Mushishi Zoku Shou Review

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Back in 2006, I was captivated by the original anime series Mushishi for a number of reasons. Though mainly in its artistic approach, submerging presentation, and rich storytelling. So there’s no surprise that when I seen the next season of Mushishi, I jumped right in.

e10mushishi8Story
In the world of Mushishi, mankind lives side by side with unknown life entities called mushi. While only special people are able to see the mushi, their effect on the world itself are uncountable. Some mushi are the winter breeze people feel and some can mimic the human form. There are thousands of species of mushi, and with a select number of people being able to see them, the effect they have on the world is quite unknown.

Ginko is one of these few people able to see the mushi. Taking his knowledge of the mushi, he employs himself as a mushishi or mushi master and travels the world helping people with their issues regarding the mushi that surround them. Take him as a sort of problem solver, though not really pest control.

e3mushishi6Zoku Shou (The Next Chapter) takes place in the same world as the first season and simply continues Ginko’s journey across the world. As most of the Mushishi series covers his daily problem solving, the series is self-contained and doesn’t require knowledge in the other series. It’s episodic, but don’t let that discredit the series in your mind.

Each episode is a journey, or a storybook of sorts. Its author, Yuki Urushibara is a master of sorts. Just like the first season, I found myself opening each episode like a book and being lost in the story it was telling each time. This is partly due to its fantastic world building and presentation. It’s atmospheric and draws you into its setting. It tells you a tragic or often touching tale and then concludes each one nicely. It’s in this formula that makes Mushishi so great in my eyes.

e4mushishi2I guess if I was forced to point out a flaw in Mushishi Zoku Shou’s storytelling, it would be in the formulaic layout of the episodes. Often Ginko is faced with someone having an issue, he quickly diagnoses a mushi that could be involved, gives the remedy to the people, and then a conclusion occurs. However even with this complaint, these episodes are still great. Better yet, even when I began to note this formula, the series took a shift in the formula that made it fresh and chased my fears away.

Animation
Just as in the original, studio Artland delivers a great presentation of Yuki Urushibara’s work. Creating both a believable and rich world while also throwing in a beautiful artistic twist. Environments are often expansive and entertaining to look at, and the mushi themselves bring about a spiritual and interesting look of their own. Even if at times the characters will lose face with certain angles or portrayals, I felt it only added to an artistic element and wasn’t really laziness. Though some may find it distracting.

e5mushishi3Sound
After Lucy Rose delivers a beautiful performance in the show’s intro with Shiver, the episode continues to provide an atmospheric feel with well-timed ambient music. It blends a variety of traditional musical instruments that set the stage for what’s happening on-screen. Bells, flutes, and drums aid in drawing you in and allowing you to get lost in what’s happening.  It’s a somewhat unique style that creates and I feel it adds a unique feeling of mystic, tension, and emotion to a scene.

Conclusion
Yuki Urushibara and Artland with the directing hand of Hiroshi Nagahama have become a sort of dream team in my book. Delivering yet another fantastic series that does what no other series does for me. Drawing me into an experience that is hard to put into words. Though I guess that is the number one descriptor for Mushishi Zoku Shou. It’s an experience. An experience that I can highly recommend.

If you’re a fan of the original Mushishi, you’ll feel right at home here.  However if you’re new to the series, I say jump right in.  Don’t hesitate if you haven’t seen the previous, but if you have access then watch them both!

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

REVIEW VERDICT:
Highly Recommended

Pros:

  • Rich world and storytelling
  • Artistic and beautiful animation
  • Well orchestrated and ambient audio
  • Captivating presentation

Cons:

  • Briefly feels formulaic in storytelling
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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.