Posted on 30 May 2014 with categories: Mushishi

Now this was such a beautiful episode. We often see Mushi portrayed as parasites. In fact, they are pretty much based on the insects and viruses of their world. There probably are enough real viruses and insects living in the Mushishi world, but they just aren’t the focus of the series. Anyway, what they did here was highlight the duality of these little critters: they have both their positives and negatives. This episode really focused on the positives, while again not ignoring the negatives.

The woman who is cursed to keep all of the moisture inside her body. It killed a few people due to unfortunate circumstances (again, nobody is at fault here), however it also brings so much joy to the people when she arrives. What made this episode work so well is how well this series characterizes just about everyone: even the minor characters feel real. I mean, have you looked at the animation for this series? EVERYTHING IS SMOOTH AND LIFELIKE. I cannot recall a TV-series that has such consistently detailed animation for characters, and this series can pull it off because it’s not an action series: budget doesn’t need to be spent on elaborate action scenes, so instead it can go into the detail.

Mushishi really is a mature series like no other. Most series when they tell a story, resort to black and whites: there are clear heroes and clear villains, and even when the villains have reasons for their actions, their reasoning is often crazy in some way to the point where you can’t really hold a nuanced conversation with them. Here, everything has multiple sides to it, and it’s done in a really cool way.

And yeah, pretty much now that I’ve seen the preview of the upcoming summer season: I’m currently 95% sure that Mushishi is going to end up as the best show of 2014. There never has been a series that stood so far above all of the others in all other years that I’ve been blogging. It’s just consistently fantastic and detailed and in seven episodes I have yet to spot a weak moment. This show is just THAT special, and it justifies a second season really well: every episode continues to build upon the lore of the mushi, and we still see new stuff.

Posted 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!

Posted on 17 April 2014 with categories: Mushishi

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode.

I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I first started watching this series, I was still very young: 18, and I hadn’t even been released in the real world yet. Now that I’m much older I can appreciate the attention to detail even more. This episode was about a fishing village, probably in one of the southern parts of Japan, and what the people there generally had to do to come by. The Mushi here symbolize the tragedies that come with such a life, however I love how they’re only telling a part of the picture: they hint at other big problems, and they’re far from the only thing playing in the world: the world doesn’t revolve around them, they’re just part of it. I have seen no other show that does that better than this series.

What’s also wonderful to see is that the creators really seem to try to fit in character-development into these one-episode stories. I loved how that one guy was finally able to set his grudges aside. And it was done in such a natural way: for once there wasn’t some big life choice that he was forced to make “return or else you’ll die!”. In theory, they could have figured something out with the village, heck he just could have given them the pearl while still remaining isolated. It just was the push he needed to set his feelings aside and become part of the village again.

Another way in which anime has gone down, is how its directors have gotten much less freedom. What I mean by that is this: when in 2005, Mushishi was made, Hiroshi Nagahama was perhaps a well known episode director and storyboard artist, but he never directed a full series. Here he got the chance, and BAM, he gave it the best possible adaptation it could have hoped for. I mean, if you look at some of the other series that Artland has worked on: the animation is completely different, much more generic, their pacing is way off. A debuting director managed to do that and they gave him a lot of freedom here.

Fast-forward eight years, and you can see that the established directors can get the freedom they want: Masaaki Yuasa can just push forward his style like he wants. But really, when was the last time that we really saw a first-time director try to push his own style and stamp on a series? My guess is that as anime has matured since the digital age, it has become more consistent. Consistency is boring! Be ambitious! Take risks! Show your personal style! Be intelligent and show authentic stories!

Posted on 3 March 2014 with categories: Mushishi

Mushishi holds a really special place in my heart. Back in November 2005, when I started up this blog, Mushishi was one of the first shows I picked up to cover weekly. At first I didn’t think much behind it: it just looked interesting and I wanted to cover it, but as it went on I started to enjoy it more and more. But even then it took me a long time, even after the series had finished, to realize what a special series it was, and that we’d never get anything like it again.

Many series tried, but none got as many things right as this show did. That’s something I definitely realized after I watched this OVA, and how we’re in for something really, really special here. I mean, my big fear was that they’d compromise, and that the second season would feel underwhelming. But amazingly, this OVA kept everything that made Mushishi to be one of my favourite shows out there.

And I know that usually, I’m not one of those people who lauds shows who do just the same in their sequels, but Mushishi is one of those series that is the exception to the rule. It knew exactly what it should keep doing, and yet this OVA contained a new story that adds to the Mushishi universe, and that story was amazing. You can see some CG here, but the creators kept it within limits and bounds.

Apart from that, the soundtrack is just amazing as usual. The voice acting is still brilliant and subdued, the atmosphere is still there. It still has the single best ED ever created for an anime, It still knows how to tell a perfect short story. I mean, really. This will be big. If the TV-series is like this then it’s got the potential to be the best series in years. But no, expectations should not be too large. Something’s going to mess up. Something will go wrong.

I mean, seriously. I don’t know whether it’s because of heightened emotions of finally seeing one of my absolute favorites again, but I still cannot believe how much I enjoyed this episode. I actually got teary-eyed from watching it and it made it seem so easy. I mean hell, this is EVERYTHING I’m looking for in an anime. The story wasn’t necessarily incredibly complex or so, but it was told perfectly. The focus was on bringing all of the different characters to life, and the creators really succeeded in showing that this really is about ordinary people living their lives. It’s incredibly relatable as it dealt with simple, but relatable problems.

Now for those who are wondering: Mushishi is a collection of standalone stories. In order to understand everything about this episode, all you need to have watched are episodes 1 and 20 from season one. That’s nothing, especially because these episodes are awesome to watch anyway.

Posted 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.

Posted on with categories: Mushishi

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Seriously. Mushishi managed to pick an AWESOME story for the final episode. It’s sad to see this anime finally go, one year after it started airing. Hoping for a second season would be rather false hope. Still, this show has been awesome. Definitely something to recommend to anyone.

The story mostly takes place during Ginko’s youth. He’s spending his time living in a certain village, while the main character of this story lives a few mountains further. He’s the son of the owner of the mountain. his father has been protecting the mountain for his entire life, as it, accompanied by a strange, coloured living fog, is full of life. If people were to mess with it, this balance would be disturbed.

That’s what happens when the episode progresses. The boy also gets befriended with the child-version of a certain traveller, which I could swear I’ve seen before. The boy is rather arrogant, being the son of an important person, though this young traveller seems to change his mind. They travel, based on the coloured fog. It’s some kind of way for the mountain to tell how it’s feeling. Then, at one point, the boy’s father dies. Even though his will said that the boy would inherit the entire mountain, his relatives all snatched it away, and made plans to destroy the mountain, for the sake of their village.

Because of this, the fog disappears, and so the young traveller has to top visiting the mountain. His grandfather, whom he travels with, also picked up a suspicious white-haired boy. This white-haired boy also gets abandoned, along with the mountain, and he join another Mushishi as a novice. Before he leaves, he explains a few things to the boy. That the group of travellers consists out of people who were kicked out of their villages because of the Mushi.

Then, we turn to the present. The buy has grown up, and the mountain didn’t do too well after the fog disappeared. Five months after what happened, a volcano erupted, destroying the mountain. The main character has tried to restore the mountain, but things aren’t going too well due to the absence of the fog. Children also are born weakly, because of the Mushi. The episode ends with Ginko and the main character meeting each other again.

I really loved this episode of Mushishi. It definitely was one of the better ones, and that has to say something. Ginko’s role in this also was a great one. He’s really just a bystander, not related to the main story at all. It also takes a time for him to remember the main character of this story, which was a very interesting detail.

Posted on 3 September 2006 with categories: Mushishi


I’ve been looking forward to another episode of Mushishi. It seems that it doesn’t know how to deliver a bad episode. Each of the stories presented works so incredibly well, dealing with a different problem every single time.

This time, we have a little girl, who’s blind. She encounters a mushi, Ganpuku. This mushi gives her sight. At first she’s incredibly happy, but then the mushi starts showing her things that she shouldn’t be able to see. She’d be able to see right through walls, she could see things which happened miles away from her, nothing was a secret for her anymore. But it didn’t end there. Ganpuku then gave her the ability of foresight. The girl grew up, and many people came to her, in order to get their futures told. Obviously, the girl didn’t have any friends at all. When her father died, she moved away from her village and started living as a shamisen-player (which C1 seems to have turned into a lute).

Of course, while it may seem like joy and goodness in the beginning, if you have to live with this for more than fifteen years, you begin to see the disadvantages. Every good thing has a bad thing, and every bad thing comes along with a good thing, and this is no different. The girl may have had the ability of foresight, she had this 24/7. She had no way to turn this off, and she lived her entire life, seeing things in the future. In the end, she became dizzy and unhappy because of it. Around the end of the episode, it seems that Ganpuku has completely taken over her eyes. They then detach from her body, and turn into their real form.

It’s indeed a dilemma for the woman. She has to choose to either see the future continuously or see nothing at all. It’s a choice between two extremes, with not middle way at all. In the end, the woman didn’t care for herself anymore, and was content with living with Ganpuku. But she didn’t want anyone else to suffer the same fate she did. Therefore, she asks Ginko to bury her eyes, somewhere in the forest.

Posted on 3 August 2006 with categories: Mushishi



Mushishi returns with the same outstanding quality of its stories once more. This time has yet another happy ending. I really loved it. The case is like this: we have this village which has its own Mushishi. On one day, they run into a yet to be identified Mushi. It came from a vulcanic rock, and has taken the form of a plant, which can rapidly increase in number. These plants also release a poisonous gas, which appears to kill off the trees.

The Mushishi has tried all sorts of things, but nothing works. Eventually, her last resolve was to burn the entire forest, along with the Mushi. After all, if the plants were to reach the crops of the village, they’d have a very hard time surviving the winter. Ginko’s against this, as not only it burns a lot of innocent trees, but the fact also remains that the Mushi came from a volcanic rock. It would be wrong to give it fire.

In the end, the Mushi appeared to be the premature form of a bunch of Kagebi. It takes refuge in cold places, and survive by sucking the heat out of people who are lured by their warmth. The Mushishi then tells everyone to be extra careful with fire, though you know how humans tend to behave. Most villagers do not immediately see the danger of the Kagebi, and they don’t pay attention to their actions. Only when seven people die and even more suffer from frostbites due to eating food, cooked under Kagebi, the message begins to sink in, and they start to be extra careful.

The Mushishi, however, has another problem. She swallowed one of the Kagebi, and now it’s grown inside of her. Very slowly, it’s sucking away her heat, and makes her cough up leaves, as a means for the Kagebi to reproduce itself. She has already given up hope when Ginko helps her. He lets her drink food, cooked by another Kagebi. This food then causes a frostbite in her stomach, where the Kagebi resides. This makes it unable to suck up heat, so it dies off. At least, that’s what I think that happens.

The way the episode ended was great. We turn to the beginning of the spring, we see a lone Kagebi heading out of the village. I’s looking for colder places, in which to spend the summer. I just loved the symbolism of this scene.

You can wonder, was it right to burn the trees? The fact remains that the plants were the dangerous ones, not the Kagebi. While the Kagebi just took seven lives, just imagine how many people would have died if the plants managed to reach the crops of the village. But still, a lot of animals, plants and trees were killed off during the burning. However, at the end of the episode, you can see the first traces of life appearing again. It’s also part of the symbolism used at the end of the episode. Life goes on. No matter what.

Memorable Moment: The ending.

Posted on 15 July 2006 with categories: Mushishi



The series had normal episodes, and it had awesome episodes. It’s the same with the OVA. Episode 21 was perfect in every
single way. Episode 22 was amazing, despite its flaws. Episode 23 shows us a standard Mushishi-story again. It’s about a disease, which causes limbs and body-parts to become stiff and unmovable. It’s being spread through the voice of one girl. Ever since the girl found out that her voice spread the disease, she’s stopped talking. Though the disease remained. The girl has stopped talking for ten years now. It’s also one of the stories with a more happy end.

Still, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t love the episode. It’s still as calm as always, and the situation gets explained very quietly. It seems that the woman had been screaming at the top of her lungs inside a deserted cave, in order to ruin her voice. By the time this episode plays, she hasn’t quite lost it, though her voice does sound very creepy and sad. It’s probably one of the first times in anime that such a voice was added.

The great thing about this episode was the ending, though it does leave a few bugs. The girl had been isolated, as everyone thought of her as the culprit. There was one man, from another village who didn’t treat her that way. This man then fall off a cliff in the mountains, and she had no other choice than to cry for help, with her already distorted voice. That sounded too sad. It seems that to cure the disease, the woman had to scream towards the village, with the see straight behind her. She’ll probably have to scream for years in order to fully remove the disease, and her voice will most likely die before the disease does. It’s so awesome to see someone willing to give up her own voice in order to save others. Still, the way Ginko came to this conclusion bugs me. We get no clues to his plans until he reveals them. And the things that made him realize the solution don’t make any sense at all. And how come, in fourteen years, nobody has even bothered to go to the see and check what happens?!

Overall, another great Mushishi-episode. Not the best, but definitely enjoyable.

Posted on 6 July 2006 with categories: Mushishi



I’ve got one fundamental problem with the Mushishi OVA. The budget has been increased, in order to be able to display some nifty action-scenes in which Ginko also plays a big role.

NOT. A. GOOD. IDEA. Mushishi’s strength lies in its atmosphere and the heavy drama it introduces. Action doesn’t belong in it, as it also introduces one nasty little bugger: the Deus ex Machina. Why the heck did the storm clear up just in time to save Ginko?! The series at least understood how to put Ginko in at least a bit of a struggle, like letting him drown in quicksand in order to come out of it on his own strength a couple of hours later. Or letting him fall asleep for an entire winter. Ginko’s brilliance lies in the fact that he’s the medium between the Mushi and the real main characters of each story.

That aside, the theme of this episode was once again magnificent. We have this island. Right next to this island, there’s a strange rock formation. Inside that rock lives a Mushi who feeds on the time, lived by creatures. So, let’s say that a dying person gets dumped near that Mushi, the Mushi catches it, and turns it back into the embryo. This way, that person can live his or her life once again.

The people on the island know this. It’s very common to see a person being reborn and people often let family members who are about to die be dumped near the Mushi. Same story with the main character, Mio. She’s given birth of her own mother. She’s probably one of the few people who has troubles with the system on the island. She already said goodbye to her mother, and now she refuses to raise someone who’s already dead. She therefore decided not to see this girl as her mother, but as her daughter.

Still, she’s struggling with this. As she grew up, her daughter began to look more and more as her mother, which really make her think about who she had been raising all this time. Her daughter (she’s too cute, by the way), however, talks about this like it’s nothing at all. When she explains about other cases which happened on the island, you really start to think about what it means to live. After all, you won’t have to be afraid of dying, as you return any time.

But then again, the only thing that remains the same is the embryo. People do get raised differently. People have different memories. The fact that the child looked so much like the mother was just Mio overreacting. She begin to look at every tiny little detail, and then she noticed similarities. So, what if you do get sick, and what if you do decide to go to the Mushi before you die. Can you with 100% certainty say that you will be the one who’s reborn? This is a thing that most of the islanders seem to forget. We even have a guy, who lost his wife in the sea. He then waited for ten years in order to remarry her, and now they’ve been living together for quite a long time. It’s just like Disgaea, in a certain way.

I liked the relationship that the Mio had with her daughter. The daughter was very bright and cheerful. At times, she would be able to talk with her mother on equal level. She was raised very well, as she did seem to understand that she wasn’t the same as her grandmother. The reaction of Mio’s mother when she was about to die also was quite interesting. It seems that she had decided to be reborn again. That she didn’t want to disappear. I wonder, if Mio’s daughter is put in the same situation when she gets old. Would she also react the same way? It totally depends on the things she experienced in her life.

Overall, the theme in this episode was exceptionally well done. Mushishi surely delivers in that aspect. Mio was awesome, her daughter was even more awesome. The only speck on the window was the climax.

Memorable moment: When the daughter jumped recklessly after Mio. It only showed more of her awesomeness. :)

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  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:10 AM)
    @Bam For my money though, Vinland Saga is the best running historical/seinen/action manga. Vagabond is the more impressive artistic feat, but I think Vinland Saga is just written better. Both mangas are absolutely essential reading for historical/seinen fans.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:07 AM)
    @Bam Not to be a hipster but I’ve been reading Vagabond since 2007 and from my perspective it seems like the manga has gotten less popular over time, not the other way around. Back then every seinen fan worth his salts had read Vagabond as well as all the classic Goseki Kojima Samurai manga. Both mangas have fallen out of popularity.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 06:58 AM)
    I just want to say that Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue is one of the most badass manga of all time. It’s crazy how many avid manga fans never even heard about this well-told and incredibly-drawn manga. I mean seriously … this is criminally under-appreciated.
  • Vincent
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 06:52 AM)
    Damn, none of my manga are updating. ;( Time to read a book I suppose. Or look at planes. I’ll look at planes.
  • Asuka111
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:23 AM)
    @Eeelo Erhm, what? We shouldn’t be sad that a fellow Canadian died on our own soil? Those conditions you listed, that’s exactly why we’re sad. This isn’t a combat zone.
  • Eeelo
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:21 AM)
    Well, that isn’t my fault for wanting people to think. Getting mad at the politicians don’t do anything
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:16 AM)
    @Eeelo If you’re talking about the masses, it’s your fault for expecting anything. You’re getting mad at the wrong people, m8.
  • Eeelo
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:12 AM)
    The lack of that ‘equal scrutiny’ you talk about is what I’m speaking out against.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:07 AM)
    You simply cannot say it is insignificant just because it happens to a larger extent somewhere else. Is hunger in the West not important because it is far more severe in Africa? No, you’re supposed to look at both sides with equal scrutiny.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:02 AM)
    @Eeelo Listen up m8. Sure this happens every other day in other parts of the world. Iraq, to name one among many. However, Canada is not Iraq, and the victims were not expecting to die guarding a building in the capital of their own god damn country, unlike the men in Iraq. Therefore, not only is deeming their deaths insignificant completely illogical, it is retarded.

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Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

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Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

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Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

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Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]