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Mushishi, Volume 1

Review

Mushishi, Volume 1

Some
live in the deep darkness behind your eyelids. Some eat silence.
Some thoughtlessly kill. Some simply drive men mad. Shortly after
life emerged from the primordial ooze, these deadly creatures,
mushi, came into terrifying being. And they still exist and wreak
havoc in the world today. Ginko, a young man with a sardonic smile,
has the knowledge and skill to save those plagued by
mushi…perhaps.


Nature can be horrifying, magnificent, tender or brutal. It is also
rarely fair, in human reckoning, nor does it follow our logic. Eons
past, during the very beginning of life on Earth, a kind of life
emerged called mushi. Mushi mimic early single-cell organisms and
bacteria but at the same time are completely alien from even these
basic life forms. Knowledge of mushi faded across the centuries,
but they are not gone. Far from it.


Mushi are not aware. They are not cruel or kind, and they cannot be
bullied, reasoned with or begged. Mushi do not recognize human
beings as anything other than a potential home, but their effects
are the stuff of legends. They consume the darkness itself, and
beware anyone who stumbles into their way. If mushi start tangling
with your nightmares, those visions just might come true. With a
mushi's help, a swamp can seem to migrate and even take a human
bride.


Once mushi affect your life, your only hope is outside help. Myths
and secret practices have been passed down for generations among
those who guard the mushi's secrets, and even then their records
are spotty. Ginko is one of these men, a mushishi, and represents
people's only hope in battling the mushis' influences. Each short
story in this volume follows Ginko in his calling mediating between
two kinds of life that can't seem to help but endanger each other,
but both deserve respect. Where he can, he brings resolution and,
if possible, peace, though every story cannot have a happy
ending.

Mushishi is one of the most popular series running in
Japan, even surpassing everyone's recent favorite Naruto,
and its combination of spooky tales, traditional folklore and
fable-like dilemmas bring mystery and intrigue to this first
volume.Much slower moving than many shonen action titles, this book
builds its tension carefully, and the final payoff is always worth
the wait.


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Reviewed by Robin Brenner on October 18, 2011

Mushishi, Volume 1
by Yuki Urushibara

  • Publication Date: January 30, 2007
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • ISBN-10: 0345496213
  • ISBN-13: 9780345496218