Four years after her journey with Chagum ended, Balsa has become an outlaw. Concealing herself in the kingdom of Rota to the west of the New Yogo Empire, she continues to be a bodyguard. One day, Balsa saves a young girl Asura who has the ability to summon Taru Hamaya, the god of devastation. Spies of the royal family are mobilised in an attempt to eliminate her. Meanwhile, in the New Yogo Empire, Chagum who is now the crown prince, has set out on a sea voyage. The Trush Empire to the south is trying to invade the north and wages war against the seafaring kingdom of Sangal as a beachhead. Chagum leads reinforcements, but this is the emperor’s ploy to expel the crown prince. Sangal falls into the hands of the Trush Empire and Chagum ends up becoming a captive.
~~ Adapted from the novels by Uehashi Nahoko, Kami no Moribito and Sōro no Tabibito, the 5th and 6th books in her Moribito series.
Cast & Credits
With more than twice the episodes of the first season, there is a lot more added on to this story.
Some of my favorite parts and characters in this story were greatly impacted by the first season which I have to give major props to that season for. Not only did it do a good job of setting up the world we now more fully dive into, but having watched it lends a weight to the current character traits of the different characters and how they react to situations. More than once throughout this season, we can see Chagum being influenced by his experience with Balsa, and it also helps show how much the new characters are being influenced as well. Balsa herself, now four years later, is not immune to change either.
As far as the new story goes, I can also see it going to be a great backstory (without the four year gap) for the next season which yes, I still have yet to watch.
Chagum is older and is sent on a diplomatic/supportative (suicide) mission by his father and meets a few new friends on the way. And yes, one of them is a similarly aged female :)
Balsa also meets new characters, and I was impressed by how defined and unique (think the Red Eye pirate) some of the side characters were.
Balsa has her quest to complete with the new child Alsa, but the full arc leads to her and Chagum potentially being reunited in the quest to save New Yogo from the encroaching Talsh army.
I can't quite say it's at Lord of the Rings levels, but this story is pretty impressive, and to a level that's never attempted in Kdramas (that I've seen), and rarely done well in Cdramas (in my opinion).
When I reviewed the first season, I had only seen Ayase Haruka in one other show (a movie actually). However, I have since rectified that shortcoming, and have seen a fair bit more (though I still have a long way to go).
Honestly, I'm not sure if I enjoy her more as a spear-wielding (or martial arts queen) or as a romantic lead. There is no doubt she's my favorite Japanese actress I've discovered to date.
Chagum, I was a bit wary of at first, but this new actor did a great job of carrying on from the younger role, and in some scenes, I could almost believe they were the same person. So props also to whoever cast him.
There are several new characters in this show, as mentioned, that I fully enjoyed, including the new female friend for Chagum, who were all cast very well. Combine that with the fact that there was little with Torogai who was by far my least favorite character from the original season, and the cast here is a winner.
It doesn't add much above the original soundtrack, but that received a well deserved 10 out of 10, and I can't give this any less. Seriously, this OST has stuck with me.
Rewatch Value (9.0):
I don't rewatch shows very often. The first season received an 8 on this category from myself, and I'll admit part of that is how much fun it is in such a short amount of time, despite not being perfect. This show tops that one and even though it's 5 hours longer, I would much rather rewatch this season than that one.
I'm actually very impressed with this series and I wish more people on MDL would add it. I've heard all good things about the third season, so hopefully I'll watch that too and get a review up at some point.
Signing off with the title track playing in my head...