First Impressions – Mushibugyou

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Here’s another one that was pretty far off my radar screen, but…

I wasn’t expecting to find too much to interest me in Mushibugyou, which is why I didn’t include it in the season preview post.  And especially after the hatchet job RC did on it (Hell hath no fury like a manga reader scorned) I came into the preview expecting the worst – except for some reason I can’t say there was a tiny nagging notion that it might just be better than it looked.  Well, for me at least, it definitely is.

Maybe that notion at the back of my mind sprung from a tenuous connection in premise to Oh! Edo Rocket, which is one of my favorite anime of the last several years.  Mushibugyou isn’t much like OER really, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.  I like a lot of things about this show, starting with the music by longtime veteran Oda Tetsuro, an interesting blend of electric guitar and traditional Japanese string and wind instruments – sort of like Edo-period Japanese music if it were re-imagined by early-80s Jethro Tull.  I also like the cast, led be Kenn as male lead Tsukishima Jinbei and Akesaka Satomi (a very underrated comic actress) as love interest and tea-shop girl Oharu.  Also making appearances are Mamoru Miyano (as Jinbei’s future boss) and Koyama Rikiya (as his Samurai father), among others – with future appearances by Jun Fukuyama and Han Megumi also on tap.

We’ve certainly seen the story of the hick samurai who comes to Tokyo to prove himself to his father done many times in anime.  The twist here is that Edo is overrun by giant insects, and at the insistent suggestions from the public the government has established the Ministry of Insect Management to try and combat the threat.  The first ep is pretty violent, with spiders sucking the juices out of human victims until they’re empty sacks of skin and bones, but it has an energy and boisterousness to it that I find quite appealing.  The animation from Seven Arcs is nothing fancy, but director Hamana Takayuki (Toshokan Sensou, PoT, Moshidora) keeps things moving briskly, introducing new characters and concepts without grinding the story to a halt.  The look of the series is quite attractive as well, a bit of Ukiyo-e and a bit of manga with a fanciful impression of old Edo.

I guess I’m fortunate in that I haven’t read either manga this series is based on, so there’s no chance of being disappointed in the way any aspect has been adapted.  For me Mushibugyou is simply fun – it has some wit, a lot of energy, and the staff and cast involved are top notch (and it shows).  There’s always room in my viewing schedule for series like that, and if this one maintains the spark of the premiere I’ll definitely be following it.  Whether I blog it is a much more complicated question, and one I’m nowhere ready to hazard a guess at the answer to.

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  1. A

    I went into the episode with no expectations at all and I thought it was fine.

    Saw the review on RC, and yeah, it was a bit unfair to say it's not good. Then again if it's an adaptation there will be bound to be comparisons to the original work.

    Giving it a few episodes to see where it goes. The colors they use are nice.

  2. Well, I've been royally pissed at anime for making major changes to manga I loved before, so I get where that came from. As a matter of personal policy I never tell people not to watch something, as I think they should always do so and decide for themselves – but that's just me.

  3. A

    Yeah, while it's understandable to be pissed if said anime isn't faithful or goes into a different tangent altogether, for me if it's bearable enough to watch,(fillers aside), I'll give it a chance. Like you said, different people have different tastes.

    On another note, this spring season is turning out to be strong. Lots of surprises and impact premieres.

  4. i

    Ookubo Rumi, she sounds exactly like Shizuka Itou.


  5. R

    Sometimes surprises do come from having no expectation — this isn't as bad as I thought, and I will stay for a couple of episodes before deciding.

    Talking about adaptation, sometimes I find that if the story is good and characters are engaging, I don't mind an anime taking a detour from the source material. Having said that, I also had bad experience when the adaptation made a change to the source material that I loved — and most importantly — made the story worse…I was not happy at all, if not bashing the adaptation.

  6. M

    It's not bad. I can definitely see why Stilts would be disappointed (seems like they've taken a similar tactic to Hourou Musuko), but it's not a total write off yet. I'm not totally sold on the arbitrary magistrate designs, but the art style is consistent. The music wasn't quite as special.

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