I’ve recently become devoted to the anime series Mushi-Shi. This unusual show, with its creepy atmosphere and languid pacing has become my favourite way to wind down in the evenings.
The pretext is simple, Mushi are insect-like creatures that live all around us. Seemingly made of light, they remain invisible to most people. The main character Ginko is a Mushi Shi; someone who can see the Mushi all around us and has dedicated his life to studying them. The series follows him as he travels through rural Japan helping people whose lives are affected by these troublesome creatures.
After a few episodes you realise that the Mushi are really just symptomatic of deeper problems. Each episode sees Ginko helping people come to terms not just with these beings but eventually, with loneliness, grief and heartbreak.
These recurring themes of death and loss make for a show with a pervading sense of tragedy. Even the main character struggles with his own worth; occasionally wondering if he brings real solace to anyone.
There are many things that I like about Mushi Shi. Lingering shots of beautiful Japanese landscapes coupled with an authentic minimal soundtrack make for a peaceful experience that is rare in contemporary anime. The stories are initially simple but usually explore painful issues that resonate with us all.
The perfect way to relax.