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Mushishi is a Japanese Manga Series

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The Calm Flow of Mushishi.

  • Jun 23, 2009
Mushishi( 蟲師 ) is a Japanese Manga and Anime series created by Yuki Urushibara.
The Manga won an Excellence price at the Japan media arts festival in 2003 and Kodansha Manga Award in 2006.

The main character of this series is called Ginko who is a Mushi-Master.
Now what are Mushi ?
In the Manga they are described as creatures who are somewhat between this world and the spiritual world, they are close to the life force itself and cannot be perceived by ordinary humans you need a certain type of clairvoyance  to be able to see these strange creatures.
They are in some ways a primitive life form which can take on countless shapes.

The trouble is that sometimes these Mushi, creates all kinds of problems for humans, they can cause many types of diseases, physical and mental, ruin crops and animal life and create all kinds of strange phenomena that scare people who are unaware of their existance.

So the Mushi-Master is a blend of Doctor, Spiritual Healer, Medicine man, Psychologist and a Clairvoyant. In some ways he´s like a combination of Sherlock Holmes and a Zen Monk because in the stories he usually is facing a mystery which he has to solve using all his powers of thought and his spiritual talents as a Mushi - Master.
There´s a strange kind of timlessness in these stories, Ginko himself looks modern and wears modern clothes but most of the stories happens in an enviroment that looks like pre- industrial Japan. The author uses a lot of classical Japan both in the look and feel of these stories and what I like specially about them is that they are unlike any Manga I´ve seen, it´s an original world she has created and the classical beauty of Japan shines through. The landscape, the clothes the wonderful Japanese houses, really all the classical beauty one associates with historical japan.

The stories themselfs are not so much related to each other, in most of the stories Ginko comes to a village or meets some people someplace and there is some mysterious problem they face, which the Mushi - Master tries to solve, and the nice touch here is that although he is a Mushi - Master, he does not always know what he´s dealing with and must  go through trial and error to find the right remedy and sometimes there is no cure, the mystery remains unsolved.

These stories are very influenced by Zen and the Calm, philosophical Flow you associate with that school of thought, there is no rush but quiet, meditative quality to both the manga and the Anime. 

The colours and use of light in the Anime is Fantastic and the way they bring out the many shades of colour and light on finds in nature is brilliant. The soundtrack is fabulous, full of bells, wonderous percussion and other beautiful sounds. In fact the Mange and Anime are very close in spirit with each other, you have the same stories and the characters look and feel the same.

 So if you are interested in japanese comics and Cartoons or Manga and Anime, you might like this series also I think Mushishi might appeal to many who are perhaps not so interested in the Fast- Action, Boys- Toys Anime which you have a lot of, but might prefer these kind of stories which are quiet, meditative and very humane.

There is also a live action film which is quite nice but to my taste doesn´t quite capture the wonder and the spiritual quality of the Manga/Anime. 

Anyhow I love it and it´s one of my favorite Manga/Anime.

mushishi mushishi mushishi mushishi

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August 02, 2009
sounds interesting. I haven't really gotten that much into manga yet, but I know I have to make time for them. Great write up!
About the reviewer
Örn Leifsson ()
Ranked #111
I have a BA in Philosophy but my main interest is Music. I play the piano andI have also learned a little to play the Guitar, Violin, Drum Set and the Djembe.   The Music I love the most is … more
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Mushishi (蟲師?) is a manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Urushibara, published in Kodansha's Afternoon magazine from 1999 to August 2008.

The manga was adapted into an anime television series in 2005. The Artland production was directed by Hiroshi Nagahama. A live-action feature film adaptation, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, premiered on March 242007.

The Mushishi manga won an Excellence Prize at the 2003 Japan Media Arts Festival and the 2006 Kodansha Manga Award

The story features ubiquitous creatures called Mushi that often display supernatural powers. Mushi are described as beings in touch with the essence of life, far more basic and pure than normal living things. Due to their ephemeral nature most humans are incapable of perceiving Mushi and are oblivious to their existence, but there are a few who possess the ability to see and interact with Mushi. The Mushi depicted in the anime look very similar to floaters.

One such person is Ginko (ギンコ?), the main character of the series. He employs himself as a Mushi master (蟲師 mushi-shi?), traveling from place to place to research Mushi and aid people suffering from problems caused by them. The series is an episodic anthology in which the only common elements among episodes are Ginko and the various types of Mushi. There is no over-arching plotline. ( source wikipedia )


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