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The Editorial Review for this volume could not be more misleading. "They still exist and wreak havoc in the world today"--to describe Mushi as if they were monsters completely misses the point of Yuki Urushibara's manga. Mushi (which also means "Bug" in Japanese) are a third category of life, separate from plants and animals. Invisible to the eye, they are responsible for what many people perceive as supernatural phenomena. Ginko, the "Mushi-shi" or Mushi-expert/master of the title, is one of the few people able to see mushi.
While mushi are usually benign, the editorial review is correct in that some mushi cause blindness or other problems when they interact with humans. Mushishi travel the world, studying mushi and helping people when such problems occur. The manga consists of a series of individual stories, each of which describe a situation in which mushi come into conflict with humans, and how Ginko attempts to respond to each situation.
Far from being an adventure tale, as the editorial review might lead one to believe, this is one of the most beautiful and well-paced stories I have read recently in any format. The writing is excellent (although I preferred some of the subtlety of the original Japanese, no translation will capture everything), and the art is rich and detailed. Although the episodic nature of the series prevents extended supporting character development, the reader does get to know Ginko and a limited cast of repeating characters quite well. Mushishi is a beautiful manga, and a wonderful read... I also HIGHLY recommend the anime (Mushishi, Vol. 1), which will be released starting in late July. It is one of the most entrancing shows I have ever seen.
I found the first volume of this manga series while browsing the shelves at my local library. I checked it out so I could read it and see what it was about.
The story features characters called mushi, which display supernatural powers and have an etheral nature. Most humans are incapable of perceiving the mushi; however, there are a few who possess an ability to see and interact with the mushi. Ginko, the main character of the series, is one of those people. He is a mushi master who aids people that are suffering from problems caused by the mushi.
By the time I finished reading the first volume of this manga, I was interested in reading more. If I can ever track down other volumes of this manga through the library, I will have to check them out and read them. Personally, I would recommend this manga series to readers who are fourteen or fifteen years of age and older.
In order to write this review, I checked out a copy of this manga volume through the King County Library System.
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As all Manga fans know Japan has a varied and detailed supernatural belief system. The Mushi in this serious are neither good or evil, they just are. So far below or above, depending on your view, humanity, they exist. Most of the Mushishi seem to want ot control or destroy the creatures, our hero tends to want to understand them. A vivid storytelling with images that are at times scary and other time beautiful, I recommend this series. So far I have read the first six and I plan on following this to the end. It has been made into both an anime and a live action movie. If you are looking for something beyond the usual mecha or magical child series, this is a good place to start.
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Yuki Urushibara's comic series "Mushishi" (all in ten volumes) is a rare piece of work, where the weird tales of such mysteries as a traveling swamp or dreams predicting the future are told with beauty and empathy. All these strange tales are related to "mushi," ancient semi-life forms that only specially gifted people "mushishi" - meaning "mushi master" - can deal with, just as a well-trained doctor treats a patient.
Twenty-something Ginko, green-eyed and white-haired, is one of such mushishi people. He travels around the country of Japan set in the fictional late Edo or early Meiji era when people still lived among the nature. As a mushi investigator Ginko always keeps his cool, but shows more than professional interest in cases that involve life or death for someone. That, however, does not mean that he sees these mushi as something evil.
In "Mushishi" manga creator Yuki Urushibara has created a unique world of her own, where the line between life and nonlife, or material and non-material gets blurred. Her artwork using detailed lines - though not as detailed as Hiroaki Samura's "Blade of the Immortal" - are also impressive, considering the fact that "mushishi" is only the second published work for Urushibara (first being published under the name Soyogo Shima).
Those who love the beautiful anime adaption of "Mushishi" should not miss the original. Unfortunately, at the time of writing Del Rey's edition is out-of-print. Is there anyone interested in reissuing it?
The moment I grabbed this manga from the shelf, I got a very good first impression, since the quality of the cover and the paper is well above the usual standard. Once I started reading the story, this first impression was confirmed. The first reason for this is the plot, which is the result of a prodigious imagination and mesmerizes the reader from the first page. The main character, Ginko, is a mushishi, a mushi master. In turn, the mushi are "bugs" that live on a separate plane of existence than animals and plants. I really liked the manner in which this is explained in this first volume; I found that using the hand and arm as a metaphor for the interaction of the species was extremely creative and enlightening.
Many issues arise in relation to the mushi, in some cases Ginko has to help these creatures to find peace, in others he has to deal with evil mushi that are affecting humans in a harmful way. What is true of all cases though is that Ginko approaches the problem with serious consideration for all forms of life and with the goal of resolving the issue in a beneficial way for everyone.
An aspect of this series I loved is how it introduces many fascinating elements of Japanese culture, and the notes at the end help a lot in understanding how these relate to the story and the way in which their meaning is relevant. At the beginning of the volume there is also a clear explanation of the honorifics, which are kept in the translated version. Including this explanation is an invaluable help for newcomers to the genre. The only aspect that was a little disappointing was the quality of the drawings, which are not nearly as detailed as those in other series. Nevertheless, those people looking for a great story cannot go wrong with this one.
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