"Mushishi" is an episodic anime that has only one main character~ Ginko. Ginko's purpose is to travel from town to town, researching a phenomenon called "mushi" and their effects on humanity. He also helps the different villages deal with any mushi "problems" they may encounter.
This is the SINGLE MOST beautiful and original story I have ever seen, both inside and outside the anime community. The concept of "mushi"~ an entity that is neither human, plant, or animal, that affects the daily lives of humans is intelligent and thought-provoking. How Ginko deals with these phenomenon, whether he is just researching or "treating"
them is even more compelling. Mushishi's stories have great life lessons hidden within them, and they are brought to life beautifully.
Beautiful. Gorgeous. Breath-taking. What else is there to say? The scenery art for this series is some of the best I have ever seen. My only complaints about the artwork in this series, is the character art (other than Ginko's). The different characters who appear episode after episode seem to be drawn identically, but just with new clothes and a name tacked on to differentiate them from the last episode. However, this is easily over-looked because of the characters themselves (which will be discussed later.)
Well, I'm afraid my review will fall short here. I'm afraid sound is not usually something I really pay attention to, typically. I will say, however, that the OP song is one of my favorites (if not my favorite) among all anime I have seen. Yes, it may be my age saying this, but it is reminiscent of the old 70's folk music that I love so much. It really is a beautiful song. I'm giving the sound a 10, though, based on this song, and the music I did notice through the series, which was quite appropriate for the scenes.
Aaaaaahhhh... the BEST part of the series. Ginko... Ginko... well, he's just awesome. Sometimes he may come across as one of your old "monotone" teachers/professors, but you get the feeling that he truly LOVES what he does, and the interest he has in researching the mushi is undeniable. The way he sees mushi as neither "evil or good" ... they "just exist, like we do" is a testament to his character. Another great thing about this series is the episodic characters. Other than Ginko (and a doctor that shows up in 3 episodes), all characters are only present for 1 episode. But as someone states in the forums, you come to care MORE about some of these 1 episode characters than you do for some recurring characters in other 26+ epi series.
Well, if it isn't obvious by now, I enjoyed/am enjoying this series immensely. I was not sure if I could enjoy an episodic anime with new characters introduced each episode, but I was pleasantly surprised. This series has become quite endearing to me, and has taken it's spot as my #1 favorite series of all time. All of the different aspects of this series, good as they are, individually, combine to make one hell of an awesome and original series.
The verdict... (as if it wasn't obvious)... 10/10. This is definitely a series worth watching, and definitely one of THE MOST UNDERRATED anime series out there. Please enjoy it, soon... and let's all spread the Mushishi <3. :3
“Don’t let yourself be blinded by fear or anger.
Everything is only as it is.”
Mushishi is essentially a series of stories styled after East Asian legends and folktales. In lieu of gods, spirits, and demons, the paranormal phenomena are attributed to more primitive yet no less enigmatic creatures called “mushi”. Dealing with their kind is the expertise of “mushishi”; professionals whose role may be thought of as an amalgam of healer, exorcist, biologist, X-Files investigator, and Jedi master (well, sort of). Ginko happens to be one of these mushishi and he wanders from town to town, looking for interesting cases and lending a helping hand
to those adversely affected by these mushi.
As formulaic as its premise may sound, no two incidents are alike and every episode features not only different mushi but a different setting and cast as well (with Ginko as constant exception). Because of these, the series is able to experiment with various concepts and human relationships and none of the stories ever end in a predictable manner. As such, there is little room for stagnation as each tale manages to be unique and refreshing.
The title is often mentioned in the same breath as Kino no Tabi though Mushishi’s oriental setting and animistic influences give it a more distinct flavor and theme. Whereas Kino limits herself to exploring “what if” scenarios by visiting different countries, Ginko takes it a step further by providing possible solutions and emphasizing the importance of living in harmony with nature, with fellow men, and most importantly, with the self.
While not exactly an anti-hero, Ginko’s personality is an unusual mix of benevolence tempered with common sense; a combination of “grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.” Saving lives is part of his job but he also knows when there’s reason still to hope and when it’s time to move on. He may break his own code at times for the well-being of the majority and he’s not above fooling the gullible either just to get by. His expertise stems not only from his knowledge about mushi but also from his understanding of human nature.
Similarly, none of these supporting characters are shoved into stereotypes which plague most anime and manga. No catgirls, lecherous geezers, or single-minded youngsters (Believe it!); just regular folks in unusual circumstances due to encounters with mushi. Consequently, it doesn’t require much effort to empathize with these characters even if most only appear in their respective episodes.
Not only is the theme “everything is only as it is” evident in the content but it also permeates the manner in which the stories are presented. Mushishi doesn’t try to impress; it simply delivers. While other shows of this era tend go overboard with the fancy CG animation, Mushishi’s visuals remain spare yet aesthetically pleasing. Rather than filling up the screen with explosions and fanservice shots at every possible moment, vivid scenes of natural beauty such as raindrops falling from the heavens, cherry blossoms drifting in the wind, and sunlight penetrating the dense foliage are shown instead. Of course, the viewers are occasionally treated to fantastic scenes showing the surreal characteristics of the mushi but these are shown only when called for in the stories and nothing is done in excess. Even the character designs are relatively plain but perhaps these also contribute to the story in their own way since the audience is less likely to judge the characters based on their appearances.
Likewise, the audio takes the minimalist approach. The soundtrack is comprised of simply melodies which are surprisingly effective in evoking various thoughts and emotions. Ranging from haunting and heart-rending to hopeful and bittersweet, the music often eliminates the need for more words in the most crucial scenes. Also worth noting is the lack of exaggerated voice acting which makes the cast sound more like real people rather than cookie-cutter characters.
In addition to its enchanting audio and visuals, Mushishi also serves drama and thought-provoking content in balanced amounts. Its subtle content and execution never insult the intelligence and present several interesting ideas without drowning the viewers in philosophical jargon or sophistry. All in all, Mushishi truly is one of the finest anime specimen out there.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
In spirit, at least, each episode of Mushishi strongly reminds me of one thing: A cave painting. A depiction of man and the outside world, brief and primal but perfectly expressive, radiating mysticism, perhaps possessed of more meaning than it initially appears to have.
From minute one, Mushishi's representation of a vast world grabs the eye and doesn't let go. Lush forests with dew dripping from every leaf; barren winter mountains peppered with stubborn snow-covered trees; an innocuous pond with lilies on the surface of the still water. The series roams from setting to setting, and all are presented with a lifelike attention to detail. The
color palette is richly varied, reaching from the brilliant emerald of vegetation to the deep turquoise of the sea to the dusky red of a far-off sunset. Lighting is used to strong effect, whether it's beams of sun streaming through layers of foliage and mist or a candle's flame struggling to brighten a dark old house.
And within those habitats, the mushi themselves, creatively rendered as a strange mix of the familiar and the utterly alien—like shapeless blobs propelled by twitching motions, like phosphorescent insects scuttling along the earth, like great legless serpents twisting skyward. Some take the shape of a natural phenomenon, and the sight of a living rainbow exploding from the earth, or a long-restrained cloud breaking free, expanding and floating away, is bound to impress. The animation on the whole is excellent, but the mushi in particular seem to move with a vivid otherworldly fluidity. At least part of Mushishi is about making sense of the mysterious, bringing reason to something that seems unreasonable, and the designs of the mushi add some believability to this; it's quite easy to see how they could be thought of as ghosts, beasts, or legends, able to inspire both wonder and fear. The tranquility of the environments is consistently impressive in a low-key way, but the spectacle of the mushi can be eerie, majestic, and everything in between.
Sound is part of atmosphere, and in the same way that cold urban horrors might use reverberations in dark alleys or the foreboding thrumming of electronics, Mushishi might use a chorus of insects or the roar of drifting snow to surround us, allowing the setting to speak its piece. The music is minimal but startlingly effective, in many cases fitting easily alongside and even seeming to mimic the voices of the earth. Slow piano notes overlap with rhythmic footsteps, a woodwind's sad screams resemble those of a forlorn bird. So, too, can the score sound almost unearthly, with an ominous progression of bells and chimes sometimes underscoring a haunting ending or signaling the arrival of the mushi. The result is an immersive ambiance where visuals and sound alone can convey dark, brooding tension or innocent curiosity with equal ease. It isn't just pretty, it's totally engrossing, exuding pure atmospheric mastery in almost every scene.
Through this vast world walks Ginko, revenant of revenants, our looking glass. Perceptive of the nature of human and mushi alike, he uses words as careful and deliberate as his journeying stride to become the voice of reason and, with an air of serene confidence, impart his knowledge to others. To become a witness to needless death, a bearer of bad news, or a participant in deception is sometimes part of his job description. As an admirer of life and truth, he cares for none of these tasks, but he'll defy his own nature and undertake them with solemn dedication if he feels that it's necessary. He is wise, but not infallibly so. Nor is he a complete stoic; outbursts of childlike wonder at incredible sights, sarcastic retorts to smart-mouthed travelers, and emotion-laden shouts of panic and warning to his fellow humans all show him as a little more than just the nonchalant white-haired sage. His development, in the traditional sense, is sparse, but he is afforded a poignant backstory that makes him and his thought process a little less of an enigma.
Of course, Mushishi gently pushes a picture of a sprawling and intricate world where all beings affect each other in ways both seen and unseen, their actions rippling outward in ever-widening circles, and in that sense, Ginko as a character is no different than any other living thing in the show, simultaneously of little and great consequence. He may be our guide, cursed and blessed to ceaselessly wander, but the world doesn't turn for him. Rather, it's in what he represents that we might find significance: The quest for knowledge, the insatiable desire to understand even while knowing that the sheer body of things in existence prevents total understanding. The need to capture the meaning of what surrounds us, spread our wisdom responsibly, and use it to form calculated reactions to the world instead of rash judgments. He truly is that silver fish swimming endlessly through dark water, opalescent barbels probing fathomless black crevices, illuminating them, if only for a brief moment. Much of Mushishi's strength lies in the ability to provoke thought without direct questions, to let an image serve as subtext, and Ginko himself represents an impressively seamless merging of humanity and idea.
Mushishi is episodic, not bound by an overarching plot. It is a series of self-contained stories which vary in theme, but are always skillfully crafted. Most episodes consist of human drama, based on relatable and familiar emotions, infused with an element of the natural world. The episodic format delivers powerful and gripping tales in an extremely brief timetable, a feat which I have no problem appreciating. The scenarios are original, and the writing is rich with little subtleties and metaphors, but each episode can be understood and appreciated as successful story even if you've no desire to peer into them deeply. View Mushishi as a progression of intelligent parables full of interesting ideas, or as a bunch of moving and affecting tales; much to its credit, it is both.
Part of what makes Mushishi work is its steadfast refusal to portray anything in terms as simple as “good” or “evil.” Stories where barbaric man stupidly abuses mother nature, or where nature is a hate-filled monster that comes from the hills to eat scared little man, are a dime a dozen, and while they might pass as entertainment, they often fail to say anything worth saying because they handle man and earth as if they're combatants in a holy war. Mushishi is not so black and white, and it has an idea that scales much better. The mushi are not red-toothed animals seeking to kill in droves. The humans are not greedy savages bent on scorching the earth. Both are just beings, trying to survive in the same place and at the same time. That they will cross paths, have conflicting interests, use each other, and hurt each other is inevitable; such is survival. Each episode is one meeting of mushi and human, one miniscule butting of heads in a massive world, with the implication being that this is simply what happens, everywhere. Instead of vilifying humans or portraying nature as a vengeful power, Mushishi whispers: This is just the way things are. It does give us a small shove by implying that, as the ones with the ability to reason and understand, the responsibility for mitigating the damage that humans inflict (and the damage that humans receive) falls on the humans, but it never degenerates into the preachy heavy-handedness or gross oversimplifications that plague many works with similar themes.
It's that theme which allows Mushishi to navigate the spectrum of human emotion. Conflict in its world does not arise from moral failings or piggish greed, only from a lack of understanding, and understanding is a sword with many edges. Ask the child who learns of death, or the old man who learns of life. Sometimes the knowledge you gain is liberating, sometimes it's disheartening, sometimes it's terrifying. Mushishi can be all of those words and more, but even when it strays to one extreme, it never loses its humanity, its worldliness, or its feeling of being completely natural. Just as it can depict the warm orange rays of the sun and the cold white howl of the snow, it can depict innocent wonder and violent loss, and with equal sincerity. It has balance, and then some.
As a caveat, I will say that this is the kind of series that practically begs me to use the phrase “not for everyone.” It's dialogue-heavy, more about the thought leading up to action than the action itself; it keeps the big guns of its visual spectacle on a tight leash, letting them explode only after a suitable buildup to assure the maximum payoff; it doesn't have the conventional storytelling satisfaction of explicitly coming full circle, instead simply tapering off and fading quietly, as episodic series sometimes do. A few episodes will likely be enough to inform you of whether or not it's to your tastes, and I've no doubt that many have labeled (and will continue to label) it as simply “boring.” I understand the origin of this opinion, but I just can't share it, because Mushishi is strangely beautiful and intensely fascinating on several levels. Imbibe it a little at a time like a fine liquor, or dive deeply into it and become drunk on its atmosphere, intrigue, and insights. In my experience, neither disappoints.
Some people will tell you Mushishi is great because it doesn’t contain action and fanservice. These must be the same people who praise a film for not including Adam Sandler. They also make Mushishi look more pretentious than it is. It’s far from it. The problem is, even though Mushishi has a worthwhile aim and the right methods, it doesn’t know how to use them.
In order for something to be pretentious, it needs to put up a cover while not including the methods. An anime that has a realistic art style with dramatic characters is pretentious. It looks realistic, but the methods that are used
are opposed to it.
Mushishi makes it clear what it wants to be in the first episode. It’s a series that’s concerned mainly with men’s relationship to nature. The mushi are just the physical embodiment of what nature can be. Some have criticized Mushishi for creating a magic system that has no rules but leads to convenience, but that’s untrue. Mushishi doesn’t have an RPG-like magic system because it uses magic to explore themes, not to offer instructions on how to do battle.
The rules the magic in Mushishi follows is the theme of nature. It’s successful in that department. We often see nature portrayed as a calm, peaceful place in contrast to heartless machinery. If the person is especially ignorant, we will even hear about the good old days when men was One With Nature and everything was peaceful and good. Most people see nature though the lens of the Garden of Eden.
Anyone who ever bothered to learn a little about nature – botany or geology or zoology – will understand Mushishi‘s stance on nature. Nautre is unstable, mysterious, powerful and cares nothing about us. Volcanic eruptions and meteors crashing are terrible things, but they’re produced by an indifferent world that has no malice. They just happen. Then again, it’s the same world that gives us great food and visual spectacles. There plenty of time when the terrible and beautiful merge – how many dangerous animals are also beauiful?
The series achieves that by the nature of the mushi. They often benefit and harm at the same time, like allowing people to give birth to a person that died. There is always a sense of wonder and mystery surrounding the mushi. Even Ginko, despite his cold demeanor is also startled by them. What people don’t say enough about Mushishi is that this is how fantasy should be done. It’s not like Martin’s world, which is full of details to make it clear and familiar. It’s truly alien and fantastical.
Where the series falls is in all other departments. The series doesn’t put enough effort into the characters and the stories. They exist solely to present the varying mushi. There are films whose purpose is only to deliver a visual experience, so abandoning conventional storytelling can be a smart decision. It’s not here. It’s not just that 26 episodes make you demand more, but that abandoning conventional storytelling doesn’t help the series’ aim.
The series forgets about the ‘men’ in the relationship between men and nature. The characters feel like they have an outer life. The issues spring from life itself – art, marriage, vision – rather than having a guy preventing another guy from Being the Best. There isn’t enough character psychology to make these issues feel important.
The characters are all interchangeable. I kept waiting for a reason why this person is concerned with vision, or this one with marriage. Nothing is pointless in fiction, after all. In order to bring depth to an issue, you need to connect to the character. Something in the character’s personality needs to be related to the issue so it will affect it. A lot of shounen shows know this, so they tend to give a narcisstic nature to their characters. The character doesn’t just struggle with The Problem but with his own nature. Ikki learns to curb his narcissism and stop swinging between it and depression. Tai learns (or is supposed to) how being a leader works.
Despite these two not being the most developed examples, they make for different stories. You couldn’t put Tai in Ikki’s story, because Tai’s personality is concerned with relationships with others. You couldn’t put Ikki in Tai’s story, because his story is about learning that sometimes you lose some and win some. I could not remember a character that had a situation concerned with his personality. They tend to have generic wants and needs, nothing that’s unique to them. They may be ‘ordinary people’, but people are not clones even when they follow patterns. Or if the series wanted to comment on that, then the similarity should’ve been made important. Nothing is there to emphasize how similar humans are. These are just empty characters.
Ginko is not much better. An episodic series isn’t an excuse to have undeveloped characters. They may not change throughout the series, but they need a personality that will affect every story. A lot of Cartoon Network shows are purely episodic, yet they’re full of quirky characters who create the stories because of who they are.
We get a backstory episode for Ginko, but it doesn’t reveal much. What’s his motivation? Why is he so into mushi? How does all this exploring affected his worldview? There are sometimes hints. In one episode, Ginko agrees with what I wrote above about the cruelty of nature. This is just one instant, though. All Ginko does is visit people, help them solve the problem and that’s it.
That makes him a plot device, not a real character. He exists so we’ll have someone to follow, but how different would the series be if it was a random mushishi in every episode? I do not ask to immidiately reveal who Ginko is. If every episode gave a small piece, it would be enough. The collector, who appears from time to time is the only person with something resembling a drive. He’s really into collecting, and values it more than humans. It’s a little touch that makes him more real than anyone here. There are sometimes other mushishi’s who act a little different, but the difference is never wide enough.
It’s a missed oppurtunity, sure, but not one without merits. It’s as original as people say it is, and a good example of how far storytelling can go. It didn’t live up to its concept, but it’s still good that it’s out there and that it found an audience. Hopefully, one of these someone will pick up these ideas and run away with them. It’s a fun series, but one that should be easy to improve.
This anime was a very unique experience. The show introduces a very interesting concept called the mushi. It'd be very difficult to describe what the mushi are precisely. In a nutshell , they're essentially spiritual beings, but at the same time they inhabit the physical world ( Yeah I know what your thinking, you just completely contradicted yourself. I know, I know just go with it) and they use humans as a host ( very similar to a parasite). One aspect in particular that struck me about the show was how it was devoid of any western influences whatsoever. Many anime fans don't realize
how anime is indeed heavily influenced by Western culture. But Mushi-shi primarily borrows stories from many east Asian folklore and myths. Although Mushi-shi does offer an original and innovative premise/concept, the execution is most certainly flawed.
The story of Mushi-shi follows the exploits of Ginko, who is otherwise known as the Mushi-shi or Mushi master in the English dub. Ginko's job as a Mushi-shi is to go around and help people who have been infected by the mushi. This is one of the flaws to Musi-shi, which is it's formulaic plot. As you go through these episodes you'll notice that 90% of the them play out like this: Ginko is wandering around, he encounters a village, group of people or an individual who have had an encounter with the mushi. Which in turn, leads to them being harmed to the point were they're crippled or their lives are hanging on by a thread. Ginko attempts to save them. His efforts leads them to being cured or sometimes the episode will end off tragically where the one infected dies. Basically, this formula repeats for 26 episodes.
Yeah.....the series is a tad bit repetitive.
Notice how I said a tad bit repetitive and not overly repetitive. Because what saves it is the mushi themselves, there isn't a single episode where the mushi are exactly the same; it's always fascinating to observe them, because the way they interact and work with humans is so compelling. Oh and did I forget to mention that Mushi-shi has no main storyline ? Yes, this is an episodic anime where each episode is it's own standalone story. This wasn't a problem for me, but I know it will be for some. Because of course, most people generally prefer a main ongoing story. Again this wasn't a problem for me. Also, when I say episodic, I mean it. It's not like Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo, where it's episodic in nature but it has an overarching story. That’s not the case with Mushi-shi. Plus there's no recurring characters in the show except Ginko. I mean, if someone was to walk up to me and say "hey, I found Mushi-shi to be a phenomenal anime and I absolutely loved it," I'd completely understand. If somebody else walked up to me and said "hey, I found Mushi-shi to be extremely boring and I didn't like it," I'd also completely understand. Because of how literally quiet and subtle it is (not recommended if you got A.D.H.D), which isn't a bad thing by the way. Mushi-shi is definitely not for everyone; it's not meant to appeal to the masses, its meant for a niche audience who can truly appreciate its fascinating concept and artistry. It's very reminiscent of an independent arthouse film.
Characters & Themes
Now on to the themes and characters. This anime excels in that department. Mushi-shi does a fantastic job of exploring themes of loss, despair, self sacrifice, suffering and tragedy. Whenever the mushi infects people, family bonds are tested and death is always around the corner. If someone does in fact die or suffer a heavy loss, it always resonates with you. So yeah, clearly the show has a lot of emotional depth. Lets get into the characters, now as I mentioned before there are no recurring characters except for Ginko, and for the most part the anime does a fairly good job of fleshing out these nonrecurring characters. Especially considering the fact that each has only about 21 minutes (excludes opening and closing songs) of screen time. On to Ginko, whose obviously the main protagonist. You'll definitely take a liking to him as he's a very kindhearted individual. He does get a good amount of characterization and we do get a back story as to how he became a Mushi-shi/Mushi master. But really compared to other main protagonists its wasn't enough in my opinion. That's another one of my problems with Mushi-shi, Ginko needs to be fleshed out more. Nevertheless, he's an all around good main protagonist
Arguably the best part of Mushi-shi, from the score, to the voice acting and even just the sounds going on in the back ground. The opening track is called " The Sore Feet Song" by Ally Kerr and its a solid one overall. You'll probably enjoy it if you like folk rock. Something that is also very unique about Mushi-shi is the ending theme, or should I say ending themes, because every episode has its own closing song and I got to say, I liked all of them. It's hard to describe them because the instrumentation is so unique and each one feels so surreal and atmospheric. They have an otherworldly vibe to them. Then we have the actual score within the show which is also great and complements the mood excellently. Like the closing themes, the score has an otherworldly vibe as well that I can't put my finger on. Finally on to the voice acting, which is outstanding on both the Japanese sub and English Dub. No seriously, it's that good, especially the English dub which in my opinion surpasses the original Japanese and it ranks up there with Funimation’s best work like Baccano, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Fullmetal Alchemist. Both Yuto Nakano and Travis Willingham embody the character of Ginko perfectly, and all the other cast members do a great job as well especially considering that fact that they only appear once. Also, pay attention to the tone of the voice acting on both languages and notice how monotone and subtle it is. Don't let it discourage you. This is completely intentional because it's meant to match the quiet and subtle tone of the actual show.
Art & Animation
Finally, we get into the last part of the review, the art and animation. The animation is very good and smooth, but the art (especially the backgrounds) is absolutely stunning. You'll know what I mean when you watch the series for yourself, just pay close attention to the detail that is given here. From the lush green vegetation, to the mountains and rivers. It's absolutely gorgeous. I recall when I was watching it, I had to pause the show for a moment because the backgrounds were so beautiful to look at. Hands down, some of the best you'll find in all of anime. I guarantee it.
When it's all said and done, Mushi-shi has it's flaws and at the same time it has a lot of good things going for it. It's formulaic tendencies really held it back. Plus, Ginko could have been fleshed out more. Regardless of that, this anime was a joy to watch and it's a good solid one at that. If you have an open mind, I recommend you check it out, especially if you want something that is unique and original.
It's pretty rare to see a purely episodic anime that isn't a comedy, and that's just another reason Mushishi was such a treat.
STORY - The series follows the journeys of a traveling Mushishi named Ginko who investigates paranormal phenomenon usually caused by creatures called Mushi. Each episode describes one of his encounters with self-sustaining villagers in and around vast mountain ranges. Something is wrong, and Ginko does what he can. It's very straightforward, but even though each episode more or less follows the same format, it isn't a simple case of Ginko saving the day every single time. Sometimes things are beyond his control; sometimes
nothing can be done regardless, and sometimes, nothing need be done at all. It can be frustrating sometimes when Ginko has revelations that he won't explain until later, and because of the supernatural nature of the Mushi, Mushishi has quite an expository air to it. The mysteries aren't of the sort you can really deduce yourself, and there's a lot of talking and explanation.
Nevertheless, the way the Mushi and humans interact can be very fascinating at times, disturbing at other times. Sometimes Mushishi feels like a cross between a nature documentary and a paranormal investigation. Fans of either would definitely enjoy this.
CHARACTER - Ginko is really the only reoccurring character in the series, though his collector/doctor friend, Adashino, does show up now and again. Each episode contributes a different situation involving different people in a different place, and they almost never have anything to do with one another. Naturally, this means the exclusive cast of each episode remains pretty generic. There is the generic little girl and little boy character, the young woman, the young man, the middle-aged woman and man, the old woman and the man. Sure, the individual characters may have unique characteristics depending on their situation, but for the most part, the cares, worries, and priorities of each of these archetypes are standard. I didn't really mind though. After all, their situations did set them apart from one another, and as almost all these characters lived in small, self-sustained villages, it's conceivable to say that their lifestyles made them similar.
Ginko, as the protagonist, gives us a little more depth and insight into his personality, but even he remains a mostly enigmatic character for the length of the series. His intentions are generally altruistic, but there is more to his actions than that. Actually, I wish Ginko's thoughts and personal feelings about Mushi are touched on more -- there are definitely morals and deeper philosophies involved, but they're only touched on in one or two episodes. Still, those are the episodes that give Ginko the most personality, and I think it's very easy to relate to him as a result. His quirky habits and mannerisms are kind of endearing too, and he's just a fun character to watch. He's easy-going: very fitting for this kind of episodic series.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION - Mushishi definitely has some of the most gorgeous backgrounds for an animated series (as opposed to an animated movie) I've ever seen. The forests are lush with detail and vibrant colors. It floors me the way every plant and flower and tree branch and leaf is expressed. Views from mountaintops are breathtaking, and the oceans glitter with tiny waves and light. Cloud formations are grandiose and powerful, and the night sky is always vibrant with stars. These are some really, really amazing environments, man.
The character designs, in contrast, are pretty plain. Ginko stands out with his white hair and teal eye (which have a legitimate explanation beyond "he's an anime character!"), and his face is pretty unique in itself, but all those archetypal villagers? In every episode, you'll have deja vu. "Hey, isn't that the character from the last episode?" No. It isn't. None of the villagers get repeat episodes, but you'll think so for a while because all of them look the same! Every little girl character looks like every other little girl character, and every middle-aged man villager looks like every other in the same category. It's actually pretty amusing, and I didn't particularly mind this repetition simply because... well, it doesn't matter all that much. Since none of the characters repeat, it isn't like it's that confusing. Anyway, I can accept that they blew all their character design budget on the backgrounds; it's really not that bad of a trade-off at all. :P
I also really liked that Mushishi had a very tranquil air about it. The title screens of every episode appeared quietly into the existing scene, calmly and without interruption. There is no bridge animation/page to frame where the commercial break would be. It just fades in and out very smoothly.
MUSIC - Mushishi has some really minimalistic music. The soundtrack throughout the series is mostly of the traditional Japanese sort -- bells, gongs, bamboo flutes, biwas, and other string instruments. They're all very, very fitting to the series and definitely enhance the scenes they're used in. They're moody, eerie, calming, and occasionally cheerful. Sometimes there's only silence, but that fits too. For being so minimal, the sounds in Mushishi are incredibly effective.
The opening theme is already an indication of this. It's soft and slow and reminds me somewhat of something they'd play in a yoga class: soothing. The lyrics are in English (not Engrish!) and also fit very well with the themes of the series. I love the name of it too -- "The Sore Feet Song." The ending theme is always an instrumental and changes with every episode, something you don't see often at all. The composer is none other than Toshiou Masuda of Naruto fame, and he once again does an awesome, awesome job (even if you don't like the Naruto anime, it's hard to deny that it has an amazing soundtrack). The end themes are generally very mellow, bittersweet, which echos the endings of many episodes. More yoga music!
VOICE ACTING - I saw all of the series subbed, and interesting enough, Mushishi has a gigantic cast list because there's a different voice actor for pretty much every single random villager character in the series. I thought since many of the villagers are reasonably similar, they'd just use one voice per archetype. No! All of these people have their own voice! I guess that's a pretty good way of making up for the lack of variation in visual designs, and it works out pretty well. It's worth noting that a majority of the little kid characters aren't annoying! Some of them are actually... reasonably cute? I really did enjoy Ginko's voice also; it's pretty "normal" sounding, but it fits his character very well.
Edit; I just discovered that the entirety of Mushishi is available streaming off FUNimation's website, dubbed. As such, I took the liberty of checking out a few episodes, and it's pretty good! I really wasn't sure about Ginko's voice at first, but Travis Willingham does a pretty decent imitation of Yuto Nakano's voice and it warms up to you fairly quickly. Willingham also somehow manages the same quirky kind of tone. While the American cast of villagers isn't quite as extensive as the Japanese, there are still a good number of varied talents there so it isn't too much repetition. All in all, I'd say FUNi did a pretty swell job.
OVERALL - Mushishi might be one of those series you should watch a bit at a time just because it's entirely episodic and might feel a little repetitive in large doses. (I watched it all in two or three days, but hey, that's me.) There is no ending, and actually, I wouldn't mind seeing another season of this. There is an origin episode or two to flesh out Ginko's past and development as a character, but while they do help the general story along and I'm glad for them, I don't think they're entirely necessary either. If you like scientifically presented supernatural stuff and don't mind a very easy-come, easy-go story, then I'm sure you'll like Mushishi. :3
This review contains no major spoilers. I was beyond thrilled when I had finally got my hands on Mushishi in its entirety. I have to shamelessly admit that I'm pretty dang easily entertained. So typically when there is a show that EVERYONE seems to love, I tend to enjoy it just as much. Unfortunately, once I got around to getting into the series I found a number of issues that others just didn't seem to have. I was entertained on a number of episodes, and definitely compelled to complete it. However, this certainly wasn't the masterpiece I thought I was about to watch.
Aesthetically this anime
is among the best of the mid 2000s. Everything in this series just looks so damn good. The quality ranges all the way from the characters, to the many varying environments, and especially the mushi as they are drawn in a seemingly endless variety of colors, forms and sizes. There is really no "rules" when it comes to mushi so the creators can just draw whatever the heck they want. This leads to many off the wall forms, colors, shapes, matter, you get the idea. One of my favorite parts while watching was waiting to see what the next episode's mushi were going to look like. The dub is on par with the animation in that it's completely flawless. This is undoubtedly one of the best dubs out there. The music never really clicked with me, but it never detracted from the quality either, so no complaints from me there.
Now the episodic story design and lack of main characters are where my feelings of this series seems to steer differently from the mass's . As much as I wanted to love this series, I just never got completely sucked in like my favorite shows always seem to have a way of doing. My first complaint is Ginko. He is our protagonist, mushi master, and the only real reoccurring character of the series (save for very brief multi-appearance of another) . Ginko is completely lacking in any trace of charisma. Actually, he lacks just about everything. He really never expresses happiness, sadness, any emotions for that matter. There are a few instances where he verbally exclaims he is concerned with something or another, but it certainly doesn't feel sincere due to his stone face and never changing body language. Even in one instance where his life is in serious danger, he just stoically thinks to himself "oh I'm gonna die, I don't want to....this isn't good" with no feelings of urgency or emotion, as if he were thinking of a chore he had to do or something. He has absolutely zero development through out the series, and even the relationships he forms from episode to episode feel superficial. Every new acquaintance is simply a means of progressing the episodes with no hints of any realistic bonds being formed. Considering every other person in the series only gets 20 minutes of screen time at the absolute max, these flaws with his character are kind of a big deal. I understand they most likely meant his passive presence to allow for the individual stories to take center stage, but it rarely worked well in my opinion. I feel many of the stories would have benefited if Ginko were written in a way that we could relate or feel towards him. You can't have a great vagabond story if you can't feel for the guy ya know?
When it comes to the other characters, most are fine given the little time they do have. They are mostly believable with ranging personalities so it doesn't get bland. But it's hard to really form a solid judgement towards them one way or another due to how little time we actually get to spend with them. As for the stories? To be totally honest here, a number of them can be just flat out boring. It would be inaccurate to say that they're "bad". But many just don't really drag you in as much as I anticipated that they would. The series opens strong, the first DVD is pretty entertaining. As we're introduced to the world of Mushishi, its design and uniqueness ropes you in at the beginning. But as the show progresses it never actually builds on anything. Every episode begins with an inexplicable conflict, and of course every conflict is revealed to be the result of some different kind of mushi. The situation is then analyzed and the mushi are taken care of in some overly convenient new obscure manner. Rinse and repeat. This formula begins to grow stale. Like I said earlier, there are no rules for mushi. This is great for the artist's freedom, but not so great as a plot device. I've never been a huge stickler for realism, but many of the solutions seem waaaayyy overly convenient, because previously unknown mushi traits always pop up at just the right time. For example all of a sudden a hopeless situation will be resolved because moonlight hits a mushi, or in another instance sculpting some pottery on the spot leads to the fix of an otherwise incurable ailment. There are just so many completely random and off the wall solutions to many of the problems that the viewer is expected to just roll with. I feel that it definitely detracts some from some of the show's enjoyment. With such short stories, it's also just really hard to get engrossed in the characters and their problems. The series does have it's highlights of memorable episodes, particularly in the first few episodes and then again towards the end, but these moments of greatness aren't exactly the norm. Many of the stories in the middle are just on the dull side unfortunately. Despite being only 20 minutes a pop, some seem to drag, moving inexcusably slow while not really offering enough excitement to make you actually care whether or not things turn out for the better.
Overall Mushishi is a very chill and relaxing show to watch. The stories are always at least pleasantly humble despite all else. I also never grew tired of the fresh animation in each episode. However, given all the hype I had heard, I found myself disappointed and longing for something more. This is an okay anime, but not the amazing series I had originally thought I was about to watch. 6/10
So what reason could there be to praise a show that's been reviewed four times already, receiving highest marks? The answer is simple enough: it's been a long time since an anime has impressed me as much as Mushishi did. Going beyond the boundaries of the entertainment-based pop culture, this deserves the term 'art' in every aspect.
The provided synopsis could hardly be more accurate, yet does it tell little to nothing about the series. The reason for this is that Mushishi, unlike usual modern entertainment, convinces the viewer through style - aesthetics. There is no flashy, grotesque or absurd story, competing for attention among the
cliche-ridden anime market. The plot flows like a calm streamlet, contemplative in its very essence.
Each episode tells us a fascinating, coherent, artfully arranged tale revolving around Ginko and the people he meets on his journey, who are facing different consequences through the confrontation with the paranormal.
The way the protagonist Ginko approaches the phenomenon 'Mushi' is open-minded, enquiring, yet discreet.
Maybe we can go as far as to assume that the paranormal allegorizes the beauty of nature which rarely receives attention in today's perception (in fact is invisible to most!).
But the anime does not teach - it shows, implicitly. In a meditative way. Hence, the impression it delivers is so very strong. The viewer does not reject the wisdom it provides.
Every episode deeply touched me, not just through its profound story but as well by means of sound and animation. The music conveys the atmopshere modest, soothing, simply beautiful - and sometimes there is no sound at all. Minimalistic perfection.
The animation is astonishing - detailed sceneries of nature in every thinkable facet, backgrounds imbued with life.
It was an unusual, enriching experience. Philosophical and artful - opposing commercialism and qualitative decline. Timeless.
A compelling, mysterious and thought-provoking anime on being's known as Mushi. This unique show proves that an anime doesn't need to have romance, action, comedy or something thrilling to be interesting to watch.
Mushishi is comprised of a bunch of episodic adventures where each episode follows its own mini story of, Ginko's encounters with the natural phenomenon known as Mushi. Each heartfelt episode manages to cleverly bring a great deal of drama involving different types of Mushi, with different problems, and there are episodes that stand out from the rest. It's pretty unique how this anime is set out like 26 different Japanese folktales, which
is a welcome change from the usual anime.
Having every episode telling a different story there's always something new to expect however this also means that there are new characters to every episode. With only Ginko being the only character to appear throughout the series it's pretty hard to get emotionally attached to any of them but at least they make the most out of the time they have.
Mushishi has some superb animation, which successfully makes the most out of the earth look and colors. So much detail is put into the environment; water and ambient lighting that even the slightly dull premise of the show can be easily overlooked. The music is a tranquil selection of guitar and age-old Japanese tunes that suit the calm nature of the show. Both the animation and music are the aspects that allow the viewer to be immersed into this deeply, compelling show.
Overall Mushishi is a pretty amazing anime, with no beginning or end but just a collection of adventurous stories. It manages to bring something new to the saturated anime market, without any use of gimmicks. With all that said the only real reason why I didn't rate this any higher was due to the lack of everything; apart from adventure, mystery and storytelling. So this show really isn't suitable for people who require action, romance or anything thrilling in their shows, because Mushishi is really something that you can kick back and relax to.
Mushishi is, to tell the truth, nothing very special. It doesn't try to stand out, nor does it feed us with anime standards, like moe, or fanservice. it doesn't have flashy action - hardly any at all in fact - nor has it excessive amounts of blood. In fact this in itself is what makes it stand up. Its tranquility and taking things at a calm pace is what makes Mushishi so great, yet in a way it is also what makes it a bit offputting to some.
Setting-wise, Mushishi is set in a world where being not human nor animal live. They are basic, pure;
in touch with the very essence of life. They are called Mushi, as they are called, are often capable of performing supernatural phenomena, and naturally enough there are humans devoted to the study of Mushi. They are called Mushishi, and Mushishi follows one of these, uh, Mushishi. Eh.
Mushishi doesn't have a continuous story, rather, each episode features its own small story, where Ginko, our Mushishi, encounters a new Mushi and the problems it causes for some humans. The two-three episode characters are usually portrayed very meticulously to the viewer, giving us decent enough information and emotion to make them realistic, an impressive feat considering they have around twenty minutes to expose them to us. Usually Ginko tries to help with his knowledge (and to gain more), but at this point Ginko is really set apart from the standard hero, becoming more of an antihero-type of person. Whereas most heroes would never give up and go all superdetermined, Ginko knows when enough is enough, and if he can't do anything more, or if it's pointless, he tells everyone that it is, and leaves. In that, Ginko, too, fits in with the calm of Mushishi; he never lets his emotions rule over his sense of reason; he knows when to stop.
Accompanying this lovely setting is what most will probably remember Mushishi for: Its art. The landscapes and sceneries protrayed often - Mushishi takes place in natural/village environemnts only - are breathtaking. Yet, they are not extremely vivid; they don't hit your senses with avid coloring and all that. No; they are more pale, plain. While still procuring those memorable sceneries, this also allows it to induce a more peaceful expeirence.
The soundtrack must of course not be left out, because that, too, plays a major part in Mushishi's calmness. The soundtrack usually bases itself on a single melliflous intstrumental theme for each episode, which plays throughout the episode and at the end credits. the opening song is also lovely, and as serene as the rest of the soundtrack, and the show as a whole. The voice actors, too, do a great job of keeping with the peaceful feeling of Mushishi. They have very calm voices, and even when upset, screaming or crying, it's not in-your-face or loud; it's calm, yet very evocative.
Though, all this tranquility, while important for the overall feel of Mushishi, can also be the most deterring aspect of it. Simply because it's a tad boring. You don't really watch Mushishi for its entertainment value, which in and of itself isn't very high. It can be rather boring. However, that doesn't change the fact that it is a show you should try out at least once. Or twice. What Mushishi is best at is calming you down, letting you relax with some interesting paranormal mysteries and enjoying gorgeous vistas.
There are many who struggle with wrapping their heads around certain folklore that is completely different from the cultural roots of their own country. It can be a herculean task for the ill-prepared minds that nevertheless wants to explore all facets of any country’s folklore that captures the entirety of how it’s culture evolved from its roots to the present. There hasn’t been many shows, or anime for that manner, that have handled folklore with the level of atmosphere and creativity that the show Mushishi has to offer and for this we have to be thankful for its existence. It’s beautiful existence to be more
How Mushishi develops itself from the ground up, in terms of its overall narrative, is by separating plot arcs into every individual episode that have their own personal story that all feel very unique and thought-provoking. The people, who Ginko comes across on these individual episodes, are never seen again as he tries to make sense of how these “Mushi” behave and how they adapt in the landscape of Mushishi’s world by engrossing them into the people. What makes it extraordinarily admirable is the level of detail that encompasses the entirety of the show despite not having an over-arching “story” from how almost every single character feel like actual people rather than one-dimensional caricatures that shows, like Mushishi, typically fall into when they try to do the same formula. I wouldn’t go so far that it’s every bit as perfect as one would hope but it’s more than enough for it to be garnered anything but warm praise for its in-depth characterization. Ginko himself proves to be a very competent lead in giving him the great detective mind that is akin to other great detective characters in other mystery works in the past by giving him a strong back-story to his past life and how he came into being a mushi-shi himself.
The absence of an overarching narrative in Mushishi, however, doesn’t bold too well for it since it is bounded by a slight disconnect of a tightly structured world that it wants us to feel engrossed and connected but it ultimately doesn’t come across as anything but average. While most of the episodes prove to be good in-of-themselves, watching them altogether and trying to encapsulate the very nature of the particular world they want to portray feels empty and shallow. It wants to make an episodic show but at the same time it tries creates this living, breathing society on a macro-level that doesn’t fit right on an episodic show. Its two properties of world-building that don’t really coincide perfectly and because of this, Mushishi comes across as far from perfect in this facet. The structure of Mushishi might’ve taken it took into a slight nose-dive, but there’s one true detail to the show that makes up for it, the atmosphere.
In order to succeed in developing a relaxed tone, the atmosphere has to be just right for the viewer to be engrossed in it for which there’s plenty to go around in Mushishi. One other crucial detail that every person always mentions about Mushishi that comes from the melancholic atmosphere, is that there’s not one person who finds the atmosphere nothing but beautiful. It’s hard to make an atmosphere that is faulty but the one thing that would make it a disservice to any show of Mushishi’s nature is how poor it creates a mood that is too blatantly lifeless or absolutely monotonous in how it integrates with the tone to which I applaud Mushishi for bringing itself to its knees and flourishing. The lack of a lot of music actually helps in this aspect a lot in order to let us breathe in the atmosphere without any distraction for long periods of time while looking at the great artistry of the scene in question. In fact, I would’ve appreciated even more if there was no music at all since the random musical instrumentation spread out at certain points of the episodes don’t feel like they were needed at all.
With something as slow and methodical as shows like Mushishi typically come across, Mushishi manages to pace itself near-perfectly in taking its time to let us take in the scenes at face-value without hinging on quick interludes that would hamper on every scene. Yet, despite its slow pacing, it never feels like a slog to go through. It’s like listening to really good drone/ambient album that goes on for 2 hours and once it’s done, you’ve felt as though only mere minutes have passed because of how entranced you were from the experience. That is one thing to describe Mushishi: Entrancing. Once you’ve set your sights and overall attention to the subtle details put into, not only the art, but how hypnotic the writing of the dialogue is and the amazing Mushi sequences are, you just can’t take your eyes off of it for one minute.
Great care is given to the tone of Mushishi as it builds up the tone at certain points to feel very compelling and strong on a mental and emotional level into the stories. The Mushi sequences alone are all extremely breathtaking to experience because of their lucid creativity and imagination that was put into practice by the brilliant artistry of the show. They’re the types of sequences that will forever be burrowed into your memory just by the sheer awe-inspiring imagination that was obviously inspired by Japanese folklore with the designs of the Mushis themselves and how the sequences themselves were directed brilliantly by how tense and uneasy they were portrayed whenever they appeared on-screen or any of the mushi incidents.
The artwork itself borrows heavily from influences of old Japanese artistry you’d see on an old Ukiyo-e print from early 17th Century Japan. It gives the atmosphere a much added bonus from the wonderfully detailed backgrounds and the creative animation of the sequences I mentioned beforehand. There’s not much in the way of overall breathtaking animation because of its very slow nature but it doesn’t do a disservice since it fits very well to the tone. The character designs themselves look like actual human beings and have very minimal detail to the foreground of the palette on-screen.
Mushishi is a show that cannot be done justice by just talking about it and that you have to experience it for yourself to see the qualities come full force. It certainly did for me. Despite my thoughts on it not being perfect in how I view on all of its positive aspects, that shouldn’t be a clear sign to not go through a genuine calming experience that you’ll hardly ever see in most anime. Watch it before you go to bed or anything that has to do with trying to make you reach into a state of tranquility. It should prove worthy of any acclaim to people who’ve been interested in the pure Japanese mythology that this series has created for itself. If there should be an anime show that could rank along with “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” as one of the most important contribution to Japanese art that showcases its aesthetic insight to its own culture, Mushishi would be that anime, bar none.
I heard about this anime a while ago, but the synopsis didn't seem that appealing to me. So I basically forgot about it until recently and decided to watch a few episodes to see why it was so well regarded...
It's beautiful. It's like meditating.
Story: It's an episodic show that feels like a collection of fables or myths to me... almost as though these stories were from a world before science when people made up spirits or gods to explain life's mysteries. That's not really the premise of the show, but that's how it felt to me.
It's laid-back and meditative. But
I was riveted ...maybe because it is such a quiet sort of show, I'm not sure. Absolutely riveted. I didn't want to blink. I wanted to see everything and soak it all in. I think it's astonishing that something that lacking in tension is still that incredibly compelling. It's kind of like when you see the Grand Canyon or sequoias for the first time, I guess. ;)
Art: The world is beautiful. The people are all the same, except Ginko. ;) They only bothered to draw, like, 4 different faces (or it just felt that way)... so just keep in mind that even though that woman in one episode looks just like the woman from that other episode... it's most likely not the same person -- just let it go. ;)
I thought the gorgeousness of the scenery more than made up for the lack of distinction in the humans. And I also thought that there was a subtle message about the universality of experience and the concept of the "every man/woman" in the uniformity of the way the people looked (which is also, I think, related to the lack of time in the show -- it doesn't matter if this is a century ago or today, and the story doesn't tell you). And the landscapes are amazing. I thought they did an incredible job of giving the environment the right feel and mood for the episodes. There's so much personality in the environment that you could make an argument about how the landscape and the mushishi are the characters and the people are the background.
Sound: I thought the voice actors did a great job of expressing a wide range of emotions without going to extremes. There's a mellowness and evenness to the show that's recreated even in the tone and pitch of their voices, which I really liked. (I really love it when everything comes together like that.)
Character: Like I mentioned before, you end up feeling as though the main character the world/nature and the people are just what trees and buildings are normally in other stories, which brings art and character closer than I've ever seen before. Ginko is practically the only character you see in more than one episode and serves as a main character/guide/wise man/shaman during your exploration of this new world. The experience of the show is the experience of his relationship with the world around him. He is poised, calm and interested without being over-eager or overbearing. There is such a strong sense of serenity and acceptance in Ginko and his attitude towards the world around him. He makes you think of a time long lost where man co-existed with nature instead of destroying it. And because of that he’s soothing and comforting to watch.
Enjoyment: There is this wonderful, reverent serenity that permeates everything about the series: the lingering look at the landscapes; the semi-monotonous speech of the characters; the slow, deliberate pacing of each show; and, most especially, Ginko's quiet, unflappable calm. All those elements help create this atmosphere of profound stillness and ease. I feel like I walked away from each episode somehow refreshed and rejuvenated. And I loved how everything in the series was fell in line with the theme. It's not uncommon for the story and the characters to carry a show, but here the sound and the art are just as essential to conveying ideas and emotions to the viewer. Like I mentioned before, I love it when everything points in the same direction and there's nothing superfluous tacked on to interfere with or dilute the message. Brilliant.
This isn't for people with a short attention span, probably. I'm sure there's a big chunk of the population will find it boring as watching grass grow and that's fine; it isn't for everyone. But if you'd like to take a deep breath once in a while... this is definitely worth checking out.
It’s very nice that Mushishi had showed a great way of enjoying such scenery, environment, and culture of each passing scene as you might find yourself exploring its wonders and deeper meaning of it, which the series proves when you’re into this world. Starting with its bunch of supernatural and mystery that engulfs the whole series, it never crossed to my mind that it is dull, boring, typical, and all used up theme just like the others, thus, it has shown such different mixture of drama, tension, and unusual phenomenon that will surely be a factor why this show is worthy to be watched
you’re getting into the world of this show, expect some unusual sights that are being focused and centered all throughout the series. This is where there are such unexpected scenes to be seen and felt which will give a marvelous reaction to the viewers. In its beginning, it is quite enticing to find out what is hidden behind all of this creatures and how this creatures affects the movement of the show.
Starting with the protagonist, a wanderer who seems fond with these kinds of things will bring the show to the extent that his purpose is not only seeing the creature itself but also to find out what drags their existence in the human world. This is where the mystery and solving out problems pops out that became truly entertaining, as they come up a variety of ideas in every episode, which they’re trying to show its different presence of drama, tension, and the unusual parts that keeps you wondering about.
Mushishi isn’t only just a story based series that tackles about the unknown spectacles but it is also great in terms of describing a refreshing outlook for its viewers to enjoy. Honestly, all I can say to the series is that it’s great, complete, and bizarre in showing such wonderful art & designs that makes me be amazed into it. Using such sketchy, brilliant, and light colors really affects the view into the show, as it sometimes gives a deeper meaning and interpretation for the viewers to look on, which I myself am also amazed on how these things turns out. Overall, these kinds of designs and themes that putted into the show truly match to the story, environment, and its surroundings as a whole.
Similar to the designs, the sounds will never been left behind as this element also gave a plus factor to the show. It’s just like the classical sounds where old instruments are being played. OP and ED theme is played with such soothing sounds, while the BG effects have the same view just like the OP and ED as both of them gives a strange feeling into the show.
One thing to impress into these 26 episode series is that why the protagonist isn’t boring to watch. Mainly because the reason behind it is just merely simple, while appearing with all these 26 episodes the characteristic of this man is just unexpectedly many where he can be serious at some times while making such a fuss one after another. Even though this protagonist faces many trials, he is ready to face it without any doubts, which he became a guy with an attitude not to be easily forgotten.
Ginko, the name of the protagonist, is seems simple enough just like an ordinary wanderer but with his kind of different expertise he instantly became different from the others. What I like to this guy is that he thinks sharp, reasonable, and quick at some times but when pressure comes from his back, he sometimes became reckless. Sometimes there are twisted thoughts comes from my mind just because of his acts and thought about the flow of the show, so in every episode I’ve thought that this character wouldn’t be that great without his genius and well reasoning.
Why watch Mushishi? Because when you’re really fond of sightseeing and exploring such unknown phenomenon or maybe such other things, this is truly one of a kind show that have shown all its aspects in their matched and beautiful outlook. Overall, trying to find a different genre which shows a pleasant and peaceful pacing? Why not try this and be amazed to it.
“Tragic, in the sense that it was tedious to watch; beautiful, because it’s finally over” — Krunchyman
Conceiving an interesting, well though-out anime is not as problematic as one might assume, because, as Hayao Miyazaki has demonstrated, quality is not subservient to complexity; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Simplicity, done correctly, is exceptionally sublime. There is nothing more pleasing than watching a “basic” show that executes its own themes splendidly, with a cast of characters that exude authenticity. A simple anime has the potential of conveying a wealth of information that can impact the viewer in a myriad
of ways, including: cognitively, psychologically, and viscerally. It can hit all the pertinent emotional chords, permitting a cathartic outflow of emotion, stimulating deep inward reflection for future reminiscing, and altering one’s perspective on their own existence.
Yes. Greatness can be attained quite easily, through the power of embracing the “simplistic” approach; yet, most directors are unwilling to adopt a “simple” style, in fear that it may be misconstrued as being rudimentary, or absent of “entertainment” value. What is lost on those director’s, however, is the idea of allowing the work to speak for itself, rather than bombarding the viewer with their own ideological message(s). Mushishi, an anime experience unlike any other, prides itself on omitting a central philosophical thrust, instead opting for natural ambience and a peaceful, “simple” atmosphere. It abstains from traversing the “common” ground that others have laid before it, electing to carve its own path through the deep, unexplored areas of the human consciousness.
Does this exploration impart any functional knowledge to the viewer, or simulate an experience that may resemble our everyday reality? No, not really. The immersive atmosphere is as cryptic as it is profligate waste. Look no further then episode seven, “Raindrops and Rainbows,” to discover why the grand artwork is a constant reminder of unfulfilled potential. Koro, a man obsessed with chasing the elusive Kouda rainbow that enthralled his father, embarked on a five year unpaid sabbatical to capture the mystical essence that represents his unrealized dream. Upon achieving his goal — capturing the rainbow, that is — Koro comes to the realization that the “rainbow” (i.e. his dream) had consumed him to the point of becoming disassociated with reality, obscuring his gaze from what he should be focused on (i.e. building the bridge). Yet this epiphany occurred with diminutive resistance, forcing the viewer to wonder why Koro did not exhibit profound anguish, by having his dream extinguished. But given the episodic framework, the viewer is dragged into the next “story” without proper closure.
But as mentioned earlier, Mushishi was not designed to emulate the conventional framework of its predecessors, as it aspired to be a meditative experience through its employment of natural sounds, vivacious color schemes, and the use of the — seemingly — innocuous Mushi (creatures that are neither good nor bad, but simply exist for the sake of their own subsistence). And while the Mushi alter the trajectory of the people it comes into contact with in vastly different ways, it becomes clear that a formulaic routine becomes the standard for the bulk of the entire series. The routine being, as follows:
1) “Hmmm….This looks like a nice village, think I’ll take a look.” — Ginko
2) Ginko discovers that a random citizen, or an entire village is plagued by a Mushi-related epidemic.
3) “I’m a Mushi Master (Mushishi), and I have a method to resolve this issue, but I’m not sure if it’s going to work. That being said, let’s give it a try anyway.” — Ginko
4) Beautiful artwork is used to awe and mesmerize the viewer, while, at the same time, divert the attention away from the glaring defects in the story.
5) By the end of the episode, the Mushi-related issue has resolved itself in a life altering manner, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.
A handful of episodes, however, depart from this convention, one of which being Episode 12, “One-eyed Fish.” Regarded by numerous fans as the quintessential moment in the series, “One-eyed Fish” delves into the cryptic past of Ginko’s upbringing (as we discover from this episode, his real name is Yoki). Acknowledging the diametrically opposed “mother’s” in Ginko’s life is crucial to comprehending the value of an adequate preceptor. Ginko’s biological mother — an example of a “good intentioned, bad outcome” leader — commands her son to disregard the eerie Mushi, due to them being “illusions.” Her subterfuge “protects” Yoki’s innocence, in exchange for his capacity to embrace the world for how it really exist, placing him at a disadvantage in his forward momentum as an enlightened person. Nui, on the other hand, lives a rugged life because of her unfortunate circumstances; therefore, her callous nature emanates directly toward Ginko in the most unexpected manner. It’s tough “love,” but it hardens Ginko’s resolve and instills a healthy dose of curiosity in his future endeavors. Be that as it may, it’s still flawed “love,” as Nui’s advice is just as hollow as her missing eye. A veritable buffet of trite psychobabble and misplaced grandeur if there ever was one. The concluding scene where Nui’s body vanished to the “spirit” world was visually brilliant, but failed to offer a tangible message to the viewer.
Ginko, after the incident, surmises that “the hole of my left, even in the sunlight, was black as if it was seeped in darkness. And it attracted weird things [Mushi]. If it continues to do that, misfortune is sure to follow. That’s the feeling I get.” The words “misfortune” and “feeling” are particularly important to understand why this final thought by Ginko is antithetical to the views expressed earlier on. Remember, the Mushi is purported to be neither good nor bad, but “misfortune” signifies “bad luck;” therefore, making his earlier quote, “It’s not your fault. Nor is it the Mushi. You were both just trying to live,” seem contradictory. The word “feeling” pertains to the fashion in which Ginko solves the majority of the Mushi-related problems, as it seems like he — conveniently — pulls solutions out of his “back pocket” just in the nick of time (with his gut instinct).
The characters — or should I say, the character (as Ginko is the only constant in this episodic adventure) — is never fleshed out thoroughly, and given the structure of the divorced narrative, the world-building is inextricably self-limited. In addition, Ginko’s aloof personality creates a distance between himself and the viewer, hampering the prospect of allowing the audience to empathize with the show’s central protagonist. The overall static nature of Ginko’s character, dampened the prospect of having him evolve throughout the series. Giving no further insights into his “true self,” besides the superficial qualities that he presented within the very first episode. There’s a reason why the viewer can watch Mushishi in any order they prefer (not the typical chronological order), because Ginko’s development is non-existent.
One could argue that the aimless, repetitious plot harkens to the purposeless reality of our existence, and how we must coexist with nature and the “spiritual” beings around us to maintain a “peaceful” balance. If we accept this reasoning, we must acknowledge that much of the series is superfluous repetition, serving to admonish the viewer for their own inattentiveness to the world around them. This concentrated effort pigeonholed the writers into a proverbial corner — perhaps by choice, to obviate their narrative and character development responsibilities.
To Mushishi’s credit, there are tiny nuggets of truth cleverly sprinkled in for the viewer to unearth for their own edification; however, this stealthy nuance resembles the “divine” words of a fortune cookie. A comparison that feels apropos, considering the overall futility of the fortune cookie itself. While considered a delightful treat at the end of a meal, its nutritional value is next to nothing (same goes for Mushishi’s value), but its delectable sweetness and marvelous aesthetic bewilder the masses into thinking the treat is the highlight of the meal. In spite of this mass delusion, it should be recognized that desserts (like Mushishi) are not only inessential, but detract from the “meat and potatoes” (quality anime) that offer meaningful insights on the human condition. Indulge in the “sweet treat” that is Mushishi if you will, but understand that it will rot the brain with its dearth components; ultimately, leaving the viewer unsatisfied when they attain the requisite knowledge to strip away the intellectual facade that Mushishi employed to feign sophistication.
It tells about different tales that involves paranormal phenomena, phenomenon that has something to do with a so-called ‘mushi’. The story is about the expedition of a Mushishi named Ginko, whose expertise is on paranormal phenomena. On his journey he encounters various phenomena that have something to do about his expertise, making it as a part of his living, or a threat with uncertified safety.
The main attraction would be supernatural and mystery of the story. It consists of long, serious and mind-boggling monologues that will never come up to boredom though it will surely hook to your senses.
The way it attracts is through curiosity, curiosity that pushes you to find out what is the mystery behind it. It may be repetitive in such a way though the series make a difference to attract viewers as they fill tension to its drama and putting like a detective case through its mystery.
The other uniqueness in this series is that there is no main plot though it only consists of short tales that will keep you accompany on not being bored. With this method even though you didn’t watched the first episode you will get the hang of the second episode, so that means in every episode there’s a twist and tale to tell.
Art & Animation…
All is good in art & animation. The backgrounds, the scenery, the people, other minor details, and even the OP and ED are all beautiful. The other characters are drawn in such a mysterious way and somewhat have identical figures that you may notice on their faces. They are drawn and animated based on each tale, faces and gestures that brings different feelings to it.
A deep, calm, and soothing sounds and music will come up to your ears. Instrumentals that will surely bring harmonious melody that match to the era of the story. OP song that make the series something old but it’s perfectly match and nice to hear. ED that gives creeps though it also has nice sound and it’s related to its era.
One impression about the protagonist, Ginko, is that he’s not boring to watch even though he always appears on each episode. He’s an awesome guy who faces trials on his own way and he’s also a compassionate type whose life contains mysteries. And even though he’s quite a hardheaded, when it comes to his expertise he’s willing to help as soon as there’s a limitation on it. He’s living wanderer/doctor who seeks others assistance and to know the depths between mushi and human beings.
The enjoyment takes on how Ginko surpass all the troubles and mystery behind the mushi and as a mushishi. All went well, because it’s composed of a nice story, good quality art & animation design, soothing and matching sounds, and characters that show the phenomenon effects. It’s a unique kind of anime in short.
Even though the theme is kind of old, still it’s quite a refreshing anime to watch, a definitely must not missed anime. 10/10 overall…
Mushi-Shi is a a very unique series about microscopic mystical creatures called the "Mushi" and a man named Ginko that goes around studying them and helping people with Mushi related problems. Mushi-Shi tries very hard to be an artistic and sophisticated series and many hail it as a masterpiece. Whether or not it meets that criteria in your book of course depends on your answer to that eternal question of aesthetics, "What is Art?".
The Mushi are said to be much simpler than bacteria or even viruses, but have intelligence and are sometimes able to take human form. In the first episode, a woman is
asked to become a mushi herself at the behest of several mushi. The mushi often grant people magical powers, but more often than not act as a serious detriment and are technically parasites. Ginko is quick to explain though that the mushi aren't actually evil or malevolent. They are simply trying to survive. The Mushi exist between the worlds of the living and the dead and have magical properties. On the surface, the Mushi share many traits with the mediclorians from the Star Wars prequels. Interestingly enough, the Mushi-Shi manga was first published in 1999 only a few months after the release of The Phantom Menace, where mediclorians are first discussed. The story structure is purely episodic with Ginko treating Mushi problems. At times, it almost takes on the atmosphere of a medical drama , like a very metaphysical House episode directed by David Lynch. Sometimes Mushi-Shi lightly touches on societal issues like family structure, loyalty, and child abandonment. However, Mushi-Shi prefers to raise questions rather than answer them. My first impression of Mushi-Shi was that the mediclorians from Star Wars had somehow invaded an Anton Chekhov short story. This actually isn't that far off in terms of its writing style, by which I mean a completely neutral author voice combined with an almost non-existent plot that basically just flows freely to create a "daily life" feel with everyday characters...only with magic bacteria!
Due to the episodic nature of the show, the only character with development is Ginko. Ginko is by the way one of the oldest plant species in existence, and the character studies what are supposedly the oldest organisms. Now that the pun has been explained, lets talk about our man. Ginko is calm, calculating, and never seems frightened or shocked by anything that happens. He is an ideal doctor and someone that can work under any kind of pressure. Ginko is very laid back and displays no signs of anger, excitement, hatred, or joy. He is just very mellow all the time. He chain smokes in every episode and I don't think its tobacco. Of course, If I was the equivalent of an ER surgeon/ exorcist, I would probably go through life high as well.
The art is Mushi-Shi is absolutely gorgeous and is probably the highlight of the entire series. Every scene is this anime is beautiful. Sometimes it is haunting and even mildly disturbing, but most often it is serene beauty that we view in Mushi-Shi
The soundtrack fits the mood of the series quite well and has an opening that is quite catchy (although very hipster indy pop). This is a very hipster series though, so honestly did you expect anything else?
Mushi-Shi can at times be gorgeous, thought provoking, and appear like an artistic masterpiece. At other times it can be insufferably slow and feel so pretentious I want to kick the computer screen. Mushi-Shi is not for everyone, but it is a well done series and I think most people will at least get something out of it. I will give Mushi-Shi praise for having no instances of "moe" bullshit, fanservice, hyper violence, giant robots, or other anime cliche's. However, does that alone make it a masterpiece? Not really. That isn't to say many people won't love Mushi-Shi. I thought it was good, but it wasn't really my cup of tea. I actually like it when a story has concrete conflict and an observable purpose. I like it when the author puts forward their own opinions, so I can compare and contrast them with my own. Mushi-Shi has a very neutral author voice and is very light on plot and action. This is one reason I compared the mangaka's writing style to that of Anton Chekhov. I am much more of a Dostoevsky and Tolstoy fan personally. I also tend to prefer the films of directors like Hitchcock and Fritz Lang to those like Lynch. This is simply my opinion. If you absolutely adored Eraserhead and Uncle Vanya is your homeboy, I would check out Mushi-Shi.
I actually didn't love this series the first time I watched it, but it has grown on me a bit. I may not be quite as huge a Mushi fan as so many other critics on MAL, but it is a series worthy of respect! The art is amazing, the soundtrack is well done, and it tries to go in a radically new direction for modern anime. The main character was interesting, and moments of the show were truly quite spectacular! If you like surreal imagery and can tolerate a slow pace, check this one out.
Mushishi is a unique show in many ways. It’s rather weird and bizarre but is also very intriguing and definitely grabs your interest. This show was much different from what I expected it to be (in a good way) and for many episodes I had my eyes glued to the screen, watching intensely. Mushishi has a calm, mellow, and soothing, but also very deep and powerful feel to it.
I think the story is one of the strongest points in this anime. What makes Mushishi different from most anime is that it does not focus on a single overarching story and instead each episode has its
own short story with a new plot and characters (aside from Ginko who is in every episode) And this actually works quite well as each story is beautifully well told with many powerful moments that sometimes leave you speechless. You may find a couple of episodes to be a little boring but the vast majority of them are very well written stories that pace themselves very nicely. If I were to describe the plot of the show as a whole, I would say it’s about Ginko traveling from place to place in feudal Japan dealing with different cases that deal with mushi. Which brings us to the next great point of this show. The Mushi.
Where do I begin with the mushi? They are one of the most unique concepts I’ve come across. I’ve seen many things similar to demons and spirits in shows before but nothing quite like the mushi. Just trying to explain what they are can be a bit of a challenge. If you want the most accurate description of what they are then read the synopsis of this show. The mushi and the effects they have on people and the world are the main focus of each episode and there are many different types of mushi that take on different forms and act in different ways. There are some that reside in your pillow and make your dreams reality and there are those that slip into your brain through your ear and feast off of your memories until you can no longer remember anything. Some mushi are harmless and others are dangerous. And though many of the mushi featured in the show do harm, I absolutely love the way they are portrayed. Regardless of what they may do, there are no good or evil mushi. They’re just creatures trying to survive.
Normally when watching shows or movies we see the characters go through many struggles throughout the story. But no matter how bad or hopeless it gets, we know that things will almost always end well. And that's a good thing of course. I mean everybody likes to see the protagonist come out on top. However in Mushishi this is not always the case. And because the show is episodic, they can get away with this. Some episodes end well and some don’t. Many of the mushi act similar to diseases. And like diseases, sometimes there’s simply nothing you can do. You can treat it but you can’t cure it. This is great because it keeps the show unpredictable and helps give it a good sense of realism as well as provide us with some deep and rather sad endings. And every episode I found myself always wondering “I wonder how this is going to end up. Will it end well for the characters or not?”
The only real negative thing I think I can say about the story is that it does get a little repetitive. While the individual stories themselves are very different, each episode follows the same general formula.
There is a problem.
It’s mushi related.
Ginko shows up.
The problem is explained.
Ginko attempts to solve the problem.
Repetitiveness aside, the story is still spectacular and each episode is great and worth watching.
Ginko is the main protagonist of this series and is a mushi-shi (A person who studies mushi) He’s a calm, relaxed individual who is constantly travelling not just to solve cases involving mushi but also because he himself attracts mushi, thus he cannot stay in one place for too long or he will attract dangerous mushi to the area. His character is rather simple but I still found him very easy to like and he gets an interesting backstory about halfway thorough the show.
Ginko is the only character that remains throughout the show. And aside from him, each episode deals with different characters. Despite this, the characters of each episode are quite good and easy to connect with and feel for, despite the short amount of time they each get in the show.
---SOUND & ART---
As for the soundtrack, it’s fantastic! The intro is amazing and does a great job of setting the mood. It’s also nice to hear an English intro every now and then. Especially one sang by a native English speaker. The outro changes every episode and all 26 of them are beautiful instrumentals and I sat through the credits every time just to listen to them. The art style is also great and really shows in the way they animate the mushi and the background. The only downside is that the characters themselves don't look very detailed and most of the side characters look very much alike and you might find yourself thinking "Wait a minute. Isn't that the guy from the last episode?"
Dub or Sub?
The dub for Mushishi is fairly descent. Ginko is played by Travis Willingham, who some of you may recognize as the voice of Roy Mustang. I had my doubts at first but now I can say that he was an excellent choice for Ginko. As for all the side characters, they’re mostly hit or miss. Some of them sound bad while others sound quite good. The good news is that for the bad voices you’ll only have to put up with them for one episode. The Mushishi dub is good but I would never recommend it over the sub. The voice acting in the original was truly spectacular and maybe its just me but when I watch an anime that takes place in feudal Japan, back when Japanese was pretty much the only language spoken, I feel that watching the Japanese version really helps give it that feeling of authenticity. So I will highly recommend the sub for this show. But this is just my opinion so watch whichever version you like :)
Mushishi is not for everyone. If you’re looking for an anime dripping with action then you’ll probably find this show very boring. Nonetheless, this show is still fantastic and I was very impressed with this anime. And if this show sounds even remotely interesting to you then I definitely suggest you put this show in your watching or at least in your plan to watch under high priority.
Less of a show and more of a journey; a spiritual one. The way each episode is laid out is fairly simple, there is a problem where a Mushi is involved and as such a Mushishi is called upon (Ginko our main protagonist is one of the many Mushishi). Yet through those problems be it successfully solved or not, we experience nature, humanity and all the range of emotions it has to offer.
- Depth and complexity through simplicity -
Sometimes a simple meaningful conversation beats 1000 flashy sword strikes. Mushishi does not try to use cliffhangers, exaggerated mysterious protagonist, complicated vocabularies and other means capable
of creating the illusion of depth. Mushishi's naturally brilliant writing and execution of storytelling speaks for itself.
This also applies to the music present in Mushishi. It’s hard to describe the feeling unless you’ve watched the show. Instead of having the music just to support certain scenes, Mushishi’s music walks together with the show. It chimes melodies at all the right timing further enhancing the viewer’s experience. The music composition mirrors the show itself, all the different instruments complements each other, knowing when to play and to harmonize.
- As real as life gets -
Despite its fantasy setting due to the Mushi, the show Mushishi feels real. It doesn't try to paint life in a certain colour or gives you sudden plot twists just to somehow save the day. Mushishi instead presents you life with all its dilemma and unpredictability. There might be a time where even after Ginko and the characters involved had given all they've got, things simply doesn't go the way they wanted to. That is just how life rolls. Life itself can get quite contradictory and unpredictable: We can say "Look before you leap" but then again "He who hesitates is lost". Mushishi illustrates a lot of thought provoking realisations throughout the show.
Life flows the same way as each character we met through the journey, slowly forgetting some as new ones are introduced with different problems. It personally made me realize how things comes and go. From the friends that I met and forget, the parents that will depart before their child, the problems that we face in each stage of our lives. We are all a side character to each other with our own stories to tell. Through the realization that live is inherently meaningless yet through our actions and the choices we made, we gave it meaning.
- Travelling with the protagonist not watching over them –
While a lot of shows had successfully made me empathize with the characters none made me feel as if I am there myself as much as Mushishi. Through each problem and each choices I feel like I was there questioning what I would do in such a situation.
Ginko is not a master samurai, a magician or a boy overcoming his fear to chase his dream. He is just a normal guy, who happens to be well versed in all things related to Mushi be it through studies or personal experience. But most importantly he is your travel companion and as Ginko involves himself in a fraction of another individual/families’ life, so do we.
- Like flowing on a gentle river -
This might be my personal preference, but I feel so many anime tends to be overly hyperactive (it’s like a house packed with so much furniture that you don't have enough room to walk and breathe). Mushishi strikes the perfect balance in terms of speed. Things just flows so well between scenes and conversations. I don't need to keep up with the show nor slow down to be able to appreciate it, instead the show made me sync in and be immersed in it.
In short, Mushishi is a one of a kind experience that might appeal to a narrow group of people. But if you are willing to watch it with an open mind and appreciate it, it might just be one of if not the best show you will ever watch.
Mushishi is the most simplistic yet beautiful series that I had the pleasure to experience until now and is one of the examples that shows the incredible variety that anime has.
Well then, ladies and gentlemen I welcome you to my Mushishi review. I hope you enjoy it.
Now, the story of Mushishi follows our protagonist, Ginko, as he travels around the world working as a Mushi-shi. So, instead of having an over-arching story, this show chooses to have a more episodic nature. This way of telling the story has its own pluses and minuses. For one hand, as every episode has a different story
the show never drags on, you can watch the show in any given order and you don´t need to pay attention to every little detail fearing that it might be really important to the overall plot, but in the other hand, it has some consequences in the characters, but I will cover that matter later on the review.
So, as I said, every episode has its own story, usually involving Ginko trying to deal with a Mushi, the beings that the mushi-shis study, which in each episode create some kind of conflict. As such every episode has an interesting story, every one of them being fascinating from the beginning
to the end, and is very interesting to watch what the mushi from each episode can do. The only problem with the story is that if you are looking for something "exciting" or "cheerful" then you´ll have to watch something else, as the nature of this show is, most of the time, rather depressing and it doesn´t really have "cheerful moments". But if you can look past that, sit back, relax and go with the flow of the series, you will most likely be pleased with the story of every episode, because none of them is by any means predictable, so you never know if by the end of the episode you will have a happy ending or a sad one, which keeps you interested in every episode.
The artwork in this show can be described in one word: beautiful.
The animation for this show is, not only fluid and consistent, it is a pleasure for the eyes, the colours used in this series, especially when a Mushi is on the scene, makes it one of the most astonishing animation out there, and when you think that this anime is from 2005, I can only applaud Yuuki Nobuteru for his superb work in this series. The backgrounds in this series are also very well done having precious landscapes to look. The weak part of this animation, however, is in the character design, because, there are a lot of characters in this series that look alike, specially kids, and while it is understandable that given the episodic nature of the show, they have to introduce new characters every episode and some character designs will end up repeating themselves, it is still a little annoying to watch a character that looks almost exactly like that character from the past episode, however this is only a minor problem. The other problem is that when a character is at a certain distance his face disappears, which can be strange to look at. But, overall, solid and beautiful animation and great backgrounds.
This show´s music composer is Toshio Masuda, and he did an excellent job composing the soundtrack for the series, the soundtrack matches the nature of the series completely, is soothing, calm, relaxing and I love it. And speaking about relaxing the opening for this series, "The Sore Feet Song" by Ally Kerr fits the show as much as the soundtrack, is nothing really special, and is not something "unskippable" but it´s nice to listen to it in some episodes. The endings for this series are actually part of the soundtrack so they are really nothing very special. The voice acting is pretty solid and, while I have no complains about it, it´s nothing from another world and the only voice that really stands out is Ginko´s.
The characters in this series, as I said before, suffer from its episodic nature, because the characters in this series usually appear in one episode and they are gone the next one, the only exception being Adashino-sensei, a doctor and collector of paranormal items, who appears in three different episodes. But because the characters appear for one episode you really never get to like them much because of the lack of screen time. In the end, the only character that you end up getting attached to is Ginko, as he is the only character that appears in every chapter of this series, being him the protagonist and everything, not that I´m complaining Ginko is a great character and while he is usually laid back he is a complete professional in his work. But besides him while some of the characters in this series are pretty good you just don´t have enough time to start liking them.
So, this is a show that I enjoyed because it was very relaxing and the stories in every episode were unpredictable and interesting, but it´s something that you need to watch expecting that it won´t be "cheerful" or "exciting", but rather depressing even if an episode has a happy ending.
In the end, Mushishi is the perfect show to watch with a cup of the hot beverage that you prefer and relax and you will probably not get disappointed with the show.
And now I bid you farewell and I hope that this review has been helpful and that you have enjoyed reading this review as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Wait, is that what what I think it is? A second season? Mushishi Zoku Shou? Well, better late than never I guess, time to watch it. Adiós, to you all.
Coexistence is a difficult concept for humanity to grasp. All too often humans choose the path of domination rather than understanding and harmony, often to their own detriment. We fear the unknown. We reject the unusual. We hide our eyes from life's harder truths. Mushishi delves into these concepts as we follow the protagonist, Ginko, on his unending journey through a strange and beautiful world. In this world, their exist living creature that are neither flora nor fauna. These creature are made of pure life energy and are called mushi. In this world, mushi exist everywhere, but only a select few can see them. Ginko
possesses that ability, and works as a mushi master. Mushi masters travel the world studying these creatures and helping any humans that are negatively impacted by them. Mushi are for the most part benign and harmless, but sometimes in their quest to live and reproduce, humans come to harm. And that is where the story of Mushishi begins.
Mushishi is almost entirely episodic in nature. As I said, Ginko travels from village to village, searching for interesting mushi to study and answering the pleas for help that get mailed to him. Ginko tries to maintain the equilibrium between mushi and people, unlike most mushi masters that prefer extermination. It appears to be set in Feudal Era Japan. There are few reoccurring characters throughout, and you could almost watch the episodes in any order and still understand the bulk of the what's happening. Mushishi is an ideal anime to view if you're short on time because each episode is a satisfying experience in itself even if the time in between viewings is long.
By far the most impressive thing about this show for me was how invested I became in each new story. Very few episodic anime have made me care so deeply for the new characters that are introduced each time. The stories are all very emotional. You'll find yourself experiencing many highs and lows throughout. The writers succeeded in making the conclusions all very unpredictable. Sometimes you'll cry or yell in anger or maybe just stare in disbelief. I was never got bored or complacent watching this show.
The stories are all slowly paced, and there isn't much traditional action to be found. Shounen lovers may be put off by the lack of fighting. Romance lovers will be pleased to know that Mushishi has plenty of great love stories.
The artwork is absolutely beautiful. The scenery is amazing. No detail was spared as the artists rendered gorgeous setting after gorgeous setting. The character art is all fairly simple and traditional, but it works for the show. I would have liked to see a little more effort put into differentiating the characters from each episode though. Besides for a few select characters, most of the others look fairly similar to each other.
That intro song! It's amazing how perfectly that captures the feel of the entire series. The rest of the music consists primarily of pleasant instrumentals that compliment each scene very well. I watched the English dub for this show, and I really have to compliment each voice actor. They really captured the emotion of each scene. Native English speakers should definitely give this dub a chance. I think even the most diehard sub fans will be surprised.
As I said before, considering you only see the majority of the characters for 20 minutes each, it's amazing how much depth each of them had. You'll often find yourself rooting for a character introduced only minutes before. As for the main character, Ginko, the show does an excellent job of fleshing out his character. Not a lot of time is spent on his backstory, but by the end of the show, you really feel like you know the whole character, through and through. There are no true villains in Mushishi (not even the mushi), just average people trying to make their way in the world. That contributes to the sense of realism this show projects even though it deals with many fantastical elements.
I'm not one to watch the same anime over twice, but I can definitely see myself going back and watching this. The most important thing for my enjoyment of an anime is the ability to empathize with the characters and the ability to imagine myself in the storyline. I found that this anime really allows me to do that. I'm also a traveler myself. I trek long distance hiking trails, sometimes for weeks. Mushishi captured the spirit of adventure I often feel as I travel, and that probably upped my enjoyment quite a bit.
I really did love every part of this anime. I would recommend it with enthusiasm to anyone that loves strong stories and interesting characters. This is a must-watch.