Posted by psgels on 12 May 2014 with categories: Mushishi

I have not forgotten about this show. Not at all. I just finished marathoning these four episodes, and holy cheeseballs on a stick! this is the best anime in years! This was everything I could have hoped for and blows just about everything else out of the water. Talk about raw, powerful storytelling.

I now know again why Mushishi is such a unique series. Sure, there have been similar series in the past, like Natsume Yuujinchou, telling about creatures who live alongside us with mythical powers, usually youkai or something in the like. Mushishi however, takes the concepts of Shinto, and goes further than any other show has done. In the eight years inbetween the first and second season, I have never encountered a series that did the supernatural as well as what we see here.

But even then, these four episodes were something else. Here we saw people’s arms getting eaten off, suffer from horrible frostbites, people disappearing into nothingness while still being alive, losing all their senses, chopping off heads and swapping them. It’s one thing to be brutal, but Mushishi does it without showing blood, it does it with such variety, and every single time it puts them in the middle of so many moral dilemmas. It goes in deep on the source, and shows how easily uneducated people can fall into these traps despite proper warnings. This show is nearly a medical thriller with its own set of rules.

And yet the beauty in each of these stories, is that you can’t completely blame the mushi. That also was the brilliance of the first season: the Mushi are also just living their lives, which just happens to sometimes clash with that of humans. This is driven forth even more here, with these mushi without a physical form who try desperately to escape that incredible loneliness.

And the presentation of these four episodes. It’s just perfect. Okay, perfect doesn’t exist… er… some frames showed characters with no mouths! There, critiism! Kidding aside: the animation is beautiful: the movement is slow, but you can really feel the characters. The background art is better than ever. The CG that is used is used consistently and only for the mushi, making them look stunning and out of this world, exactly what they are supposed to be.

The end of episode six: that was actually increidly beautiful how everything came together. It was never told that fire was meant to draw out the mushi in the tree, but when you saw it, everything just made sense. If there was ever an example of what I mean by storytelling, characters, animation, pacing and atmosphere all coming together in one moment, then that is a textbook example of how to do it. All stories were beautiful, but my highlight was episode 03. I cried okay! That’s the first time I cried at an anime in probably over a year!

Creators of anime! LOOK AT THIS! This is how you make an anime!

15 Responses

  1. Avatar nebula says:

    I can’t decide which is AOTY yet, Mushishi and Ping Pong, both are very well-done imo.

  2. Avatar riddle says:

    Yes, episode 3 was probably the best out of the whole lot. The imagery, the symbolism between the life of the mushi and the life of the boy it has infected, absolutely fantastic.

  3. Avatar Fer says:

    Isn’t this a manga adaptation though?

    It’s not an original production.

    • Avatar Starss says:

      It is an adaption, but it’s uncommon for one to be such a masterpiece. It’s amazing how an anime completely episodic can still have such compelling, haunting and beautiful storytelling after 30+ standalone episodes.
      I’ve never read the manga since I don’t believe the atmosphere carries over well between the mediums, but there is no doubt the Mushishi anime is amazing.

  4. Avatar Jeevas says:

    Mushishi is so good I’m having a hard time coming up with a comment really.

  5. Avatar bob mcmanus says:

    I have been trying for a while to figure out what is being attempted in Mushishi. There is, as you say, a lot of animistic context in Japan, Natsume and Graveyard Kitaro for instance.

    1) The mangaka has completely removed all religion and spirituality from his “Japan.” There are no torii, no temples, no shrines, no household shrines, and I don’t remember many stories or legends.

    2) Everyone seems to know or grasp quickly what a mushishi is, but I never hear people talk about mushi before Ginko shows up. It is never “something strange, might be mushi” as in a lot of origin or explanatory stories in animism or Shinto.

    3) In fact, most of the weird events encountered by the villagers in the show are taken as completely “natural” and rolled with until Ginko shows up to tell them that “this ain’t normal”. In fact, it is amazing how seldom the characters are frightened or repelled or alienated by some really off-the-wall stuff.

    • Avatar lc says:

      The mangaka is a woman.

      • Avatar bob mcmanus says:

        Whatever.

        Whether it is “it snows especially hard on his house” or “wild animals walk up to me and let me kill them” or “the little girl eats tree sap and grows really really slowly” there is, as far I remember,never a WTF? moment,what is strange about Mushishi is that the motivations for and even concept of the supernatural and religious have been completely written out of her world. Everything is natural, nothing needs explanation.

        What this might mean for morality seems to be a theme of the show.

        The WTF moment comes when Ginko shows up.

  6. I like your new writing style.

  7. Avatar kazid says:

    Is not to follow the contrary is a very good series a bit boring but very well done, beautifull and meaby a master piece for someones. But after six season episodes of all series the best is no game no life and like i see possible best anime of the year.

    Waiting the impact of psyco pass 2 and FSN new version.

  8. Avatar Anonymous Zee says:

    This anime was like a childhood anime for me. It was such an amazing anime to watch (tears of joy).

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