Poignant Beauty

Courtesy of Imageshack

I wanted to post about an anime series I have only recently encountered through Netflix’s streaming.  This series has become one of my favorites because of its simple poignant beauty in style and story.  Unlike most anime movies or series, there is no overall plot goal and the stories can be taken almost independent of each other.  What ties them together is the interaction between humans and the creatures known as Mushi, which exist outside our reality yet interact with it in profound ways.

The series does not dwell on whether the Mushi are good or evil, but on the results of the interactions between humans and Mushi as we do with nature.  While there are very sad consequences to these encounters, they do not denote a conscious effort on the part of the Mushi to achieve them.  They just do what they do like a wolf put among a flock of sheep.  The episodes don’t always end with a happy outcome just like the reality in which we live, but the feelings invoked for the individuals being affected are deep and loving.

One of my favorite episodes deals with a son chasing after rainbows because it was the way he chose to deal with the fact that this is what his father did.  During the episode we learn that the son’s father had been influenced by a Mushi that took on the form of a rainbow that drove him to continue to seek out the Mushi, going mad every time it rained.  The story showed the suffering of the family and their fight to cope with the father’s problem.  The father was never saved; however, the son was able to find a measure of peace.

What I liked most about the series, besides the soft watercolor style of animation, was the character driven stories.  The struggles of individuals in an indifferent and yet wondrous world and all the baggage we bury ourselves with.

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