There are many things in this world that people do not understand. Phenomena are often explained by spirits, or other supernatural happenings, but quite often these are caused by things called mushi. Mushi are not plants, nor animals; they are another form of life at its most basic level. They exist on a plane where most humans cannot perceive them, but the mushi's actions can very much have consequences in our world.
Genko is a mushi master; an expert who deals with the mushi - yet even he doesn't know everything about them. This is the story of Genko's travels and the people he assists when the mysterious mushi effect the world of men.
The way the details are integrated into the story makes this one hard to explain. The mushi give the show to a mystical feel, however it's more of a nature based idea. Mushi cause people distress, but not due to maliciousness. You wouldn't call a plant malicious for growing in the wrong spot; the plant only does what is natural. This is what Mishi Shi is about: mushi and the story of coexisting with them.
Anime is rarely original, however Mushi Shi is different enough in many aspects I'd say it's unique. There is no action, romance, or even much drama. Instead it's a nature story, with the added element of mystery. Like the zen master, it accomplishes much, while saying little. It tells an engrossing tale with just enough of everything - no more no less. Mushi Shi doesn't have an overall plot either; it's a collection of stories. It's the kind of anime you can easily drop, and pick up later on. Only Genko is a reoccurring character but little is told about his story. Not every episode ends well and some of them end just weird.
My only real complaint (aside from the intro hippie music) is that the character designs lack variety, thus making everyone look pretty much the same.
Thinking about my average day of riding with ninja bikers as they battle mutated Nazi aliens, every once in a while I like to sit by a tranquil lake in the evening and think: "This is nice." Mushi Shi is a lot like that. It's interesting, and fulfilling in its story, but unlike what most modern media. Ditching most trends in modern anime, this one seems like niche title, but I can appeal to most people. Even so, I found it was something I had to be in the mood to watch. Still highly recommend.
Genko: The mushi aren't really our friends at all. More like unusual neighbors.
Genko: But that doesn't mean you can't like them.
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reviewed by archen in 2011