Friday, March 23, 2007

Anime — Mushishi

This is one of the titles from about a year ago that I have been slowly savouring.

A sort of X-files in what might be Meiji Japan (mid 19th century), or might be some future that has returned to that state. Ginko is one of the wandering Mushi-shi — literally "bug masters" — who dispenses folk remedies for the afflictions caused by not quite living things that lurk under the surface of the waking world, or in odd corners — be they swamps travelling to the sea, back-to-front rainbows, or snails that crawl into inner ears where they can eat silence.

In mood, it is a “chill-out” sort of title. People talk; seasons pass; families grow, as Ginko wanders the land. There is no overarching plot, each episode is self contained — and may interleave with others. The episodes themselves are evocatively titled for the conundrum that will be encountered — things like One Night Bridge, The Dew Consuming Swarm, The Mountain-bearing Robe.

Very highly recommended, and a rare case of the anime bettering the manga it was drawn from —, colour, sound and movement are all sensitively used. I shall be interested to see how the live-action movie, which draws on the more human-interest episodes, like Ginko's origin story, will turn out.

No comments :