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    The Ending

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    Guardian Enzo

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    The Ending

    Post  Guardian Enzo on Fri May 15, 2009 3:36 pm

    I'm currently in the process of trying to find out what happens at the end of the series of Moribito novels, largely because I don't want to wait until (optimistically) all 10 novels are translated or I learn to read Japanese. That's been a fascinating bit of detective work and I'm happy to share what I've found out, if anyone wants to know. But my primary reason for this post is to talk about the ending of the anime, as that's what set me off on this grail quest for spoilers.

    So in short, I'm curious - what did you all think of the ending? As the series progressed, I became more and more convinced that of the three possible paths, two (Chagum's death and and Chagum and Balsa staying together) were extremely unlikely and/or inconsistent with the message of the story. So I was not surprised at all when Chagum had to leave Balsa and become Crown prince - indeed, it was handled beautifully. But that didn't stop me from being devastated by it. Do you see this as a happy ending? Sad? Something in between? For me, the notion that Chagum - who had borne so many burdens already at such a young age and carried them with grace, dignity and courage - should have to surrender his best chance at happiness for yet another burden not of his choosing. Can there be any doubt that he'd have had a happier life traveling with Balsa and Tanda than being the Crown Prince? All the more so for having had a taste of freedom and self-sufficiency.

    Even more than that, what Chagum had a taste of was unconditional love. He'd always been an identity more than a boy - first the Second Prince, then the Moribito. For Balsa, he was just Chagum - the boy she protected as a job and came to love as a mother. That's why the poetry of that last moment when Chagum asks her to call him by his name is so powerful, for they both know what it represents.

    So, forgetting whatever you may know of the books, where do you see the characters after the anime ends? Is Chagum going to be happy with his mother and Shuga at the palace? Will he and Balsa meet again, or is that the end of their time together - and if so, will their feelings for each other fade into distant memory? If Balsa going to continue to be a Yojimbo, or will she settle down with Tanda? I'm most curious to hear how everyone feels this ending (which very closely mirrors the ending of the first book) leaves the characters.
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    GrinfilledCelt
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    Re: The Ending

    Post  GrinfilledCelt on Sat May 16, 2009 12:12 am

    I think that you and I are the only ones here that haven't read the books yet. I thought that it was a good ending. It was logical in that they didn't force an ending that would have been nice but contrary to the personalities and lives involved.

    My guess as to how the rest of Balsa's life will go? Have you ever seen the movie The Shootist starring John Wayne? I think that Wayne's character in that movie and Balsa would have understood each other very well.

    Yes, Chagum would have been happier spending the rest of his childhood under Balsa's care, but that isn't who he is. He already has a mother to begin with. One who loves him very much. More importantly, he is a prince. He has obligations and responsibilities to his Father and his people. He couldn't go live with Balsa any more than she could settle down with Tanda. They are from very different social strata. Remember at the beginning, Balsa wasn't even allowed to look at Chagum. They all knew this so there wasn't any point in discussing it.

    Chagum will be busy at the palace learning what he needs to know to run the family business. It's what he has been doing for most of his life and he's good at it. The things he learned during his time with Balsa will be valuable to him and make him a better emperor. If I didn't already know that they'll meet again, I would say that I could see circumstances where they will. They have seen each other's worth and will never forget each other. They each will always know that they can trust the other and do what ever they can for the other.
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    Guardian Enzo

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    Re: The Ending

    Post  Guardian Enzo on Sat May 16, 2009 12:47 am

    I agree it was indeed a good ending, and probably even a necessary one. But I don't think it was a happy one, at least for me. As for The Shootist, well - that's an interesting comparison (especially given that it was Wayne's last film). Balsa's conundrum is what she said herself - sometimes she fights simply because she loves to fight. It's who she is. Can someone like that change - give up that lifestyle and settle down in peace somewhere? I think perhaps she might have done it if she had been left with Chagum to raise - out of a sense of responsibility and a desire to spare him the violent life she led. But though she probably loves Tanda, I don't think he's enough to change her. As for the social issue, while she's certainly no empress it's worth remembering that she's of the elite class herself by birth - her father was the royal physician in Kanbal.

    As for Chagum, of course there was no way he could go with Balsa in the end - the boy never once shirked any of his responsibilities and only rarely thought of himself at all. But that doesn't mean I (or he) has to like it. One of the messages of this story is certainly that life isn't fair, and that being a good person is no guarantor of good fortune following you - and that rather than complain, all you can do is bear with it as best you can and get on with your life.
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    sweetnsassy
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    Re: The Ending

    Post  sweetnsassy on Sat May 16, 2009 10:33 am

    For me, the ending of the anime had a very bittersweet feel to it. After fighting the "final boss" so to speak, Balsa and Chagum were forced to accept that, in all likelihood, they would never meet again, no matter how they felt. Even though this would undoubtedly sadden both of them, I can't help but feel that they will treasure their time together for the rest of their lives. A time that was made more precious because it was so brief. And even though it was a little depressing (for me at least) to see them part ways, I'm glad that the studio didn't try to cop out with a "and they all lived happily ever after" type of ending. This ending felt more natural IMO.
    As for Balsa and Tanda, I think that eventually Balsa will get tired of the fighting. It's a fairly common literary theme; the wanderer who tires of traveling, the warrior who doesn't want to fight anymore. And if/when she does get sick of it, what better place for her to live out her days than with Tanda?
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    GrinfilledCelt
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    Re: The Ending

    Post  GrinfilledCelt on Sat May 16, 2009 8:18 pm

    I think Balsa grew weary of fighting a long time ago, Sweeten. The live path she long ago choose is what keeps her in conflict. Even when she was living with Chagum at the mill as mother and child, she knew that that couldn't continue for long. That is why she wasn't bothered too much when Chagum blew their cover - she knew it would happen eventually anyway.

    Guardian Enzo wrote:As for the social issue, while she's certainly no empress it's worth remembering that she's of the elite class herself by birth - her father was the royal physician in Kanbal.
    You've put your finger on a bit of a mystery here. Certainly the daughter of the emperor's physician would enjoy a high social status, but Balsa is clearly a commoner. She not only cannot look at members of the royal family, it is also mentioned that she wields a spear because commoners are forbidden from using a sword. I think that she lost status at some point. Hmmm... maybe it was when her father tried to kill the Emperor. Smile
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    sweetnsassy
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    Re: The Ending

    Post  sweetnsassy on Mon May 18, 2009 10:27 am

    I think you're probably right about Balsa already being tired of the fight Grin, but it's mentioned somewhere that now she fights simply for the sake of fighting. At least it was mentioned in the book (it's been a while since I saw the show so I can't remember if they said so in it). That's what I meant when I said she would get tired of fighting altogether (sorry for not clarifying Embarassed )
    I also agree with you that even though she had a somewhat high rank as a child, that ended the day she had to flee Kanbal with Jiguro. Even if she hadn't had to run away and grew up at the court, Kanbal is a much poorer country than Yogo. Even the high-ranked warrior class live in houses that are pretty crummy compared to merchants in Yogo (this was mentioned in the second book, btw). Even as a member of the elite of Kanbal, she wouldn't have had much rank in Yogo.
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    Alistair
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    Re: The Ending

    Post  Alistair on Wed May 20, 2009 2:49 am

    Heya,

    Yeah, I think Balsa is sick of fighting, and risking her neck, so to speak for she knows any moment could be her last, like any "warrior" should be prepared for, but she has to keep on going to keep saving those lives, plus, what else does she really know? She was taught and raised to fight, and like any normal person that's what ya would do, stick with what you know. Eventually, she will grow old, and finally give in I do think along as Tanda doesn't find anyone.

    About Chagum. That's one helluva thing to do for Crown Prince, don't you think, and a whole "Nation" of people. I think he will always remember her for rest of his life to be honest, and do what he can to help her. Even of her "Rank," but the circumstances that he saved her, and took care of him, and raised him into a confident young man speaks volumes.

    I do admit, the book and anime are totally different things, so I have to keep that perspective. Not to try blow any details for folks who wanna read the books, but I do say, anime does keep pretty much true to it, and develops it further so people are aware of their "Relationship" with all individuals involved.


    My short thoughts,
    Ali
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    ryuzaki11
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    Re: The Ending

    Post  ryuzaki11 on Wed May 20, 2009 9:40 pm

    I thought that the ending of the anime was very open, like there was going to be a continuation, hence there are the books.

    All I know is that I hope they make more anime.
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    GrinfilledCelt
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    Re: The Ending

    Post  GrinfilledCelt on Wed May 20, 2009 11:17 pm

    "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
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    Guardian Enzo

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    Re: The Ending

    Post  Guardian Enzo on Wed May 20, 2009 11:24 pm

    Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl...

    Yes, I think the ending was open - especially given the lyrics of the ED. It feels much less bleak if you at least feel the possibility that Chagum and Balsa will be together again at some point in the future.

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