This book is the second book of Moribito series, unfortunately it is also the last in the series which has been translated into both English and Indonesian. I wish I can read all the books but my Japanese skill is still far from being able to read a full grown-up novel (I can only read few Manga). Just like the first book, The Guardian of the Spirit, the main character is still the heroin Balsa with her amazing ability in spear combat. The Guardian of Darkness is better than The Guardian of The Spirit in my opinion, it is much deeper and more emotional than the first book.
In the first book, Balsa looked into her motherhood feeling but in the second book Balsa learned how to forgive herself and her adopted father. This second book is full of political conspiracy and revenge. We can also meet more interesting creatures.
Balsa Yonsa left her homeland, Kanbal, when she was six. She was taken by her adopted father, Jiguro Musa. Balsa’s father, Karuna, was the royal healer of King Naguru, but Naguru’s brother, Rogsam, wanted his position as the king. He forced Karuna to poison Naguru. Knowing he couldn’t escape the threat, he did what Rogsam asked. However, Karuna also knew that once Naguru died he and his only daughter would not survive from Rogsam regime. To save Balsa, Kiruna asked Jiguro to take her away from Kanbal. Jiguro was framed as traitor and King Rogsam sent all the Royal Spears (elite army of Kanbal Kingdom) to kill Jiguro. Jiguro and Balsa lived as fugitive for years until Rogsam died and replaced by his son, Radalle.
Balsa decided to visit Kanbal again after so many years, she wanted to know what happened to her father and met Jiguro family to explain everything. What Balsa found was shocking, Jiguro was totally considered as complete traitor that humiliate his tribe, The Musas. To make matter worse, Jiguro’s younger brother, Yuguro who had claimed that he had killed Jiguro and became the kingdom’s hero felt that Balsa was a threat to his heroism legend. He said bad things about Balsa. Balsa wanted to know what had really happened in the past, to know that she let herself being caught but everything didn’t go well and Balsa was almost dead if she wasn’t helped by Titi Lan (The Squirrel Rider).
Kanbal was a kingdom which lived side by side spirit world ruled by the Mountain King. Kanbal was a poor kingdom and the Mountain King helped Kanbal by giving the king lots of precious stones called Luisha. The king then sold Luisha to buy crop for Kanbal’s people. Yuguro had an idea to save Kanbal from poverty. Was his idea really work? Or was it only going to make things worse? What could Balsa do about the plan?
What I like the most about this second book of Moribito is the complex and yet fun story. Uehashi-sensei created lots of amazing creature, her imagination was really vast and original. I can still feel how the world she created is still highly influence by Japanese culture but she created amazing 2 layers world that connected which each other. These two worlds have their own cultures and rules. The other world is full of darkness but not evil at all. Apparently, this non-human world has more interesting creatures than Kanbal.
Moribito can easily be said as Manga turned to Novel because when I read it, I feel like reading a Manga with full images running through my head. Uehashi-sensei doesn’t need to write looooong description to make my brain start creating her imagination world, her descriptions are brief but detail. I can easily said that it is one of the best Fantasy Series I have read. I really do hope they will translate the rest of the series one day.
Title: Moribito – Guardian of Darkness
Author: Nahoko Uehashi
Language: Indonesian (Original: Nihongo)
Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: Penerbit Matahati
Challenges: Magical March, Once Upon a Time VI