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Moribito

You may not know that the epic, fantasy anime Moribito: guardian of the spirit (shown occasionally late night on Cartoon Network) was originally a kids book by Nahoko Uehashi, and that there is now a sequel, Morbito II : guardian of the darkness! This series follows a wondering female bodyguard Balsa, and is set in a world similar to ancient Japan. If you dig a little historical fiction with sword fighting, or if you just want see the original inspiration for the anime, you might want to take a look.