Thursday, June 26, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Mushi-shi Zoku-Shou 1-3


EPISODE 1: Banquet at the Forest's Edge

A young man recalls the story of how his father, a master brewer, once lost his way in the woods and found himself in strange company. He partook of a strange golden sake, the taste of which he has never been able to forget and has been trying to emulate in his brewery with little success. The son has since taken over the business and finally succeeds in brewing "golden" sake. On his way home, he runs into the same kind of people his father met a long time ago and they trade for his sake, thinking it is "kouki," which they use in a ritual involving the Light Vein. When they find out their mistake, the young man gets chased out of the company. Ginko befriends him and later advises him not to sell the "golden" sake officially. But unofficially, Ginko says that the "golden" sake's property of making the person who drank it see mushi is useful for mushishi and he promises to spread the word.


EPISODE 2: The Warbling Seashell

Ginko wanders into a seaside village where he discovers bird-like mushi hiding inside seashells. Knowing this to be a bad omen, he warns the villagers of an impending disaster. One man, who lives on the cliff by the sea, refuses to help. His daughter, Mina, loses her voice after listening too close to the "birdsong" of the seashell mushi. Ginko learns that the man has lost his wife in a tragic accident that happened at sea and since then he has not wanted anything to do with the village. However, the disaster makes him see things in a different way.



EPISODE 3: Beneath the Snow

In a snowy village, Ginko encounters Toki, a young man who always seem to have snow falling around him. The condition is caused by mushi that attaches itself to a warm body in order to absorb its warmth. Toki doesn't feel the cold and reacts to the slightest heat as though he is burned. It turns out that his little sister drowned in the icy lake near his home, and he continues to grieve her demise. One night, he goes to the lake by himself and falls in the water. He survives but is near death from frostbite. An act of kindness warms his frozen heart.

I just heard about this show. I've seen the first season but I didn't know they decided to air a second season, let alone an OVA Special. The series opens with a fairly generic episode that works more like a prologue than an actual story. Banquet at the Forest's Edge isn't really as mushi-centric as many of the stories in Mushi-shi. But it does provide a nice introduction into the way of life of the mushishi, particularly of Ginko, the main character of the series. I consider the next episode as the proper season premier as it sets down the mood and the kind of low-key drama that one can expect from Mushi-shi. Episodes 3 does more of the same as Episode 2.
All of the first 3 episodes more or less begin with Nui (Mika Doi) telling us about mushi. The manga pretty much begins the same way and it's great but I tend to fast forward through that stuff. The opening theme is "Shiver" by Lucy Rose and has a calming and soothing sound that suits the series' mood. It's a worthy successor to season one's "Sore Feet." The ending theme and the BGM are instrumental timeless pieces that reflect the setting of this anime. I love the music of Mushi-shi!
So far, I like it. Many of the stories are already familiar to me since I own several volumes of the manga. But still, it's nice to see them in anime format. Looking forward to more.