The animators at ARTLAND did wonderfully at creating the mirror-like world that Izumi is lost in. The Light Vein makes another return here and it was just as beautiful as it had been before in previous episodes. However, it’s used in quite a different way than when young Ginko encountered it previously.
Izumi locks away her memories and rests in the light vein and when Ginko arrives in the mysterious world this slowly gives the viewer the occult detective perspective this slow-paced story needed to lift off. For in regards to the house, the doll among other aspects of her being are gradually getting realized to the viewer that things are out of balance or rather in this case misplaced literally and figuratively.
Mizuho was probably the best character here because what introduces her is the doll that connects both sisters. A bond between sisters just like a bond between friends from the last episode we had, tons of parallels here seem to remain. Great to see, because we now can get a glimpse at how far Ginko can go at helping humans. To Mizuho, she is looking for her doll that has been moved by Izumi, in her mind she hopes of reuniting with her sister once again.
Incredible sound effects especially when Ginko materializes between worlds and when the family calls out to Izumi from the well and smoke flies upward. Kiyotaka Kawada, sound effects engineer for numerous series including Nighthead Genesis, Aku no Hana and the most recent being Akame ga Kill!, however this series is miles ahead from any other work he has ever done. Helps that there very strong story around a relaxing style of animation. Also want to point out the sound effects from the rocks covering up the mushi in the well– such amazing sound right there!
If I recall from any episode we’ve ever had of Mushishi, there is a theme by the end of this that plays out from the very beginning of the first season of Mushishi and now this episode– in order to save someone you have to have the desire or in the supernatural world this show has built itself around a belief that those that have been afflicted by a mushi can return home.
Powerful, because right at the get-go the father has a skepticism about Ginko’s methods and even his profession– mushi don’t exist. This did allow for a lot more drama to pull through and is what saves Izumi’s life and in an emotional sense Mizuho to believe what she’s been doing all this time– hide and seek with the doll between Izumi– very genuine.
A theme real quickly I want to point out here that I’ve noticed from this second half of Zoku Shou is ‘curiosity’. Izumi returns to the well after having been stuck in a world that is not her own away from her family and at the very end gazes at the glowing mushi flying up from the well and out of the pipe. Almost as if it’s a last glimpse at an obscure journey that has ended for her and one that she will talk about for the rest of her life.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10