|Location||New Yogo Empire, Kanbal|
|Novel|| Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit|
Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness
|Japanese|| Mabuki Andou |
Naomi Shindou (child)
Despite claiming to be a simple bodyguard-for-hire, in reality she wields her spear in order to save lives in atonement for the eight lives that were taken to protect her when she was a child. Balsa agrees to become the bodyguard of Prince Chagum as her eighth and final job after she happens to save his life. Balsa must protect Chagum from relentless assassins as well as the spirit within her young charge as he attempts to master and understand his own powers.
Balsa is a very serious woman, sometimes appearing cold to others though not without reason. Headstrong, wise, and adept at resolving situations where her life may be at risk says the very least of her wide set of abilities. At times she is kind to the various travelers and people she meets alongside her journey, but has a keen sense of knowing how to act when she's in danger. Balsa possesses incredible battle sense, due to natural instinct and experience, so she is capable of holding her own against elite warriors such as the Hunters. However, she is careful not to kill her opponents in battle out of a sense of guilt towards the deaths she indirectly caused and has honed her ability so that she can protect herself and others.
Balsa takes on an almost "motherly" role for Chagum after the Queen entrusts his life to her. She cares deeply for Chagum's safety and well-being, while at the same time teaching him what's its like to live as a villager, no matter how harsh or cold the treatment may be. A patient teacher, Balsa is a strict, yet positive role model for Chagum. This supercedes the fact that Balsa does in fact care for him. She slowly opens up to Chagum, and tells him stories of her past, and how Jiguro was like a father to her, just like how Balsa is with Chagum.
Balsa was born in the country of Kanbal as the daughter of a doctor who served the king of Kanbal. Her mother died when Balsa was five years old, so her father raised her with the love of both her parents and Balsa was partially cared for by her father's sister, Yuka. When her father was coerced into poisoning the king so his brother could take the throne, Balsa's father told the story to his friend, Jiguro Musa, who was serving as the leader of the King's Spears, knowing that Jiguro would be the only one who could save his daughter because Balsa's father would be killed after being forced to poison the king. Though Jiguro would have to give up everything if he saved Balsa, he did so anyway and they escaped to New Yogo. In New Yogo, they met Madame Torogai and Tanda, who became their most trusted friends.
Balsa spent most of her childhood with Jiguro, fleeing from the other members of the King's Spears who had been ordered to kill Jiguro and Balsa and return with Jiguro's spear. Jiguro managed to kill the eight men who came to kill them, even though they were honourable men and his friends; their lives are the ones that Balsa was vowed to atone for by saving the lives of eight others. Primarily living as a bodyguard, Jiguro went on various bodyguard jobs after escaping Kanbal, with Balsa steadily absorbing his battle technique through observation and mimicking him as Jiguro refused to teach her anything beyond how to defend herself given her natural aptitude for martial arts.
Jiguro was stunned at her ability to follow his movements with clarity and polish, but quickly became enraged at her act of how Jiguro killed his best friend, when he was protecting Balsa's life from the rest of the King's Spears. Balsa was slapped across the cheek by Jiguro, angered by her actions. However, Jiguro reluctantly began teaching her how to wield a spear, providing her with her own spear to replace the wooden stick she held and practiced with, suggesting that Balsa would train with him at Torogai's hut every single day. Many of the things she learned from Jiguro is what she now passes along to Chagum.