His kimono may awkwardly remind you of a used tampon at times (or a frosted cherry popsicle, if your thoughts are cleaner), but Jinbei is as apt a cartoon hero as I’ve ever come across.
Maybe the Irish-punk-in-Japanese intro song was what tilted my mind in this direction, but the ol’ “pop culture synesthesia” was flaring quite fiercely during this pilot. The designs are distinctly anime, as are the chibi perv gags, but the bug-hunting samurai premise is so simple and clean that the show really feels like an early 90’s Saturday morning toon with a cooler skin. And I mean that in the best way possible.
To be specific, let’s look at how the super-team that’s advertised in the intro gets introduced all at once to our plucky pal Jinbei. Most shonen serials would gradually roll them through that all-too-familiar antagonist-to-ally cycle. In MUSHIBUGYO, it’s just… BAM!
“Here are all your good guys! Watch them kick some big bug butt! Now, sit around for some ads showing off our play sets with the non-toxic, Gak-like goo that can ooze out of the our big bug toys.”
Samurai slicing up giant, fiendish insects? I could be down for that 26 episodes. Hell, Jinbei even has a pretty clean “ghost” in his father’s shamed mutilation. Yeah, maybe it seems like a macabre, blackly humorous riff on some of the more… perplexing aspects of bushido, but that’s not going to stop it from being a great source of conflict our hero can compellingly strive to resolve over a season, right?
Watch this episode, "Here comes Tsukishima Jinbei!" here and decide for yourself.