Digimon Adventure (Movie 1) – Believe me, it really is that good!

It’s brilliant to be in this position. The last thing I expected to be writing about is Digimon, but that’s just typical of life; ever twisting, ever unpredictable. So this morning I was reading about Mamoru Hosoda – a rising star of anime who is just now making an international impact with “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (having previously quit Howl’s Moving Castle). Anyone who has seen that or the frankly disturbing “One Piece Movie 6: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island” will know that Hosoda is the real deal; a genuine and unique talent.
The excellent (repeat: excellent) AniPages Daily has an informative article on him and raves at length about his name-making directorial debut on the first two Digimon movies. All I thought I knew about Digimon was that it was another of those annoying Pokemon “gotta buy ’em all!” clones, but in truth, I really knew nothing about the franchise at all, and so I sat down to watch Digimon Adventure (Movie 1) with a clean slate. Besides, the movie is only 20 minutes long, so basically, I had nothing to lose.
Put simply, it’s wonderful. The plot goes something like this; one evening, Taichi’s baby sister Hikari discovers an odd looking egg (it magically drops out of the computer monitor). Taichi’s just a young boy himself, but still, he’s spending the whole day at home looking after his little sister. Suddenly the egg hatches and an odd black shape emerges; it’s a monster! They try to catch it but it hides under Hikari’s bed – she blows her favourite whistle and the monster blows back bubbles, they feed it cat food and it poops on the floor. Over the day, the monster completely changes shape; eventually becoming a small tyrannosaurus rex-like animal called “Koromon”. Not before long, it’s storming through a Japanese city, launching fireballs at passing buses and impressing on-looking kids!
The beauty of Digimon Adventure lies in the way the children interact with Koromon. It feels a lot like a Studio Ghibli production because it captures that rare essence of childhood, where almost everything feels like an enchanting dream; so overwhelmingly full of fluffy fun and adventure. The kids almost immediately befriend the monster, despite the fact that it’s gradually transforming into a fearsome looking fanged beast! A particularly brilliant scene comes when Koromon lumbers outside for the first time; he walks through the street with the baby Hikari stuck to his back, ripping up vending machines and nearly getting smashed by oncoming cars. Hikari tries to clean up the damage but it’s an impossible task.
The message is friendship, but it’s not without a sense of sacrifice and loss too. All in all, this is a magical kids movie that inspires and feels like trip into a colourful imagination. Yes, it’s Digimon, but look past that and I promise you will be impressed.


It's theEnd of the world! Reflecting on Eureka Seven!

It’s taken me two or three months, but today I finally finished watching Eureka Seven. Like whenever I finish reading a book or watching a long TV series, I feel like I’ve accomplished something big, but at the same time, I’ve grown attached to the Gekko-go and I’m not ready to wave good-bye. I adore Eureka Seven, but alas, I must accept this psalm of planets has come to an end — and by the way, consider that an advanced spoiler warning.
Dewey and Holland
One of the more interesting villains, Dewey was not as much driven by his often stated ambition to "take back" the Earth as he was simply unhinged and jealous of his younger brother. Dewey wanted to take back his father’s affection from the favoured brother Holland and when that became impossible, he lost meaning in his life, forever consigned to being a reject. It’s interesting that the he chose the target of his hatred to be the apparently "vicious" coralians; the “invaders” of Earth — after all, baby Holland "invaded" Dewey’s childhood. Even as he put that gun to his head, he was fighting the demons from his past.
Holland’s reaction to Dewey’s suicide revealed that no doubt, despite everything that happened, they still thought of each other as brothers. The look on Holland’s face and his subsequent mutterings suggested that he felt Dewey was not yet beyond salvation; his death was that of a lonely and deluded child, stabbing at the heart of a world that rejected him.
Eureka and Renton
The close bond shared by Eureka and Renton is carried through from the first episode to the fiftieth. It never felt forced or artificial; there was a real sense that they loved each other. By the end, their relationship had transcended physical attraction — after all, Eureka wasn’t even human. Through-out the series, she was battered, bruised, scarred and burnt — she wasn’t stunning to look at, but Renton still loved her just as much. They struggle through insecurity, embarrassment and unknown territory, yet still emerged from the series as utterly likable and heroic characters. It’s impossible not to root for them; they are the glue that holds it all together.
In a few of my previous posts, I’ve passed comment on the allegorical content of Eureka Seven. Indeed, it’s simply a story that, while based in pure fantasy, echoes the past and present follies of mankind. For a moment, let’s look at the conflict between the humans and the coralians — this could be taken as a parallel of the Japanese struggling to accept the increasing foreign population in their country. So basically, Eureka Seven could be seen as an allegorical tale of xenophobia; about how you should try to talk with, rather than attack, the "aliens". Someone like Dewey will manipulate the media, stir up fear and incite violence, but the "enemies" are invariably the same as us; afraid to live and afraid to die.
By the end of the series, it’s implied that Renton and Eureka are to unite, to blaze a trail forwards for the future of mankind and all life in the known universe. I wonder if this was an intentionally vague way of ending the series — when they talk of becoming one, are they literally talking about physically combining as one being? Or rather, is it hint that they are to start a new family — after all, Eureka and Renton conceiving a child will lead to a true combination of both beings.
Favourite opening theme
I adored all four opening themes enough to rock out to them in my car, however, if pushed; I have to say that the punky third opening wins out for combining some wonderfully fluid and atmospheric animation with a straight forward, balls to the wall j-rock anthem. It’s just the iconic image of Renton and Eureka falling through the sky, hand in hand, dodging falling scrap metal and breaking Anemone’s lonely heart.
Soundtrack itself
I’ve talked about how great some of these characters are, and how interesting the story is, but ultimately Eureka Seven will stand the test of time because of its superlative combination of bright, colourful animation with a varied and outstanding soundtrack; it’s like the series was born as an idea when listening to particularly good song, such is the deep intermingling of musical influence with the narrative. Bands like Joy Division are regularly referenced, but, fittingly for a series that contains an impromptu rave scene, the one major point of influence is the varied genres of dance music. Two tracks in particular stand out, "Rainbow" and "GET IT BY YOUR HANDS" — both are energy generating, heart beating tunes which lace together the viewer and the burning emotion at the core of Eureka Seven’s world-effecting journey.
theEND, or bateszi=out
These are my last few sentences on Eureka Seven; I’ve had a lot of fun writing about it, but most of all, I want to recommend it. It’s not a formulaic mecha series, it’s not about battles-of-the-week; it values life, has a positive message and blossoms into a particularly gut-wrenching and epic tribute to love; not love on a superficial level, it’s hardly a "physical" series at all, rather it’s just brimming with feeling, the idea that peace is possible and that enlightenment is attainable. It borders on trippy and loses much sense of comprehensible realism, but this is pure animation, the boundless freedom and the feelings of artists conveyed through the power of a blank page and colour. I love that Renton can dive from an air-ship and surf through the clouds, just as I love that Eureka gradually sprouts wings and can fly like a butterfly.


Discovering Eureka Seven; mecha and dehumanisation

In my previous E7 article, “Discovering Eureka Seven; subtext and pop culture“, I briefly touched on the pervasive themes of war laced through out the series, going so far as to compare it to Akitaro Daichi’s post-apocalyptic (underrated) masterpiece “Now and Then, Here and There“.
As a genre, we’re conditioned to believe animation is for kids, hence, it’s a medium synomonous with innocence. Even as a seasoned fan and knowing full well a lot of anime is intended for adult eyes too, I expect a certain degree of naive optimism. It’s the same with Eureka Seven; we’re seeing this world (largely) from the perspective of two adolescent protagonists, and because they aren’t jaded and don’t understand the reasoning of adults, they have a clear view of life; enemy or not – they see blood, they jump. Eureka Seven explores the exploitation of innocence, showing how children can be used as fearsome weapons simply because they don’t understand the impact of their actions. Up until a certain age, I suppose we all view life as a game to be won; Renton’s happy “playing mecha” until he discovers the mashed up remains of one of his opponents.
Mechas role in dehumanisation
In Eureka Seven, the mecha have two arms, two legs and “bleed” red engine fuel, so it’s fair to assume that they have been shaped in the image of man. Except they aren’t human, they aren’t alive and they don’t feel pain, therefore its just-fine to dismember them limb by limb. Forget the pilots inside, it’s okay to kill something provided it doesn’t look or seem alive.
In the previous article I cited an interview with Dai Sato, in which he reveals one of the major influences behind the war-torn landscape of Eureka Seven was Tibet’s national policy of allowing young children to join the military. The ultimate concern is that if a child is brutally conditioned to believe their targets are “sub-human”, any kind of “normal” moral development is thrown out the window and we end up with a bunch of care-free mass murderers on our hands. Obviously the mecha bleeding, as any “normal person” would, is an ironic jab at the militaries collective attempts to dehumanise the enemy.
Moral horror lies beneath the veneer of innocence
As noted above, we are seeing the world through the eyes of an innocent boy like Renton. Everything looks so exciting and new to him; piloting a mecha is like a dream come true. Of course, such a personal high is violently contrasted with the harsh and disturbing reality of Gekkostate’s true position as airborne terrorists. This shift in mood and the gradual realisation of moral guilt is best emphasized in the changing face of Eureka herself, originally an attractive and healthy looking young girl but now scarred and fragile. No doubt, this sense of exploitation and loss of innocence is the most chilling quality at the heart of E7’s allegoric narrative.
With all that said, one should keep in mind that this is essentially a kids TV show. Characters in E7 still find the time to smile, joke around and be stupid. In reality, that prevalent and undying sense of optimism and hope is rare and extremely valuable.
(NOTE: This was written having seen up to the 22nd episode of Eureka Seven, I’m still enjoying it just as much!)


Seirei no Moribito – Rocks like a bears back

It’s been a few years since I last enjoyed a Production I.G. TV series. The "mega-hit" Blood+ was a safe and predictable action series, while the elegant period setting of Le Chevalier D`Eon was dull and uninspired. All that is to say, I suppose I was expecting to be bored when watching Seirei no Moribito (a.k.a Guardian of the Sacred Spirit); it’s funny how wrong one’s expectations can be, and it’s subsequently great to be proven so profoundly wrong.
Based on the first of 10 fantasy novels by Shihoko Uehashi, Seirei no Moribito follows a precocious female warrior turned bodyguard called Balsa. The story so far is that it’s her job to protect the young Prince Chagum, a kind hearted member of the Royal family who has been "possessed by a water spirit" and since targeted for assassination by his own father (the Emperor). Amidst flames and confusion, Balsa flees the royal palace with Chagum in tow, hunted by the Emperor’s finest warriors.

Let’s get this obvious fact out of the way; Seirei no Moribito is a gorgeous example of high budget animation. With Production I.G., you expect lavish and detailed background art, but rarely do you see such objective, rural beauty in an anime TV series. Only Mushishi comes close to this obsessive reflection of nature. The art director is Yusuke Takeda, who was also behind both the stylised look Gankutsuou and the grandiose feel of Giant Robo. Takeda’s got talent.

It’s obvious that Seirei no Moribito is based on a novel, not only is the story deceptively straight forward and unconcerned with pointless details, the characterisation is striking and unique; the product of a seasoned and talented writer. Chagum isn’t the stuck up prince we expect him to be and Balsa isn’t a cold and efficient killer either, their personalities feel essentially human, different to what we expect.

It’s hard to write a review when you enjoy something so much, but stick with me; I’m not saying all this just to fill time. The director is Kenji Kamiyama, he of Stand Alone Complex fame. Indeed, Kamiyama is a steady and assured hand, never attempting to impose a distinct style on the narrative, preferring instead to let the story unfold at a natural pace.

No doubt, the soundtrack is my favourite of the spring season. It’s composed by the world famous Kenji Kawai, revered for his work on the Ghost in the Shell movies. Here his ethereal, emotional music bleeds into the animation, giving absolute life and emotion to the landscapes and wildlife that surrounds the characters. It’s particularly notable when Chagum scales a slippery, dangerous cliff. At the top, he finds a wolf; the background is filled with rain and lightning, the fearsome animal stands there starring at him, then just turns around and walks back down the cliff. The music during this moment is a heart stopping and tense epic; I need the soundtrack now!
I’ve saved the best for last; the action. I thought Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had some fluid hand to hand combat, but episode 3 of Seirei no Moribito rivals the famous "rain" episode from Samurai Champloo. The warrior costumes, their unconventional weapons (spears!) and the actual battle choreography is absolutely electric. There is no real "style" or posing to speak of; it’s real fighting, skirmishes that are often over within 10 seconds, but what a 10 seconds!

It’s hard to summarise a series I’ve enjoyed watching as much as the first three episodes of Seirei no Moribito. It’s already licensed by Geneon in the US, so expect a DVD release state-side soon enough, and the actual novels are going to be published too (in North America by Scholastic). Since Seirei no Moribito is simply the first book, I can only hope that this is the beginning of another big franchise for Production I.G.


Discovering Eureka Seven; subtext and pop culture

Unawares and unwilling, often the best anime passes me by. Deep down I think I always knew I would love Eureka Seven, but for whatever reason, like I said, it just passed me by. That is, until now. Maybe because it’s spring time; the grass is green and the leaves are greener, and I’m just looking for something fun to watch.
There is no denying it, I’m pulled to Eureka Seven simply because it looks like fun; surfing mecha, blue skies and open, swirling landscapes; a fantastic paradise for wind surfing hippies, and naturally, escapist otaku.
Actually, think again. I am writing this having seen up to episode 9; a particular instalment of this so-called "childrens anime" that involves ethnic cleansing. We see the main character, an innocent-enough young girl oddly known as Eureka, take part in the massacre of hundreds of harmless civilians (some of them kids) simply because those were her orders.
According to Dai Sato — chief writer — the story of Eureka Seven is intended to be a subtle allegory of Tibet, a country where the young people [12 to 16 year olds] have few choices — one of those few is to join the army. Since Eureka looks so nice, and yet, is capable of bringing down such horror, represents an interesting dilemma within herself, and a conflict within the viewer. Is she to blame for her actions, or rather, is it the fault of a system that is scraping kids off the streets and manufacturing mass murderers, because after all, Eureka is just a young girl doing what she is told. Does genuiene free will exist within the young? In many ways, these themes are very similar to the excellent "Now and Then, Here and There" (1999, dir. Akitaro Daichi), right down to how the previously emotion-less girl turned weapon-of-mass-destruction discovers a chink of hope in a plucky young hero; in this case, it’s Renton.
Often being brave is simply being optimistic, having the belief that tomorrow will be a better day. I really adore characters like Renton; you can’t help but admire his optimism, his blind hope and fumbling balance. Like everyone else, he has his doubts, but rather than curl up into a ball of crying emo, he’ll run head-on and jump off a cliff (quite literally). He is a punk rock kid; even named after the lead character from Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. Amusingly, his father’s first name is Adrock (Beastie Boys) and grandfather’s Axel (Guns N’ Roses). Some funky family right there!
The pop-culture references don’t stop with the character names either — for example, every episode is named after a song, episode one is subtitled "Blue Monday" (famous song by New Order). I think that’s really cool, and it shows how much fun the writers are having with Eureka Seven, attempting to create a lasting resonnance with viewers young and old by referencing eras relevant to many generations.
I’ve talked about how Eureka Seven is a show with serious subtexts, but the bottom line is that this is first and foremost just a fun, colourful and vibrant mecha-surfing anime. Renton’s fallen in love with Eureka, and most of the time, he’s just trying to get on her good side. The rest is purely collateral!


Berserk – 3 – The Hawk that soars ever higher

The moustache twiddling decadence caused by extended aristocracy is an issue central to the narrative of Berserk. Regardless of social standing, we all like to dream that we are destined for greatness, to achieve something worthwhile. Aristocracy exists to elongate wealth and protect respect no matter what the cost, and that often includes suppressing the common mans talent to protect one’s position.
The beauty of Berserk, and especially the Band of the Hawk, is that these are classic underdogs who dare to have ideas above their stations, chasing their dreams, doing something important with their lives. The truth, as Berserk is clearly documenting, is that anyone can do anything with their lives provided the right amount of skill and desire. It’s such a romantic concept.
Griffith, the symbolic wings of the Band’s hawk, is talented and has an unquenchable desire to conquer. Despite his peasant roots, he is the future, he is brave enough to fight for his dreams, and others are attracted to that, feel inspired by it or fear it. Most are just content to jump on his back and enjoy the flight; the Hawk that soars ever higher, the view from up there is beautiful, but Guts is different, even now it’s clear that he is a punk, and like Griffith, can never be tamed.
Guts and Griffith are at once the same and totally different, they enjoy true social freedom and unerring self belief, but Guts is a blood thirsty warrior, only looking at what stands in front of his sword, while the elegant Griffith conducts his army like one would a game of chess, his mind calculating ten moves ahead. The early fight in episode 3 between these two is particularly revealing, especially in Guts case – he is completely direct, willing to throw mud, bite, kick and punch his way to victory. He refuses to give up, and in the end Griffith is forced to dislocate Guts shoulder to win the fight, Guts could have surrendered, but replies “Go to hell”. Win or bust.
Episode three marks the end of the beginning, Guts finally joins the Hawks and we are treated to their comradery. The Band of Hawk isn’t simply a group of mercenaries looking for a quick buck; they are friends fighting for each other, dreaming of a better future, this all comes across really well in episode three. As does Susumu Hirasawa’s excellent score, combining his surreal industrial style with authentic medieval instruments and chants – the tracks “Forces”, “Guts” and “Earth” are all used during the episode, and all are essentially brilliant tunes, ever complimenting the poignancy of experiencing the journey of a lifetime.


Berserk – 2 – Sparks fly as the wheels of fate spin

Episode two introduces us to the important characters that make up the “Band Of The Hawk” – in other words, the personalities that dominate the rest of Berserk. The dark-skinned Casca is an exceptionally talented swordsman who just so happens to be a woman. That she commands so much respect amongst her comrades suggests that her power is second to only one man. The white haired Griffith is the leader of the Hawks and a lethal warrior; his strength and ability with a sword matched only by his elegance and charisma. Men follow Griffith because they can see he is destined for greatness, he shines so brightly – the Hawk is a legend waiting to happen.
Between Casca, Griffith and Guts, you will discover the soul of Berserk, the way they talk to each other, the tense body language and variable facial expressions; it all makes for such riveting viewing. Even during this early episode, sparks are flying between Casca and Guts. I should point out that Casca is deeply in love, bordering on obsessed with Griffith – she cannot stand to see his attentions elsewhere, and every second Griffith spends talking with Guts is like another small tear ripping through her heart. She hates Guts because Griffith likes him; basically, she is jealous.
It’s obvious that Griffith is special. During his exchanges with Guts, he talks like an ageless poet. There is no doubt in his voice, no fear, just the unrelenting calm of a man who could be very well be cradling the fate of the world in his palms. Most people are in awe of Griffith, but Guts would happily spit in his face. That’s what fascinates Griffith and infuriates Casca. Guts is an enigma and uncontrollable, a man who only feels alive in the heat of battle. Nothing else matters to him. And as it turns out, nothing else matters to Griffith either, but in Guts he finds a kindred spirit.
I’ve harped on about character relationships in this post but I don’t want anyone to think Berserk is just some boring period soap opera. It can be extremely gory and exciting, as the amount of severed limbs will attest. My favourite berserk moment in this episode comes right at the beginning as the young warrior Guts stands facing a bear-like beast of a man called Basuzo, who is wielding an axe and boasting about having killed 30 people in one battle; Basuzo stands a few yards in front of Guts, mocking him about being young, small and weak. Guts simply straps on his helmet, puts his head down and smiles. It is the grin of a man filling with excitement, starring death in the face, and running head first straight into it. That is Guts and that is Berserk.


Berserk – 1 – An introduction to obsession

I’m just going to come right out and say it — Berserk is my favourite anime of all time. I became an anime fan because of Naruto, but Berserk and its alluring quantities of bloody violence, epic action and tragic friendship immediately captured my heart and held onto it ever since. I still remember having to contain my enthusiasm when first watching it, sometime in 2002 — I so desperately wanted to marathon through it all right there and then, but deep down knew I had to take time to savour it, to consider and enjoy every new episode; I knew that feeling wouldn’t last forever. That’s how much I enjoyed watching Berserk and now, as an on-going (and quite selfish) tribute, I intend to blog-review my way through the entire show. Please enjoy my thoroughly biased perspective.
Having said all that, the first episode very nearly killed my interest before it began. As is the style of Kentarou Miura’s fantastic manga, Berserk confusingly begins half way through the story; there are no proper introductions to the characters, there is no explanation as to what is happening; we are just thrown head first into Guts’ (only known in this episode as the "Black Swordsman") violent medieval world. He is a heartless bad ass, a mountain of muscle covered in armour; he has one arm and one eye, carries a giant sword (capable of cutting through horses) and fires an automatic cross bow — simply put, he is a one man war machine hell bent on revenge.
Guts shows no sign of humanity and no sympathy for his victims; all he desires is to hunt the cannibalistic demons that have presumably ruined his life. Nothing or no one else matters – the only time we see him smile; a hellish grin, is when he is firing arrow after arrow into the butchered face of said demon.
It’s established then that Guts is seriously pissed off about something; right at the end of the episode we flash back to Guts’ past and see him as an energetic younger man (teenager, no doubt). The rest of this anime is now dedicated to discovering the reasons behind Guts’ fall into such haunted monstrosity. And at this moment we are hooked.


D.Gray-man – 12 – Limitless sacrifice?

Like most of its Shonen Jump brethren, D.Gray-man is weakly balanced on a thin line between generic and fun. Just this evening I’ve caught up to episode 12 and feel torn by the somewhat superficial character development. Moody bishonen Kanda is a good example of how utterly archetypal some of these characters are – to put it bluntly, Kanda is a carbon copy of Sasuke from Naruto, right down to refusing to give up a fight until he has killed "that man"; no doubt an older brother much like Sasuke’s psychotic nii-san Itachi is to blame.
It’s lucky then that Allen Walker is an interesting, conflicted and likable main character. Much like Himura Kenshin, Allen is an idealistic pacifist in the wrong line of work. Having been cursed since a childhood, he slays akuma to free the human souls they enslave, but now that his enemies are human too, his job is about to get a whole lot more interesting. That Allen has a heart of gold makes D.Gray-man that little bit more unpredictable and involving, his decisions and sacrifices take on an added weight, knowing that he is suffering through conscience as well as body. All the other characters are basically window dressing, but D.Gray-man is worth watching if just for Allen’s struggle against himself. His face off against sadistic little girl Road Kamelot in episode 12 has been the best so far because this is the first time we really see his philosophy stretched to breaking point, there is even a quite surprising moment when he nearly smacks Lenalee out of frustration (with himself).
Another aspect I loved about episode 12 was Lenalee and Allen happily accepting their (potentially fatal) wounds to protect Miranda’s health; that they did this without a shred of doubt was reassuringly heart warming, and now that she has become an exorcist and all, I hope to see more of Miranda; her power must be both amazing and utterly frustrating — to have a gift to temporarily heal a mortally wounded person only to see them regress back into the throes of death moments later will inevitably lead to some massively dramatic decisons later on.


Mushishi – 26 – And so ends a landmark anime production

As if to confirm its audacious brilliance, central character Ginko hardly even appears in this final episode and it was still one of the highlights of the Mushishi TV series.
Again bursting with its trademark melancholic tone, this was yet another natural blend of touching storytelling that mixes a retrospective and sad human drama with symbolic and vibrant art. An episode that is not so much about achieving an end, but rather growing to accept our roles in life, learning to move on and trust in our friends – an ultimately a positive and beautiful way to send off this most outstanding of series.
I would dearly love to see Mushishi remembered as a landmark anime production, a series that fans of all generations will come to cherish. Minute by minute, episode by episode, it rarely lost my attention. The art, and particularly the beautiful country-side landscapes, were a joy to behold; the lush details and attractive seasonal shades of spring, summer, autumn and winter were all illustrated to great atmospheric effect, allowing the characters and ghosts of Mushishi to grace a stage fit for a dream.
Mushishi is much like watching a dream really, a plain of human imagination where everything has meaning and symbolism, but often sparkles with an odd flourish of unbelievable supernatural vision. The mushi look like faded ghosts, mysterious apparitions wandering, shuddering, gliding through the world bent on purposes we never truly understand. Ginko is by default the “main” character of this series, but like the mushi he hunts, he often wanders through these episodes as a neutral bystander, interfering with characters and using just enough wit to force them into making life changing decisions. Sometimes it ends well, other times it’s quite nasty, but then so is life. If I had one regret about Mushishi, it would be that we still know little to nothing about Ginko. I crave more information about him, how he feels and if he is happy.
We all have our favourites, our guilty pleasures, but this isn’t like that. Mushishi had no faults, it’s not about being a fanboy or obsessing over certain characters, you don’t need to be an anime fan to enjoy Mushishi, it was just a brilliant and magical TV series. A pleasure to watch.