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07 September 2015 @ 11:30 am
A while ago, I put to friends that I was looking for something to watch that was similar to Kino no Tabi and Haibane Renmei, and stephen_poon immediately came through and suggested Mushishi. And true to form, I thanked him, and softlykarou didn't get around to watching it for another six or eight months after that. Then it took us four months to watch the first ten episodes, and then we burned through the rest of it in a month and a half. And I know that sounds like an incredibly lengthy span of time to apply the phrase "burned through," but considering how long this took from conception to denouement, you can probably see why I chose it.

One of the things that bothers me about a lot of modern fantasy is the lack of a spiritual ecology. Our ancestors' worlds were absolutely filled with ghosts, demons, and spirits of hill and rock and spring, and while that's still true in a lot of contemporary religious traditions, it's not true in Western popular culture, and that comes out in our fiction. At worst, you get Dungeons & Dragons, where forest spirits are corporeal creatures designed as antagonists and "incorporeal undead" is a classification of monster. What I'm saying is that I love Mushishi because it has that sense of life still intact. The idea that there's a world out there, just next door to our own, which interacts with us, and on us, and which we need to deal with even if we can't understand it.

Like Kino on Tabi, it mainly does that by not actually having a plot. Every episode is Ginko showing up somewhere, deal with whatever the problem is this time, and with a few exceptions, nothing from that episode is ever referenced again. And the mushi themselves, the spirits that the mushishi (蟲師, "mushi specialist") interact with are effectively animals, albeit ones with bizarre powers. The kanji 蟲 is just an archaic way to write 虫, "insect." The interesting part is how the humans have come to terms with the unseen world around him, and what limits they have to reach before they call in an expert to deal with their problems.

11/10, would watch again. Or least, I would if my to-watch list wasn't already expanding faster than I could possibly watch it.
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