Mushi Shi volumes 8, 9, 10 are apparently the last manga volumes written by Yuki Urushibara, a brilliant female manga writer / illustrator who created one of the most wonderful manga characters of all time, Ginko the Mushi Master. Mushi means "bug" but Mushi are different lifeforces in the universe, they are not specifically insects or animals or spirit beings. They can be innocuous or have a more deadly purpose. Ginko roams Japan over 100 years ago helping people who are influenced by the mushi. Each story has new characters, with only a few exceptions. Each story has an underlying moral aspect to it as well, such as humans learning lessons of trust, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, and acceptance.
I pre-ordered the last volumes because I already devoured the first seven volumes which I purchased awhile ago. Yuki scores again with interesting stories taken from her unique perspective and imagination. I read them all in 24 hours, they were that addictive. I think my favorite was Mid Channel, where two young women communicate via their minds though they live far away. The influence of the mushi allowed them to communicate, even though one of the girl's fathers is against the friendship because he feels the girl is too isolated from society and dependent on her friend of the mind. Ginko gives them medicine so they can live more normal lives and have a friendship that is not so intense. In turn this convinces the father that his daughter does not need to completely alienate herself from her friend but can visit occasionally in a more normal fashion. Stories like these have heart and soul and are quite touching. Also in these last volumes are two more stories told in flashback that reveal new details about Ginko's childhood, a story about a double murder in a family and how it affects future generations, plus a story about Deja Vu that had me laughing out loud while reading.
If you are new to Mushi Shi, please start with volume 1 and go through volume 10. Watch the anime on DVD, created by Artland in Japan. I hope they make additional episodes of Mushi Shi for these new stories. They are just as appealing as the first stories in volumes 1 though 7.
I shall miss Ginko a lot! I just about cried when at the end of the book Yuki wrote, "And now we close the curtain on Mushi Shi and we hope Ginko enjoys his future journeys." Long Live Mushi Shi and Ginko!