Friday, February 1, 2013

Weekly Reactions: Mushi-Shi [Episode 1]

Well here we are, the very first episode of Mushi-Shi revisited. And boy am I glad I got to.

One of the many stupefying images from the episode

With this first edition of the Weekly Reaction, I take a look at the pilot episode to Mushi-Shi, "The Green Throne".

Awwwwwwwwww baby! Things are about to get surreal up in this forest!

Well well welly well well... I am actually surprised at how much I liked re-watching this episode. It was an excellent pilot but, when I watched it the first time, I did not like it very much for some inexplicable reason.

I don't know how... I mean the episode features a cute and adorable little girl in a kimono!
Okay... Not that cute and adorable but I digress...

Here are my own recommended sub and dub links.

Mushi-Shi ep 1.
"The Green Throne"
  Sub      Dub

While I usually prefer subs in the case of an anime that actually takes place in a rural Japan rooted in the past, I think I actually prefer the dub this time around. Mostly because I think, at times, the fansub can get a little vague when it comes to explaining some of the things about the mushi while I think the Funimation dub actually managed to make the speech sound more natural and articulate while maintaining and explaining their world in a manner that is both understandable and just as thought provoking. (YEA I KNOW FUNIMATION DID SOMETHING RIGHT! Whowoudathunk?)

Spoiler-free episode teaser/walkthrough thing:

(WARNING: There will be slight deception in this summary thing. I want to try to give a good idea of what the set up is like in the episode without giving any of the major events away. These episodes have awesome endings and I wouldn't want to spoil a single one.)

To kick it off. Forest. A very green forest.

But you know, then the episode happens and we find Ginko on his way to a destination deep in the mountain forests to find a man who has been dubbed by the few that know of him as "The Man with God's Left Hand". Honestly not the most catchy of nicknames but I digress.

Our friendly neighborhood mushi master, however, doesn't find a man but rather a boy by the name of Shinra.

Shinra was born with the peculiar ability to create living drawings that literally leap off the pages... by drawing with his left hand. Which, unfortunately, is his primary writing hand... I'd personally hate to be this guy =/

Shinra and some of his creations

As Ginko and Shinra get to know each other (Through drinking homemade wine...? Underage drinking for the win!), mostly because Ginko is incredibly curious about his abilities, he uncovers a few things. 

First, he quickly determines that the drawings he creates are actually living mushi. While the action of actually fabricating life remains a mystery to Ginko and the audience alike, it becomes a very important ability in the progression of the episode's events.

And second, he finds out about a troubling past. The boy, suspiciously enough, lives all alone in the forest in a traditional style house surrounded by the entirety of nothingness. It is revealed that he had lived with his grandmother who passed away four years prior to the events of the episode and, while the boy was excited and fascinated by his abilities, they troubled his grandmother until the day she died.

She basically thought he was a nutball... That's tough... =(

Later on, Ginko, through a bizarre turn of events in the search for a washroom, discovers that while her grandmother died... she never really left the world, the home or even Shinra's side...

AvatarHippo's Magnificent Mushi Managing Manual [Entry #1]:

The march to the banquet
The Mushi Banquet

In this episode, it is shown that a certain species (or many various mushi) can form together and create human-like apparitions that draw people in and "invite them to a banquet in their honor". They are drawn into a long ghostly line that leads deep into the forest. Unable to control their own movements and steps, they walk along with the mushi until they reach the site of the banquet

The event starts after they are drawn in and sat along with the rest of the mushi and invited to drink a cup of wine (the wine revealed to be another species of mushi called kouki which is referred to as a font of pure life energy). Finishing this cup of wine will make the drinker loose his or her sentience and become a mushi.

The offering of the kouki to a mortal

The kouki stream where the wine glass can get its fill


Feels... ; _ ;
Overall, I think this was an incredible pilot episode because the mushi were instantly established and in such an intriguing way. I mean, it is pretty odd beginning a series about a boy who can create the subject of the narrative by literally drawing it out but it works surprisingly well I believe. 

The mysterious nature of the mushi was established by such odd circumstances and it was elaborated pretty thoroughly but you can't really help but feel that you have only scratched the surface of the world this story has to offer. I mean, it IS only the first episode after all.

Found this one pretty funny for some reason...
... I couldn't say why if I tried

The music, color, images, animation during special sequences and the supernatural atmosphere created were all much greater than I remembered them to be. 

And to top it all off, I believe Ginko's character is pretty well established in this episode and questions are raised about his motives at certain key moments giving his character a little more depth rather than the typical wandering do-gooder he is set up to be for this series.

I look forward to watching the rest of this series because, if I remember correctly, the 2nd episode was one of my favorites... Oh boy, I don't think I am going to be able to wait another week...

Tomorrow, I will be spending the whole day with FLCL (Fooly Cooly) posting my episode reactions and my final review so stick around and be here! I hope to see you guys later! Thanks for reading and enjoy the episode! I hope you don't watch the whole series before next week comes around!


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