Hidden Gems – Manga Reviews: Mushibugyo

Mushibugyo  is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiroshi Fukuda. A second series,Jōjū Senjin!! Mushibugyō, a retelling of the original series, started in 2011. An anime television series adaptation premiered on April 8, 2013.

Now, why would I consider this as a hidden gem if it’s got a second series and an anime? The thing is, the anime butchered the series. Some may have liked it, but personally, it is a half-ass version of what I expected it to be. The anime was supposed to be produced by the same company that made Katanagatri. When I heard this, I was freaking excited. I was ready for some fast action and bright colors. However, what I instead got was a terrible and cheaply animated series, which was just as mangled and torn apart as Medaka Box or Binbougami Ga.

Jinbei and his legendary smile.
Jinbei and his legendary smile.

The series revolves around Jinbei, a young samurai who joins the city patrol, under the Mushibugyo. Their job is to extinguish any monster bugs that plague Edo. Along the way, Jinbei is accompanied by a former hunter, a mercenary, a shinobi and some sort of paper magic user.

The first few chapters revolve around Jinbei trying to adjust the city and his new companions. It does a decent enough job introducing the characters, as well as giving some background about them. It then later progresses on and gives more plot to the story, further expanding the background of the Mushibugyo and a bit of its history. Jinbei is the very center of this series. While his happy-go-lucky nature has been used to death, he is a very, VERY optimistic character who prefers to see the good side of people. However, this some times reaches the point of idiocy. Regardless, the optimistic nature is surprisingly adorable, as the other characters find themselves slowly warming up to his innocence and eagerness to learn, despite their own personal flaws. It is an interesting story, very shounen like.

Now what makes this really shine is the art. The style is also very shounen, but it does well to keep the entire series look lively and striking. Despite being black and white, the series looks incredibly colorful, which is one of the things that disappointed me about the anime. The manga itself looked far more colorful than the animation. The action scenes also give a very intense vibe that makes it look more animated than the anime. The art is the highlight of the series and is the main reason why the anime disappointed me.

How is it possible for the manga to have more life than the anime?
How is it possible for the manga to have more life than the anime?

Overall, Mushibugyo is a series fit for anyone who enjoys shounen. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this just to anyone. The series knows who it wants to target and it targets the audience well. For anyone who likes shounen, pick it up. For others, I suppose it would be okay for a quick read.


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