Anime Vice News

Watch & Learn: MUSHI-SHI #1

How much more elegant and enchanting can you get?

Rinko even smokes like Constantine.
Rinko even smokes like Constantine.

Rexic recommended MUSHI-SHI to me by saying it was unlike anything I’d watch for this column so far and it even invited comparisons to Miyazaki’s work. High claims to meet, but the proof was definitely in the pudding and I was truly enchanted by the gentler, pastoral atmosphere of this show. It reminded me a great deal of the kind magical realism Neil Gaiman uses for his modern fairy tales and the association’s apt, because I know his translation of PRINCESS MONONOKE had much to do with my enjoyment of it. It’s honestly so unusual to watch a show with the kind of quiet and stillness of traditional Japanese art installations or, do you use a more contemporary examples, games like ICO and SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS.

I’m getting the sense that this Ginko guy is going to be some kind paranormal investigator - - a John Constantine type who focuses on ghostly fungi, as it were - - and that each episode’s going to be a told-in-one where he solves a new Mushi-related problem. It’s stories like this that really bring up the ever-intriguing interpretations of magic rituals for me - -- how they're firmer antecedents to modern psychology than classical philosophy is. Whether something’s supernatural is happening is relevant; what matters is that the ritual gives the patient symbols to externalize her inner conflicts and then act them out in a psychodrama that bring some kind of catharsis. That is, a Tarot deck may not actually tell your future, but if it gets you to picture your fear as a juggler or a fool or whatever, then that goes a long way to overcome the fear because you’ve given it a shape and a face.

Bringing that MUSHI-SHI, it was refreshing to have conflict resolved in a climax that was non-violent, but still visually arresting and not cheesy like a sped up game of Go. I’m not quite sure what the broken wine bowl represents - - is the grandmother’s hesitancy about moving on? - - but I could appreciate how it represented something to her.

Definitely a strong candidate for follow-through, here.

Watch this episode "The Green Seat" below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

metalsnakezeroon May 12, 2011 at 7:49 p.m.
Its a pretty well made show. Keep an eye on this one.
AgentJon May 12, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.
Oh yeah, Mushishi truly is wonderful. Another one I've only read, not watched, but the art and tone are perfecto.
Rexicon May 12, 2011 at 9:18 p.m.
I like that you enjoyed this episode.But you would be somewhat wrong in thinking its just him solving a different mushi case each week.It is that,but its also so much more.
vergiliuson May 12, 2011 at 10:05 p.m.
When people ask me about this show, I tell them that each episode is like having a cup of mint and chamomile tea before bed.

Sometimes the tea is terrifying, though, so I guess the analogy kind of breaks down....um...I really like the opening theme song!
Rexicon May 12, 2011 at 10:49 p.m.
count this with my previous comment.I said before that you should also watch a series called fireball by disney japan.Although it isnt posted by a official disney account or anything,thgere is nowhere else to see it and its really quite good.sorry if this sounds pushy or anything.I just want more people to see the series.Plues you could finish the whole series in 30 min so it could easily be a watrch and learn.Most of the episodes have subtitles but for some reason 11 and 12 dont but there is one where it has annotations saying what theyre saying.its really quitew good.also,when you finish all the recommendations,do you announce what the second series is or will you just release the episode 2 of whichever series it is?
blaakmawfon May 13, 2011 at 6:21 a.m.
Incredibly boring series, but somehow worth watching.
Magickeyson May 13, 2011 at 6:53 a.m.
Pretty well done. Wonderful. :)
Lurkeroon May 13, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.
I think I would follow watch and learn if you followed Mushishi. I never actually got around to checking this out.
Rxanaduon May 13, 2011 at 8:43 p.m.
@blaakmawf: I couldn't imagine anything is more snore-inducing than anything the guys behind Ghost in a Shell can cock up.  I literally fell asleep about 10 minutes into the second GitS movie.  I also fell asleep during an air battle in The Sky Crawlers.  An air battle, for crying out loud!

Also, please, Tom.  If you ever find the lunacy of Code Geass too much to bear, you'll always have a home in Mushi-shi.  A great follow-up to this series is Kino's Journey, which is in the same vein of storytelling, in which each episode is segmented into its own story.
Dunchadon May 14, 2011 at noon


A brilliant show and definitely worth watching. It's like reading Grimm's Fairy Tales or One Thousand and One Nights - it's a collection of stories. The series has a really nice and "fairy-tale like" atmosphere thanks to the animation, music and the interesting mythology behind the Mushi.

 

Also The Sore Feet Song is one of my favourite OPs.

Dig Deeper into Mushi-Shi

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. Ginko, an expert on these beings, travels and helps those who have been effected by them.

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