Mushishi – episode 15

March 13, 2006 on 7:40 pm | In Mushishi | Comments Off on Mushishi – episode 15

“The Fabricated Spring”

This mystery takes an unprecedented 15 months to unravel. Winter, spring, the hints of love: this episode of Mushishi truly has everything.

Ginko is travelling through the mountains in winter when the snow gets too much for him to handle. He seeks accommodation for the night with a brother and sister; the following day he discovers that the brother, Miharu, can see mushi and chases them.
Ginko offers to teach Miharu how to tell an innocuous mushi from a dangerous one but, amidst the lessons, Miharu succumbs to the usobuki mushi; each winter he goes to sleep and doesn’t wake until spring.

Finding spring in winter is a beautiful and dangerous lark; so, too, is interfering with the contents of another mushi lover’s pack of wild flowers. With this episode and the last, Ginko is rapidly becoming more involved in each story. Many episodes of Mushishi feature a detached Ginko, as if he’s as separate from the situations as the audience are. The episodes in which he takes an active role and is actually affected by the situations offered are the stronger.

It’s funny to see Ginko take on an “apprentice” of sorts. He’s used to dealing with children, as they are frequently targeted by the mushi, but he has very little patience for a child with such a cavalier attitude towards them. The most surprising aspect of this episode was the “stationary cigarette while yelling” SD that Ginko offers; the animation frequently shows that, for all of its themes, Mushishi does not lack a sense of humour.

There’s an irony inherent when you’re taught not to mess with that which you don’t understand: Ginko was trying to do the right thing by Miharu, but in one key field, Miharu knew more. Ginko swallowed his own bitter medicine, and was a better mushishi for it.

Other than that there’s no real “moral” to this episode, but we do learn that one capable of seeing mushi cannot tell that a mushi that looks like a butterfly is not, in fact, a butterfly. The understated emotions of Miharu’s sister make for another interesting aspect of the episode – we’ve seen love in Mushishi before, but never towards Ginko. This strengthens the idea that Ginko cannot be in one place for too long, as the results are disastrous.

I think that part of the huge appeal of Mushishi is its auteur flourish. I was reading at Moetry about the amount of effort that goes into it. Mushishi truly is one of those series that you can see the amount of love that has been lavished upon it. If only we got more of these sorts of anime and less of the common as muck moe that besets us nowadays. (Also, for that matter, if only Nobuteru Yuuki put as much effort into Paradise Kiss as he clearly puts into Mushishi).

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