When the film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, all tickets were sold out, and some people watched it standing because they did not buy reserved seats.
Director Katsuhiro Ôtomo describes the film as a fable: "The film doesn't have a real climax, it calmly moves toward its end. But that too is very much like our lives as human beings. If you look back at your life, maybe you can point to moments that you feel were a climax or a turning point, but when they actually happened you didn't experience them the same way. Life moves ahead quite calmly and gradually, and I wanted to bring that same feeling to Mushishi."
Ginko's title of "Mushishi" means, literally, "bugmaster"; "mushi" means "bug" (as the Mushi are supernatural parasites), and "shi" means "master" (as in "expert" or "doctor").
Katsuhiro Ôtomo sent a copy of the script to "Mushishi" creator Yuki Urushibara for review, but she allowed him to have complete creative control over the film as a sign of her faith in him.