Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Top 5: Anime

I figured that if I was going to start doing lists, I could start with a nice, broad topic. The goal is to do one of these a day for the next five days. Hooray for attempted consistency.

Since blogspot has something against me placing an image after the text (yeah yeah, I could do my own HTML-ing, but that would require effort) it's no surprise that number 5 is Mushi-shi.

Mushi-shi is the anime equivalent of a steaming hot cup of tea at the end of a long day of work.

I have never found a more relaxing series to watch. The episodes are all stand-alones, which may throw some viewers off. Instead, I found it to be a nice touch--I never felt compelled to watch a marathon of Mushishi episodes in order to "finish the story." This allowed me to sit back and appreciate every episode an individual work of art. Granted, some of them are more profound than others, but the stories of Mushi-shi all have a unique way of highlighting different aspects of human nature.

Along the way, we are introduced to people who cannot let go of lost loved ones, religious leaders with a stranglehold on a community, a child whose mother is losing her memory, and an obsessive-compulsive rainbow chaser.

The series follows a formula in almost every episode: a person in a village starts acting strange, Ginko tries to figure out which type of mushi has caused this change in behavior, and he does what he can to help the victim.

Ginko's relationship with the mushi one of the show's big draws. He is not an exterminator. His life operates around a principle of respecting mushi as a lifeforms that only act according to natural instincts. While the mushi may be harmful to human hosts, he holds no grudge. He is not on a quest for revenge or to wipe out all mushi. Ginko simply pursues knowledge and experience; he finds a certain wonder in the wide variety of mushi and is utterly enraptured by their endless forms and varieties.

Masuda Toshio's zen-like soundtrack adds the final touch, adding a lush background of classical guitar, piano, koto, and electronic ambience.

Mushi-shi is currently streaming on Anime News Network's video player (although they only have the dubbed version for now...).

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