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The main protagonist. A wandering Mushishi, or Mushi Master, Ginko travels the land solving the troubles of those afflicted with mushi
-related illnesses. His analytical mind and somewhat unique stance of 'live and let live' when it comes to mushi
makes him rather effective at his job.
- All-Loving Hero: Ginko is a firm believer that all things have a right to live, and does his best to preserve the lives and happiness of both the people and mushi he comes across.
- Amnesiac Hero: Ginko has no memories of his early childhood, because of a powerful mushi that wiped his memories and devoured one of his eyes, turning his hair white and his remaining eye green in the process.
- Badass Pacifist: Ginko refuses to harm the mushi unless he absolutely has to, but this doesn't stop him from being extremely successful at his job.
- Celibate Hero: Since Ginko can never settle down without drawing too many mushi in, he doesn't exactly have the chance for romance. There are a couple women who are implied to be interested in him, and another young woman actually does flirt with him, but he stands firm.
- The Comically Serious
- Crazy-Prepared: Travels around with a large, wooden backpack containing all the equipment he needs to deal with the mushi.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Ginko has been wandering for as long as he can remember, as he attracts mushi with his mere presence and thus can't stay in any one place for long. It's even mentioned that a few unscrupulous mushishi took him in to use as mushi bait so they could attract more customers.
- Ignored Expert: It's practically a running joke of the series. Ginko is one of the most intelligent and efficient Mushishi in all of Japan, if not the world, and he is well known for his work. That being said, the conflicts of most episodes stem from one of the following:
- Ginko warns a person that something bad will happen if they do 'x'. The person proceeds to do 'x', either out of curiosity or not believing him.
- Ginko warns a person that the benefit they receive from a mushi is only temporary and will bite them in the ass eventually. The person is too attached to said benefit to let it go.
- Ginko warns a fellow Mushishi that they are doing something wrong and is ignored out of pride.
- Ginko warns a person but his strange appearance and status as an outsider generates distrust and he is ignored.
- Ginko warns a person but they don't believe him because they can't see or have never heard of mushi.
- Martial Pacifist: Ginko won't actively harm anyone or anything unless he has no other choice, and even then he tries to find another way.
- Mr. Exposition: In almost every episode, he explains to the Victim of the Week (and the audience) what the episode's resident mushi does and how best to deal with it.
- Mystical White Hair: His mop of unusual white hair was caused by the same mushi that stole his memories.
- Nice Guy: Though serious and focused when it comes to his work, Ginko is kind to both humans and mushi. An official book outright describes him as having a gentle heart and a sense of justice.
- Peek-a-Bangs: His haircut covers one eye. Or rather, the lack of one eye.
- Smoking Is Cool: He's always smoking a special kind of cigarette whose smoke repels mushi.
- The Stoic: Ginko almost never loses his cool, which make the rare moments when he does all the more effective. This even extends to his childhood, where he was just as unemotive then as he is as an adult.
- Supporting Protagonist: Is usually this to whoever the Woobie of the Week is, sometimes only having a couple minutes of screentime in an episode despite being the show's protagonist.
- Vague Age: Because of a combination of the art style and the series' episodic nature, it's impossible to tell how old Ginko is. In fact, Ginko himself doesn't know how old he is, because the memory of his childhood was destroyed by the mushi that he got his name from. He reckons he was about 10 when that happened, though. While years must go by in-story (his trench coat frequently changes color in the anime, not to mention the many times the narration indicates that periods of months or years have passed) he always looks more-or-less the same. As such, he could be anywhere between 20-50. The author's note in Volume 5 says that he's pictured as being in his late 20's, though.
- Walking the Earth: Ginko is always on the move, as he attracts mushi with his presence, which would wreak havoc anywhere he might settle down.
- Weirdness Magnet: Bordering on Doom Magnet. Ginko attracts mushi just by existing, and has to constantly be moving. Were he to settle down anywhere, the place would soon be overrun by an infestation.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Its hinted, though never outright confirmed either way, that just like his mentor, Ginko will eventually succumb to the curse that turned his hair white and turn into another Tokoyami like she did. After all, the curse is said to be inevitable once one eye has turned green...
The resident doctor of a small fishing village and a good friend of Ginko's. His obsession with mushi, despite not being able to see them, and all items related to them tends to get him into trouble.
- Collector of the Strange: He collects items related to mushi, and frequently tries to get Ginko to sell him items from his own supplies.
- Friend to All Children: There's usually a small gang of children following him around whenever he's not seeing patients or hanging out with Ginko.
- High-Class Glass: His most distinctive feature is his monocle. It makes him look refined and, at times, sinister.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He's absolutely crushed when the "mushi fossil" inkstone he bought goes on to nearly kill three village children when they inhale the still-living mushi within it.
A scribe who is responsible for sealing away a destructive mushi by transferring it from her body to written scrolls. She's also a close friend to Ginko.
- Birthmark of Destiny: The mushi sealed away in her body manifested itself as a coal-black birthmark, identifying her as a scribe destined to continue eradicating the mushi curse plaguing her family for generations.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: She had this attitude as a child, not fully understanding why she had to spend so much time cooped indoors studying or why her leg was black and couldn't move.
Tanyu's caretaker and a former Mushishi.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's a tough old lady and isn't above snarking at Ginko.
- Intergenerational Friendship: She cares deeply for Tanyuu and does everything she can to make the girl's life easier. Tanyuu looks up to her in turn.
A young man who lives with a wandering tribe, following the flow of Kouki.
- The Bus Came Back: He returns during the mushishi gathering in "Banquet in the Farthest Field".
A swordsmith with prophetic dreams.
- Driven to Suicide: he ultimately cuts himself on his own sword after some time, having lost his mind to despair and guilt after learning that his dreams were the cause of his town's destruction.
- Reality Warper: This is the real cause of all the "prophetic" dreams he has. His dreams are simply normal dreams, but the Imenonoawai escape his head and come out into the world to make his dreams come true. Unfortunately, this also means that any bad things that he dreams about occur in reality as well, and it only gets worse if he realizes what the Imenonoawai are.
Aya and Ito
- Identical Twin ID Tag: The twins can be told apart by their hair. Aya has sideswept bangs, while Ito's bangs are straight.
A wandering biwa
- Beauty Mark: She has a tiny mole near the corner of her left eye.
- Blessed with Suck: She was born blind, but after the entered her eye, she was able to see things with perfect vision. She was also able to see absurdly long distances, visions of the future, and other things. As time went on, however, she was able to see all of these at once, and as a result she has to keep her eyes shut anyway to lessen the sensory overload. Not that this does her much good when she starts seeing through her eyelids...
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Yes, she and her fellow village adults wanted to burn down their mountain, but at the time that was the only solution they could find, since the Kagebi were taking over the mountain and drying all of the surrounding plants up, and no one even knew those plants were Kagebi until they were burned. The Kagebi were also encroaching on the fields, and in order to survive the winter, the villagers would need as much land to grow crops on as they could get.
Sayo and Kaji
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Sayo, as her son claims. Mind you, he says she was like this before her memory loss, but she's just as clumsy after it.
- Genki Girl: Sayo is a cheerful, pleasant enough woman in the manga, but the anime emphasizes her peppiness.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Ultimately, Sayo loses most of her memories after discovering that her long-absent husband has made another family on the other side of the river. The next time she went to sleep afterwards, the Kagedama took every single memory that's not about her daily habits, herself, or her son. Ginko theorizes that since Kagedama only take memories their host doesn't think about too often, she desperately wanted to forget everything that had to do with the man she loved.
Masaki and Saho
A mysteriously beautiful woman and the landscaper that takes care of her.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: While she's devoted to any one of her crushes, she's portrayed as "fickle" in her pursuit of them. Her previous lover wasn't keen on her desire to come with him out of town, and once she got over him she was yet another victim of Ginko's charms.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are!: Ultimately, her chapter hands her this message. She's been in a funk because her previous lover didn't even take her seriously, and gives consideration to simply letting the Mizu-kagami take over her life. Ginko tries to make her realize that she (and humans) are stronger than she gives herself credit for, and in the end gets rid of the mushi without using her lover's mirror.
Kaya and Yoshiro
A fourteen year old girl who became the rare human Mountain Master, and her worried older brother.
- Godiva Hair: Over time, Kaya's hair went from a short cut to flowing over her feet and several meters beyond that.
- Ill Girl: Being away from nature would make her physically weak at times, but human Mountain Masters in general got weak constitutions as well.
- Wild Child: Years of living alone on the mountain and becoming preocupied with the mountain's concerns has made Kaya a more animalistic girl.