It’s no secret that 2020 was one of the most difficult years for many around the globe, and although things are beginning to look up, the world isn’t out of the woods yet. Lots of people are turning to entertainment for a distraction from current events. For anime fans, Mushi-Shi is the perfect show to soothe anxiety and pandemic fatigue.
Mushi-Shi follows the Mushi Master Ginko as he travels the countryside, taming wild mushi and helping humans learn to coexist with them. Mushi, the purest form of life on Earth, are undetectable to many common folks. Ginko teaches about them and solves any problems they may create for humans. Each episode of Mushi-Shi shows Ginko encountering a mushi-related issue and, in most cases, providing a solution. Here’s how Ginko proves to viewers that, no matter the hardship, there is always an answer.
Mushi-Shi’s ambiance, though haunting at times, lulls audiences into a sense of calm. The settings are mostly in the forest, or other natural places like the ocean or mountains. The landscapes are usually illustrated with cool-toned colors and painted in a watercolor-like style. These beautiful scenes are accompanied by soft music that features bells, wind instruments, and acoustic guitars. The opening theme “The Sore Feet Song” is a meandering folk tune that sets the mellow tone for each episode. This relaxing setting can put viewers at ease and provide some respite from everyday stressors.
Each episode of Mushi-Shi shows Ginko encountering different kinds of mushi in the villages he passes through. These scenarios range from a boy who can paint new creatures into existence and a man whose dreams come true through his pillow, to a young girl unable to see in the sunlight and a wintery village where the snow swallows all sound. Each of these cases brings with it irksome and sometimes dangerous consequences for the human hosts of the mushi and those around them.
When Ginko arrives, he uses his knowledge and skills to ease the person’s symptoms with as little harm to the mushi as possible. Sometimes he’s able to coax the mushi out from where they’re hiding with light or herbs, while other times he gives people medicine to tame the mushi or eradicate them from their bodies. Though some episodes of Mushi-Shi have sad endings, where either people or mushi are negatively affected during the healing process, the show always pushes the idea of balance and cohabitation with all creatures. Ginko urges humans to understand the mushi and to learn to coexist with them – since they are all creatures of the Earth, it is crucial to find a balance and live in harmony with the mushi as much as possible.
Ginko’s message is important to remember, especially during these difficult times. He emphasizes to the villagers that there is no use in blaming anyone when mushi cause trouble – both humans and mushi are simply trying to live every day, as creatures do. Sometimes their interactions are harmless, while other times they can bring physical or mental hardship to individuals or whole towns. Ginko’s wisdom reminds audiences that blame is not the main thing to focus on. Instead, it is important to stay calm and allow those with the ability to fix things to take the lead. As Mushi-Shi preaches, though times can get tough, solutions are not as far beyond our reach as we think.
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