The past few days have been a mix of wonder and difficulty. On one hand, I came from the long weekend having accomplished more on my graphic novel than I had in weeks, which felt really good. On the other, I’ve been thrown back into the daily grind, and it is not sitting well at all. I’ve never been good at balancing my creative life with my gainful employment, at least not since they stopped being the same thing, and I suppose that problem is simply more pronounced coming out of a long, creative weekend. Someday perhaps I’ll be able to manage this balance (or perhaps the two things will be one again), but that day is probably pretty far off.
To distract myself, I will talk about anime. Surprised? As predicted, we did finish the entire series of the Mushishi anime, and I have also now read the first volume of the manga.
There is really no way for me to properly express my love for this series. Its universe is so beautiful and full of mystery. I’m also constantly struck by the poignant (and often ugly) humanity in this series, which is especially interesting considering that it is a story that revolves around non-human entities. I suppose that’s only half-true, and perhaps that is the real secret to the charm it holds for me. With both the mushi and Ginko at its center, this series is able to explore both the human and non-human in juxtaposition, for it is Ginko’s humanity that is his most prominent characteristic, evident in both his strengths and his weaknesses.
As a mushi-shi, he is tasked with maintaining a balance between mushi and humans, and especially to help humans who are affected to be able to continue living amongst other humans. His desire to do this is great, despite the fact that in many ways he is more like the mushi. As a person who attracts mushi, he can’t live with other humans without eventually affecting them in dangerous ways, and so he must always be moving, never allowing himself to get attached or to truly become one of them. But he is not mushi. He is human. He is so human. And unlike the mushi, he really, really wants to. For me, his journey is both inspiring and heartbreaking, and it could never have affected me so much if he was not so bound to his messy humanity. There are so many layers to this series, and though Ginko’s personal journey is just the topmost of of these (that I look forward to exploring in repeated viewings, as well as through the manga), I think it will probably always be special to me.
Volume 1 of the manga actually contains quite a bit of insight and information, particularly regarding the nature of mushi, that is not clear in the anime, and I expect that additional richness will be present throughout. I look forward to reading more. It is interesting to note that Ginko seems to be drawn a lot younger than he is in the anime, at least in this first volume.
I feel like I could talk about this series forever, but my time is up for now. Perhaps I’ll have more to say at a later date.