Mushishi Zoku Shou: Whimsical Journey Concludes – Series Review

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The Sublime Perfection of Mushishi: An Anime Journey Like No Other

As the final two-chapter story in the Mushishi saga, “Drops of Bells,” prepares to captivate audiences with its magnificence, we are in for a real treat. Artland, the studio behind the series, has decided to conclude this remarkable anime journey with a theatrical release next summer, accompanied by a stage play in 2015. Despite the anticipation for the big-screen adaptation, it may take some time before we get to experience “Drops of Bells” with subtitles, as the adventures of Mushishi often encourage us to embrace the bittersweet aspects of life.

An Era Ends: The Timeless Legacy of Mushishi

Today, we bid farewell to an anime legacy that began over nine years ago with the captivating storytelling of “Tree of Eternity.” Mushishi, throughout its run, has remained a masterpiece that defies trends and tropes, standing out as a truly unique and exceptional series. Created by Urushibara Yuki in 1999, this manga adaptation continues to resonate with audiences, its message remaining as fresh and powerful as ever. Mushishi will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest anime of all time.

A Fine Choice: The Significance of “Tree of Eternity”

As the concluding story for the Mushishi series, “Tree of Eternity” serves as a fitting choice. Despite its episodic nature, Mushishi maintains a sense of continuity, and the narrative unfolds in its own distinct manner. While Nagahama-sensei deviated slightly from the original manga’s timeline, opting for “The Scented Darkness” as the penultimate chapter, the decision to start and end seasons with stories delving into Ginko’s history is commendable. “Tree of Eternity” reminds us of the importance of our connections to the land, showcasing the profound impact they have on our lives.

The Unfolding Tale: The Catalyst in “Tree of Eternity”

In this chapter, the focus shifts to the Satorigi (“Enlightened Tree”), which serves as a catalyst rather than the central element of the story. This mystical being resides within a tree, blossoming into a red, plum-like fruit when it senses danger to its host. When the fruit is consumed by an animal, the Satorigi transfers itself to the animal and ultimately fuses with a new tree. The immense cedar tree housing the Satorigi has witnessed the passage of time, surviving earthquakes, fires, and floods. Initially viewed with greed, then fear, and later worshipped as a god, the villagers eventually succumb to desperation and cut down the tree. Kanta, a young boy from the village, eats the Satorigi, setting in motion a poignant tale of memories and profound realizations.

A Journey Through Memory: Kanta’s Connection to the Tree

Memory takes center stage in “Tree of Eternity.” Due to ingesting the Satorigi, Kanta gains access to the memories of the ancient cedar tree, recalling events he has never personally experienced. As Kanta embarks on his life as a traveler and builder, neglecting the love of his family, his dreams lead him back to the village he once called home. Resting near the remnants of the majestic cedar tree, Kanta becomes fused with the tree’s stump, a consequence of his encounter with the Satorigi. Ginko arrives too late to prevent this fusion, reinforcing the melancholic nature of the story.

The Sentient Trees: A Beautiful Notion in Mushishi

Mushishi challenges us to accept the idea that trees possess their own emotions and sentiments. Altered by the presence of the Satorigi and the flow of the Koumyaku energy, the cedar tree willingly allows itself to be cut down, saving the villagers from the aftermath of a devastating fire. The resolution’s most powerful aspect lies in Kanta’s personal growth. Despite the absence of a cure for his fused legs, Kanta learns to appreciate the love he has neglected and finds new purpose in sharing the wisdom of the ancient tree with the villagers. Through this, Mushishi emphasizes the significance of our knowledge and feelings, which continue to influence and impact others long after we are gone.

A Tribute to Mushishi: Timeless Brilliance and Lasting Impact

Mushishi’s brilliance lies in its ability to transcend simple analysis. When we bid farewell to a series of this caliber, gratitude fills our hearts as we acknowledge the exceptional efforts of everyone involved. Urushibara, Nagahama, and Artland have consistently delivered greatness with Mushishi, surpassing the brilliance of the manga through the animated adaptation. With its impeccable music selections, unconventional voice casting, and profound storytelling, Mushishi stands as a testament to the power of anime as a medium. It perfectly captures the essence of the manga while surpassing it in every possible way.

Completing the Journey: A Rare and Celebratory Achievement

Mushishi, as a whole, has achieved a rare feat – receiving a complete and faithful adaptation that does justice to its source material. Such accomplishments are few and far between, making this milestone all the more reason to celebrate. In the year 2014, Mushishi served as a beacon of intelligence, fearlessness, subtlety, and beauty amid the increasing homogeneity and simplification of TV anime. It offered a transcendent experience akin to meditation, stimulating both thought and emotions. Mushishi broadened our minds, inspiring us to contemplate our own journey and opening our hearts to new possibilities.

A Masterpiece Like No Other: Embrace the Miraculous

As we eagerly await the release of “Drops of Bells,” I extend my heartfelt appreciation to everyone involved in the production of Mushishi. It defies any genre or demographic labels, existing simply as itself – a masterpiece that connects us to a different time and place.