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Sunday November 12, 2006

Mushi moments

CHRISTINA KOH lists some of her favourite episodes (warning: semi-spoilers ahead:) 

Episode 2 – A girl, Sui, is forced to live in the darkness because of a strange illness. Her eyes burn if exposed to sunlight. Shunned because of her sickness, her only friend is a boy who plays with her inside a stone warehouse, her refuge and prison. It’s eerie to see Sui cuddling dolls in the pitch darkness, and I have to give points to the creators for the deliciously creepy scene the first time the mushi reveals itself. Hard to forget that

Mushi appear in many forms – some even look like writing.

Episode 4 – When a sword-maker starts having prophetic dreams, Ginko tells him that they are caused by a mushi and gives him some medicine that purportedly keeps the creatures in check. After yet another dream saves his grateful village from disaster, he gets scared and takes the medicine, only to find out that he may have paid a high price. An episode with twists and turns, it has you wondering about the worth of one person’s life over others’. 


Episode 8 – For nearly three years, a young man sits on the shore of a beach, consumed with regret over an argument he had with his fiancée just before she was lost at sea. This is one of those times Ginko shows his blunt side when he tells the lad to “move on with life”. The “mushi of the week” almost takes a back seat here. This story is about a man struggling to leave his grief behind as he makes a place for himself. 


Episode 10 – Three children fall grievously ill after accidentally playing with an ink stone. A mushi is, of course, involved, but what kind? I like episodes where Ginko has to play investigator and find out what’s wrong with a victim, and this is one of them. Using his streetwise savvy and practical knowledge, the good, erm, doctor probes the story of the ink stone, which ominously enough, is linked to several unexplained deaths. The cure is as interesting as one woman’s search for redemption. 


Episode 12 – The episode opens unremarkably enough with a boy lying injured in the forest. After the handful or so episodes with boys who look amazingly alike, it’s easy to sigh and groan when you see yet another one here. Then a woman comes into the picture and she has very familiar white hair and a green eye, and you realise: it’s an origin episode! Yup, this one tells us the beginnings of Ginko. It’s touching to see how Nui, a gruff and aloof woman, influences the person he is today and how Ginko softens her up enough for her to reclaim her humanity. 


Episode 14 – Imagine being lost in a bamboo grove for three years and you can’t find your way home no matter how hard you try. Kisuke is a man who lives happily enough in the grove with his wife and daughter. He cannot help but secretly pine for his village. His “imprisonment”, however, has something to do with a white bamboo tree and his wife, Setsu. This episode ends on a seriously creepy note that sent chills up my spine. Nice. 


Episode 17 – Ever wondered how wandering mushishi get their letters on such short notice? This episode explains it through a very unique and somewhat disconcerting way. It involves silk cocoons and a girl, Aya, who lost her twin sister in a very “deep place”. It’s been five years and Aya continues to send letters in the hope of being reunited with her sister again. No special meaning here, just a demonstration of the power of love and persistence. 


Episode 19 – Possibly my favourite episode, at least for the tearjerker moment at the end. A somewhat ditzy girl, Fuki, narrowly escapes the clutches of a predatory mushi but is no longer quite human. When she returns to her village, the only one happy to see her is her friend Seijirou who wants to marry her. Again, the mushi takes a back seat as Seijirou struggles to persuade his reluctant father to let him take Fuki as his wife. Then one day, Fuki disappears?. I like the part when the usually level-headed Ginko chastises Seijirou for not accepting Fuki for who she is. This prompts Seijirou to try and redeem himself through his faith, even though others may think him mad.