improved by large amount because it opened her life up to opportunities she’s never seen before. Balsa never becomes physically and intellectually weak, she just sees people more then just objects. At the end of Moribito when Chagum has to go through an intense ritual, Balsa was right there with her spear ready to attack anything that threatened her adopted son.
Have you ever know someone who puts on a strong face upfront, but is hiding a lot of pain behind their smile? I’m sure there are tons of people out there like that. Keep your friends close and be there when they need it. When those friends break, they are usually the most vulnerable out of anyone.