I couldn’t believe the voice I was hearing. Rukia Kuchiki of popular shonen series BLEACH? Wow. This is definitely a step up for her than some of the roles she has taken on in the past– Lady of Devil May Cry and Shizuka from Vampire Knight. Lately she’s picked a lot of more subdued roles and it’s paid off really well.
Yuuta’s mother is really naive in believing that her son is going to get better after receiving the medicine from Ginko THAT quickly. This proves up-close how the people throughout this series are unaware that mushi can harm someone close to them.
I really like the relationship between the mother and the son here– Yuuta having this delayed speech on top of having a calm demeanor goes to show how different he is from the very woman that raised him. The struggle isn’t that he’s able to swim incredibly well and not able to run on land, that he gets thirsty all the time and has webbed fingers by the mushi’s desire to live but that he is farther away from his mother than he ever has and it’s Ginko that emerges this fact to her.
Family relationships and how this can make such an impact on a story– if I recall I might’ve mentioned this before about a previous episode of Zoku Shou. It is these personal connections like Yuuta and his mother here that make for a devastating blow to the viewer by the ending. This was not a happy ending at all– as we’ve had a lot of them of the course of Zoku Shou. Mushishi often times doesn’t stray away from telling a dark story around light-hearted visuals. The backgrounds were some of the best this series has to offer– especially towards the second half of this episode where the rainstorm arrives and Yuuta wants nothing more than to be a part of it. Two aspects here– the curiosity of a child that wants to belong somewhere and the second being the guidance of the mushi Uko.
Mushishi constantly excels at not only being genuine in its atmosphere but its development in the characters. Without a doubt this episode chose set the focus onto the mother and her own personal issues– she mentions how she doesn’t want trouble and this is due to losing her husband that ultimately started this entire mess with her unborn son at the time. She doesn’t want Yuuta to drown like she did years ago only to relive the pain that she felt after the death of her husband.
I’m not sure who the episode director on this was but they did a phenomenal job at placing the past segment about her near-death experience at the end. Especially since Yuuta has already disappeared– which isn’t exactly explained how but the aftermath was powerful here. She regrets what happened and blames everything on herself for losing Yuuta, but in actuality this reflects what this episode was trying to say. In the middle of this story, there is this touching moment between her and Yuuta where they have this discussion about where rain, clouds, and the sea comes from– she responds with how they may look different but they are the same. Amazing parallel to what Yuuta truly is– as Ginko describes if an Uko goes within a embryo than it becomes more than a frog or a newt than a human.
The last few lines were bittersweet in that she slowly is coming to terms with her son’s disappearance and that he has become one with water– part of the sea, the clouds, the river, looking different and not there physically by her side but will be remembered as just like the other kids. That the huge underlining truth that this episode was progressing towards here is that Yuuta will always be her son. He lived.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10