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Mushishi is a manga that was written by Yuki Urushibara. Urushibara is best known for Mushishi and actually received the 30th Kodansha Manga Award for the series. It is categorized as a historical fantasy and has been adapted into both an anime series and a live-action movie. The anime series has won its own awards, including an award for best art direction and best television series at the 5th Tokyo Anime award competition in 2006. The manga started out in the popular manga magazine, Afternoon, in 1999. Forty chapters have to far been released in the manga and there is no sign of them stopping any time soon. The anime, however, had 26 episodes and ended in 2006.



Mushishi takes the reader into a fantastical world, where there is a creature that is called Mushi. Mushi are described as being neither plan nor animal. They are similar to a fungus or micro-organism. Most of the Mushi are hidden from human eyes, but some of them have the ability to interact with people. Ginko is a man who is considered to be a Mushi master. Ginko follows along behind the Mushi in order to research them. He winds up helping the people whose lives have been changed by the Mushi. Because the series is a bunch of small stories, there is no single plot, and the only character that remains throughout the series is Ginko.


Ginko looks different than most humans. He has white hair and green eyes, which apparently occurred because of an incident between him and the Mushi when he was very young. In the series, everyone else wears clothes from the past, while Ginko wears modern-day clothes. The author has not given any explanation for this strange fact. He wanders around because he actually attracts the Mushi, possibly due to the experience he had when he was a child. He does not want the Mushi to harm any of the people in the villages he visits, so he moves quite frequently. He does say, though, that he believes that the Mushi are not evil, but that they are only trying to survive in a world that was not created for them.

It is later revealed that Ginko’s mother was killed in a landslide. Ginko was also at the site of the landslide, but managed to escape, alive. He was found by a woman named Nui. Nui was also able to understand the Mushi, which made her a Mushishi. She took the injured boy to her home and swore that he would only remain long enough to get well. The young Ginko ended up working his way into her heart, though, and she decided to raise him and teach him about Mushis, as a sort of successor when she is gone.

Live-Action Movie

A live-action movie has also been made of the manga. It was directed by Katshurio Otomo, who became famous for directing the well-known anime movie, Akira. Jo Odagiri starred as Ginko and Makiko Esumi took the role of Nui. The live-action movie does not follow the entire series, but instead focuses on episodes seven, twelve and twenty.

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