Posted by psgels on 20 March 2006 with categories: Mushishi



After the disappointment of episode 19, episode 20 totally makes up for it. The theme is kindof heavy this time. Normally, mushi aren’t really evil. This episode deals with a mushi who is. Ages ago, it had been sealed, after attempting to kill all humans and animals. However, the sealing just set the mushi to sleep, it didn’t kill it. There’s also the fact that the mushi was sealed in a human body. When that body dies, the descendants of that body will carry this seal over. In contrast with Naruto, the bearer of the seal doesn’t gain any superpowers, but a part of their body turns pure black and unmovable, making them unable to use it. In this case, the black part was just the right leg. But the first bearer had it all over her body.

Anyway, in order to kill the mushi, the bearer has to write down stories of mushi dying. That’s the weak point of this mushi. It just takes one heck of an amount of stories in order to do this. Even three generations haven’t been able to. The girl in this case will most likely also have a nice way to spend her time for the rest of her life. The introduction of this episode was just so sad. After all, living up, firstly not being able to play with other children because of a certain black leg, and secondly having to hear all kinds of stories about death. I’m not sure, but that doesn’t seem the best way to grow up. But then again, if she doesn’t do it, the mushi will consume her. In other words, she’ll die herself.

We also get to know that there are also Mushishi who don’t value the life of the mushi. Ginko’s stories about mushi not dying during his adventures were a first case for this girl. I didn’t expect a thing like this. From all the Mushishi I’ve seen in this series, they all seem like a bunch of pacifists, who value the life of every creature.

It was also very nice that we got to see an image of Ginko that we’ve never seen before. After seeing the two of them talking at the end of the episode, they seemed like a nice couple. Speaking of that, we had a rather unique ending this time. While it was just as great as the other Mushishi-endings, it lacked a climax. The fact that the girl has been doing this for probably more than thirteen years shows how she came to accept her tasks, and how she learend to live with it. Because of this, and ending like that is possible.

4 Responses

  1. marconius says:

    I call this episode “Ginko In Love”…I think she was perfect for him. :D

  2. KaminaLives says:

    I have to agree. We don’t get to see very much into Ginko’s personal background and emotions regarding his life as a Mushishi; normally he just does his job and goes on his way, fearing to stay at any place for too long.

    Episode 12 was an exception (loved that one and this ep too) as we got to see his origins, and in this one we get to see Ginko forming a deeper connection and emotional attachment to another character (something that’s only hinted at with other characters, such as Aya in the teleporting cocoon epo and the collector guy with the monocle, and there was that girl from ep 15 who seemed a bit clingy toward Ginko but he didn’t seem to return her affection and only wanted to help her brother and move on again).

    Tanuya seems like the perfect complement for Ginko; despite her tragic destiny of having to be burdened with the sealed mushi and subsequent handicap, she’s accepted the hand that fate has dealt her much like Ginko has (with his missing eye).

    They mirror one another too very well; where Ginko is forced to be a transient, moving from one place to another lest he attract too many mushi toward him, Tanuya is forced to be sedentary and bound to her library due to both her responsibility and handicap. I also like how Ginko favors his crinkly ol’ grifter cigarettes while Tanuya has her very elegant smoke pipe. Subtle touches like this add very much to their characters.

    Plus Tanuya’s abilities regarding the power of the written word is very powerful emotionally and neat to see visually (it reminded me of the word-based spells used in Le Chevalier D’eon). Grabbing inked words in which an evil spirit is trapped using glue and chopsticks; brilliant!

    I’m about to marathon the last few eps of Mushishi after writing this. I really do hope Ginko and Tanuya end up together somehow despite the tragic destinies thrust upon them.

  3. kokutou says:

    Amazing…

  4. kero says:

    marathoning mushishi at the moment.. agree with above comment

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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…

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