Mushishi – episode 11

February 11, 2006 on 6:22 pm | In Mushishi | Comments Off on Mushishi – episode 11

“Sleeping Forest”

A slightly ambiguous episode in its dealings with the nature of Ginko himself, but an otherwise excellent story about choice and, again, fault lines.

Ginko travels to a town that features a holy mountain. Upon discovering that Ginko is a mushishi, the townspeople ask him to locate their own mushishi, Mujika, who has gone missing in the mountains. Ginko locates Mujika, who claims to have slipped and fell. Ginko suspects otherwise.

The other character of “Sleeping Forest” is Kodama, a mountain child; because the mountain in this story is a “river of life”, birth rates in the village are remarkably high. Due to the villagers’ inability to care for so many children, they abandon the “excess” in the mountains. Kodama was one of the children who managed not to be eaten. It’s a cruel story, but it has its origins in the truth.
After solving the issue of Kodama through pragmatism, his parents take a turn for the selfish.

It is selfishness that propels the rest of the story; in a way, there’s a sort of selfishness in blaming yourself for a casual remark that grew into something bigger. At any rate, Mujika’s interpretation of his past has led to his selfish modern goals and his sense of deception. Like many of the people that Ginko has met, Mujika’s past is tragic; however, the difference is that Mujika is a mushishi himself. Ginko feels that, while he cannot judge anyone else, he understands that a guardian mushishi has an important role to play in society; Mujika’s actions will heal his own pain, but will more notably hurt the villagers – at least in theory.

The reason for becoming a mushishi is examined and it, too, is generally pragmatism. The difference between Adashino and Ginko was highlighted, with Adashino coming off as more of a hobbyist mushishi. Ginko envies Mujika his ability to stay rooted, and Mujika envies Ginko’s need to travel. When one loses their reason for staying in a place, it’s natural that they would want to leave; however, these two mushishi, at least, have no say in the matter.

It’s a very pretty episode, but in a different ways to most others: it’s not as deep in its colour texture. This sets it apart as an exceptionally vibrant piece and a marvellous example of the joy of Mushishi. Now that we have seen three mushishi, their similarities and differences become clearer. Everyone is in it for their own reasons, and that makes this world that much more interesting.

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