|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
This is a very different kind of anime series, not your usual run-of-the-mill magical battles filled with supernormal kids. It's more of an exploration of the supernatural than a conflict, where human/mushi discord is resolved more often through understanding than through force.|
Mushishi is very episodic, with each episode pretty much standing alone, though building on the experience and terminology of previous ones. Others have mentioned the likeness to The X-Files, but this has a definite Japanese twist to it. The stories take place in an indeterminate era, it's not clear if the low technology that is evident is due to it being told from long ago, or simply from isolation from civilization.
One thing I've found interesting is that I've had very good success introducing non-anime co-workers to Mushishi. These 40- and 50-year olds who are generally dismissive of animation were pleasantly surprised by the series of stories and now recommend it to others.
Last updated Tuesday, April 07 2009. Created Tuesday, April 07 2009.
Mushi-shi is an anime title that is quite serene and laid-back with its storytelling approach. For the most part, the show is an episodic series centered on Ginko's encounters with people who each have their own conflicts with the forms of mysterious life known as Mushi. Each episode provides a sense of how each person lived their lives before and during the times they are affected by Mushi. Ginko is then given the task of solving whatever problem that the Mushi is giving. With acception to Ginko's appearance, everyone he encounters live in a feudal Japan lifestyle so attitudes and ways of basic living are accurate to the time period. Different themes regarding the presence of the Mushi introduce lessons in each episode which involve themes such as acceptance, loss, sacrifice, guilt, and survival. |
In addition, there are no fast-moving and intense elements such as action, violence, and comedy. This anime encourages you to just sit back and enjoy the stories being told. The stories even have different outcomes. Some are able to end happily thanks to Ginko's knowledge of the Mushi causing problems. Others end tragically as there is only so much that Ginko can do to help those who are suffering. A couple even provide depth on Ginko's past and reveal what led him to become a Mushi-shi.
In terms of visuals, the artwork provides plenty of realistic settings of nature that make you just want to admire the environment of the series. Many episodes feature some impressively animated scenes of the Mushi in action as Ginko and others deal with them. The only blemish in the visuals for me were the plain-looking character designs.
I did enjoy the soundtrack to this series as it did well to accompany the serene and dramatic moments in Mushi-shi. The mellow OP delighted me quite a bit and really stood out with its perfectly-sung English. The insert musical selections, while brief, do well to accompany the different changes in mood that occur throughout episodes with their subdued and traditional sounds.
But be warned that Mushi-shi can be an acquired taste for some viewers. If you crave action and/ or ongoing character and plot development with your anime, then you might not enjoy this series to its fullest. There is barely any plot from earlier episodes carried over to the next one and with acception to Ginko, only a few other characters appear in more than one episode. In addition, most episodes are pretty much a "mushi of the day" scenario which Mushi-shi strongly relies upon to create its stories.
If you can handle anime titles that stand out from the norm, then you should be able to enjoy Mushi-shi. With its mellow storyline, serene visuals, and gentle music, this is an anime title that you can sit back and admire when you are in the mood to break away from more manic and insane titles.
Last updated Monday, January 26 2009. Created Monday, January 26 2009.
|Rent 4||10||9||7||8||7||10||Devil Doll||[series:1218#752]|
[Score: 80% = Rent+. Recommended Fantasy/Horror animes: sola, Interlude]
As for the stories I can sense a feeling vaguely similar to X files (but without the police/politics aspect) combined with strong Japanese elements (such as fate, guilt, remorse, sacrifice, loss, ...) like in Kyuuketsuki Miyu (OVA) - that's why I consider it funny that this anime has a smooth English OP song (in singer/songwriter style). I there doesn't seem to be any contiguous Series Story; it's just Ginko visiting different places. Episode 5 was the first one to be based upon an earlier episode; episode 12 provided a pleasant surprise for me. Everything else is just "the Mushi of the week". Episode 19 is a great drama, episode 20 finally provides some more series story. The ending was interesting as well but I still miss a lot about the elements that I consider most important for a good anime. Just look how much better Haibane Renmei is in these aspects.
What I like about these short stories is that there's no automatic "all is well" ending - sometimes there's only so much a Mushishi can do. Then again, Character Development suffers a lot from the episodic nature of the story - the characters are interesting but basically shown by just one decision in their life which provides their whole story, thus limiting the rewatchability value of this series: Once you know what happened there's not much left for the next pass of viewing. But if you can live without an underlying story connecting these episodes and without any character development, then check this series out at any cost. And you might also want to give Kino no Tabi - the Beautiful World (TV) a try.
Last updated Friday, June 06 2008. Created Tuesday, November 15 2005.
I find myself totally in agreement with Devil-Doll’s review. With episode 23 having been released, I find MUSHISHI to be absolutely fascinating, if only because I love the slower tempo and artistry of this series. It is definitely not for everyone, but if you are one who can get into a very Japanese/Shinto-based/Xfiles type of series, then you should check this out. |
I have posted some snapshots of episode 1, if only to be able to share a bit of the uncommon artistry of the MUSHISHI series
For a related story (about MUSHI), see the Black Bird manga series at MangaFox.
Last updated Friday, September 04 2009. Created Saturday, October 29 2005.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.mushishi.jp/|
|DEL RAY manga series (english language)||http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780345496218|