Episode 1 Impressions: Mushishi Zoku Shou

e1mushishihdr

The beautiful world of mushi is back in the second season of Mushishi, bringing immersive storytelling to its viewers once again.  In this premier we get a significant look into a ritual held by the mushi-shi that involves offering Sake of Light to nodes of the light vein in order to gather even more for use in their travels.  Though a nearby citizen is wrapped up in the ritual after seeking to fulfill his father’s dream.

Synopsis
e1mushishi7Opening the episode, a young man named Rokusuke recants the story his father once told him.  One day his father got lost in the forest and nearly had given up hope when he noticed a man walking towards an odd gathering.  Upon investigating, he felt led to sneak into the gathering and try some of the shining sake they had.  It was golden and tasted unlike anything he had ever had before.

Since then his father his father became a brewmaster seeking to recreate the shining sake he tasted.  However Rokusuke’s story doesn’t end there.  He tells of the days growing up and delivering sake to nearby homes.  That each time he traveled through the mountains, he always felt as if he was being tugged by something.  Not only that, but upon arrival at his destination the sake container was always less than full.  While the brewmaster scolded him for it, his father never did.  Instead, it seemed as if his father knew what caused it, saying “They seem to like this years sake.”

Rokusuke knew his father’s desire to get better and better at creating sake, but he never did achieve his goals of making the shining sake.  One day, Rokusuke managed to create the shining sake and upon testing it out, he stumbled into the forest and got lost while taking it to his father.  In the forest he became entangled by a hair like creature that sought to take his jar of sake.  While Rokusuke managed to catch the jar, he found himself near a gathering of people similar to that which his father told him of in his stories.

A white-haired man named Ginko stood before him.  He notices that he also carries kouki (Sake of Light) and pours some from his bottle for the hair-like creature to drink.  Ginko asks Rokusuke if he was a new mushi-shi but before he could answer, they are drawn into the gathering.  Upon entering the camp, Ginko is begged by another mushi-shi to trade some of his kouki for some trinkets.  While Ginko mocks the man for wasting all of his kouki, the man desired only a drop.  Noticing that the Rokusuke has plenty, the desperate mushi-shi barters with him instead.  After inspecting the man’s trinkets, Rokusuke notices a cup his father once carried and ends up trading some kouki for it.  It’s after this that Rokusuke realizes that none of the mushi-shi are drinking the kouki, but rather just trading and sharing it.

e1mushishi6As Rokusuke is noticed for having a large amount of kouki by the surrounding mush-shi, Ginko seeks out a comrade nearby that is seeking a node to the light vein.  They point out the presence of this light vein is becoming weaker and that they may need to find another while it regains its strength.  Soon after, the mushi-shi are gathered to the location and begin to form a line to pour their kouki into a plate.  Rokusuke watches in astonishment as the plate is emptied by an unknown source and then their jug is filled to overflowing with kouki.  He’s uncertain on why this is occurring but once the man he bartered with takes his turn the plate doesn’t empty.

After the man points out that Rokusuke sold him fake kouki, the mushi-shi chase after him into the forest.  After hiding, Ginko stumbles upon him and nearly turns him in.  However after Rokusuke explains his situation, Ginko is curious how he managed to create the shining sake.  Rokusuke tells his story about how his father met the mushi-shi and that he desired to recreate the shining sake.  After his father fell ill, he tried many ingredients before settling on nectar from flowers instead of sugar.  While all failed, one barrel came up as the shining sake.  Ginko figures the nectar he used as yeast may have been a mushi called Suimitsutou, or Nectar Sucker.  While apparently many people have attempted to create kouki, Ginko is surprised that Rokusuke was able to pull it off.

When Rokusuke asks what a mushi was, Ginko explains them as essence of life itself.  Though the fact that the sake he created allows people to see mushi may be dangerous.  Ginko promises not to turn Rokusuke in, but in return that he doesn’t let the sake get out to the public.  Instead that he keep it hidden and away from the public.

Rokusuke returned to his life at the brewery, though he kept the sake locked up after people complained of hallucinations.  Time and time again, people would show up to purchase some of his sake, though he was never able to reproduce it.  As the shining sake slowly ran out, Rokusuke would still take some time to sip the sake and gaze upon the shining mushi that surrounded his home.

e1mushishi1Thoughts
Mushishi is still as beautiful and deep of a series as ever.  I just love the atmosphere and serenity that it manages to create.  It’s hard to describe but it’s the same feeling I had when I watched the first season.  The storytelling is surreal and really captures me into the world it portrays.  All the while the music and visuals make for an experience that you just can’t find anywhere else.  It’s artistic and very enjoyable.

On top of everything, I was especially pleased to see more into the world of the mushishi.  In the first season, they teased their society very lightly and at the end of it I just craved to learn more about them.  I’m hoping with this season we’ll see more, while getting the great mini stories that the series is known for.

Episode 1: Banquet at the Forest’s Edge

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Fantastic!

Goods:

  • Immersive world
  • Beautiful presentation
  • Great storytelling

Fears:

  • None

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.