Add a Review

  • I think that the negative comments here don't do this movie justice. First of all, I didn't watch this movie with any kind of expectations but that it would have beautiful shots of nature in it, which it did, in fact, these alone would be a reason to watch this movie if you are someone who loves nature.

    Not knowing the manga of which this is an adaptation, I still had little problems understanding what was going on (admittedly, it took me a while to figure out that the little boy's storyline was in fact a flashback of the protagonist's youth, but once I got that, the characters' backstories and relationships were as clear as they needed to be to appreciate the story). A lot of the commenters here also complain that it is never made entirely clear how the "mushi" came into existence. I think that that is not an attitude to watch a movie that deals with mysterious, supernatural things (although the mushi are, in this movie, explicitly not supernatural, but feeding off the very source of nature's energy itself). It is not necessary to know how, for example, the Rocky Mountains came into existence to admire their stunning beauty. Actually, the best mystery movies leave the explanation to the viewer. To have everything explained is boring. If this confuses you and you can't handle that, then you should consider not watching any more fantastic movies. (One commenter honestly criticises: "Imagine watching Star Wars with little or no explanation of "The Force" - things just happen, and you move on." As a matter of fact, it is explained in more detail what the mushi are than Star Wars ever bothers to explain about the Force. Anyway, it doesn't matter what the Force is or what the mushi are; in the film's universe, they exist, end of story. Same applies for any fantastic movie.)

    This movie is not the eye-candy, roller-coaster ride that a vehicle like Star Wars is. If you want to see CGI overkill, this is not for you. But the visual effects of this movie were all convincing, beautifully done and served the cause. So what if the mushi are not fire-spitting dragons or undead creatures with horribly distorted faces? Furthermore, it is true that this movie is slow-paced. But I was never bored at any point, because there was always a plot that was being pursued - yes, the ending left me wondering as well, but as I said above, there's nothing wrong with that, because I like movies that trust in the viewer's intelligence and ability to cope with "sense of wonder". The plot being, among other things, about a search for the inner self, it's obvious that this doesn't take place in a straightforward manner. To have hectic cuts and a fast-moving plot in a movie that is about nature and human, the way they interact and how they can co-exist wouldn't fit.
  • I had the opportunity to view Bugmaster at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. In all honesty, this was not high on my list of movies to watch, but my husband dragged me to it. I am very glad he did. I found everything from the plot line to the animation to be intriguing. The story has been adapted from Yuki Urushibara's relatively recent manga, and is crafted in such a way as to make the viewer believe this is an ancient Japanese myth. The cinematography is spectacular with a terrific blend of animation, colors, textures, and scenery. Rather than cheapen the production, as I thought it would, the animation truly enriched the movie. I was in awe of the relatively flawless addition of the animation to the live action. I'm not sure an actual landslide could look any more real. The costumes with their mix of colors and designs, and the indoor sets were beautiful and a real treat for the eyes. While the movie may drag a tad in a couple of spots, for the most part it was well paced and edited earning a no fidget factor rating on my part. I don't know if the subtitles reflect all that is said, but they give a complete story and are well written. If the opportunity to see this movie should ever present itself, take it. You will not regret it.
  • While I absolutely loved this movie, I feel I'm highly biased. The anime and manga were some of the best I've ever seen as a long-experienced anime/manga fan. I'm more than impressed that something from a manga series could be turned into such a beautiful masterpiece. But it's not for those expecting something lighthearted or fun. It's a very deep, very spiritual, and somewhat slow movie. It helps to have seen other classic Japanese film first. It helps to know something of their culture. Otherwise, I can understand why the film could be confusing to most. Realize that the plot of this film was lifted from various episodes of the anime and merged together in a way they were not originally written, which might account for it being confusing at times. But since I knew the stories already, I had no trouble seeing the genius it took to write it as it was. So this film is simply not for everyone. Yet, for what it's attempting, it hits the mark perfectly. I dare say it even improved upon the source. I was blown away. I imagine that even if I couldn't follow the complex spiritual story I still would have at least appreciated it for it's sheer beauty and originality. Realize also that purpose of the movie isn't about any particular message. It's merely a spiritual journey that is beautiful and unpredictable. The message is dark, but the anime wasn't always like that. I would still recommend the anime first, then watching this movie. It helps a lot. In comparison to the anime it's much darker, much less spiritually moving, and a lot harder to understand. But they really aren't worth comparing since they are done in such extremely different styles of storytelling and medium. Yet, if you enjoyed this movie you will definitely enjoy the anime. Please watch it, it's available on DVD in both excellent subtitles and excellent dubbing (I'd recommend the dub.) And specifically, this movies plot corresponds to episodes 3,7,12, and 20, although I would also recommend episode 1 as an introduction to the series.
  • I picked this film up from a store, almost randomly, with a couple others, so had no expectations and no understanding of the films anime roots. I'm going to echo other reviewers comments in that it is a little slow in places, puzzling and unclear to me at points. But I really enjoyed the scenery, the characters, the story and the gentleness of the film. All the elements sat well together and nothing jarred or seemed out of place: a believable and consistent fantasy.

    I'm sure I missed some of the subtleties of meaning and I wonder if things got lost because of the subtitles. But I'm confident that with a second viewing I'll understand things better and fill in the gaps, and it is worth a second viewing.
  • Already the beginning of this movie is amazing. The mystic forested mountains covered in fog, two people marching through the rain, mystic cloudy shapes emitting from the earth, a sudden landslide, all accentuated by this music. Impressive.

    The cinematography is definitely one of the highlights. The scenery and costumes are also superb. The special effects are simple and of low quality (except for the landslide), but yet they work out very very well. Visually and acoustically the movie is wonderful. For real! I also like the cast, especially Aoi Yuu and Ri Reisen.

    I haven't read the manga or watched the anime, though I was aware it existed, before I watched this movie. But I had no problem at all to follow the storyline. Yet, it is a demanding movie which only works on a spiritual level.

    I think a problem many people will have with this movie is, that it lacks a dramatic structure, an arc of suspense.

    It's not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am incredibly happy that Mushishi was made the way it was - calm, beautiful, moody and seemingly almost timeless. That it doesn't get a higher score is just because I'm exceptionally stingy with my 9:s and 10:s, and I feel Mushishi could've been even more subtle than it was, for example with the music and sounds: instead of using those to provoke dramatic effect, sometimes simple silence is best. I also feel that there was a little too much of forced narrative coherence towards the end, and would rather it had kept just flowing along - which it otherwise succeeded quite well at. Like the mushi themselves, for big parts, the film just is.

    And of course, I'm incredibly happy that things were kept mysterious, without superfluous explanation. It's interesting to read the comments of people who haven't read the manga or seen the anime though, as many seem to think that Ginko is a manipulator of mystic energies. He isn't. He just knows a little more about certain aspects of nature than most people. But that really doesn't matter, I think it's nice it's actually vague enough to allow for such interpretation.

    I love the final shot. Simple, suggestive and beautiful. And I love the dampness and dirt. Wandering hills and forests can be muddy.
  • poe42621 September 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Watching BUGMASTER is akin to watching one of the great Russian director Tarkofsky's movies (SOLARIS, STALKER): one is drawn in and- if one has the patience- thoroughly entertained. At no point in the proceedings does one feel bored (not if one truly appreciates solid filmmaking or sound performances), or disinterested (as long as one has the ability to keep up with some real-time storytelling), or cheated (there is payoff after payoff and even fans of state-of-the-art fx should be satisfied). Otomo has mastered yet another medium. It would be interesting indeed to see a live-action version of his classic manga, DOMU; if MUSHISHI is any indication, it would be well worth seeing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Otomo Katsuhiro's "Akira" (88) was truly a landmark film in Japanese animation and helped to bring cyperpunk animation to the forefront of sci-fi cinema. Unfortunately Otomo's numerous other projects thereafter (World Apartment, Memories, Steamboy) haven't really been able to match nor capture the excitement and wonder of that film. Which brings us to Otomo's current film "Mushishi", a truly bizarre and confusing film and one that is likely to test a viewer's patience.

    "Mushishi" is based on Urushibara Yuki's long running manga of the same name published by Kodansha starting in 1999. It told the story of a young, white-haired shaman/mystic by the name of Ginko who had the unique ability to see ghostly and supernatural insects ("mushi") who would inhabit and afflict their human hosts with a number of mysterious ailments and sicknesses (some bordering on the grotesque). Using his supernatural abilities along with his medical/mystical knowledge, Ginko would travel feudal Japan to cure and treat those afflicted by the strange "Mushi".

    It's one part the "Ghost Whisperer" mixed in with Tezuka Osamu's classic medical thriller "Black Jack".

    The movie is visually very stunning with beautiful locations showcasing the colorful, lush and rustic Japanese countryside. The CGI effects for "Mushi" in particular are convincingly creepy and unnerving. The medical ailments range from the uninteresting (ear infections) to the painful (massive infections, protrusions) to the very bizarre (irratic behavior, tissue degeneration).

    Yet as with his anime projects like "Memories" and "Steamboy" Otomo seems to get too caught up in the visual styling that the storytelling suffers from it. The story is told in a deliberately slow and methodical pace that may try the patience of modern audiences and the MTV crowd already accustomed to more frantic and faster pacing.

    I'm not familiar with the source material, so it was very hard at times to follow the crux of the story. We never are told where these "mushi" come from and/or why they they do what they do which was a bit frustrating.

    At two hours, the movie is overly long and I often found myself struggling to keep awake, hoping for some sort of exciting and climactic event that will hopefully shed light on all of these proceedings. That unfortunately never materialized.

    Odagiri Joe doesn't really do much in his portrayal of Ginko rather playing the character as a atypical, stoic, silent hero who deals with the fantastical events he encounters with a disengaged almost bored manner.

    Manga/comic adaptations are becoming all the rage now with "Death Note", "Dororo", "Nana" and the recent "Ge Ge Ge No Kitaro" having had much success on the big screen. "Mushishi" may be a case-in-point to producers that not all manga were meant to be adapted and that perhaps some stories are better kept to the confines of print publication or anime.
  • ephonk9 June 2007
    I have noticed that the positive comments so far have mostly said 1. "I'm a big fan of the original manga" and 2. "It was beautifully shot". Together, these phrases sum up exactly what's wrong with Mushishi. It is a high production value film that is content to appeal solely to a relatively small subset of its potential audience.

    I was terribly disappointed by this film. It's not that it was simply slow, leaden, plodding, etc. I can fully enjoy a film that does all those things if there's a payoff, if it ultimately makes sense and gives you a sense of there being a complete wholeness to the underlying concepts.

    This did not happen.

    Clearly I don't live up to point #1 - I am not a manga fan.

    OK, so let me say something positive - point #2 is true. It was beautifully shot and the production values are excellent. A very nice film to look at.

    My ultimate impression - if you are not already a fan of the manga, avoid, avoid, avoid.
  • As most people would know by now, Mushishi is based off the manga with the same name, telling the story of traveler Ginko, a mushishi, or bug master. Because Ginko rarely stays in the same place for long, the manga is episodic in nature and unfortunately this is very hard to capture on the big screen that is better suited for grander stories with proper closures. The result is thus so-so at best, with the general feeling that when Mushishi really works it is fantastic, but most of the time it simply doesn't. A big problem why is because the episodic storytelling was attempted to be captured onto the big screen and the result is that we have four different plots but none of them truly relate to each other, making the movie itself feeling rather disconnected.

    The first half almost seems to serve as a very weak introduction into the world of mushi, telling the story of how Ginko arrives in a remote mountain village during a snowstorm helping to cure the villagers from the parasitic mushi called Ah and Um. The general problem with this story is that it almost feels like it is there to take up space, but it does not engage the viewers like the original story did in the anime/manga, nor does it serve to fill any future purpose within the movie. In fact, I feel that if this portion of the movie had been removed and more focus has been put to flesh out the story about Ginko's background in particular, Mushishi could possibly had been brilliant. Now however, what we get is that we meet several characters a time but none of them aside from Ginko are not given much screen time thus making it impossible for the viewers to get to know them. Further, the small slice of life tidbits that are so common in the manga/anime are often not there at all, which unfortunately hurts the movie even more since these tidbits make up a large portion why Mushishi in fact is so enjoyable.

    The result is that Mushishi in general feels very disconnected and there is no unity, and even though the pacing is slow the storytelling yet seems rushed because so much information is constantly left out. Would I not have read the manga and seen the anime beforehand, I am not entirely sure whether I could have understood a larger portion of the story at all.

    However, Mushishi is not all bad. There are some positive aspects, especially the visuals. It is a very beautiful movie and the story between young Ginko and Nui is still captivating and engaging, as the movie attempts to push the story further than it was in the original manga wrapping it in mystery. It is sad this story wasn't fleshed out more instead of introducing side plots that really do not add anything. The acting also seems to be just as much as a roller-coaster as the story itself, where it is sometimes brilliant and sometimes really bad. While it is probably easier to accept Ginko if one had not read/seen Mushishi before, for people who have, he will most likely however feel very out of character in many situations, but in a few, it is completely spot on.

    All in all, it is not a terrible manga adaptation, but it could definitely have been better. In general, it feels what Mushishi lacked was focus. It needed a focused story and it needed focused acting. Most of the time it delivered neither. Unfortunately, Mushishi is not something I would recommend others to watch unless they would already be die-hard fans of the original manga, but even then, I am sure they are to be disappointed. Mushishi has so much story and lore to work with, so it is sad to see this is the result. I definitely expected more than this. I also wished they had kept Toshio Matsuda's soundtrack they used for the anime. I felt it more strongly captivated the constant feeling of astonishment the world of Mushishi is able to induce.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This Japanese film tells the story of Ginko; he is a 'Mushishi' or 'bug-hunter'… these aren't normal bugs but supernatural creatures that can affect the population. As Ginko travels he cures people who have been affected. One day he learns that Tamyu; a woman who records historic details of the bugs has been affected. He heads to help her, travelling with another man who is hoping to catch a rainbow; somethings others mock him for but Ginko understands that what he is after isn't an ordinary rainbow.

    Intertwined with this story is the story of a Yoki, a young boy who is looked after by a mushishi named Nui after the death of his mother. Nui cautions Yoki to stay away from a pond where strange one-eyed fish live. She tells him that her study of the bugs in the pond caused her to lose an eye and her hair turn white. It later emerges that what this story is very much linked to Genko's story.

    The first thing that must be said about this film is that it looks absolutely stunning with magnificent rural Japanese scenery and seamless CGI special effects that look great. The story is told at a gentle pace, some might say it is slow, but that didn't bother me. I liked how the two stories are told and ultimately shown to be linked. At times the story does get a bit confusing but not overly so and the ending is more open than some viewers would like. Director Katsuhiro Otomo did a fine job capturing the story and his cast are equally good at bringing the characters to life. Overall I certainly enjoyed this, I can't comment on how it compares to the anime as I've not watched that.

    These comments are based on watching the film in Japanese with English subtitles.
  • This film manages to capture or evoke roughly the same kind of gentle and mysterious feel about nature and Mushi when I was watching the anime.

    Is it absolutely necessary for one to have watched the anime or read the manga? After reading the comments here and also reflecting upon my own feelings, I guess the best answer I can come up with is: give this movie a try if you are someone who likes to be closer to nature and life itself.

    Despite the slow pace of the movie, you will not be totally disappointed if you are hoping for at least a slightly more engaging story plot to emerge somewhere. You see, after about an hour or more into show, you will find yourself worrying for the protagonist and waiting to find out if he will find his way out of his predicament.

    Honestly, I wish to give this movie a higher rating. However, for the benefit of the those who haven't watched the anime or read the manga, I hope 7 will be a fair point of reference for them.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really appreciate Otomo's Anime works. A thing I can not say about this adaptation of the manga and anime series. Having finished the anime series just a few days ago, I feel utterly disappointed with the movie. While the anime is able to create a meditative and spiritual journey never seen before in anime, Otomo's movie seems to be based at creating a traditional movie about Japanese traditions. Adaptating the manga in this way could have also been interesting, but Otomo completely blew it. However, after reading some of the other comments about the movie my expectations were already low. And I found my worst fears confirmed in the opening scene: If you want to make a traditional movie about feudal japan, don't use a didgeridoo. It is unbelievable ignorant. The next shock came with the appearance of Ginko-San. Seldom have I seen a more displaced actor: Jô Odagiri does not show an inch of the magic charisma of Ginko as he is presented in the anime. In the anime Ginko is constantly smoking (for a reason) and never appears to be weak or making mistakes. Hell, he does not even show emotions most of the time. But in the movie he looks like an average-weirdo and mostly plain stupid. But as if this wouldn't be worse enough, the script seems to be written by a complete ignorant person. Frankly: The way the movie is told doesn't make sense at all. It looks like Otomo or the scriptwriter has taken a scissor, cut the manga and then rearranged it in a way that neither fits to the anime/manga nor makes a good movie. For people who haven't seen the anime, the scenes do not seem to make much sense as there is no real background story. Making things worse for those who have seen the anime, they are using different episodes, but weave them into each other or explain them in a very senseless way. (Like the rainbow episode who seems to have taken the burden to glue all the short-stories together) Something that does not go along well with the anime or manga, as it looks in comparison dull and illogical. If you haven't seem the anime you are therefore completely lost. I gave the movie 2 stars, 1.5 for the beautiful scenery and 0.5 for the music, which isn't that bad. I can't recommend watching this with a good heart. But if you do, it would be wiser to watch it after you have seen the anime, as I think most people wouldn't give the anime a try, when they have seen this flick before. And this would be a shame, as Mushi-Shi is one of the most beautiful animes, ever.
  • plutinium9 November 2007
    The movie 'Mushishi' requires a certain amount of patience to watch, if you're expecting fighting and major heart-racing theme then this is not the movie for you. Mushishi is a beautiful movie, got me to tears. Simply the movie is slow-paced but has a lot of positive points like the animation being used and color textures and mostly being pointed out by viewers are the scenery. At first the movie gets a bit boring but it does get interesting later, it took me while to figure out the scenes with the woman and the little boy was flash-backs of Ginko's past, and the flash-back did play a powerful role in the story of the movie.

    If you're a patient type of person with a broader understanding and tolerance for films, Mushishi would be a film for audiences like so, but if you're searching for fighting scenes or something that makes your heart race from Mushishi then make a pass on this film.

    Another thing is that please do not even comment on films just because you simply hated it or it did not have what you wanted because it's pretty useless to comment on something that doesn't hold your interest, instead simple make a pass and forget about the movie, it'll help calm your unsatisfied heart.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mushi-shi starts out good with plot that's intriguing, but the story goes nowhere and ends incomplete. There are several good characters that show up all having potential to enhance the story, but they just fizzle out and do nothing spectacular.

    The scenery is beautiful, and the movie is worth the watch if you like nature. Jo Odagiri does good job as the title character.

    Is this movie worth a watch ? Story wise, I didn't think so. Visuals is beautiful at the start but as the movie progresses, both the story, and the visual loses luster. It's as though the director got tired and didn't have the stamina to continue the good work that was started.
  • I was expecting Mushishi to be a wild fantastical ride full of snazzy special effects and martial arts. I was sorely disappointed with the latter, and more so when the movie had decided to jump right into the plot of things, with little explanation of what's going on.

    Based on the Japanese manga written by Yuki Urushibara, Mushishi, or The "Bugmaster" follows the trials and tribulations of a young mystical shaman Ginko, who travels from location to location, healing people who are infected by the "mushi" creatures, spreading like the plague. However, the filmmakers decided to have made this for fan boys, and doesn't dwell too long with the backstories or relationship details between characters.

    Started off quite impressively with a special effects shot of a huge landslide, the movie thereafter degenerated into a series of incomprehensible events that signals that the movie isn't really for non-fans. I was confused by the lack of explanation, either through dialogue or visuals, of what's happening. Imagine watching Star Wars with little or no explanation of "The Force" - things just happen, and you move on.

    Come to think of it, it must resembles Star Wars in many ways. You have a manipulator of mystical energy, and have various practitioners belonging to various factions, and you have lineage issues with the lead. You even have a character with horns on the face, like Darth Maul.

    For its length, I was hoping for something more epic., with the potential of being a classic. But sadly that was not to be.