In Feudal Japan, the people of Edo are under siege by giant insects that ravage the land. The people desperately beg the government to do something about it. Thus the Insect Magistrate Office is established, gathering strong warriors to defend against the onset of pests.
Mushibugyou follows Jinbee Tsukishima, a young man striving to be a master swordsman like his father. To atone for a horrific incident that occurred at his fault, Jinbee seeks to take his father's place as a member of the Insect Magistrate Office. On his journey there, he meets the lovely Haru, a young woman who helps manage her family’s tea house, and is forced to put his sword to good use in saving her from a grisly fate. This act of bravery that earns him a spot in the Insect Magistrate. Will this rookie exterminator be able to rid the land of the horde of insects swarming in?
So what do you do when insects come knock at your door? Well, normally you'd call the pest control. But here's the problem. These are not your ordinary insects. In fact, these are the type that will tear you apart and eat you alive. It takes more much than the pest control. Luckily, you can call upon a more reliant force known as the City Patrol, an elite unit of insect exterminators who are specialists in dealing with those pesky creatures.
As one of the lesser known series from the 2013 Spring lineup, Mushibugyou might of slipped under some people's radar. In fact, I wasn't
aware of this show until a friend told me about it. No, it's not because I hate bugs. I mean, I'm sure a lot of people hates them in real life as well but this series fits within more of the 'underrated category. Anyways, it is adapted based off the manga known as Joujuu Senjin!! Mushibugyou. (take note that it is adapted from the alternate version of the Mushibugyou manga). Otherwise, the series stars Jinbei Tsukishima, a young man who becomes a new recruit of the City Patrol. The boy is inexperienced but joins the unit to honor his family and protect the people.
The series takes place in an alternate Feudal Era Japan setting. Thus, expect some of the architectures' designs to look like some of the more traditional style of Japanese culture. The country in which the series takes place at is simple though with no complex technology. Rather, there is a system where people tries to follow to maintain order. But then of course, that order is disturbed thanks to these monsters known as the Mushi, the giant insects as well as the antagonists of the series. They disturb peace and causes destruction. Now, who you gotta call? The Ghostbust- I mean, City Patrol.
I'm not a big fan of historical theme series but there's something about Mushibugyou that seems to have more interest than meets the eye. The first few episodes aren't very impressive though so patience is required in order to progress through the series. In fact, we meet the members of the Mushi Magistrate City Patrol. Its members are specialists and quite diverse in terms of their appearances, abilities, and personalities. Jinebi is the most cheerful of the group with his personality. Despite being the weakest member of the team, he makes it up with his heroic efforts to protect the people as well as determination. On a complete different scale, there's Mugai, a mysterious individual whose skill is almost unrivaled in the team. In terms of skills, they are worlds apart and it's fun to see how they balance out during battles.
The other members of the City Patrol consists of the tough guy (Shungiku Koikawa), action girl (Hibachi), and and shy boy (Tenma Ichinotani). All of their skills complicates the team's efforts in some way or form despite their conflicting philosophies. These often result in hilarious belittling of each other to a point of almost absurdity. Speaking of that, there's some absurdity in this show besides the repetitive arguments. I'm talking about the insects involved as they seem to attack humans out of nowhere for little to no reason. Then, there are some of the character designs like Mugai's hair style. Some other forms of absurdity involves the deus ex machina scenarios involving our hero Jinebi when he pulls out a victory from nowhere.
As for the show itself goes, it balances between seriousness and comedy. The seriousness part comes from the Mushi as they truly are bloodthirsty for destruction. In fact, there is actual deaths involved in this show and some moments are even graphic with no censorship. The fact that the Mushi wants humans as food (or more like for dead) is a reality in this series. Make no mistake as the bodies do pile up especially in later episodes when some of the stronger Mushi are introduced. Jinebi also takes his work seriously as he trains hard to honor his family. His determination is unrivaled in his team and often strives to protect those who cares around him. There's also some back-stories involving the supporting characters that shows why they are members of the City Patrol that are spawned from tragic stories. For comedy, there's the frequent actions from Jinebi that usually results in some sort of undesired result at first. This typically starts in the beginning in the show due to his lack of experience as well as some of his lack in common sense. Then, there's the fan service. There's fan service more than just the blood and gore. Thanks to a particular fan service girl (Haru), there's skin showing and cameras fixed on angles that are lascivious. In fact, Haru seems to be the kind of girl in this show that serves little to no purpose beyond the fan service as she has no skill to fight against the Mushi or brains to formulate plans for attack. Instead, she has to rely on her knight in shining armor (Jinbei) to save the day. But of course, Jinbei always gets some sort of reward from her in the form of a 'thanks' or sometimes more...
The plot originally follows more of a the 'monster of the week' format but later transits into a more complex story. In the center of that story is Jinebi and another mysterious girl known as Kuroageha, the Insect Magistrate. She represents a more mysterious side to the overall series with her gifted powers behind that noticeable white silky hair. There's also dangerous foes later on (including an organization) that really takes the action and plot to the cake. If you survived the slow pace of the first few episodes, then this show might not be disappointing for you at all.
As for the Mushi, their designs gives off a dangerous vibe along with their behavior. Most of them are modified after real life insects such as mantis, stag beetles, dragonfly, etc with abilities that matches their rights. Some of them do looks more silly than they should be though with their enormous heads and some of their humanoid/hybrid designs. There's also plenty of action of course! It generally involves the struggling conflict between the Mushi and the City Patrol. There's bloody spilled and heads falling off here and there. The movements and fights are generally fast paced with quick successions. Among other factors, Mushibugyou also has some potential romance development later on. The problem here is that Jinbei is way too dense to notice it. In terms of the romance, the show only gives signs and teases. Thus, don't expect some form of love story as this would be the wrong show to watch.
Overall designs for the characters are fine that shows why they are part of the City Patrol. The Edo like feeling is obviously there with the architectures and village like settings. Then, there are the dangerous insects that shows why they are enemies of humanity. The fan service might be more than meets the eye but even ignoring that aspect doesn't make this series' artwork outstanding.
The soundtrack of the show is noticeable but nothing earth shattering. There's the action scenarios, the comedy tones, and then some more of the emotional parts accompanied by soft paced music. Most of the VA plays their roles well. In particular, Jinbei's VA (KEEN) has that tone of determination coming from his voice whenever he wants to protect someone. There are two different OP and ED songs and both of them fits within the theme of the show with the Edo-like atmosphere.
All in all, Mushibugyou is a show that is underrated but can be worth a watch if you have some patience. What I mean by that is getting through some of the introductory episodes and then later on to the main plot. I mean, the show is dominated by man eating insects as the enemies. I'm sure most of us hates insects in some way or form. There's also fan service so be prepared for some gratuitous camera angles and bloody gore. The show is more intimating than meets the eye though so once it gets to the main dish, it can be a somewhat enjoyable ride. Just don't forget to fasten the seat-belt unless you want to become insect food.
Mushibugyou is your typical shounen really, but It has a few stylish and interesting choices for subject matter, that being insects. At first it's treated quite like a monster of the week affair. Similar to the very beginning of bleach. However as things go on stuff gets more interesting. Characters develop, romance develops, and Arcs unfold. I'm gonna be honest there isn't much original here, however there isn't much original about most shounen. It's all about how well it's executed when it comes to shounen's story. In this
regard I believe Mushibugyou was executed well, but not as good as others like Hunter x Hunter or JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. So, is the story good? Yes. Is it a legendary tale passed down from the shounen gods? Nope. 7.5/10 for the story.
The characters overall aren't really all that special. That is at first, everything becomes alot better as time goes on characters included. Character development is actually rather robust for mainstream shounen. When I first thought about it the characters weren't all that original at all until later on. Most mainstream shounen (Bleach, One Piece, Naruto) nowadays have very little romance or none at all. I don't view that as a bad thing. Everything has its time and place including love stories. Although, It is nice that Mushibugyou took it back to the days of old when shounens had a nice bit of love and romance. Every character progresses in their own way and it has some love on the side which gets it an extra nod from me. Overall, 7/10 for the characters.
The art and sound really are just as good as anything else that's come out recently. Nothing really to say, It meets the industry standard of good looking and good sounding anime. It is of note that both of its openings were quite enjoyable artistically and musically. 7/10 for both art and sound. Would have probably been a 6 for sound, but those openings really saved it's soundtrack.
My overall enjoyment of this anime is really the saving grace to it all. There is something fun about seeing how all the bug slaying will turn out. How the Insect Magistrate's Office will handle giant bugs or a new arc of differing enemies. It seems to also stay fresh with a revolving door of characters working with Jinbei. Everything moves fast and stays fresh with it never seeming like time was wasted unnecessarily. I think its quick development at first can also be attributed to the way it works in a monster of the week fashion. I always feel like I'm having fun when watching Mushibugyou, in a way similar to the same type of feeling I get when I watch Starship Troopers or Godzilla movies. 8/10 for enjoyment. It simply put is pure hearted fun for me.
In conclusion I give this anime a 7.75/10 with the score being rounded to 8 due to lack of decimals in MyAnimeList's rating system. If you are looking for fun watch this anime. I hope my anime review helped anyone who read it.
Mushibugyou follows a young samurai named Jinbei Tsukishima in Edo, hoping to be a member of the Insect Magistrate's office in the place of his father. In the Insect Magistrate's office, their only duty is to protect the peace in Edo from the monstrous insects. When Jinbei got to be one of the members of the office, he met his new teammates namely Mugai, Hibachi, Tenma Ichinotani, and Shungiku Koikawa. But the problem is that, all of his teammates believed that he will quit in less than 3 days and he was too weak to fight the insects.
Mushibugyou was one of the rare
action animes that the MC was not that too powerful and too weak either. The anime's story lets the MC, Jinbei Tsukishima, too grow more powerful and wiser as the series progress. The comedy and the fanservice, "the plots", are not too excessive that may cause a downhill and a sort of a bland taste that leave in the audience's eyes. It also shows how beautiful human relationships are. The transition between the arcs was clean and well-thought that avoided some confusion.
1. Jinbei Tsukishima: Jinbei Tsukishima acted as a human pillar of goodness and hope. Throughout the anime, his goodness towards other people, whether foe or ally, doesn't change a single bit but it became stronger as he met more people,with different perspectives and experiences, as a member of the Insect Magistrate's office.
His goodness was first shown when he saved Oharu from getting eaten by an insect. Oharu told him about her parents' horrible death in the hands of the insects and lost hope in living as being eaten was always an everyday activity in Edo; but he gave her hope by promising her that he will do his very best to protect her and Edo from the insect. Later on, with Hibachi, he encouraged and shared sentiments towards Mugai. He helped Tenma to overcome his fears. He admired and strongly believed in Shunguki. His strong determination and will touched Mugai which lead Mugai to open his heart on Jinbei. His promise of seeing the skies in Edo with the Insect Magistrate or Princess Naa. And it made his teammates to accept him and to believe in him as one of them. These things were only some of his goodness list which changed lives for the better.
His iron determination, will, and persistent were also one of his good points. Because of these characteristics, he gave hope to his teammates to overcome the struggles in battle and to have strength that can kill their enemies. Although the foe was not in his league, for example Yukimura Sanada, he didn't lose hope and continued to battle although his body was not in fighting shape. That's because he didn't waver on his philosophy that to win every battles until he died. He also obsessed about being stronger since he didn't want to burden his teammates and didn't want to experiece the humilation that he can't protect anyone on his power. It was also to become an aide for his teammates.
In the case of Mugai, since he's rarely shown in the anime, he didn't have that much character development compared to others; but his character still plays an important role. Him, being strong and powerful, became Jinbei's goal towards an ideal swordman that can erase people's fear; that honed Jinbei's skills as a samurai and leave a bigger room of development for Jinbei.
Although in the anime, his past was shown, it was somehow a little bit lacking in explanation in some parts; like on his reason why he left a criminal group. But he still did show a little development in the anime.
Hibachi is the tsundere of the anime. She punched and kicked Jinbei for being a so-called pervert and for whatever reasons. She became Jinbei's first friend in the Insect Magistrate when they both shared admiration for Mugai. As a fellow member, she believed on Jinbei which gave him support. Her character development wasn't that impressive but still worth praising for; for when she became stronger ninja and changed her opnions of Jinbei.
4. Tenma Ichinotani:
Tenma Ichinotani was the character who showed a great character development throughout of the anime. From being a cry-baby to being a strong, noble, and dependable onmyoji. He's very likable character since it was like watching a baby to grow up as a good adult. His love for his parents stayed true and his friendship with Jinbei and the others became stronger.
5. Shungiku Koikawa:
Just like Hibachi, Shungiku Koikawa doesn't have that much character development. But Koikawa has this misleading image of him. He's a badass samurai who had a clean cut in everything he cuts but he's also a drunkard. But I never thought that he's also quite fair in fights, for a murder, when he didn't strike Mugai when Mugai threw his longsword to the ground, and a little bit a mature and responsible adult, for a drunkard, when he's aiding his teammates in battle.
The anime let it's characters to grow and to have a meaningful development. It's quite rare, these days, to find an anime which all of its characters are growing together; not the typical anime in which the main character is only the one who's getting stronger. The story is not confusing and not too predicatble. But the only downside of this anime is that it doesn't have a second season.
When I first saw this anime, I thought it would be another typical shounen anime with generic characters. Well, I was somewhat right or completely correct.
The story follows our young protagonist Tsukishima, Jinbei who has just left his home. After some events he ends up joining the Mushibugyou, a group of people who fight giant bugs. Although it doesn't seem very interesting at first, as the story unfolds a bit we get a slight idea to how the giant bugs came to be and to who the head of the Mushibugyou really is.
Nothing to spectacular here. The
art matches the overall atmosphere of the show and stays consistent throughout the anime from what I can see.
The sound fits the anime well from what I can remember and the first OP and ED were decent. The second OP and ED were what really caught my ear, the second OP was fun and matched the show very well, while the second ED had a more serious tone to it with good visuals to boot.
This is where some people may be skeptical. The characters don't seem like anything special, especially the protagonist Jinbei. The other characters are; Hibachi the ninja/tsundere who uses explosives, Tenma the onmyouji with his two shikigami, Shungiku the samurai/criminal who uses swords, and Mugai the strongest member of the group. I'm only going to talk in detail about Jinbei and Princess Naa
Jinbei the new member in the group. Although he seems generic and boring, he is one of the reasons as to why I liked this anime. Even though he's not very strong he makes up for that with enthusiasm and his undying will to fight for what he believes is right. He is very respectful of everyone usually adding the honorific -dono to their names. His interaction with the main cast is entertaining to watch and feels natural.
(Some Spoilers Ahead)
Princess Naa also known as the insect Magistrate is the head of the unit. Not much is known about her at the start. She starts out practically emotionless and meets our protagonist at the start of summer, where she is seen just standing around looking up at the sky waiting for the fireworks to start. Despite her past, she starts to show more emotion as she interacts with Jinbei and later realizes she has developed feelings for Jinbei.
The show was always entertaining to watch even though the start was slow. It never felt like a chore and I was always exited for the next episode.
I feel like Mushibugyou is a somewhat underrated anime but if you're looking for a casual/happy anime Mushibugyou is a great choice!
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