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.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:46 AM)
    @Kaiser: so far it’s good. I’ve been hearing the buzz but I wished someone had nodged me to watch it sooner.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:42 AM)
    You’ve reminded me Bam that I’d been meaning to pick up ash vs the evil dead sometime.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:39 AM)
    @Kaiser: the remake was still pretty entertaining, but it lost the silly comedy edge the series was known for. I still think that the 2nd film had the most unique and prominent voice of its own, and all of that is present in the new series’ pilot. If anything Raimi cranked it up a couples of notches here and there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:35 AM)
    There was a mean spirited feel to the remake I found pretty appealling.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:27 AM)
    @Kaiser: the original Evil Dead was playing the horror genre straight, but it had a strata of slap-stick that was partially unintended. With Evil Dead 2 he doubled down on the strange horror/comedy dynamic and it became fantastic. Army of Darkness was very entertaining, but it strayed very far from the series’ roots. The remake was only produced by Raimi, while he got back on the writer/director chair for the pilot of the new series, and proved that he still got it sharp as ever.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:19 AM)
    Then again I believe Raimi was fairly involved with the remake.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:18 AM)
    The remake as far as remakes go should have been worse but it worked much better than I would have thought and I say this as someone who hates reboots/remakes.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:16 AM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen the first evil dead but I don’t think its aged well, the second one I’ve seen and its hugely entertaining later on but its army of darkness that was the most enjoyable of the three for me.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 03:47 AM)
    Wow Ash Vs the Evil Dead 01 was a blast; I really should’ve gotten into this sooner. I was smiling thru most of it, either because it was funny or slap-stick gory, or because it was a blast to see that Sam Raimi still got it. I guess the only time that Evil Dead works is when he’s involved. Seeing Bruce Campbell again with the chainsaw was a treat which I didn’t know I needed in my life.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:31 PM)
    I’m trying not to get my hopes up however, given that it wouldn’t be surprising if he gave us another filler chapter like he did with that pointless flashback.

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