Mushishi – episode 10

January 30, 2006 on 8:18 pm | In Mushishi | Comments Off on Mushishi – episode 10

“White in the Ink Slab”

The burden of guilt. Fossilised mushi. Adashino.

Some children break into Adashino’s storerooms and play with an inkstone that they find there. Within hours of having done so, they are all overcome with an inexplicable coldness. Ginko stops by and tracks down Tagane, maker of the inkstone; she has been searching for it desperately. After rubbing the inkstone, her fiancée and two others died within a month.
Ginko figures out that the mushi is known as kumohami, and brings Tagane with him to Adashino’s village for both cure and atonement.

Another simple yet beautiful episode of Mushishi; it’s interesting to note that when Ginko visits people who have had past experiences with mushi (as opposed to people presently in the thrall of mushi), none of them have been good. The vast majority of them involve death.
Death by mushi seems wildly unfair because the vast majority of people can’t perceive the things and die entirely by accident. It’s not like nature’s built in warning system; then again, this is exactly the reason the mushishi exist.

Tagane feels the burden of guilt in this episode, and I suppose that it’s slightly more than simply having forged an inkstone: she saw a suspicious pink cloud rise from it and thought nothing of it. In this knowledge that no one else had, she could well have done away with it altogether. Of course, this is thought in hindsight, but that can frequently be the most painful method of thought.
Ginko also has issues with the way Adashino has behaved; whether it is for having treated his storeroom so carelessly, or for having hoarded so many mushi artefacts, is not quite clear. At any rate, Adashino shows an ungainly amount of greed and possessiveness in this story – this is most interesting because Ginko seems the superior mushishi by its conclusion.

There are some things in this life that can’t be helped; this is what Mushishi has taught us. However, when they can be helped, they should be.

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