Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Mushishi, Volume 1

Mushishi 1
by Yuki Urushibara
Del Rey (2007), Paperback, 240 pages

Mushi ‘have existed since the dawn of time’ (from the cover)

The Green Gathering or The Green Seat: Ginko investigates the case of a boy whose drawings, because of Mushi, come to life. Since ancient times Mushi have induced fear among humans. Mushi are called Green Things and ‘they’re very close to the original forms of life ... it was after them that the life we see began to branch out.’ (p. 20)

The Soft Horns or Tender Horns: Ginko has to cure a boy with growing horns, otherwise he will die. This time Mushi are called Un, and they eat sounds. ‘When the snow falls at night and the sounds disappear ... you must either talk to someone or cover your ears. If you don’t, your ears will be eaten.’ (p. 63)
But it’s not enough: Mushi called ‘A’ ‘eat the silence that the Un create.’ (p. 72)
In this episode there is the most beautiful drawing in all the volume: a drawing of the deer’s back who is looking at the forest (p. 76). Another beautiful drawing is on page 193: a girl looking at a pool in the mountains.

The Pillow Path or The Pillow Pathway: a farmer’s dreams become reality, so he asks help to Ginko. ‘There are Mushi that live in dreams.’ (p. 102) These Mushi don’t give premonitions, but make dreams come true.
Mushi are hiding inside the pillow, ‘the Japanese word for pillow ‘makura’ is made from combining the words for ‘storage place’ and soul’ (p. 141) So the pillow ‘becomes the path between dreams and reality.’ (p. 142) We have to follow the Pillow Pathway to see the world beyond.

The Light in the Eyelids or The Light of the Eyelid: Ginko is helping a girl because she can’t bear sunlight. ‘Behind your eyelid ... there’s another eyelid. And behind that other eyelid is a place where absolutely no light can get in. That’s where the Mushi are.’ (p. 150)
These Mushi are called Manakonoyamimushi and ‘they use the darkness to breed.’ (p. 164) Only ‘the light of the moon lures the mushi out.’ (p. 168)
‘When humanity managed to enter the light, they forgot how to close their second eyelid.’ (p. 175) In this second eyelid there is the ‘true darkness ... the different kind of light’ (p. 175)

The Traveling Bog or The Traveling Swamp: a mysterious girl is seen in a swamp and Ginko wants to know who she is. A dying swamp is moving toward the sea.
This ‘traveling’ swamp is followed by a girl whose ‘hair was an odd shade of blue-green.’ (p. 186)
Suiko a liquid Mushi are colorless and translucent, although they are alive and can travel. ‘And when this small, life-giving universe nears its end ... it finds its legs and it starts to move.’ (p. 222)

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