Mysterious, unknowable creatures alien to the laws of nature—known only to some and feared by others—"Mushi" lie behind many of life's strange phenomena.
Long ago, a Mushi of terrifying power threatened to extinguish all life. The Minai clan of Mushishi were born from those who stopped this malevolent force, their members bound by duty to serve as retainers to the Karibusa family, within whom the Mushi remains sealed. The Mushishi Ginko is given a job request from Tanyuu Karibusa: oversee the work of the head of the Minai clan, Kumado Minai, in investigating an abandoned village where dead wood and even houses spring back to life as flourishing plants.
Though the Minai clan are oddly ruthless among Mushishi, even more peculiar is their widespread dull character, with little appreciation for beauty or sentiment. Tanyuu believes there is more to this trend than meets the eye. Ginko aims to answer her curiosity as he follows Kumado into a "Path of Thorns," a place where Mushi flow from their own strange sources into the world of the living. Rare and deadly varieties of Mushi lurk in these depths, along with the secret nature of the Minai clan's resolve to their ancient task.
Not much needs to be said here. This is Mushishi. One of the most respected and revered anime to ever grace the medium. And like the rest of the series, this 47 minute special (episode 11/12 of Zoku Shou) is a treat to watch.
Story and Characters
As with the usual format, this story shows us another one of the Mushishi Ginko's encounters with Mushi, but this time, we find ourselves ANOTHER Mushishi, named Kumado. Kumado is from a clan of Mushishi who have been researching a way to deal with a certain "forbidden" Mushi. (For the sake of spoilers, I'll stop there) The story is great
as always, and the characters get even more fleshed out then they normally would with the addition of 20 extra minutes.
Art/Animation and Sound
Mushishi is Studio Artland's crowning jewel from a production standpoint. It is incomparable to anything else they've ever worked on. And this special is no different. It looks downright fantastic. The designs of the characters, the designs of the Mushi, the look of the nature, the colors, everything looks beautiful. As for the sound, it's still incredible. The Mushishi soundtrack has always had a unique kind oh sound to it, and this special is no different. I'm also glad that they still kept the Opening theme of "Shiver" by Lucy Rose. It's a beautiful song, and one that I really loved listening to over the course of the Zoku Shou installment.
Mushishi will never cease to amaze me. It's an absolute treat of an anime that is the perfect kind of thing to watch whenever you just want to relax. You can watch it whenever you want, with its episodic nature, and it will always give you the same calming and soothing feel whenever you need it. It's not a show for everyone, but I definitely recommend it to everyone to try. This special gave me everything I could've wanted. And I am very glad I decided to get back to it.
For my main thoughts on the show in general, see my review of the original. (URL: http://myanimelist.net/reviews.php?id=196868 )
Though they maintain the beautiful art and subtlely ambient soundtrack, episodes 11-12 of Mushishi Zoku Shou falls short of episodes 1-10 in terms of character and story.
The whole idea of the "forbidden mushi" is my main criticism. It defies the set laws that mushi are beyond the shackles of good and evil, neutral beings, and puts an "evil final boss" as a method of closure to the season. Cliche, I'd say, and it's disappointing that Mushishi would resort to this cliché.
The characters, like most of Zoku Shou's
characters, seemed to be slightly staler than the original project, though this may be just me... The voice acting seemed staler, as well.
The rest stays true to the Mushishi ideals and presents a decent special.