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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Official Mushishi Anime Website (Japanese)
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