Mushishi – episode 8

December 26, 2005 on 5:42 pm | In Mushishi | Comments Off on Mushishi – episode 8

“From the Sea Border”

Tragedy is coupled with hope for this tale of love, loss and redemption. Thanks to time dilation, this episode features one of my favourite theories, albeit one more often applied to space.

In his travels, Ginko meets Shiro, a man who has watched the ocean for two and a half years. Shiro lost his wife in a bizarre mushi related incident and has since waited for proof of her existence. Ginko returns six months later to find that Shiro has begun to move on – but that the nature of the mushi will force the past back upon him.

I’m liking the “adult” stories of Mushishi, because they greatly emphasise the place of desire in the spectrum of human emotions, with this episode being no exception. Who has not regretted something and then never had a chance to set it right? This is exactly Shiro’s plight, as he has felt the repercussions of his actions for every one of those 1,000 days.

The time lapse inherent in this episode lends greater weight to the situation, with Shiro forging a new life and gaining the trust of the people who live on the island. The idea, then, is that even the slightest nudge can set off an old obsession and force the abandonment of everything else. Ginko is little more than a blow-in who can comment on the mushi nature of proceedings, but Shiro’s understatedness carries the story well enough.

Unfortunately, while this episode has some excellent colour design, the long shots are lacking. For even standard distances, there are several shots where peripheral characters have no faces at all. It’s a way of placing the emphasis on the more important characters, but it feels unnatural. Because it happened only in the haze, I shall let it pass.

Still, one thing confuses me about Mushishi: the fact that sometimes a female narrator sets the scene, sometimes Ginko himself sets it, and sometimes the scene speaks for itself. I don’t mind Ginko, but I find the narrator somewhat intrusive.

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