ムシウタ (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: ASANUMA Shintaro
Animation - Zexcs
Rumor has it that strange insect-like creatures, called Mushi, "attach themselves to people's brains and feast on them". There's supposedly no way of knowing if you've been infected, but if you have you are doomed and a mysterious organization will come for you in the middle of the night. In fact, what the Mushi prey upon are one's thoughts and dreams, in exchange for which they grant temporary supernatural powers. There exists a resistance organization, which is composed of renegade Mushi-infected persons (“Mushitsuki”) and is led by a girl called “Ladybird”. She is believed to be a student at a certain school, and the secret government organization known as the Special Environmental Preservation Bureau (SEPB) dispatches expert agent Daisuke "Kakkou" Kusuriya to pose as a student himself and hunt for her. Kakkou, however, finds himself sidetracked from his mission when he happens to run into another girl, Shiika Anmoto. Though Shiika doesn’t realize it, they met once before and Kakkou made a promise to her. What Kakkou doesn’t know is that Shiika is in fact an escapee from the secret SEPB prison known as GARDEN, where Mushitsuki are held...

12 episodes
Animation Production by Beat Frog

("uta" could mean "song" but written in Kana like in the title here it's more likely a female name.)
Episode Details 
00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 8 9 7 8 8 Dreamer [series:1652#2279]
Great story telling here.

Art, Animation & Character Design
The art and animation was really good. At times it was dark and at times it was dreamy... especially the 1st episode. The character designs were even better with smooth actions and enough uniqueness to make it stand out from the rest. For some reason, the art reminded me of Shakugan no Shana even though they're a completely different style of art.

The theme song is a nice rock track that seemed to fit well with this anime. Aside from that, there was noting else that caught my interest.

Series and Episode Stories
At first I had thought this would be some "mecha" type anime since we had giant robotic insects. Thus, I was sorta bummed. However, after watching through the first few episodes it turned out better than I thought. There was a sense of "mystery" about this anime at first, but slowly petered off near the end. At least the plot was out of the ordinary and there was nothing cute about any of the characters.

Overall, it's not bad but I did lose some interest half way through. It's still worth a Rent.

Last updated Sunday, November 30 2008. Created Sunday, November 30 2008.
Rent Stretch [series:1652#628]
(All episodes watched):

Up to two-thirds of the way through Mushi-Uta the impression I was left with was of this being the virtually perfect fantasy/sci-fi anime series. I was amazed at the near flawless manner in which each episode, and the series as a whole, was packaged--how does anybody manage to get everything right? After watching the opening episode, I wasn't exactly sure (nowhere near sure, actually) what was going on, but this definitely seemed like a neat show, with some sort of complex and clever plot which was yet to be revealed. We learn about the Mushi (or at least the wild rumors that are circulating about them) in a website chat forum, which was fun. It's unclear who are the good and the bad guys, which again is nice. In fact, the principal characters on both sides are so interesting and likeable that I got the feeling that nothing good could come from a final showdown between them, no matter which side won. There's the "Special Environmental Preservation Bureau" (SEPB), an MIB-like government agency trying to exterminate the Mushi. For the time being, however, they employ Mushi and Mushi-infected persons ("Mushitsuki") themselves--sort of like HOLY in s-CRY-ed. Then there's the "Mushibane", an underground group of Mushi-infected people rebelling against the repressive policies of the SEPB. The SEPB seems to hate and fear the Mushi, whereas those who have been "infected" only want to make the best of their fate. Eventually a Mushi will kill it's victim, but in the meantime it grants supernatural powers. Either it kills you or you (or somebody else) kills it, which reduces you to a braindead zombie--not much of a choice. There's yet another faction at work, too--the Mushi themselves and whoever or whatever is controlling them.

Mushi-Uta was based on a series of "light novels", which has lead some to speculate that there might be plenty of material available for additional seasons if it does well. Around September 5th, "Moon Phase reports a second set of 12 episodes airing at some point after the first 12" (now I can forgive the three week break between episodes eight and nine!). I read that it's also being brought out in manga form. This was such an intriguing, complex series that I quickly decided that it would probably be a good idea for me to rewatch the opening episode before moving on, which I did. Having already seen it once (and having read the synopsis above) it made a lot more sense. I was a little reluctant to do a repeat view, but was surprised by the power of the script, the music and artwork even on the second time around--altogether, very classy! Rewatching episodes isn't a chore, it's a joy. There's really not all that much fighting in Mushi-Uta, but the series remained gripping nevertheless, which was impressive. This is a show which quickly grabbed my attention as deserving of being closely focused on. Watching episodes of Mushi-Uta twice was both necessary and worthwhile, at least for me--There's so much "meat" to each episode that I'd often rather rewatch an episode of this show than watch an all-new episode of another series. There's a touch of humor to Mushi-Uta, too (like the nosy schoolgirls--I especially like the one who accuses Kakkou of being a "stalker"), plus nice animation. I got an impression of genuine talent at work here, and was intrigued (I'd never heard of "Beat Frog Animation" before!). A hint of what to expect in future episodes came from the "Mushi-Uta Relationship Chart" (see Episode 00) provided by AnimeOmake fansubs (and converted to an anime version by myself), which acts as a handy reference to keep track of the various characters' attitudes towards each other--I wish more shows would provide these! Actually, this show was so entrancing to me that I gladly exerted extra effort to keep track of the plot--it's the average anime series which could use these charts! It's not everyday that I get such a good vibe from a new series as I did from Mushi-Uta, and even less often that the same good vibe is steadily maintained throughout numerous additional episodes. Really, I appreciate the way that this show made figuring out the clues neither too hard nor too easy--it's a perfect balance between the two extremes, either one of which can easily ruin a series.

The first 2/3 of the series seemed to do a masterful job of rationing out the clues, and I was certain it was building towards a brilliantly believable conclusion. Yet something went wrong, starting with episode nine. I wasn't sure what it was, but something just felt different, and wrong. I hoped it was an anomaly and the story would get back on track, but no, it's like somebody got impatient at the slow but damn near perfect way the series was coming along, and decided that what it needed was lots of action and excitement. To hell with the tension and intrigue that had been painstakingly built up; that was casually discarded. And to hell with a conclusion that would tie all the loose ends together and make sense. Instead, what we get is a confusing and frustrating mess, which is all the more heartbreaking when you think back at the masterful job of storytelling Mushi-uta was doing early on. I wonder, could that three week break in airing have resulted from somebody critically important being lost to the staff while production was still incomplete? Or, more likely, was that the point at which the anime version took off on an ill-advised different course from the manga? I've heard that a second season of Mushi-Uta is in the works; the first thing it ought to do is offer an alternate ending to the first one!

The coolest damn show you ever will see--until the final third.

My favorite line: "You've become nothing but a fool that enjoys fighting--fighting for the sake of not thinking" --Kakkou

Last updated Monday, March 03 2008. Created Friday, August 03 2007.

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