My new favorite anime is Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. It has amazing fight scenes, an interesting mythology, and sacred relationships. One of my favorite themes it portrays is protection. Balsa, a body guard for hire, finds herself saving the prince’s life and as thanks, she is asked to stay at the royal palace for a night. In the middle of the night, the queen comes to Balsa and pleads with her to take her son, the prince she saved, and leave the palace. The Queen explains that the royal court wants to kill the young prince because he harbors a water demon inside of him who’ll destroy the land. Balsa in the end is forced to take the prince with her in exchange for treasures that she can’t spend in town without being completely suspicious.
As the episodes progress, the relationship between the prince Chagum and Balsa becomes one of a mother and son. Balsa had never had a family, and Chagum lived in certain formal standards that prevented him from having a normal relationship with his birth mother. This results in an awkward start to their relationship. The first even that brings them close is when that Balsa protected Chagum from a band of warrior men hired to kill Chagum and the water demon. Balsa fights fiercely, not because she was hired, but because she has the ability to care. Chagum notices this above all else and finds a safe place in Balsa to look to for help. Chagum much prefers a guardian who can support him emotionally and physically. Chagum wants a mother.
These beautiful dynamics, the fierceness of the fighting, and the deeper meaning are all because Balsa is a woman. It’s different to see a woman warrior mentoring a young man since most anime I’ve seen have these dynamics between a male master and young male apprentice. Balsa indeed teaches Chagum to fight, but she’s not afraid to meet his emotional needs as she takes on the role of his mother. Although the argument that emotional attachment gets in the way or war, Chagum is a stronger person because Balsa has taught him what protection looks like. Balsa does not wish Chagum to suppress his emotions like other master figures do. She understands that he is a young boy and she doesn’t expect too much of him. This is indeed a healthier way to raise a child, and in the end, Chagum is a stronger person because Balsa chose to raise him differently then the savage male mentors like you perhaps see in Naruto… (Hacu/Zabuza, Kimimaro/Orochimaru) I mean, look how that ended.
This anime portrays strength and suffering in different dynamics. An important element to their relationship is that Chagum has seen Balsa in a weak place. In the first couple episodes, Balsa has to fight some dangerous men to protect Balsa. She gets heavily wounded and it comes down to Chagum to save her. This is where they turn into partners creating a stronger sense of family. Balsa will protect Chagum if Chagum can protect Balsa from death. By going out of his way to save Balsa’s life, Chagum learns how deep and seriously she takes her work, and how human and delicate her life is. This prevents Chagum from idolizing Balsa as some sort of immortal goddess. He sees that even powerful people can suffer and their little family becomes more realistic.
Somehow, (like in all anime) Balsa finds the strength within herself to protect Chagum in the end. Although he knew that Balsa was strong and powerful, Chagum had no guarantee that Balsa would win every fight. He had to put his trust in someone human who could easily fail him. Even if the odds are high, he has no guarantee. There is someone however who does promise to protect us and who will never fail.
“The LORD will fight for you, all you have to do is be still.” Exodus 14:14
All throughout life’s struggles, it’s easy to fall under the pressure. We try and work in our own strength, mentally, physically, and emotionally, but we will always fail. Our own power cannot bring ourselves fulfillment. However God tells us that we can and should lean on him.
The Lord is our real father. He wasn’t paid to protect us, he chose to. When it comes to the creator of the universe, you are guaranteed that he will always overcome evil. This gives out human minds unbelievable peace. We can trade God our struggles for peace because he cares for us more deeply then any human can.
~ School has begun! So that means the blogger is about to become very busy. I’ll probably do a Christian/Anime worldview post every other week, and a review of the latest cartoons when they premier. I know this is unorthodox, but if you could pray for my sister – she’s struggling with her autism and mental disorder and it’s quite difficult for our family right now. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2Cor 12:9 ~