Mushishi Zoku Shou Episode 18

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This was the complete opposite of what the last episode had been in every single way and it still turns out absolutely amazing!  As stand alone as these tales of Ginko’s travels can become I don’t believe I would have enjoyed this episode as much as I did without seeing the previous one about a nurturing mother and her insistent affection and worrying onto her son Yuuta.  However, this is where it turns out to be extremely reversed especially when it comes to establishing maternal relationships, as we are finally given this view of a dysfunctional family rather than a close relationship between family members that we’ve seen in most of the episodes of Zoku Shou!

Reki cries and the thunder comes crashing down–  quite a reflection into how he feels about his own mother here.  Can’t accept him as her own because of the arranged marriage set up by her own mother:  this is where she puts all of the blame on Reki.  Whether the family kept the umbilical chord or not touches on a set of Japanese traditions that have been subtly put into the manga quite well.  According to Japanese culture its common for families to keep the umbilical chord in a wooden box known as a ‘kotobuki bako’.  ‘Kotobuki’ meanning in a sense a celebration of marriage, childbearing, and is a sort of charm for japanese people to live a a long and fulfilling life.

Reki’s father is torn by the fact that his own wife can’t bear the sight of her son and it’s the past scenes where Reki being shocked by lightning numerous times under the tree that allows for this idea to take effect.  Ginko portrays more of a mediator this time between the family–  considering how the mother feels that Reki is angry with her for not loving him honestly and that is why the lightning strikes down.  Calling the lightning as even Ginko refers to it means that Reki is trying to get his voice heard for once in his life and its this episode that uses the Shouraishi in order to tie together the bonds that are broken between this family.  It’s this point that also uses the tree as a protective barrier in developing Reki’s motives with a twist.  I love the reaction his mother has upon hearing this possible idea that Reki is calling down the lightning away from the house in order to protect the family he’s always cared about but has never really shown it.

The cinematography was jaw-dropping to me here–  the quick cuts into black after the lightning strikes when she hugs her son hoping for death just as she was when she tried to drown herself.  A great contrast to what happened to Yuuta’s mother in the last episode.  Also these small cuts provides a nice transition into the satisfying ending–  the Shouraishi gradually flowing out of Reki’s belly to with this surprising look on his face.  Heck this had some astounding imagery with the almost flower-like mushi depicting the pain he’s felt ever since he was a baby not being loved by his mother as he’s covered in the scars by the lightning.  The bruises and pain he’s had slowly vanishing away from his body as he’s at last getting a second chance with his mother and father.  A classic example of showing without telling anything.

It will be extremely sad for me to see this series’ departure as this is one anime that is in my Top 10 Best Anime Series of 2014.  Hands down.


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