|Seirei No Moribito Ongakuhen 1
|Seirei no Moribito
|Jun 22, 2007
|01. Omoi Haruka
|02. Tamikusa no Sasoi
|03. Shoka ni Tobu
|04. Hoshi Yomi no Tou
|06. Miezaru Kyoui
|12. Saya ki Kokoro no Mono
|13. Yakusou Shi ga Iku
|14. Ichi Hishigi
|20. Jujutsu Shi no Haikai
|21. Sougon Naru Nayugu
|22. Mizu no Tami
|23. Wakare no Toki
|24. Balsa Hashiru
|25. Sekihi wa Kataru
|26. Eiyuu, Tatsu
|28. Nahji no Uta
Review: Seirei no Moribito, which came out in 2007, has always struck me as an under-appreciated series. It’s got beautiful art, an engaging story, interesting characters and, of course, a gorgeous soundtrack. Composer Kenji Kawai’s resume is long and varied and he brings his A game to this series. It stands out as one of my favourite soundtracks and fits the series extremely well.
The plot of the series centres around Balsa, the spear-wielder, who is tasked with protecting the young Prince Chagum from his own father’s assassins. The emperor fears that Chagum is somehow connected to a spirit that will bring a great drought upon the land and must be killed. Balsa promises to protect him as she seeks to understand what the spirit within Chagum really is using ancient knowledge and folklore.
The folk aspect is a key element in the series, with conflict arising through the different approaches of the traditional, indigenous peoples and the empire guided by the star diviners. As Balsa wanders into this part of the world, Kawai immediately establishes the folk style of the soundtrack by introducing the series’ main theme in “Omoi Haruka”. It’s a soft flowing melody led by the strings and flute with subtle percussion in the background that brings out a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
Several other tracks on the soundtrack echo this style, but each is unique and adds an element of hope or uncertainty to the melodies to allow them to fit extremely well with the cultural landscape of the Seirei no Moribito world. In fact, at least a dozen of the 28 tracks are in this general style. Another great example is the relaxing “Kizuna” which allows the melody to be carried upon a soft flute’s lines, conjuring up images of a calm summer afternoon.
Kizuna[audio:https://blog.animeinstrumentality.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/18-Kizuna.mp3|titles=Seirei no Moribito – 18 – Kizuna]
As the characters get closer to their grim, mystical fate, the music follows suit, descending into a foreboding, eerie atmosphere, peppered with quick, repeating patterns of 16th notes in the violin and anchored by an almost wailing soprano like the one featured in “Miezaru Kyoui”. There, Kawai opts for a three beat rhythm to add intensity and make the piece feel unnatural, reflecting the story’s supernatural elements. This contrasts with “Jujutsu Shi no Kaikai”, the music of the shamans, which mirrors the almost wailing vocals, but this time the vocals center on a deep baritone voice which moves at a much slower pace. Only the heavy, steady drum beats provide accompaniment, creating a sense of deep thought or meditation.
Jujutsu Shi no Haikai[audio:https://blog.animeinstrumentality.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/20-Jujutsu-Shi-no-Haikai.mp3]
And if Balsa’s struggle to find the answers to her many questions about the mysterious spirit isn’t enough, she and Chagum must contend with the Emperor’s assassins. For these sequences, Kawai provides us with a selection of more intense pieces to reflect the rising tension. These tracks convey the urgency of the situation and instil a sense of the importance of the battle being fought. A strong drum beat leads the way in “Eiyuu, Tatsu”, with a quick-paced violin building the main melody. The choral backing makes it all feel more epic, but it never steals the spotlight of the piece from the melody. Although, this particular track unfortunately didn’t see much use in the actual series, it is still a good listen.
When the threat is imminent, the music kicks it up another notch, yielding “Balsa Hashiru”. This theme builds on the intense drum-beat and urgent violins from the other tracks and combines them into a piece that doesn’t mess around. There’s no choral backing here; it’s just a powerful theme that reflects Balsa herself – strong yet graceful.
The soundtrack caps off with a vocal version of the series’ main theme, which carries with it a sense of hope and continuance, led once again by the violin and flute combination of the leading track. The chorus also works it’s magic here, with a delivery strong enough to carry the melody without sounding too artificial. I could have easily been fooled into thinking this was a traditional Japanese folk song, which illustrates the excellence of Kawai’s work.
Overall the soundtrack for Seirei no Moribito provides exactly the right atmosphere to reflect the mystical and cultural elements in the story. Most of the tracks, even the battle music, remain very melodic, though there are a few tracks that simply serve to create an atmosphere and are not as interesting to listen to on their own. The “wailing” songs can also be a bit jarring when not heard in the right context. Nevertheless, this is a solid soundtrack that I will often put on as background music. The folk style themes are a pleasure to listen to and stand well on their own. The fact that they remind me of an awesome anime series is just a bonus.
Rating: Very Good