Mushishi Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN: 978-0-345-49645-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Mushishi

Mushishi Vol. #03

By Greg Hackmann     April 03, 2008
Release Date: February 19, 2008

Mushishi Vol.#03
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuki Urushibara
Translated by:William Flannagan
Adapted by:William Flannagan

What They Say
They live on the shadowy border between the possible and the impossible: ancient life-forms known as mushi. Rare is the individual who can see them, but those with that special ability, the mushishi, can counter the creatures' deadly effects on humans. After a young boy is orphaned in the forest, he is saved by a reclusive female mushishi. But the lake near the mushishi's home holds a deadly secret, and the boy must find out what it is before his only friend is lost forever.

The Review
After a seven-month hiatus, Volume 3 of Mushishi is finally here; and it brings with it a slight increase in length. The bulk of this bump in page count is due to the extended closing chapter, "The Fish Gaze". Apart from being noticeably longer than the book's other four chapters, "The Fish Gaze" takes us on an interesting change of pace by giving the reader a glimpse into Ginko's background. Although the "twist" at the end of the story is kind of obvious from the get-go, we're also handed answers to some minor story points that I was curious about (such as why Ginko only has one eye).

The remainder of the stories follow basically the same pattern as we've seen in earlier chapters: Ginko wanders into a village affected by mushi, details the particular mushi's history and habits, and more often than not provides a way out of the situation. That's not to say that there aren't some interesting (if incremental) variations on the basic theme here. A couple of chapters -- one featuring a mushi in the guise of a seed, and another about a cloud-like mushi -- feature imagery that are a tad grotesque and pretty surreal, even by Mushishi standards. We also get hit with the blunt end of the morality stick in the volume's middle chapter; it's a definite change from the light touch Urushibara has used up until now, even if it's not necessarily a positive one.

But by and large, Urushibara is following the time-honored advice of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Mushishi being the highly-episodic kind of manga that it is, there really aren't any marked shifts in story here that would alienate the existing audience (or entice naysayers, for that matter). Despite the minor tweaks in tone noted above, this release features roughly the same type and quality of creative storytelling that we've seen throughout the series thus far. Existing readers will definitely want to pick this release up; and if you haven't given Mushishi a shot yet, this is as good a place to start as any.


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