The title, Mushi-Shi, in essence means Mushi master. Mushi are creatures, for lack of a better term, that are more basic than the most basic of bacteria. In fact, they are essentially ephemeral beings which are tied closely to the energy of life itself and thus most humans cannot see them. However, they interact with various lifeforms in many ways, both positively and negatively, and often when encountered by people cause many strange occurrences to occur. Thus the need for a Mushi-shi.
Ginko the lead character, and only true regular character, is such a Mushi-shi. Constantly traveling due to his irregular attractiveness to Mushi, he goes from village to village and town to town helping those he encounters in there dealings with Mushi. Not selfish, nor selfless, Ginko seems merely to act as a bridge between the two worlds, human and mushi, as they try to coexist.
Due to the constant traveling, the series builds itself upon individual interactions with mushi, almost always involving characters never mentioned in other episodes. The formula then is merely people + mushi, and enter Ginko; however, as simple as that seems the story works, and the show lends itself more to casual viewing, especially with the peaceful music and the lush landscapes present to us.
If I were to compare this show to another, the first one that comes to mind is xxxHolic. Both have sort of a ‘surreal’ quality, and both of the main characters see entities which few others can see. Additionally, each episode of xxxHolic tends to be fairly stand-alone, as new ‘addicts’ arrive at Yuko’s, and the ordeal then begins and usually ends with one episode. xxxHolic does have more of a romantic-comedy streak, even with the occasionally dark undertones that Mushi-shi and xxxHolic share. So while not completely similar, I think if you liked one then you probably should at least check out the other.
Score: 4 out of 5