Mushishi – episode 9

January 16, 2006 on 9:23 pm | In Mushishi | Comments Off on Mushishi – episode 9

“The Heavy Seed”

For all the talk about how depressing Mushishi is, and that all of the episodes lack happy endings, I find that the primary message of this anime is hope. Despite the themes of death, the ultimate feel of this episode was optimism and assurance.
An excellent course to stay.

While asking for something to eat, Ginko learns of a village that has bumper crops after natural disasters. Ginko visits this village and concludes that this “goodbye crop”, the gift of the villagers’ ancestors that takes the life of one of them in return for bounty, is in fact the work of a particular seed that ties in strongly with the mushi.
The keeper of this legacy is a morally conflicted man, Saishi, who truly believes that the needs of the many outweight those of the few.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this story was that, despite the “goodbye crop” having shown up only twice in twenty years, it was seen as a big and regular occurrence. This gives an idea of the speed of folklore and the sort of continuity that these communities share. There is no real method of communication other than word of mouth in this version of Japan, and time waters that down until you reach the pure forms seen in this episode.

The colours of the episode were bleak, but the story was effective. While the “loss of a family member” story is common in Mushishi the ideas of where Saishi places his love were somewhat inspirational. The way that part of this story turned out was essentailly the selling point. However, is sacrifice really sacrifice when you benefit from it yourself?

It seems silly to say in a series such as Mushishi, but another prevailing theme of “The Heavy Seed” was that of conquering superstition. Ancestor worship has the potential to become a crippling burden on society, and the subtext of this episode is that self-sufficiency is always the better option than relying on ritual. Belief is a good enough system, but not the most practical; this is Saishi’s final message as priest.

One other thing that I’ve never tackled but have meant to over the course of Mushishi is the issue of the era, as a timeframe is never made clear but the villagers have always seemed somewhat rustic. The only idea that I ever got of some non-feudal time is Ginko’s western clothes. I did a little research today and found that it’s a fictional era, “in between Edo and Meiji” … before Japan was opened.
It gives me something of a sense of wellbeing, and using Ginko’s western clothes to represent the character as an outsider is a fine metaphor.

Nature. Hope. Mushishi.

No Comments yet

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^