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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Mushishi Vol. 1 by Urushibara Yuki 
2nd-Jan-2008 11:59 pm
Urushibara, Yuki. Mushishi. Vol. 1. Trans. William Flanagan. New York: Del Rey, 2007.
          Summary: Ginko is a mushishi, an expert on primordial forms of life known as mushi. This volume's five stories tell variously about a woman who became a mushi for the sake of her grandchild, a boy who has grown horns so the mushi in his ear can feed of silence, a man whose dreams come true, a girl whose eyes have been infected by mushi, and a young woman who almost accompanies a liquid mushi to its death at sea.
          Comments: Urushibara is a brilliant storyteller and a gifted artist, her work steeped in tradition and understated sentiment. Her world-building (the Japanese adjective "fushigi," which means both mysterious and wondrous, comes to mind) is idiosyncratic yet entirely coherent and easily-comprehensible, effectively embroidering pre-existing Japanese superstition and myth. Yet, oddly, she was not especially popular in her previous incarnations as a girls' comic artist. Thank goodness Kodansha's Afternoon finally saw fit to publish her work; if she hadn't won the contest that got Mushishi into the magazine as a new serial, she would surely have given up manga creation entirely! I'm so glad that her career, cemented by receipt of a Kodansha Manga Award, is now assured--Urushibara has a gift to give to the world, and now she has the opportunity to utilize her talents to their fullest extent.
          Notes: paperback, 1st American edition, 2nd printing; first published in Japan by Kodansha in 2000
          Rating: 8/10 - One of those rare manga series that resonates with all of the affective spirituality and mystery of the Japanese fairytale.
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