First Impressions – Mushishi Zoku Shou

A peaceful, masterfully-crafted episode about GETTING WASTED

In a move that no one expected, Mushishi is back for a second season after almost a decade of silence. It’s one of those masterpieces that you use to gauge the tastes of anime fans you first meet. If they like Mushishi, you know they have good taste. Not that taste is objective, but Mushishi is so damn good that it’s almost a gold standard. Guess Kara and I have good taste, huh?
Er, right, good taste. To be honest, Mushishi is one of the anime that I wouldn’t have watched without OC recommending it in the first place. (Kino no Tabi, Mononoke, Kuuchu Buranko; most of the good, abstract anime I’ve seen recently are due to her.) So I’m happy to be here tagging the first episode of the new season~.


A Wild Welcoming Party

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Only the cool kids are allowed in the mushishi club

Overcooled // It’s amusing that the main character is shoved to the side for the first episode of his own show. Ginko’s there, but he’s not playing the lead role like he usually does. Instead, we follow a sake brewer’s son, Rokusuke, who knows next to nothing about mushi. It’s actually a clever move because like him, we are strangers to this magical world where fluorescent squiggles and amorphous blobs flit through the air. We aren’t mushishi – we are outsiders trying desperately to peek in on this world because it’s so fascinating. It’s through this connection that we manage to form a bond with Rokusuke and sympathize with him. He’s a simple man who just wants to know why a bunch of strange men wearing wooden knapsacks have such killer booze with them.

Since the main character is not Ginko this time around, there’s a good reason for explaining what mushi are and how the mushishi are set apart from the regular village folk. It’s a nice refresher in case you’ve forgotten everything from season 1. Not that there’s a lot to remember, since mushi are such an abstract concept. But it’s still good to have a reminder about what mushi are and how captivating they are. Ginko treats the mushi more like his average day’s work. That wouldn’t be so great for a first episode to show these amazing mushi and have Ginko practically ignore them since he’s used to being surrounded by them. The sake brewer’s honest curiosity is a better “gateway” episode to emphasize the mystique of the mushi. We’re back with season 2, and it feels great to peek in on this world once again.

Mushi 101

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Yeah, I hate it when neon squiggles try and steal my stuff too.

Karakuri // Ah, yes, alcohol. What a topic to start off on. Obviously this was more than that, but it’s still entertaining drawing the parallels that everyone was excited over really good alcohol that had hallucinatory side effects. It probably doesn’t help that the mushi themselves often look like something out of a drug trip. Anyways, if you couldn’t tell, the mushi are an interesting concept, and the main focus of the anime. They’re not inherently good or evil, they’re just… there. If they help someone or completely screw them over is up to coincidence. The mushi are pretty much just part of nature, and do what their nature tells them to do whether it interferes with human life or not. Regular people can’t see them either (as also pointed out in the episode), so that’s where the people like Ginko comes into the plot, since he can see them.

With that being said, if you’re new and still wondering where this anime is going, it’s pretty much just Ginko travelling around, finding various people and solving whatever problems the mushi have caused. …If they’ve caused any. Sometimes there are episodes like this one where it’s just normal characters + Ginko observing whatever the mushi are doing.

Mushishi is off to a strong start. It’s safe to say that nothing has really changed from the original – and that’s comforting. It didn’t need to change a thing. The music, the stories, the overall quality, and that feeling of serenity that just envelopes you as you watch are all present. In an odd way, I’d consider Mushishi a kind of iyashikei/healing anime because it’s incredibly relaxing. After watching this episode, I didn’t want to watch anything else because I was worried it would disturb how calm I felt. It’s one of those shows best watched on quiet mornings with a cup of green tea warming your hands. It changes the entire atmosphere around you by drawing you in to this world filled with mushi.

Needless to say, (as you can tell by now) I’m a huge fan. It’s definitely not a show that comes out guns-ablazing, but each episode is so masterfully put together in every regard that it’s very hard to find a point of complaint. I can’t wait to see what other tales we get. The best episodes of Mushishi stay in your head forever. We’re in for a real treat this season.

It was a really good introduction episode. Both in terms of topic (Mushishi is usually pretty good for having stories about interesting concepts), but also in the way the story was told. They could have easily had a recap episode that explained the same concepts portrayed in the first season and done little else for the people who had already seen it or who hadn’t forgotten what already happened. Instead, they had all of the information there for anyone new to the series (or as a refresher), but it was told in a way that didn’t seem too repetitive. They managed to balance the storyline with the information nicely. …Though Mushishi is one of those episodic anime for the most part, so its probably gotten good at repeating information tastefully without sounding like a broken record. I honestly have no complaints. It felt like watching the sake guy learn about the entire situation he was in took forever, but I suppose it was a necessary thing in order to immerse people into the series. I’m looking forward to seeing more as the season goes on.

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Hauntingly beautiful until you remember the guy’s totally wasted.


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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13 Responses to “First Impressions – Mushishi Zoku Shou”

  1. skylion says:

    The Argricultural Revolution shaped our early society. But it got much much more interesting when grain surplus turned to fermentation. Ah, delicious alcohol.

    As a fantasy/sci fi fan you often get asked: “If you had a time machine, what historical event would you visit?”

    Me? I would go back and and see the trail of the fermentation process. It was pivotal to how we cured meat and stored foods.

    And yes, this episode gave me that time machine. Brilliant and beautiful.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Er, right, good taste. To be honest, Mushishi is one of the anime that I wouldn’t have watched without OC recommending it in the first place.

    Where would we be without people to suggest experimental series to us every now and then for trial and error, eh, Kara? You get to expand your horizons that way.

    I never saw the first season so I’m fairly new to this universe as a whole but I did watch that Mushishi Tokubetsu-hen – Hihamukage special right before this first episode and I must say it was beautifully eerie with sharp animation. The feel is like Shinsekai Yori meets Princess Mononoke or any anime that delves into the paranormal that can’t be explained by rational means.

    The pacing is slow and the music is on a low tone which nicely complementing the scenery for a sense of serenity. I imagine this is the kind of place readers would like to find themselves in so as to not be disturbed. Given how things look, there won’t be anything that makes the story erratic. A setup for a long, interesting ride.

    So the Mushi are basically beings that can warp your sense of reality if one is not paying close attention, right? Usually, when I see these kinds of settings, some form of shrine is implied. A nice start and I’m in for a long ride on the condition it keeps my interest piqued. You can be sure when it’s over, Funimation will handle the dub as it was them who helmed the first season.

    • Overcooled says:

      And other people (like Masu) got me to watch those experimental series. It’s a chain of recommendations! As such, I highly suggest you go back and watch season 1. While you don’t need to know much to follow this second season, you will get some background information about Ginko’s past, why his hair is white, that glowing golden river of light, and what the heck mushi really are. For example, they have nothing to do with shrines or religion. They simply exist.

      Mushishi is a very consistent series. Any “bad” episode would probably be on par with a “good” episode in other anime. So yeah, we’re going to be in for some weekly relaxation sessions.

  3. zztop says:

    What time period is Mushishi set in?
    The main character’s clothes appear to be 1900s-2000s, but the setting and other characters appear to be rural 1800s-1900s Japan, or perhaps even older.

    Also,Lucy Rose,the OP singer, is a UK indie guitar singer.

    • Kyokai says:

      According to the mangaka, Mushishi is set in an imaginary time between the Edo and Meiji periods, with technology of the 19th century but with Japan as still a country closed to foreign exchange. Also, keep in mind that Ginko moves around the rural areas rather than metropolitan areas.

      In terms of opening, I’m just happy to get another amazing opening. Still love the previous one:

  4. Kyokai says:

    Loved the first episode of return to the amazing world of mushi discovered slowly by Ginko. I really missed him and his eccentricity. A very calming return indeed and really looking forward to more.

    • Overcooled says:

      I instantly felt relieved when I saw Ginko again. I missed him too! I’m still a bit delirious that this series is really back

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’m still a bit delirious that this series is really back

        Take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other. 😉

        If this show came back after nearly 10 years and Durarara after nearly 4 years, I’d like to see what other possible old series could return. More Trinity Blood would be nice!!

  5. Liza says:

    *screams and runs around in circles* I was waiting for this. T_T It already gives off the same magic as the first season and I really can’t wait to see what new mushishi show up this time.

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