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Mushishi transcends anime.

The show presents a sequence of different stories covering themes like existentialism, loss, freedom, identity, peace, speciesism and finding one’s place in a world that is simultaneously different and very similar from ours. While following around Ginko through several places and villages encountering different characters influenced and often suffering by the presence of mushi, creatures that can only be seen by some people. From the soundtrack andsetting to the art and characters, every element of the show excels in creating one of the most unique atmospheres in visual media I’ve ever experienced. In this article, instead of diving deep into a specific analysis of the content, I would rather present to you why and how watching Mushishi has become so incredibly essential and enriching to me.


While talking about the effects of Mushishi and Iyashikei as a genre, talking about mental health is unavoidable. Iyashikei is a genre designed to cater to people who experience negative emotions like stress and anxiety and overcome these by getting lost and being soothed by peaceful fictional worlds for a little while. What is interesting about Mushishi is that even though the stories’ development varies from tragic to melancholic to hopeful, the feeling I’m left with almost always feels similiarly nostalgic and incredibly calming. Around two months ago, when I started watching Mushishi, I was in a phase in which I was frequently feeling anxious and depressed. Anime often functioned as a realm to escape to but Mushishi offered me something that surpassed something which a lot of works try to achieve: intense emotional connection. The different stories touched me and made me feel at ease at times when I really needed it.


Establishing routines is something I struggle with a lot and being someone who likes variety, I don’t think that having everything planned out and succumbing to monotony is healthy at all but a decent structure and reliability in my everyday life is definitely necessary for my well-being. While watching the first season, I managed to watch an episode before going to bed almost every night and I have to say, the atmosphere was magical. To reveal to you my holy ritual, I used to get ready for bed, get a cup of tea, grab my plushie, turn off the lamp, lit a few candles and let myself be captivated by this mesmerizing world.


I think one of the most important abilities humans can acquire is understanding and reflecting on other people’s but first of all, on your own emotions. Being caught up in packed schedules, anxiety and negative thoughts, giving yourself space to calm down and really focus on what you’re feeling is neglected. Practices I did manage to implement in my life even though not as regularly as I would want to are usually stretching, listening to calm music and yoga. Watching Mushishi has become an additional activity that enriches me in that regard.

Even though watching anime seems to be immensely passive, I used the word “activity” because I think due to its contemplative tone and themes, Mushishi is one of the greatest anime to trigger emotional reflection. The series made me feel a variety of emotions and I noticed that through experiencing those on a screen, I experience a certain connection to my own feelings. My personality is not defined by apathy but over time I’ve seemingly gained an avoidance behaviour that makes me suppress certain emotions. Watching anime that makes me experience said emotions in a save and satisfying way is not only fulfilling but has become an incredibly valuable part of comprehending myself and taking better care of myself and I’m more than thankful for that.

When I say Mushishi transcends anime that is not an overstatement but it’s also not an effect only Mushishi has on me. Ping Pong The Animation, Spirited Away, Haikyuu and many more of my absolute favorites are similarly and even more valuable to me but what makes Mushishi so special is the fact that the watch experience is so heavily tied to the specific time in which I benefitted so much from it that I won’t ever be able to think about the show without thinking about my mental health journey.


And last but not least, in addition to all of these really helpful effects of the series on me, there’s something about the show content wise that incredibly inspires me, one of them being self-love. Ginko’s fate is to endlessly wander through the world since he attracts too many Mushi if he would stay too long in one place. As a Mushishi, it’s his job to help people to deal with or get rid of them. Even though their presence can be really harmful, smiliar to parasites, Ginko does not perceive them as enemies or evil because they simply try to live. They are described as ‘life’s purest form’ and in certain sequences they appear incredibly beautiful but nevertheless, he comprehends the risk of them interfering in people’s lives. He respects every living thing and his calm and empathetic nature make him really likeable but besides him, there are various other characters who manage to inspire me to live a life that is fulfilling regardless of the reactions of other people. If no one is harmed and you feel comfortable with what you’re doing, there should be nothing and no one in the world to stop you. It’s a simple but incredibly strong message that some people including me love and need to hear to gain trust in ourselves and I’m really thankful that I’m able to see this message unfold through the series in one of the most beautiful, inspiring and impressive ways.

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