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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 3:13 am Reply with quote


Mushishi (TV)
Mushishi: The Next Chapter (TV) has its own separate thread here.

Genres: adventure, drama, mystery, psychological, supernatural
Themes: folklore, mythology, nature, spirits

Plot Summary

They are neither plants nor animals. They differ from other forms of life such as the micro-organisms and the fungi. Instead they resemble the primeval body of life and are generally known as mushi. Their existence and appearance are unknown to many and only a limited number of humans are aware of them. Ginko is a Mushishi who travels around to investigate and find out more about the mushi. In the process, he also lends a helping hand to people who face problems with supernatural occurrences which may be related to the mushi.
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So to start things off, some of you may be asking, "what exactly is the story here, I hear it's episodic, but can an episodic series really be that great?"

Basically, the story is about Ginko, a mushishi (mushi master). Mushi are said to be a sort of next dimension to the lifeline of reality. You've got all sorts of lifeforms ranging from bacteria, to fungi, plants, animals, etc. Mushi are supposedly the base of all things living, neither good nor bad. They're just there, existing because they do, much like any greenery or woodland creature you'd see living about in some empty, peaceful forest. They're said to be spiritual creatures, having no real shape or form (usually). Some people can see them, others can't.

But, like all living creatures, there's a sort of natural behavior displayed by all things, and the mushi are no exception. Some of them co-exist with nature, others get by living hidden amongst society, some unwillingly cause harm just by being, others wander around aimlessly living by instinct.

While episodic in nature, the series is essentially a chronicle (of sorts) of Ginko's adventures. He travels from region to region offering his aid and knowledge to those who have encountered mushi, sometimes being able to help, sometimes not. It may seem plodding from such a simple description, but the appeal of the series itself is.. difficult to really pinpoint.
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For me, personally, it's a refreshing title that sort of goes back to the old tradition of fairy tales. Nowadays, society is just so caught up in technology, trends, or whatever is popular, that I think we've come to lose sight of the simpler things in life. Whatever happened to when people used to tell stories or lay out on a hill to gaze at the stars and reflect on life with friends, family, or even complete strangers?

I guess if I had to summarize the show's appeal, I would say it's a great way of representing that "unbelievable" side of reality that we really don't believe in, anymore. Maybe that's some weird wording, but I'll try and use an anecdote when I explained the series to my mother.

You see, my mother is a fairly big practitioner of Buddhism. She believes in an afterlife, the "natural occurrence" of things, reincarnation, and all that jazz. When I gave her an explanation of what mushi are, she started getting all excited like "hey, yeah, that's what I read about in some of my studies!" Namely, the existence of an "extended dimension" or "spirit world" that we just don't really notice.

Personally, I stopped believing in that stuff a long time ago, but I'm not close-mined enough to at least use my imagination once in a while and say to myself, "that would make sense." Granted, you can argue the laws of physics if you're that kind of person, or maybe some of you do, in fact, believe in the spiritual world.

Regardless, though, I will admit that a few inklings of those beliefs probably still remain somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. I think it's probably just more of an intrigue or wishful thinking into the amazement of the supernatural, but I feel it's a nice way to keep a fresh perspective on things.
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And so with that out of the way, here's what I'll be doing. For each episode, I will make a separate post providing title names, a plot summary, comments, screen-caps, and basically leaving the thread open for any conjunctive discussion like folklore or religious references (which I'm sure there must be a lot of given how rich the storytelling is in this particular series).

In any case, I'll be making multiple edits to this opening post to keep tab of all the episode entries and such. To start things off, here are some pictures and scans I took of the starter set and insert booklet that came with Vol.1.

(4/26/14)

EDIT: This marks the start of my "restoration/upgrade" process for all the previous pictures and screen-caps in my old posts. I will be going through and editing/re-formatting them so they appear less clunky and more pleasing to the eye, similar to what I started in Episode 13's entry.

My girlfriend was nice enough to help me scan stuff on her computer, and I've decided to salvage whatever existing pics I can, download 'em, then re-upload 'em all together using ImageBam, mixing the old and new ones.

I think the pics of the box look pretty good as is. I could re-take them and upload a higher resolution, but I don't know where I put the filler box (might've accidentally thrown it away >_>...). But all the new scans (which will be re-distributed throughout the first episode of each volume) will look way better than the old ones.
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The box itself is very simplistic, though at the same time very well done. The essential core is that side-opened cardboard box, only with a slipcover for the box as well to prevent any DVDs from sliding out. It's very similar to Geneon's Kamichu! box, for those who might have seen it.

The DVD case itself is a keep case, which also sports its own slipcover. The slipcover features the same cover art as the case, while displaying the episode count and all of that other technical information on the back. The cover art for the DVD case is a dual-sided picture, with the front displaying a full version of the slipcase's art, and a reversible side that doesn't seem to have any real theme to it.


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EPISODE INDEX

(Click on the episode below to see plot summaries, personal comments, and screen-caps of each one; the first episode of each volume will contain scans of the slipcases, cover art, booklets, and any art cards that may have come with them)

Volume 1
Episode 01: Green Seat
Episode 02: Eyelids' Light
Episode 03: Tender Horns
Episode 04: The Pillow Pathway
Episode 05: The Traveling Swamp

Volume 2
Episode 06: Those Who Inhale the Dew
Episode 07: Where There's Rain, There's A Rainbow
Episode 08: Where Sea Meets Man
Episode 09: The Heavy Seed
Episode 10: The White Which Dwells Within The Inkstone

Volume 3
Episode 11: The Mountain Sleeps
Episode 12: One-Eyed Fish
Episode 13: One Night Bridge
Episode 14: Inside the Cage

Volume 4
Episode 15: The Exaggerated Spring
Episode 16: Daybreak's Snake
Episode 17: Picking the Fake Cocoon
Episode 18: Clothes to Embrace the Mountain

Volume 5
Episode 19: String of Heaven
Episode 20: The Sea of Brushes
Episode 21: The Cotton Spore
Episode 22: Underwater Shrine

Volume 6
Episode 23: Twitter of Rusts
Episode 24: Journey in the Field of Fire
Episode 25: Eye of Fortune, Eye of Calamity
Episode 26: Sound of Stepping Grass
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[Reserved for footnotes]


Last edited by Tony K. on Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:39 pm; edited 35 times in total
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vylo



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 94

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:04 am Reply with quote
I generally disdain episodic anime, but this one is really well done. Above all else, the art is top-notch. You would watch random scenes of this with sound off and it would be more impressive then some anime I've recently suffered through...er watched.
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bonbonsrus



Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 1280

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:25 am Reply with quote
Wow, Tony,
what an awesome post, thanks for that. I had heard some positive chatter about this series awhile ago, and have been looking forward to seeing it. I am currently not getting much new, so it may be awhile, however this has made me more anxious to see it. That box art and contents are gorgeous, thanks for all the pics.
I very much look forward to seeing this.
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Dargonxtc



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 4463
Location: Nc5xd7+ スターダストの海洋

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:52 am Reply with quote
Thanks for linking me Tony!

Tony K. wrote:
The DVD case itself is a keep case, which also sports its own slipcover. The slipcover features the same cover art as the case, while displaying episode count and all of that other technical information on the back. The cover art for the DVD case is a dual-sided picture, with the front displaying a full version of the slipcase's art, and a reversible side that doesn't seem to have any real theme to it.

I am going to have to give a somewhat different opinion on this last comment here. For me this theme works out perfect. As you no doubt know by now, to get to the DVD, you must first peel away several layers of art. Which is why I switched over to the reversible side. See at every layer you get a different picture that way.

Box slip cover - Groves and wood logos
Box itself - Walking in the grove
Inside box (you can skip this step) - Different Mushi hanging in trees over him on both sides.
DVD slipcover - smoking and staring at you, with DVD info on back.
Outside of DVD keepcase - A pleasant rural courtyard with title in Japanese on front, and a whimsical and quite beautful mushi and girl on back.
Inside keepcase - The dvd itself and the art postcard with snow, which if you skipped or threw away the third step, you haven't seen that picture yet.

See at each different layer you have a different visual asthetic, with no recycled art after the switch to reverse. It gets you pumped up for the show as you peel away each layer, very well done. So with that, I think the theme works out well. But then again many people will think that all BS, and thats fine, but to me this kit was very well layed out, and like you said well done.

Which brings me to the third step everyone, the no-crush box. Whatcha gonna do with em? Until the second volume comes out, obviously it can stay right where it is. Most crush boxes are throw aways, due to the fact that either one-side is open, or has shameless advertising on it and is ugly. But this one looks good on all sides, and is closeable. I think it will be a nice box to keep random junk in, or a good box to wrap a present in. What are you all gonig to do?

I haven't started the show yet, but I plan to either tonight or tomorrow, and I am excited (can you tell?). I was hoping for a well done 5.1 track, but they just stuck with the 2.0, oh well, guess it's better than a bad 5.1, but still. I heard about the show quite some time back and preordered it three months ago. I knew from descriptions I would like it, and would be up and in my alley, my problem now is to not mentally over-hype the show itself. Anyway, sorry for gushhing on you all like that.
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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 11:41 am Reply with quote
Dargonxtc wrote:
I am going to have to give a somewhat different opinion on this last comment here. For me this theme works out perfect. As you no doubt know by now, to get to the DVD, you must first peel away several layers of art. Which is why I switched over to the reversible side. See at every layer you get a different picture that way.

Woah, that's actually an excellent point that went completely over my head (it was also about 2AM when I typed that too, so maybe I was just getting lazy at that point and didn't notice Razz). Great analogy to the gradual "peeling away" of layers. In fact, that is an essential allusion to what the series is all about -- "the root of things."

On the outside, we're only accustomed to noticing things in the physical realm: plants, animals, air, water, etc. But as mentioned in the first episode (which I plan on getting real in depth with, later), as you work your way down towards the different classes of life getting smaller and smaller, you eventually get to the base. In this case, mushi are the supposed building blocks that all life originates from.

In reference to your artwork analysis, one could view the different layers of the art as a parallel to Ginko's explanation in the first episode on how we kind of take for granted the usually unnoticeable aspects of reality, and thus the mushi artwork on the DVD cover serves as a metaphor of "finding" the mushi ourselves within this reality (just not in the true sense like the anime, of course, since crazy things aren't happening yet Anime smallmouth).

Even without watching the series at this point, you've made a very profound discovery of symbolism for me Anime hyper! Thanks! I'll add scans of those right now.

EDIT: The scans have been moved to Episode 1's post.


Last edited by Tony K. on Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Clodus



Joined: 25 Dec 2005
Posts: 472
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:48 pm Reply with quote
yes! the promised thread, i will definately be following along with this thread. mushishi ranked my favorite Series right now
im curious as to how you got the starter set when it hasn't released yet which would be July 31st. man im so jealous!!
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Damius



Joined: 06 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 8:20 pm Reply with quote
Oh my god.... That is too good...

Imagine, Tony K. just your review make me pre-order the series right away... Now how do you think I am feeling...the wait is even harder.

Thank you for your effort and I hope this kind of work will help the series to be more popular .
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Dargonxtc



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Okay so I watched the first two episodes, so this will pertain to them.

I am hesitant to even write anything at this point as this is my first time watching the series and I don't know how much worth I will have compared to Tony, or some other people, so if I say something stupid that doesn't make sense down the road, please be gentle. Also, as opposed to a review I think I will focus more on asthetic descriptions and plot devices seeing as I have only seen what I have seen. Here's keeping my fingers crossed. I don't know how Tony wants me to treat spoilers, so let this be a warning, possible spoilers ahead! If you want me to add tags please copy and paste my post, and PM it to me so I can re-post it with tags, and you can delete my post.

I watched the dub for both of these.

Episode 1: Green Seat
Okay, this one confused me more than the second one, which I feel like I got completely. But first:
Opening song, I feel it is a little lame, but I understand why it was picked for this series. The opening animation is gorgeous, and it has sort of a melty feel to it. The opening all together feels short though, which is fine with me, since I don't care for the song(even though I like the animation), and that leaves more time for the show itself.
The music (or soundtrack) fits the show perfectly, and is very well done. It says it is done by Toshio Masuda, but it is basically orchestra music. I don't know if he did it synthetically or with a live troupe, but it sounds very real, if that means anything. And especially during the first episode, fits in perfectly with the emotions you are supposed to feel.
The ending is a light piano serenade, with very minimal background changes, simple but works very well.
Also I didn't notice any DVD errors will watching as well, yeah!!!

Okay well we start off in the woods with Ginko, walking to see this boy, a boy with powers to create mushi. Mushi is later very well explained in this episode as the foundations of life, only with out resriction of a classification, such as plant or animal, and that all life has it's roots in these foundations. The animation becomes apparent very early on as the boy draws characters on paper and they proceed to come alive and flutter away. The boy has a problem, and it is not really his problem, it's his grandma's, who is dead.

And this is where I got kinda hung up on. Maybe someone can help me out. The grandma was asked by the mushi to look over her grandson, an absolutely gorgeous and heart-warming animated sequence(music fits too) explains this very well. What I don't understand is if she was asked at the grandmothers birth, and then separated, or at the grandmothers death and then separated, because there is clearly two? Either way it is like the one who was asked to watch over him is stuck, and that is the problem simplified. I won't give away what happens.

But what ginko says at the end of this episode throws me through a loop as well. Something to the effect of "the rumors of the boy with the God-like left hand, were heard less and less. Untill finally, they simply faded away". Thing is the boy was always alone, at least to a normal persons eyes, and lived in the woods for the last 4 years. It really calls into question whether the boy was mushi as well, or does that simply mean he lost his powers, or does that mean he was transported away? Since really he was in seclusion anyway. It also calls into question the true intentions of Ginko himself, what was his goal? Maybe we arn't supposed to know yet, or I missed something really bad.

Anyway it was very enjoyable experience, and believe it or not, for 20 minute long story, very emotional as well.

Episode 2: Eyelids' Light
In this one we have a girl who can close what they call the second eyelid. Not everyone can do it, at least not right off the bat. When this happens though you gaze upon the raw river of life(which is what fills the wine cup in the first episode), and if you stare at it to long you can go hyper light-sensitive, which means you are essentially blind, and the more you stay out of the real light, the stronger your blindness becomes. Without going to much into what happens, you find out a lot more about Ginko, and that he too has seen this river, and goes there quite often it seems. It also seems that he can comunicate with some of the mushi, although it doesn't come right out and say it.

In the end it is a lesson of "to much of a good thing". But more interesting we find that Ginko is indeed human, since he, as is made very clear, made a mistake. What exactly, we don't know. But after the last episode I wasn't sure if he was or not, but now I think he is.

-___-_--___-_--___-_--___-_--___-_--___-_--___-_--___-_--___-_--___-_-

Overall, this serves as a good introduction of things to come, and each explains things a little bit more. The animation is very well done, and story moves along at a plesant pace. Introducing new elements as it goes along, which should be expected at such an early stage. I am really enjoying these stories so far, and I plan on watching two more tonight, and the last one tomorrow.

Also, I know more than just Tony and me got their pre-orders early, where you at?
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Max power



Joined: 26 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:57 pm Reply with quote
I am without a doubt picking up this title. This is one of the shows I was patient enough to wait until the DVD's came out before I watched it. I do have one question before I watch it though. Is the dub any good, or should I just watch it subbed?

This thread has most definetly got me excited!
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Clodus



Joined: 25 Dec 2005
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Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:07 am Reply with quote
Dargonxtc wrote:

Also, I know more than just Tony and me got their pre-orders early, where you at?

i didn't preorder mine is the problem however i do live very close by best buy and recently checked it yesterday. very soon though!
i feel that you should keep posting your comments and reviews as we are all following the series together as it progresses and it shouldnt matter if you haven't seen the show sub or know as much as Tony does but who does Razz besides i personally enjoy reading to help me catch things maybe i didn't and also see the passion of others discovering Mushishi

also i wanna point out that the ending song changes with each episode. each song however is very relaxing, mysterious and in tune. i just love the whole mood.
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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:04 am Reply with quote
(4/26/14)

(EDIT: Upgrading this post with new scans of the Vol.1 stuff, as well as re-doing the plot summary, deleting/editing some comments for length, and adding new 1080p screen-caps.)

Episode 01: Green Seat (clicking this will take you back to the Index)
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Volume 1 Scans

Slipcover



Cover Art

Dual-sided.



Booklet



Art Card


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Plot Summary

The episode starts with our main character, Ginko, hiking up the mountains and telling a tale of how some people in the world are gifted with the ability to create life. We then see a boy, Shinra, who is able to paint things and, coincidentally, is able to breathe life into his creations simply by drawing them. When a symbol he paints turns into a bird, it flies off, Ginko catches it in his hand, only for it to turn back into a smear of ink.

Shinra explains to Ginko that the letter of correspondence he sent back to him was a refusal to be investigated. However, after realizing he came all this way up into the mountains, Shinra invites Ginko to at least stay the night. When Ginko learns of Shinra's abilities and the fact that his grandmother, Renzu, had forbade him from ever leaving that place. Ginko, then, discovers a young girl living in the house in mushi and realizes it to be the child version of Renzu.

It turns out that when Renzu was a child, she was invited to a mushi banquet where they had predicted she would one day have a grandchild with special powers. They had given Renzu an offering of kouki (also deemed as "the water of life") as well as an offering of powers. But in exchange, they requested that she watch over Shinra for the rest of her life. However, the ritual is interrupted, and the sake cup she had was broken in half, leaving her spirit divided. With the power of Shnra's abilities, they finally complete the ritual, and Renzu's spirit becomes a full mushi.
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Comments

(4/29/2014)

(EDIT: Took out a lot of the technical information about art/animation and music, as I'm convinced most people probably consider it trivial. I am, however, leaving my comments on the dub since they've already been quoted further down the thread.)

Overall, this is a very effective first episode. Not only does it introduce the viewer to the world of the series, but it also entertains with a very emotional story, while at the same time displaying some top-notch production values in the art, animation, and, specifically, the music.

The story itself poses a great question of the whole "great power, great responsibility" trope. Here, you have a kid with a godly left hand, that if it were to be revealed publically, he would probably receive all sorts of dirty/scared looks, be ostracized to no end, or worse, be taken advantage of by selfish people.

But given the era he lives in and the assumption that his power is probably *too* great to really let out in the open, I would agree in that he's probably better off living with Renzu up in the mountains. Just imagine the potential chaos or fear-induced hysteria that could occur if people caught wind of a person with the ability to create life just by painting it.

I also think the whole Renzu-split represented a sort of melancholy forlornness that left a part of her personality behind, and maybe causing one and the other to be incomplete. On the one hand, the human side that raised Shinra was protective, sure, but she seemed to almost scoff at his believing in mushi, which I think could've led to more tension in the relationship. As for the half-mushi version of Renzu, she seemed a little colder, as if the maternal side of her was lost when the ritual was interrupted. I think this, in turn, might've resulted in a more "complete" care package had "all" of Renzu been there to, both, believe in mushi and to be a warmer, kinder person.

First impressions of the dub: A+ rating As mentioned in the former main Mushi-Shi thread, I had watched the trailer on FUNi's website and was quite impressed from just that clip alone. Needless to say, that clip didn't do it much justice, as the overall dub sounded excellent and just as good as the original Japanese.

Travis Willingham (best known for his dub role as Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist) plays the role of Ginko here. He does a great job of capturing the same inflection as Nakano, sounding like a real know-it-all, but at the same time very down-to-earth. If he continues this kind of performance for the rest of the series, given its content and the importance of his character's role, this will by far be his most memorable performance as English dub actor, as far as I'm concerned.

But, as I mentioned, the series is so well-produced, I think a lot of the other aspects like art, music, and storytelling kind of take care of themselves automatically, so I wouldn't say it really matters which language you watch it in based on this single episode. The dialogue is pretty much adapted to near-perfection in the dub, aside from a few honorifics, a few word changes/translations, and the actual placement/moving of lines within the script itself, but it still maintains that masterful quality of storytelling, and frankly, that's all that should matter for this production in particular.

It's your choice whichever you prefer, and I'll say now that I'm willing to go on a guarantee that you can't go wrong either way.
----------------------------------

Screen-caps


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(4/29/2014)

(EDIT: There, much cleaner and easier to read).


Last edited by Tony K. on Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:54 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:57 am Reply with quote
Dargonxtc wrote:
I am hesitant to even write anything at this point as this is my first time watching the series and I don't know how much worth I will have compared to Tony, or some other people, so if I say something stupid that doesn't make sense down the road, please be gentle. Also, as opposed to a review I think I will focus more on asthetic descriptions and plot devices seeing as I have only seen what I have seen. Here's keeping my fingers crossed. I don't know how Tony wants me to treat spoilers, so let this be a warning, possible spoilers ahead! If you want me to add tags please copy and paste my post, and PM it to me so I can re-post it with tags, and you can delete my post.

As apparent by my really detailed summary of the first episode, I plan on keeping everything unspoiled. I feel the enjoyment of the series comes from the actual experience of watching, rather than the a simple telling of the story through my own words. The intention of typing most of each story out (along with the screencaps) is to try and entice newcomers to the series, while at the same time appealing to current fans and those who have already watched it, giving a reminder to serve as a kind of memory refresher or just a way of looking at more of that great artwork.

Anyway, I'll try to address your some of your questions for Episode 1:

Dragonxtc wrote:
And this is where I got kinda hung up on. Maybe someone can help me out. The grandma was asked by the mushi to look over her grandson, an absolutely gorgeous and heart-warming animated sequence(music fits too) explains this very well. What I don't understand is if she was asked at the grandmothers birth, and then separated, or at the grandmothers death and then separated, because there is clearly two? Either way it is like the one who was asked to watch over him is stuck, and that is the problem simplified.

The reason there were two Renzus is because the ceremony was only half-completed. While she started to drink the rest of the Kouki, that crow showed up and interrupted the overall aura, thus breaking up the banquet.

In addition, when her trance was broken, Renzu's cup had also snapped in half. For me, the cup had symbolized as a sort of gateway to the mushi world, since she had to drink from it obviously. I'm not sure if the breaking of it was caused by the ruined trance or if she was just careless, but because she only drank about half of it anyway, then this explains why she was half-mushi.

If the ceremony had been completed, I think she still would've turn out to have both a human presence and a mushi presence at the same time. But this is all speculation, as the powers of mushi aren't really clear cut aside from what's explained by Ginko in each episode.

Also, I think the human part of Renzu that left her somehow lost some of the emotions and believability in mushi. Maybe prior to the ceremony, Renzu had some knowledge of what mushi might have been, and in drinking all of the Kouki she would've gained a part of their knowledge along with their powers. But because she didn't get to finish, the half of her that knew of mushi stayed behind, while her physical body had "forgotten" that and proceeded accordingly to the rest of her predicted lifespan.

Dragonxtc wrote:
But what ginko says at the end of this episode throws me through a loop as well. Something to the effect of "the rumors of the boy with the God-like left hand, were heard less and less. Untill finally, they simply faded away". Thing is the boy was always alone, at least to a normal persons eyes, and lived in the woods for the last 4 years. It really calls into question whether the boy was mushi as well, or does that simply mean he lost his powers, or does that mean he was transported away? Since really he was in seclusion anyway. It also calls into question the true intentions of Ginko himself, what was his goal? Maybe we arn't supposed to know yet, or I missed something really bad.

That's actually a really good question. But I would think Shinra himself was actually human. While he could see mushi himself, he was unable to see Renzu in the half-mushi form she was in at the time.

I'm not sure how to interpret the disappearance of the rumors about him, but the original role of his grandmother was just to watch over him, so maybe we can assume her powers included something like masking the estate from the public or whatever. Or maybe he did get spirited away. I mean, the series really leaves a lot to our own imagination, so anything is pretty much possible within "reason" of the series Razz.

Concerning Ginko, I'll say doesn't have any real goals. He's not a shady kind of guy and is pretty straight-forward throughout the entire series like this. He simply goes from place to place, helps people, and occasionally takes a souveneir. The series is more about the overall experience of the stories themselves, and Ginko is more so just a medium of converting them.
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Jedi General



Joined: 27 Nov 2006
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Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Wow, Tony. That was a superb opening post. Having seen the entire series (although I was sad when the series ended, since there wasn't any more Mushi-Shi to watch), I can relate to how hard it is to describe in terms of it's appeal and premise. This is a series everyone should give a shot. I think they'll be quite pleasantly surprised. I know I certainly was, as I generally don't enjoy episodic anime. Mushi-Shi is one of the few exceptions.

I love this series. It's amazing how this series never has a dull moment. It keeps your interest for the entire course of an episode. So much so that each episode went by so fast for me. It truly is a masterful work. I hand out Masterpiece ratings to anime quite easily, but this one completely deserves that rating. So much so that I rated it as a Masterpiece after watching the first episode alone. It's just that good. Everything is top notch. The scenery is just breathtaking. It's amazing to see how much work was put into that. The character designs are quite nice as well. Other than Ginko, pretty much everyone looks the same, but the designs are just so nicely done that I don't mind that at all.

I'm not that picky about animation, but I must say that it's quite good in this instance. The animation had to be just right to pull this series off and it is. What really keyed me in the animation was episode 2. I really liked how that episode was handled. The music is great also. The quiet themes really add that necessary element to the story.

I honestly can't think of how the music could have been done any better. I love the OP, and I have both soundtracks on my iPod. I just love listening to the music at night when I want to sleep. It does the trick quite well. As for the voice acting I watched it fansubbed (and the acting was great), but I cannot wait to watch it dubbed since I prefer to watch anime dubbed. I agree with you that there really isn't anyway to screw up the dub of this series, other than perhaps poor pronunciation of the different names of the Mushi. I honestly think that I myself could have played Ginko if I lowered the pitch of my voice a bit. He's a lot like me in how he acts and speaks. Maybe I should try making my own personal fandub, just for fun. Anime smile

Anyway, as for the premise and appeal of the series, normally I like to ask someone if they've seen Kino's Journey before telling them about Mushi-Shi. If they have, I'll say that Mushi-Shi is a lot the same, in it being an episodic chronicle of a character's travels through different places encountering different things with each episode having a different theme. Plus, there isn't much continuity between episodes (if any) and there's also a flashback episode around the middle of the series telling the origins of the main character. That is pretty much where the similarities end though.

I like to think of Kino's Journey as an exploration of the human spirit, while Mushi-Shi is more of an exploration of life itself. Also, Kino's Journey is 1/2 the length of Mushi-Shi and Kino's journey's style of storytelling is quite different. Mushi-Shi normally sets up the episode like it's own self-contained detective story. This isn't really the case with Kino's Journey. Many times it's feels more like one is telling a story recounting their tra vels. There's also more comic relief in Kino's Journey, and there are two constant characters, rather than just one.

I have rated both series as Masterpieces, but Mushi-Shi is the better series by far. Mushi-Shi is currently my #4 favorite series of all time (behind Eva, Berserk and Twelve Kingdoms). Kino's Journey was in the lower half of of my top 25, when I finished it, but it has since be pushed off the list by other series.

Of course, if one hasn't seen Kino's Journey, if makes this series much harder to explain. The short answer is "Just watch the first episode. You'll see what I mean." I did that with my younger sister, and she was hooked as soon as the first episode was complete. Mushi-Shi is great at sucking in the viewer with that excellent first episode. After that, one could watch almost any episode and normally they won't be confused, due to the limited continuity between episodes. There are some one needs to see before others, but mostly one could just pick an episode at random after watching the first one. I'm definitely going to give that try that when I rewatch the series.

I had pre-ordered the starter set, but due to financial issues I had to cancel it. Fortunately though I've been blessed and my school debt is how gone. Hopefully I'll be able to make room in my budget to buy this series as it is released. Those pictures you posted look quite nice. Really captures the essence of Mushi-Shi, especially if you take Dragonxtc's words into account about the layers.

My lunch break is just about up, so I don't have time to comment on you and Dragonxtc's post about the opening episodes, but I will later.
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Dargonxtc



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 4463
Location: Nc5xd7+ スターダストの海洋

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:41 pm Reply with quote
Tony K. wrote:
The reason there were two Renzus is because the ceremony was only half-completed. While she started to drink the rest of the Kouki, that crow showed up and interrupted the overall aura, thus breaking up the banquet.

In addition, when her trance was broken, Renzu's cup had also snapped in half. For me, the cup had symbolized as a sort of gateway to the mushi world, since she had to drink from it obviously. I'm not sure if the breaking of it was caused by the ruined trance or if she was just careless, but because she only drank about half of it anyway, then this explains why she was half-mushi.

If the ceremony had been completed, I think she still would've turn out to have both a human presence and a mushi presence at the same time. But this is all speculation, as the powers of mushi aren't really clear cut aside from what's explained by Ginko in each episode.

Also, I think the human part of Renzu that left her somehow lost some of the emotions and believability in mushi. Maybe prior to the ceremony, Renzu had some knowledge of what mushi might have been, and in drinking all of the Kouki she would've gained a part of their knowledge along with their powers. But because she didn't get to finish, the half of her that knew of mushi stayed behind, while her physical body had "forgotten" that and proceeded accordingly to the rest of her predicted lifespan.


Thanks Tony that helps clear things up a lot. But The big question I had still is unanswered(mostly due to my poor linguistic skills). When did the mushi ask her to look after him, when was the ceremony?? After a re-watch I think I have figured out what I missed. A bunch of evidence points to she was asked when the grandmother died. However, I believe it was when the grandmother was born, or at least very young , before the boy was even born. I point to time-frame 12:50 thru 13:30, and the ceremony itself.

This is an important point for me as it means that the mushi have the power of premonition. And it means that the two grandmothers lived at the same time, which is why they shared the same memories. It also makes me even more sad for the mushi-grandmother, because she obviously knew that the boy saw mushi, and that the real-grandmother could not, and neither could see her. I could go into extreme detail as why that is tragic, but if you think about it a bit, it would be easier than filling a page. Because real-grandmother appears to have no memory of, and shuns the very idea of mushi, I believe this ceremony took place at birth. Which to me makes this episode all the more profound. And a hell of a way to start a show I might add.

Sorry if I got hung up on what seems like a trivial question, but it really is a meaningful idea to these eyes.
Quote:
Concerning Ginko, I'll say doesn't have any real goals. He's not a shady kind of guy and is pretty straight-forward throughout the entire series like this. He simply goes from place to place, helps people, and occasionally takes a souveneir. The series is more about the overall experience of the stories themselves, and Ginko is more so just a medium of converting them.

That is some-what saddening. When I said goals I didn't mean that he is devious or anything, just that he has some underlying reason why he helps people, or something to that effect, it is to early to tell. Much in the way Cowboy Bebop did, where the story never really focusses on it, but you get more and more of a bigger picture as you move through the episodes. Oh well, the stories are interesting enough as is. But don't hate me if I hold out hope for explanations of the missing eye, or childhood experiences okay. Razz

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@Clodus
Thanks for those words.
And after watch the 3rd and 4th Ep, I realized that the ending changes. Embarassed Neat!

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As I said, I watched 3 and 4, I will hold coments on those until I watch five which will be, well, now, but will write tomorrow. I am pretty tired you see.
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Jedi General



Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 2485
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:00 pm Reply with quote
I got Newtype USA in the mail yesterday and it had the first episode of Mushishi on the DVD. I watched it last night dubbed.

Tony K. wrote:
First impressions of the dub: A+ rating As mentioned in the former main Mushi-Shi thread, I had watched the trailer on FUNi's website and was quite impressed from just that clip alone. Needless to say, that clip didn't do it much justice, as the overall dub sounded excellent and just as good as the original Japanese.


I saw that trailer as well. The clip was nice, but you're right about it not doing the dub justice. Personally, I like the first episode even more in English. By that I'm not saying that the dub is better than the original Japanese, I just tend to like anime better in English, that's all. I do agree with you though, Tony, about it being just as good as the Japanese track.

Tony K. wrote:
Travis Willingham (best known for his dub role as Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist) plays the role of Ginko here. He does a great job of capturing the same inflection as Nakano, sounding like a real know-it-all, but at the same time very down-to-earth. If he continues this kind of performance for the rest of the series, given its content and the importance of his character's role, this will by far be his most memorable performance as English dub actor, as far as I'm concerned.


After seeing the first episode, it makes me wish that Travis got more work in regards to anime voice acting. He's been great in every dub I've seen him in as a major character (the aforementioned Roy in FMA, Iggy in Ergo Proxy and now Ginko in Mushi-Shi). He nailed Roy and Iggy, and he does it yet again with Ginko. Like you, I hope he keeps it up for the rest of the series.

I also liked Luci Christian as Shinra. I felt she captured him quite well, even though it was a bit distracting to hear her voice in yet another English dub.

Tony K. wrote:
It's your choice whichever you prefer, and I'll say now that I'm willing to go on a guarantee that you can't go wrong either way.


I can totally agree with that, based upon having seen the first episode both ways. Dub or sub, the series is pure gold.

Dargonxtc wrote:
But The big question I had still is unanswered(mostly due to my poor linguistic skills). When did the mushi ask her to look after him, when was the ceremony?? After a re-watch I think I have figured out what I missed. A bunch of evidence points to she was asked when the grandmother died. However, I believe it was when the grandmother was born, or at least very young , before the boy was even born. I point to time-frame 12:50 thru 13:30, and the ceremony itself.

This is an important point for me as it means that the mushi have the power of premonition. And it means that the two grandmothers lived at the same time, which is why they shared the same memories. It also makes me even more sad for the mushi-grandmother, because she obviously knew that the boy saw mushi, and that the real-grandmother could not, and neither could see her. I could go into extreme detail as why that is tragic, but if you think about it a bit, it would be easier than filling a page. Because real-grandmother appears to have no memory of, and shuns the very idea of mushi, I believe this ceremony took place at birth. Which to me makes this episode all the more profound.


I don't know what Tony's take on that is, but here's my opinion: Honestly, I took it as the ceremony happened when she was young (however old she was at the time), not necessarily when she was born or when died. I say this because the mushi grandmother stayed the same age for all those years, rather than growing up to reach that age. It appeared to me that she was just in the forest one day and was swept away to the mushi banquet because they wanted her to watch over her grandson. How those particular mushi have the power of premonition is quite interesting indeed.

As for the two grandmothers, the human grandmother not having any recollection of the banquet and not being able to see the mushi is probably some sort of after affect from the banquet being incomplete. It appeared as though those memories stayed with the mushi grandmother and were completely lost to the human grandmother. Perhaps the wine cup being broken is symbolic of that? It definitely is quite tragic, as you said.

Dargonxtc wrote:
And a hell of a way to start a show I might add.


Indeed. Definitely one of (if not the) best opening episode I've ever seen.

Dargonxtc wrote:
That is some-what saddening. When I said goals I didn't mean that he is devious or anything, just that he has some underlying reason why he helps people, or something to that effect, it is to early to tell. Much in the way Cowboy Bebop did, where the story never really focusses on it, but you get more and more of a bigger picture as you move through the episodes. Oh well, the stories are interesting enough as is. But don't hate me if I hold out hope for explanations of the missing eye, or childhood experiences okay.


I don't recall it ever being explained as to why he helps people (unless there was something subtle that I missed), but many things do become apparent as the series goes on, such as to why he doesn't stay in one place, the missing eye, etc.

Tony K. wrote:
That's actually a really good question. But I would think Shinra himself was actually human. While he could see mushi himself, he was unable to see Renzu in the half-mushi form she was in at the time.


I agree. One would think that if he were a mushi, he would have been able Renzu. That may not be correct, but it makes the most sense to me. Seems to me that he was just a human with a supernatural ability.

Tony K. wrote:
I'm not sure how to interpret the disappearance of the rumors about him, but the original role of his grandmother was just to watch over him, so maybe we can assume her powers included something like masking the estate from the public or whatever. Or maybe he did get spirited away. I mean, the series really leaves a lot to our own imagination, so anything is pretty much possible within "reason" of the series Razz.


That's how I understood it (the grandmother's powers eventually causing the rumors to fade). Ginko did say that she was weak, so perhaps her powers were supposed to shield the abode from the public like you mentioned. I don't think he would have been spirited away, but you never know with this series. They seemed to be quite isolated, but who's to say that one of the creatures Shinra created didn't make it to a village of some sort. I don't know how rumor would have spread about a boy with this ability based on a villager seeing one of the creatures, but it seems somewhat plausible. Or maybe his power emits some kind of aura that other people could sense somehow?

Again, I don't know how rumors could start based on something like that (that reason seems quite far fetched, now that I think about it but pretty much anything is possible in a supernatural series such as this), but like you said, the series leaves a lot up to the viewer's imagination. Who knows, maybe someone visited or something and managed to see Shinra's ability in action and rumor spread as a result. There really is no way to tell, but that's one of the best things about this series. Not everything is explained explicitly. Many times the explanations are quite subtle or completely left up to how the viewer interprets or imagines things.
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