Sun, 14 October 2007
Mushi-Shi Volume 1 Anime DVD Review. Director and Series Composer: Hiroshi Nagahama. Funimation, $29.98. Volume 1 contains Episodes 1-5 and runs about 125 minutes.
Mushi are the oldest lifeforms in existence, even below microorganisms and fungi. They evolved so long ago that most humans cannot even see them in their true form. Most of the time they appear as floating, almost plankton-like organisms drifting through the air and effortlessly passing through anything material in their way. Some can even take human form. Mushi are neither good nor evil. They simply are. But on occasion the very presence of mushi can lead to problems for humans. For example in one of these episodes, a girl becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight and has to stay in the dark all the time with a cloth over her eyes because mushi have taken up residence there. When mushi are involved, using the standard problem solving procedures such as doctors and such meets with very little success. No, someone with special abilities has to be called in. Enter the unassuming and serenely calm Ginko, a travelling Mushishi who tries to end any negative consequences caused by the interaction between humans and mushi. A lot of the victims of the mushi tend to be young such as a girl following a moving swamp which is actually a collective mushi. Or a boy whose drawings come to life and another who has grown extremely sensitive to noise and has grown horns!
The problem that keeps Mushishi from being a great show is its single-minded devotion to the mushi. Because of its monster of the....I mean mushi, of the week, the show can get a bit repetitive. Kinda like Inuyasha's over-reliance on Naraku as the main antagonist which can suck the life out of any original ideas. I mean the writers had to somehow turn every episode of Mushishi into a hunt for mushi. I will admit that they did a good job making us sympathize with all of the supporting characters. If you don't care for the people Ginko is helping out, you must be really emotionally remote. I haven't read the manga but the director of the anime, Hiroshi Nagahama took very careful steps to keep the anime version as close to the manga as possible and was a big fan of the series before he got involved with the anime version. Really, the show reminded me a bit of Sergio Leone westerns in which a lone gunfighter comes to town and straightens out the world temporarily. I look forward to finding out more about this mushishi in the next couple of volumes. The manga the anime is based on is currently being published by Del Rey with two volumes out so far.
My Grade: B