I know I bet a few readers on my blog here are wondering where these reviews on Mushishi have been– it’s always tough to balance real life activities with so many anime series to watch let alone separating those shows from ones that are worth blogging. I actually had some time today to kick back and watch an episode of this and it was relaxing from all the intense series we’ve had for this Fall season. I will say this that I have not forgotten this show at all, but that we’ve had a ridiculously strong summer season and a fairly decent start to the Fall 2014 lineup. Hopefully I can catch back up with this as its one of my favorite shows that I have seen so far all year alongside Space Dandy, Zankyou no Terror and Ping Pong The Animation.
Sure has been a long time since I have talked about this show– how long has it been? I think it has been about 3 months since I have even seen an episode of Zoku Shou. I have neglected this series for far too long, and now with the second half of Zoku Shou airing is as good a time as any to catch up on Mushishi and the slow-paced tales surround Ginko’s travels.
Mushishi returned from what had been years since season 1 even began and in January we were treated with a 1-hour special, a fantastic story about a young girl that is affected by the sun and all the weight the sisterly relationship carries on her family and the rest of the village. Earlier this year in April we were given another season of Mushishi entitled Zoku Shou as the English translates to Sequel Chapter– since the previous episode 8 that I had last seen, we’ve had quite the diverse anthology of stories that depict Mushi affecting the livelihood of humans with Ginko as a kind of revolving intermediary between the two species.
People losing senses, a family over generations chopping of heads and swapping them to procure the mysterious beauty of a young woman, an overzealous seafarer that can control the wind to what we had in this episode. All these stories have been entirely unique in their plot and how they move forward– here we had this man Houichi working day and night but never gets exhausted. I must say his performance by Akira Matsushita was exhilarating– only worrying about the village while maintaining its peaceful days of longevity for the sake of its inhabitants including his family was very realistic.
Typically with a Mushishi episode, we are shown and even told the background of its minor cast members: as that is what this anime carries in strength so well– returning after all these months this episode did NOT disappoint one bit for me.
For Houichi’s father to dispel any sort of malarkey that Ginko was explaining to him about Houichi’s symptoms to the belief of a mushi’s involvement pointed out that the family shared a secret. Setting aside the actual heart of this episode– was this the third series to have an episode that contained this centralizing theme of family mysteries? First was Shingeki no Bahamut, then Garo, and now this? Strange to see a few similarities with these two shows of this season and with this episode of Mushishi– a primary focus on children being hidden from the honest truth either by themselves or their parental figures. Just though I would point this out, as its an interesting trend I’ve seen as of late.
With some of the past episodes we’ve had some quite disturbing ones, but here it was solely on the focus of Chiyo’s death and her undying wish to never have the truth revealed to her son, Houichi. This was powerful, because we saw a young Houichi in the past segments be swayed in by her mother’s unnatural nurturing abilities– in other words he was being taken since he was a child by the mushi Chishio a milk tide.
Ginko did not do much of anything here as for all the episodes that he’s portrayed in this manner it works out very well in developing the true nature of its individual side-cast of characters. He acted as an intermediary as he did in the previous episode about doing the right thing in order to improve the afflicted person’s behavior or even way of living.
With Houichi here, his father played a pivotal role in posing a question to his son carrying the Mushi milk– to hold onto a power that nourishes the village and its people, or to absolve himself of the very mushi that killed his mother? I love the transition from the abundant farming culture that the Chishio improved with its host to the harsh winters the villagers experienced. Perhaps this was to illustrate that Chiyo was able to be at peace knowing that her son has accepted the truth. Watching over him as he’s gradually liberating his adversity of the past caused by her.
Such an amazing episode to bring myself back into the compelling lore of mushi and the authentic perspective of human connections.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10