Manga Review: Mushishi Volume One

Mushishi Volume 1 is a manga with the story and art by Yuki Urushibara. Del Rey holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States, and this manga volume was published in 2007. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was translated and adapted by William Flanagan. Mushishi is rated “OT Ages 16+.”

Mushishi Volume 1
Written by: Yuki Urushibara
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: January 30, 2007

This manga series features mushi, and they are creatures that display supernatural powers and have an ethereal nature. Most humans are incapable of perceiving the mushi; however, there are a few who possess an ability to see and interact with them. The manga follows a man named Ginko, and he is a mushishi; he has the ability to not only see the mushi, but he can also usually figure out ways to help people who have mushi disturbing them in some way. During this manga volume, Ginko encounters a man whose drawings come to life if he draws with his left hand, a young boy who has soft horns coming out of his head and is always hearing noises, a man who is having prophetic dreams, a girl who has an illness that has made her lose her eyesight, and a young woman who is traveling with a moving swamp.

I really enjoyed Urushibara’s art style. The character designs have a unique feel to them. My favorite character design has to be for Ginko. He looks like he’s personable, but with the hair that covers one of his eyes, he also exudes a “mysterious” feel as well. The art has a “clean” feel that’s easy on the eyes, and it’s also rather easy to follow which panels you should be looking at as you’re reading the volume.

I also enjoyed the storytelling in this manga, especially the way the character of Ginko explains what’s going on without “talking down” to the audience. There are also unexpected twists that appear in some of the stories. In addition, each of the stories presented in this manga make good use of its limited space to develop the characters that Ginko helps so the reader feels invested in their stories. By the time I finished reading the first volume of this manga, I was interested in reading more. If I can ever track down other volumes of this manga through the library, I will have to check them out and read them.

In order to write this review, I checked out a copy of this manga volume through the King County Library System.

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