Mushi-Shi Volume 2  [DVD]
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Volume two of the Japanese anime series. Mushi are neither plants nor animals: instead, they resemble the primeval substances of life. Few humans are actually aware of their existence and among them is Ginko, a 'Mushi-Shi' who travels around investigating them. In the course of his research he aids those plagued by supernatural phenomenon caused by the Mushi. Episodes comprise: 'The Crowd That Inhales Dew', 'The Rain Comes, A Rainbow Forms', 'From the Sea Border', 'Heavy Fruit' and 'White in the Ink Slab'.
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However, if you haven't seen the first volume or read my review, or you want to know a little more about why this volume is so good, read on!
Mushi-Shi is a very unique anime; it's slow-paced, thoughtful, and gentle to the viewer, with soft, peaceful colours and beautiful scenery that you feel you could wander into.
As with the first volume, there is no plot linking all the episodes- the only constant is the titular Mushi-Shi (Mushi Master) Ginko, who wanders around, solving Mushi-related problems. However, this is in the show's favour; each episode feels fresh and individual. You can just watch a random episode whenever you feel in the mood.
And as for episodes, there are five on this disc, as with volume one. However, future volumes will have four episodes per disc- still good value for money, and means that you get the whole series in six DVDs. I prefer this to some series which have been brought out in seven volumes, with the last two discs having only three episodes each. Mushi-Shi is simply better value, especially considering how brilliant the show is.
It would be very hard to choose the best thing about this series, as everything is done so well; art, music, plot, voice acting and that indescribable feeling of satisfaction. It's not for everyone, but if you're looking for a more relaxed, laid back show, you could do worse than this, and I doubt you could do better.
The first volume acted as an introduction to Ginko the Mushi Master and the concept of Mushi - how these curious forms of 'pure life' can only be seen by a gifted few and can have a fantastical, sometimes devastating, effect on those they interact with. The formula of Ginko appearing in a village to witness strange phenomena and then resolve it after identifying the Mushi at the source of the problem continues.
It seemed that the series was falling into the common 'monster of the week' trap (only this time it's 'Mushi of the week'), but thankfully the last two episodes of this volume (9 and 10) seem more substantial and more mature in content. Episode 9 deals with questions around self sacrifice and Vulcans will recognise the 'needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few' philosophy which is explored here. Is the intentional death of one village member acceptable if it can save thousands? When is murder not murder? It's a thought provoking episode and the following one, though not as deep, is still a solid story.
There aren't any revelations about the enigmatic Ginko, but he takes centre stage more than before and simply by appearing more we become more familiar with him and understand his motives more. The stunning artwork we enjoyed in volume 1 is just as evident here. My personal favourite moment has the be the opening to episode 6 where the sun setting in the sky renders the landscape in various scales of lush purple.
In a nutshell: I was concerned that this was becoming too formulaic and dare I say it? Boring. *But* the final two episodes of this volume bring fresh life to the series and give the sense that something of a journey is developing.Read more ›