In a world where supernatural beings known as Mushi roam the world, there are people like Ginko who are Mushi-shi: people who study and investigate Mushi. He is currently on the case of a boy named Ioroi Shinra, who has the power to bring the pictures he draws to life. Ginko tells Shinra that he is creating Mushi, and explains that Mushi are creatures very close to the essence of life itself. Shinra tells Ginko that his grandmother forbade him from drawing them, and Ginko guesses that Shinra’s grandmother couldn’t see the Mushi. That night, Ginko investigates the house and finds a young female ghost. Having done his research, Ginko knows that she’s Shinra’s grandmother Renzu – but only half of her. Ginko surmises that she took part in a ceremony that was to make her a Mushi, but it appears that it got interrupted, so she’s neither human nor Mushi. He suggests a method to make her a complete Mushi that involves Shinra drawing and bringing to life Renzu’s green wine cup. Shinra does so, but the cup breaks in half. Ginko takes the two pieces, puts them together, and a liquid starts to fill the middle. He presents it to Renzu, and as she drinks it, she becomes visible to Shinra. Ginko then has Shinra drink out of the same cup, allowing Shinra to experience his grandmother’s memories. Everything happened just like Ginko said: Renzu was caught in the middle of a ceremony to make her a Mushi for the purpose of watching over her grandson for his entire life. But the ceremony was interrupted by a crow and Renzu split into two. Back in the present, Ginko departs the next morning (with the green cup), and tells Renzu that she’ll always be with Shinra.
OP: 「The Sore Feet Song」 by Ally Kerr
I was quite surprised when I heard a western artist would be singing this opening. Ally Kerr is a scottish singer, and The Sore Feet Song has an almost folk music feel to it. The song seems very mellow and fitting for the OP sequence, which shows green scenery. The ending sequence is the same way, only with a piano piece playing (a very nice one at that). The actual ending doesn’t list the song’s name.
This series reminds me a lot of Studio Ghibli – maybe not as much as the first episode of Kamichu, but still quite a bit. I attribute it part to the calm environment, part to the almost playful-looking Mushi, and part to the general mystic feeling of everything. The story itself revolves around the Mushi, which are supernatural beings. Ginko uses the analogy of the hand and the heart for his explanation: if people are represented by the middle finger of the hand, which is the furthest point from the heart, and microbes are at the base of the wrist, then the Mushi would be somewhere near your chest. In this analogy, they would be very close to the heart; in other words, the very essence of life.
Ginko himself seems to be a wealth of knowledge about everything Mushi related, but I guess he’d have to be in order for him to be a Mushi-shi. The story seems to be a bit episodic in nature, with Ginko traveling around solving people’s Mushi-related problems (hrm, that sounds familiar). As for the production aspects, the animation is very good when any Mushi or supernatural things are involved, and decent when showing people. There is an abundance of static green scenery backgrounds, though they are pretty well drawn. I find the music to be a bit lacking in parts, but when it is there, it feels very spiritual/mystical.
Overall, the first episode far exceeded my expectations. I’ll be closely watching the next few episodes to see if the production quality goes downhill, or remains relatively strong.