Mushishi the movie
It seems like I’m always too late. I missed Mushishi’s release in Japan (2007-03-24). Anyway I did my research and here it is. Carineswan, why haven’t you talked about it?
“[ This film also called “Bugmaster” was directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Akira, Steamboy) is a live-action movie. Fittingly, it is an adaptation of the “Mushishi” manga.
“Bugmaster” is a multi-layered film that tells the story of a young boy as he grows from an orphan into a “bugmaster” (mushishi), a sort of doctor/alchemist who treats problems caused by “bugs”, or spirits. He travels from village to village in turn-of-the-centry Japan, diagnosing symptoms and then selling remedies from a sort of combination backpack/chest of drawers that he carries around on his back. He doesn’t deal in martial arts, which I quite frankly expected him to bust into at any moment. He’s a bit like Caine from Kung Fu, except without the butt-kicking. His first such encounter finds him forced off the road by snow, and seeking shelter in house of the matron who overlooks a small village. Once inside, the lady of the house calls for him to help him with the villagers ; they have all lost hearing in their left ear. He identifies a certain type of bug that eats sounds, and has taken up residence in their ears.
Through multiple flashbacks and non-linear storytelling, we come to find out that this bugmaster, Ginko, was orphaned while he was very young ; he and his mother were caught in a landslide while traveling through the mountains. The boy, then named Yoki, was taken in by a female bugmaster named Nui. Nui wears her long silver/white hair over one eye, just like Ginko will later do. I won’t divulge why this is, since it is the result of something that later becomes pivotal to the plot, but it explains why the pupil later becomes the master.
Ginko encounters pieces of his forgotten past while traveling through Japan, and he also acquires a sidekick along the way a bumbling peasant who is traveling with a large iron pot on his back, determined to catch a rainbow. He joins Ginko, and becomes a sort of de facto assistant to him. They eventually travel to a record-house that contains thousands of scrolls detailing all of the known bugs that have been encountered, and later serves as the setting for one of the films more dramatic, and special effects-filled scenes. Giant iron chopsticks, swirling 3D characters, and bloodletting all together. Sign me up.
“Bugmaster” has a dense storyline that requires your full attention. Add in the fact that you’re reading subtitles, as well as trying to absorb an unusual type of mythology and storytelling, and it makes this a film not for everyone. But if you like Japanese cinema, fantasy storytelling, and interesting characters, you’ll love this film. ]”
from Sundance review, thanks for this critic!