It seems no matter what time period we are in, Tokyo always seems to be at the center of attacks from massive monsters in Japanese film and literature. Pretty much to the point where we have a name for these types of monsters: kaiju. But unlike giant monsters of the modern world, Mushibugyou introduces kaiju that are different from walking nuclear waste disasters.
In this series, Edo (the city where present-day Tokyo resides) is threatened by none other than giant insects! And here in the city of Edo is where we will find the Mushibugyou (literally the Insect Magistrate) whose ministry is mandated to protect the capital from these monsters who have thus far taken control of many parts of feudal Japan! The office’s newest recruit, Jinbei Tsukishima, joins a ragtag group of the most unique warriors, including a hard-to-get kunoichi, a drunken fugitive and murderer of 99, a boy who is actually afraid of insects, the typical emo guy the main character looks up to, a vice captain who doesn’t show his true ability easily, and of course, the insect magistrate whose identity is concealed to our main character, even though everyone else knows exactly who it is!
As one might expect from this kind of series, there are a lot of giant insects that stand in our protagonists’ way. Among them are some fairly popular ones from Japanese lore like Jorogumo, or ones that are inspired by resident insects like centipedes, moths, and cicadas. Throughout the series, of course, there are more than just giant insects that our heroes have to worry about. In fact, later parts of the two-season anime include the insect hunters, essentially the pirates of the insect-slaying world; and insect men, who are made up of Yukimura Sanada and his Ten Braves, resurrected from the dead as human-insect hybrids!
But if there is anything I can’t stress enough about this series, it’s the main character Jinbei Tsukishima. With other popular action anime heroes whose names I won’t mention, many of them don’t get superpowered to face the threat to civilization for a long time. And I do mean a LONG TIME! Others, meanwhile, seem to be completely badass from the gitgo, which is also kind of boring in its own right (not that these kinds of heroes are terrible; they are what they are). For Jinbei, however, we already know he’s a lovable idiot, so we can appreciate that he can go from a novice to the hero of this tale in 2 seasons, not 20! If that isn’t reason enough for you to check out this fairly typical boy hero, I’m not sure what else to tell you.
So if you like action type shows about a boy’s journey to kick monsters’ butts, enjoy watching historic parodies of feudal Japan, or have a stomach for giant creepy crawlers, check out Mushibugyou. It’s fun, it’s cool, and compared to the overtly popular things like it, it’s short!