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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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