Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Seinen
Author: Yuki Urushibara
Original Runtime: November 1999 – August 25, 2008
The plot of Mushi-Shi features creatures called Mushi that often display supernatural powers. It is implied that there are many more lifeforms more primitive than “normal” living things such as animals, plants, fungi and bacteria, and Mushi is the most primitive of all. Due to their ethereal nature most humans are incapable of perceiving Mushi and are oblivious to their existence, but there are a few who possess the ability to see and interact with Mushi. Ginko, the main character of the series, is one of them. He employs himself as a Mushi Master (Mushi-Shi), traveling from place to place to research Mushi and aid people suffering from problems caused by them. Such is the plot of the manga.
The story, even though very simple, is extremely unique. It’s rare to find concept like this. So from the word go Mushi-Shi will grab your attention. Secondly, the mystery. A lot of people call it a ‘slice of life’ and view it that way. While they are not wrong, Mushi-Shi should be viewed as a mystery manga. People who have read the manga already know and I would like to say it too. Very few manga out there can pull off mystery genre in a same way as Mushi-Shi has. Berserk is the only manga that comes to my mind. The pacing is extremely slow. I mean really slow. However, the slowness is necessary. You will be introduced to various new concepts and philosophies so you will need the time to let it sink in. If the pacing was fast it will somewhat ruin the charm of Mushi-Shi. While the pacing is slow, it serves a purpose and it is essential.
The story basically revolves around Ginko. He is the focal point of the manga. Although some characters like Koro, Nui and Adashino are notable but Ginko stole all the limelight. He showed decent development throughout the course of the series. Ginko is an extremely unique protagonist and obviously a protagonist truly deserving of every ounce of respect.
The art style of Mushi-Shi is great. Each panel looks extremely attractive and the coloring was also great. I also liked how well even the most minor of details were presented. Everything was distinct and details were impeccable. It is rare to see manga that gives emphasis on such small details
Here are some art samples from the manga:
As I said Mushi-Shi is a bit on the slower side. If you don’t enjoy reading slow manga, this is not for you. However, if you have interest in Japanese folklore and enjoy the philosophical side of life and fantasy Mushi-Shi is definitely worth reading. Being a sienen and mystery lover, it attracted me a lot and I loved it.
Mushi-Shi is hands down a masterpiece. While it may seem farfetched but it definitely possesses the quality to compete with the likes of Berserk, Death Note and One piece. Give it a shot you won’t be disappointed. I extremely enjoyed it and if your taste is anything like me, you will love it too.