Mushishi vol. 4 (Del Rey)

mushishi4-header.jpgJust in time for Halloween, Mushishi gives the thrills of spirits mingling with mortals, and the dark chill of what is left after such encounters.

 

 

239 pgs. B&W; $12.95

(W / A: Yuki Urushibara)

 

The mushishi Ginko’s wanderings to help the common people of Japan deal with mushi, mysterious creatures who cause ill effects to ordinary people, continues in this volume. Here, cocoons carry messages across the lands, but conceal the labyrinthine Uro cave-and one half of a mushishi twin-inside. A mysterious bridge that only appears once every 20 years heralds the return of a young man’s true love, but is she really the same person who fell? Flowers bloom in the middle of a snow-covered forest, and a young boy who wandered through sleeps for weeks. Finally, a young heir to a mountaintop village discovers strange wanderers, and learns that the mountain speaks in many ways-and could be trying to warn him.

Click for a larger image.Urushibara’s Mushishi series continues to impress, although this volume’s theme seems to be "loneliness" more than straight horror. In nearly all of the stories the reader is faced with the heartbreak of being separated from someone you love, or being forced to leave the only home you’ve ever known. While this did make for a somewhat depressing read, the storytelling is finely woven and richly illustrated, and the overall moodiness was taken to a higher level. The creepiness of Mushishi also continues to be admirably conveyed, with the same well-applied tones and shadows that made me wonder if the lights in the house hadn’t dimmed just a bit. For any curious about Ginko’s story in particular, volume four also reveals another bit about his early days, and why, even among mushishi, he’s a bit odd.

Mushishi is a good series to pick up for Halloween, or if you’re just in the mood for something eerie. Battling unseen forces that lurk in shadows is always intriguing, but Urushibara’s storytelling and great linework make the volume. I would definitely recommend this series. | Elizabeth Schweitzer

 

 

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