Mushi-Shi is one of those one-off anime that you want all your friends to watch, but can’t quite articulate why.
Mushi-Shi is unique in that it survives almost entirely off episodic content for all 25 episodes, without getting tethered down by any over-arching plot that often derails a series.
It follows Ginko, a Mushi-Shi (Mushi-Master) as he travels from place to place, investigating Mushi. Mushi are essentially a life-form that is more in touch with nature and the world. It’s difficult to explain of course, because the nature of the Mushi-Shi is to uncover as much detail on these strange creatures as possible. What they are? Where they come from? Why they exist?
Since we spend so much time with Ginko, often alone, it’s only right that he has a laid-back almost nonchalant approach to, well, everything. He’s incredibly easy going, guiding us through the show and the world he inhabits, rather then rushing to over-explain and bombard us with fictional information. It’s only when we dive into aspects of his past, or the danger of him failing to help a Mushi, that we get to see the more desperate and serious side of Ginko. He’s incredibly dedicated and it’s impossible not to be charmed by his care for Mushi and surprisingly, people.
The entertainment comes in the form of the people and places Ginko encounters. Mushi tend to have an unintended and often destructive affect on humans and their surroundings. As a result, in almost Fringe or X-Files type fashion, we encounter all kinds of mysterious cases. These range from all kinds of mysteries like a boy whose left-handed drawings come to life, a girl who can’t bear the sunlight, a girl who disappeared into the sky and a woman who turns all the metal around her to rust. It’s these amazing cases which make each episode so unique and enthralling. I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite episode and it’s one of those anime where you’ll find yourself trying to watch just one again, but end up watching them all.
This gentle pace means you don’t need to sit down for a whole weekend to watch every episode, but you can rather ease your way through them over time. This show doesn’t want to rush you, it wants you to take a step back, relax and enjoy. Not to mention leaving lingering imagery in your mind, which either conjure up sublime or creepy memories from episode to episode.
Above all, the art for the anime is just beautiful. It has the surreal edge of famous anime like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, as you see all manner of weird and wonderful imagery. There are plenty of those ‘Take a look at this’ moments, where you’ll want to show your friends.
Mushi-Shi needs to be seen to be believed.