Posted by psgels on 15 October 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mushishi

Mushishi is one of those rare series you can only run into once in a long while. it consists out of 26 episodes, and each of these episodes tells a story about ordinary people, living in the quiet areas of medieval Japan and their encounters with the creatures called Mushi. Only a select few can see them, they’re living beings, just like any other animal or plant, though at times, their lifestyles clash with humans, making them sick, or giving them strange abilities.

The story centres around a Mushishi: Ginko. A Mushishi is an expert about Mushi. He knows a lot about them, and how to cure people who are bothered by the Mushi. The message of this anime is that everyone, both humans and Mushi, isn’t really evil. They’re only trying to live their daily lives.

I am happy to say that each and every one of the stories, told in Mushishi turned out to be simply awesome. It’s just one huge chunk of non-stop atmosphere. Each episode takes its time to tell its unique story. The beauty of this is that not every one of the cases can be solved. At times, people are fated to die, or people have to live with a horrible burden for the rest of their lives. At other times, however, only after years and years the problem can be solved.

Another great aspect of Mushishi is that at times, it likes to make time leaps of a number of years, in order to show how characters gradually evolve, along with their problems and issues. Almost each of the stories told in the 26 episodes left me with such a satisfied feeling. And especially the better stories were just one big adventure.

The creators made an excellent use of the music and background tunes in this anime. While standalone, they’re not really special, but when they’re added in stories with such a huge atmosphere, the two only strengthen each other. The character art style used is unique, and really fits, and not to mention that the background art of each of the different landscapes presented is just absolutely gorgeous.

This anime doesn’t have a lot of bad points. Some of the episodes around the end of the anime were not as good as usual, though the final episode is one of the best again. And there are indeed more episodes which are better than others. Still, overall, this is an amazing anime. Definitely worth to be recommended.

13 Responses

  1. Martin says:

    Mushishi is possibly my all-time fansub favourite! Every episode is different but all meet an incredible standard, both in the lush visuals and powerful storylines. At times it’s a supernatural fanstasy, at others a portrayal of very real human nature; either way I can’t recall a single instalment being disappointing.

    Sadly there wasn’t the opportunity to catch the last ep but it looks like Funimation have their eye on the licence. A DVD release of this awesome series can’t come soon enough! Good to see it’s made such an impression on the fan ommunity – not many series deserve the hype they get but this one certainly does.

  2. karitaru says:

    I am sorry to say that I watched 9 episodes of Mushishi and still can’t find anything good about it. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that this is one of my worst anime ever.
    I don’t look for blood and fights, yet I look for good ideas, which I couldn’t find here.
    Sorry if this offend anyone, but it is better than not saying the truth.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Heh, it’s okay. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. You should see my rants on the different harems which appeared when the fall-season started. ^^;

    Still, you’re the first one I read about and who hated the show.

  4. Konrad says:

    I’ve just started on the series, and have only been able to see two episodes, thanks to Gaiaonline’s Cinemas. Uhh, but I definately look forward to getting the DVDs. I’m very pleased with this series thus far.

  5. Archer says:

    this is one review i totally agree with you,it is one of my top 5 favorite anime,but i don’t think this is for everyone since there is no action,but for me who prefers story over anything else,and mystery this anime is perfect.i heard that some people don’t like Ginko that much they find him boring but i think that he is a great main character we see that he really has feelings,that he is not almighty,he cannot save everybody but he tries and i think that his behavior is kind of realistic
    the music also makes this anime so good but i liked the animation,the art a lot better it was just wonderful
    in the end i think some of my favorite episodes were episodes 5,14,17,21 to be honest i lived all the episodes
    indeed to bad that anime like this are so rare but if they would not be they would not be this amazing and enjoyable

  6. Z.A. says:

    psgels Im new to ur blog site and i watched this anime cause I saw ur review on it and u gave it such a high mark. i never heard of it before. i decided to watch a few eps, and was waiting for some huge crisis with action sequences to happen.
    by the time i reached ep 10 i realized i was waiting in vain – nothing huge was suppose to happen, except for the fact that i was experiencing storytelling on another level (which can be considered huge).
    i immediately understood why u were saying this is a rare masterpiece – , but i still had doubts.
    all my doubts disappeared by the time i reached ep 26, and i started to feel exactly the same way u did – and i realized i dont want this anime to end either! the storytelling of each of the episodes of the anime is on another level which i havent experienced before. the FULL 20 min of each ep has been masterminded to tell you the intro, problem, solution, result, ending, aftermath.
    the last time i saw an anime with ‘per episode technique’ was GITS season 1 and 2 long time ago and i considerd it to be a landmark anime in terms of storytelling, but now im not sure after watching mushishi. i know gits is different genre but im referring to storytelling.

  7. KaminaLives says:

    Thanks for recommending Mushishi. What a wonderfully imaginative series and the way each episode approaches its subject matter is great. Very philosophical in a live and let live kinda way.

    My favorite eps have to be 12 (Ginko’s origin and first Mushishi teacher) and 20 (where they introduce Tayuu, Ginko’s other half). Another fave is the one involving the teleporting cocoons and the twin sisters (I had been wondering how Ginko and the Mushishis managed to stay in touch and got wind of news in villages so fast, this explains it).

    I just love the slow, deliberate pacing of each story and how it took the time to unfold in telling the plight of the characters, human and mushi alike. Sure there was no grand overarching story, but the episodic nature of the show works because that’s how life usually works, taking things day by day, and then showing the consequences (and every action has ‘em in this series) months or years later.

    If there’s one gripe I have with the show is that they didn’t reveal nearly enough about Ginko’s past (just enough to get a basic picture of how he feels and thinks). The man still remains a bit of a mystery, which I do believe helps sell the series too (it certainly kept me watching). And Tayuu; I so wanted to see her in another episode since her character was so awesome in #20. Plus she and Ginko really are great together; her noble tragedy and inner strength complements Ginko’s somewhat more worldly and cynical nature quite nicely.

    I had also wondered why Ginko seems to be wearing thoughout the series what looks like Western-style clothes (collared shirt, a trenchcoat, boots or shoes, and pants) instead of the kimonos and sandals that every other character seems to wear. There must have been a reason; I just found that part about his character odd. The time frame of the show left me guessing too; I don’t think it was medieval (given Ginko’s clothes and his use of scientific devices like a microscope and glass slides), probably more toward the Meiji era or a little earlier than that.

    The last ep basically left me hanging and wanting more. I managed to find the live action movie of Mushishi and it seems to retell certain episodes in the anime (including #20, heh), so I’m hoping that’ll hold me over until I marathon the next series that grabs my interest. Again, Mushishi isn’t for everyone, but if you love the slice of life approach to storytelling and deep philosophy of man vs. nature, this series is one of the best.

  8. kokutou says:

    This anime was incredible. Of all the shows I’ve seen, this has to be in my top 3, maybe even my favourite. Although some were better than others, this show was incredible in the way it continued to produce, one episode after another. There was little that tied them together, other than our main character, Ginko, and yet each story felt so fulfilling. As a whole, this show really shines out the rest of them and was always able to leave me not only satisfied, but craving more of that heartfelt goodness. Simply the best storytelling I’ve ever seen.

    Plus, as mentioned earlier, the transition from episode to credits was the best I’ve seen. Might not have been the best music ever but it always fit the mood.

  9. Allibaba says:

    Some people just don’t like these kind of show, episodic and the characters come and go so fast. If you’re, like me, the kind of person who can’t really enjoy shows where they don’t really give a crap about the characters or grow attached to them and their development, then these show may seem pretty dull.

  10. mike says:

    I hooked from the first episode of this anime and I also didn’t want this anime to end – well actually I’d have liked it to end by about episode six, but I never give up on an anime once I’ve started so kept watching desperately looking for any form of plot or character development.
    By the end I was tearing my hair out and becoming more and more irritated by the trite homilies and two dimensional characters that were regurgitated each episode…

  11. eve says:

    I love this anime. The ideas of the mushi beings, the artist’s style, the world… its soothing somehow… I am no pro in the area of anime or the comics etc – just know what I like.

    Does anyone know if there is anything like this in any mythology?


  12. marktheknife says:

    The mushi are influenced by Shinto ideas. That’s all I got.

    Other than that, I just want to make a note to remind everyone of the manga as well…the anime makes it up through the first story of volume 6, leaving about 4 more volumes of material! I’m planning on reading them when I get the chance.

  13. Vanichu says:

    Man, I wish there were more Mushishi episodes!

    I only watched it because you gave it a high rating and I’m glad I liked it as much as you did as well.
    It kind of reminds me of Natsume Yuujinchou, but in a different direction/way.

Leave a Reply


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:56 PM)
    Eh, I’ve updated myself now on the onepunch manga and also the manga for yuruyuri, I can cross the shows off my list now. I forgot to mention onepunchs first episode crammed in the first volume.
    I stopped reading though around chapter 30, it was decent fun for a bit but I’ll be continuing with it in small doses.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:19 PM)
    @Aidan Yeah? Well I at least have to hand it to psgels for continuing to pay for the site. By the way, is WordPress still fucked up on your end, or is it fine now?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:57 PM)
    @;(: Actually that was probably a bad word choice on my part, I meant that the humour in those episodes didn’t always work so well for me.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:56 PM)
    Whereas my favourite season 1 episodes were Rick potion n09 and rixty minutes.
  • ;(
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:55 PM)
    @Emma: What do you mean by “uneven”?

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gangsta. – 12

Normally one expects a final episode to be well…final. Right from the start you could tell Gangsta wasn’t going to make an effort to form some kind of ending with it wasting far too much time on things that don’t really matter at this point. By episode’s end I was actually questioning whether this truly […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 12

The ending to Gakkou leaves me with a feeling similar to that I felt after watching Madoka’s final two episodes. The ending isn’t inherently bad but I can’t help but feel like I have been cheated. When you tease darkness and provide instead light its hard to appreciate. Contract to popular belief, not everyone loves […]

Gangsta. – 11

Gangsta has a serious problem on its hands. So far the past 11 episodes have been building up something and it’s clear that this buildup will not be utilised in the remaining episode. We got a setting, characters(though aside from the main trio a number of them need development) and an antagonist but we don’t […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 12

  It’s a good thing a second season of Gate was announced as it ending on this episode would be a poor round up to the series indeed. The biggest hanging thread is the Dark elf and her dilemma of returning to the village to tell them that help is not coming or resorting to […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 11

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Things are looking grimmer and grimmer for our four heroines as Yuuri can’t bring herself to kill Kurumi, Miki is trapped on the lower floors and zombies have subsequently knocked out the power and overrun the school. Leaving a surprisingly stable Yuki to save everyone’s hides. The zombies […]

Gangsta. – 10

So our girl Erica turns out to be the twin of Delio and I wouldn’t be surprised if you can’t remember who Delio is. He’s the white haired guy who’s a weak twilight that works as a bodyguard for Monroe. It’s revealed that she was abducted when she was a kid and this is the […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 11

If it’s one thing this episode has taught us it’s that you should never cockblock a Goth-loita demi-gods plans for the night. Anime truly is the greatest teacher one could have, even more so than a yellow squid creature that moves at mach speed but not quite on the level of a gangster leader with […]

Latest Reviews

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]


Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]


Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]


Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]