As hard as it is to always have to remember, all good things, ultimately at one point, come to an end. I would love to have new Mushishi stories to read for many more years to come, but at some point Yuki Urushibara had to pull the curtain on this wonderful ongoing tale. So in this omnibus of volumes 8, 9, and 10 of Mushishi contains the final three volumes of 8, 9, and 10. It's such a heartbreaker to see it come to an end, but fortunately it makes the rare example of finishing off on a very high note.
To the people who aren't aware of how the Mushishi storyline works either in manga or anime form, it's essentially as episodic of a continuing story as they come. The story revolves around Ginko, a person who makes his living on researching/alleviating the mysterious form of life called mushi. Each storyline, with the exception for the last story, lasts for only one chapter with new people and mushi to interact with in each story. It's a unique experience that moves about in such a calm pace, that it certainly isn't for everyone, but those that do find it to be their cup of tea will find an experience that is nothing short of storytelling brilliance.
So how did the final three manga volumes turn out with such expectations? To the newcomer it'll be odd to them that it doesn't have such epic grandiose spectacles, but that isn't the Mushishi way. Instead it follows it's series formula of still providing a series of episodic adventures in Ginko's travels with the final having the exclusivity of it being in two parts rather than one. Although each volumes in this omnibus is better than the last in overall quality, each story is still an engrossing story that are each memorable in their own way. In this omnibus you'll see such variety like an adventure with Ginko acting alone with no people around him, stories with people in a state of unique clairvoyance thanks to mushi, one final appearance of the only reappearing character Adashino, and a touchingly tragic tale of Ginko's past. All leading up to the finale with a powerful message on what truly seperates humans from other earthly lifeforms. So in truth, it doesn't put a stop to Ginko's traveling life which may question it's finality, but any Mushishi fan wouldn't want it any other way.
Although I personally prefer the Mushishi story told in anime form where we get to see the elusive mushi move about in stunning animation, Urushibara's manga artwork isn't nothing to sneeze at. All the character models are well drawn with compelling facial reactions and only a few moments of goofing up to the design quality for the sake of "comedy." The background art doesn't have the pinpoint quality of other modern manga with loose linework and no crazy ways to frame the manga panels, but for a story with such calmness and timeless storytelling it only seems appropriate.
Over the years, Del Rey has proven themselves as one of the finer U.S. distributors of Japanese manga with good translations along with the original honorifics. For the hardcore manga crowd, it's always appreciate, but it works especially well for Mushishi as a story told in old Japanese society. Del Rey has also been so kind as to include their usual translation notes so all us natural English-speakers can know how clever the mushi have been named.
In the final comments of the afterword for volume 10, Urushibara says "Now we will be parting with [Ginko], but we'll be happy if he continues his travels in much the same way he always has," and as a Mushishi fan I completely agree. It's sad to say goodbye to all the great stories that have come from Ginko's travels, but it was nice to know that it won't be ending for him anytime soon. And having it end with three fantastic-as-usual volumes was a great way for loyal readers to make the sad dropoff.