Mushishi is a conceptually fantastic and elegant story that challenges traditional tropes and patterns while still using a common medium that anyone could understand. While fighting the paradigm can be an open door to critical acclaim and widespread popularity the actual enjoyability of the show can suffer for it. The beginning starts out very strong with the main character Ginko traveling around this strange medievaltechnology land littered with the natural meddling spirits called Mushi that very few people can see and even fewer still can deal with. Concepts are creative execution is relaxing but occasionally unsettling visuals are at times alien and heavyhanded but they still combine to form a strange beautiful work that blends in with the natural scenes. Its easy to be wrapped up in Ginkos world because its believable and wonderful like a painting of a forest. However when the illusion of realism leaves your dulled eyes and you come out of your Mushshi induced coma you may start to realize that despite the shows ability to steal your time away from you half of the show is boring drivel that you fail to notice due to distractions. Flashbacks for context begin to take up a third or an entire half of certain episodes. Ginko the titular Mushishi loses relevance and becomes his own deus ex machina. Mushi problems boil down to a set of specific commands that always happen. Here is a formula if you ever want to watch it and see: 1. A problem is introduced. Disease loss of a sense deformed birth annoyance natural disaster food issue memory 2. Ginko determines that the cause is a Mushi that practically only he can see. 3. The problem is either solved by Ginko resolves itself does not need resolving or cannot be resolved. Credits roll. Thats the entire show. Thats it. Throw in perhaps 3 flashback episodes of Ginko as a child and there you have all 49 episodes of Mushishi. There is no recurring plot. Every episode is an episodic vignette into some villager or tradesman or Ginkos life. Even Ginko does not always appear and often he is not even the solution to the problem. This brings my main point: Mushishis focus was after watching all of it never on Ginko never on just humans. It was all about nature the entire time. Every episode is a metaphor for living with nature appreciating nature fearing it respecting it maintaining relationships with it. This is not a bad thing by any means This is a beautiful point to focus on and one that needs more attention. It is not sensationalist nor pretentious. It is thoughtful and considerate kind and profound. But as a relatively longform show counting to 46 episodes and 3 special longer episodes? It becomes very dull at times and loses some merit as a show. As a novel or comic its understandable that one reading such a contemplative series would want to take his time and seriously consider concepts such as respect of nature. As a show as something enjoyable Mushishi fails.
65 /100
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