Mushishi: An Inspiration to Storytellers

Rating: 😀 😀 😀 😀 🙂 (4.5 / 5 grins)

Mushishi (蟲師) is a manga series created by Urushibara Yuki (漆原 友紀).  The anime adaptation is a big surprise to me.  It has been repeatedly recommended to me by many of my anime buddies, but I always gave them noncommittal replies.  Then I finally decided to watch it and I wanted to kick myself ever since for waiting this long.

mushishi

It reminds me greatly of Natsume Yuujinchou (夏目友人帳) and Hotarubi no Mori e (蛍火の杜へ) by Midorikawa Yuki (緑川ゆき).  Both of them are named Yuki.  What coincidence!  Like these 2 series, it has this eerie and forbidding atmosphere that sometimes trigger goosebumps.  They feature the supernatural in traditional Japanese culture.  However, unlike Nastume Yuujinchou and Hotarubi no Mori e, Mushishi takes a somewhat “scientific” approach in explaining supernatural phenomena.  It is also more serious and “realistic” in an anime-like way.

kouki - mushishi

Excellent Storytelling

Mushishi is mostly episodic, but it still provides continuity regarding the main characters and their history.  Every episode are beautifully weaved mini-stories from beginning to the twist and turns and to the ending, if the episode has one.  The style of storytelling reminds me of many Japanese literary novels that I love to read.  Most are open-ended and may feel unsatisfying to those who are not used to this kind of style.

A Masterpiece

I don’t know about you, but for me this series is a masterpiece.  Mushishi is too deep and amazing that I couldn’t bring myself to watch “shallow” series a few weeks afterwards.  Series lacking in depth but are still entertaining that I usually enjoy failed to interest me.  I had to take a few weeks break from anime because I couldn’t find other series during that time that are at the same level of Mushishi.

ginko - mushishi

I’ve watched tons of anime my whole life, and I won’t say that this is the best anime.  The character designs are far from excellent.  Minor characters tend to look alike.  Ginko, the main protagonist, is far from physically attractive.  He’s not the smartest nor the most talented Mushishi, but you can’t help but bond with his character.  The animation is not the best either, but it is beautiful in a simple and elegant way.  The colour scheme might even be considered dull by some.  Nevertheless, they fit the series well.  As for the music, it’s beautiful, in my opinion.  It’s serene at times or frightening or even both at the right moments.  Like Hotarubi no Mori e, it makes intelligent use of silence to increase suspense.

nature and mushi - mushishi

Inspiration to Storytellers

The strength of Mushishi is not in its characters, animation nor music, although they contribute greatly to it.  Its strength lies in its compact and beautiful style of storytelling.  As a writer myself, I can’t help but admire the storytelling techniques used in this series.  Each episode has deceptively simple wow-factor that more mainstream anime lack.

Not everyone will appreciate the beautiful and intelligent storytelling of Mushishi.  These people might even describe this series as boring.  How unfortunate.  But if you consider yourself a storyteller or someone who appreciates good storytelling, I’m certain that this anime will inspire you on how to craft your own stories.

kimono girl reflection on water - mushishi

If you’re looking for a meaningful series that’ll stimulate not only your emotions but also your mind, I highly recommend that you watch Mushishi.

Have you watched Mushishi?  If yes, what do you think about it?  If not yet, what are you waiting for?  Go watch it now!

Links:
Official Mushishi Anime Website (Japanese)


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22 thoughts on “Mushishi: An Inspiration to Storytellers”

    1. High-five! I know, right? The multiple layers of meaning are so complex. The storytelling is beautiful. As for me, it doesn’t put me into a state of calm. Quite the opposite, in fact. I find the stories very disturbing (in a good way, of course) and the series just stimulate my brain to think and think and think. I love it! Anyway, thanks very much for dropping by. I appreciate it. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I like everything about it: music, pictures, characters, content. Everything is so gentle, slightly sad, slightly sweet. In spite of no ( extremely slight hint), you couldn’t stop if you started. Fufufu, if I overstate, forgive me, I only the person who love it very much. Any, in my countries, it will come out, I am looking forward to have it. So great. =^^=

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem. There’s no overstating for me when it comes to talking about anime. The more outrageous your expression of your love, the better. And yes, I agree with you. This is such a great anime. It’s just such a shame that not a lot of people seem to appreciate it because it seems unimpressive at first. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you decided to watch it. It indeed is a masterpiece.
    The scenery of this anime is breathtakingly beautiful. And the whole atmosphere calms one down. I’m currently looking for animes similar to this – with a touch of japanese culture and supernatural.
    I’m glad I watched Mushishi. I wasn’t too interested after the first episode. The first episode seemed weird. I’m glad I watched the second and third episode, otherwise I would’ve missed a great anime. Btw. I love the music of it. The lyrics of one of the openings is quite creepy – but the back ground music is wonderful. And it’s so interesting that they took a different “ending song” for each episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It seems unimpressive at first so not many appreciates its beauty. I agree, it uses atmosphere masterfully. Can’t count how many times I literally broke into goosebumps watching it. The most similar ones that I watched so far are “Hotarubi no Mori e” & “Natsume Yuujinchou” but I have a feeling that you already watched them. Another one would be “Hakkenden”, I think. And yes, the music is amazing in “Mushishi”. It also uses silence effectively. Thanks for dropping by. Take care. Cheers!

      Like

  3. I haven’t watched it or Natsume though I’m not sure why. You’ve convinced me to give it a try/that I really need to watch it. I love good storytelling, so I must watch this. I guess this is one of those series that people praise it a lot, but still never peaked my interest.
    You’re very enabling to my hobbies ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this series is an acquired taste but since you said that you love good storytelling, I have a feeling you’ll appreciate this anime. I hope that you get the chance to watch this. If you ever do, let me know what you think. Ahaha! I love being an enabler especially when it comes to anime. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers!

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  4. This is such an amazing series.

    If by the offchance that you are looking for some series with a similar sort of feel or atmosphere… Then I recommend you check out the following: Bartender, Kino’s Journey, Natsume’s Book of Friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I already watched those except for Kino’s Journey. Another is the film “Hotarubi no Mori e” which has the same mangaka as “Natsume Yuujinchou”. They all have similar feel to “Mushishi”. Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great series. The only reason why I haven’t finished watching Mushishi is because I started watching it on my birthday when I was still seeing my ex.

    C-call me a riajuu I’d you want! I still need more time before I can handle watching it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mushishi is a strong favorite of mine. Largely because I’m all about atmosphere, which it has a lot of, but also because it’s a marvel of storytelling and one of the, if not the best utilization of the episodic format I’ve seen in anime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thoughts exactly! The atmosphere really impresses itself strongly to the viewer. I can’t count how many times I literally had goosebumps while watching this anime. And I agree with you on the way it excellently exploited the episodic format. I usually can’t watch more than 3 episodes with series using this format but this anime mastered it. There is still continuity. Anyway, big thanks for dropping by & sharing your opinions with me. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh how I loved it when I watched it all those years back. It really pulled you into the storyline making you forget your surroundings (always watched at evening times after being done with exhausting university and five hours of training…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? And it’s great that we watched this series as an adult because I don’t think that we’ll be able to appreciate it this much if we were younger. Thanks for sharing your experience watching this series with me. Take care. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. High five! Glad to hear that you love it too. It’s amazing, isn’t it? It messes up your standard for watching anime, especially if you just finished watching it. Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Take care. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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