Mushishi Zoku Shou S2 – 07

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He’s sleep-swimming. Someone put this kid in Free!

Imagine a crossover with Free! where Haru is possessed by Uko. Doesn’t it make perfect sense? He’s always desperate to be in water, he rarely speaks, and he swims like a fish. I want this to happen. Then Makoto can have that telepathy mushi and communicate with Haru wherever he is, because he’s an over-protective mom. Oh the possibilities! Anyways, I digress. Even without well-muscled, sparkly teenagers, this episode of Mushishi is fantastic.

The past few episodes have been kind of “ehhhh” by Mushishi standards, the official system by which I judge shows of this caliber. So it feels really good to have yet another one of those perfect episodes that fires on all cylinders. You know it’s good when you come close to crying. It takes a special kind of emotional attachment to want to cry over a character you’ve just met, and will never see in another episode ever again. Mushishi effortlessly achieves that.

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I think the reason it’s so sad is that I didn’t see it coming. After the flood, it looked like Yuuta would simply maintain the status quo as the village weird kid. But his mother was fully prepared to accept that and continue raising him as best as she could. The symptom-alleviating medicine alone was enough to lift her spirits. But in the end, Yuuta doesn’t get better at all. He leaves, in the form of the Uko that originally possessed him. That suckerpunch really knocked the wind out of me. It’s so rare that Ginko doesn’t succeed, but that’s just the reality of things. Mushi are unpredictable by nature and there are so many of them that it’s hard to know exactly what to do in each case. The way Ginko talks about the Uko gives me the impression that he’s only heard of it. He knows the mechanics behind it, but not enough to be certain how to get rid of it or what types of things to look out for. Because Yuuta didn’t fit the typical case of being a drown victim, he wasn’t treated appropriately.

Failure always happens for a reason. Was it because Ginko was careless? No, he was extremely diligent in watching over Yuuta and even saving him from plunging headfirst into raging waters. Was it because the mother was too greedy? I wonder if that’s the whole point of Yuuta never becoming normal. Maybe she was meant to care for and love Yuuta despite his differences instead of being so eager to change him. After all, was he really that much happier once he started taking the medicine? Would he have been just as content to swim his life away and stay with his mother? It’s a strange case, because the Uko isn’t actually causing him much harm. Unlike some of the past mushi displayed, this one isn’t lethal. If Ginko didn’t try to exorcise the Uko, maybe Yuuta would have continued to live a relatively normal life with ample doses of medicine to keep his fishy fingers and cold flesh to a minimum.

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Reciprocal hugging

But the sad thing is that the mother clearly loved her son no matter what, and would have continued to love him even if he had always stayed as a strange fish-baby thing. She saw past that, and cared for him deeply. It’s ironic that when she does try and help him find a cure that it ends up making it worse – irreversibly so. She wasn’t doing it because she was unhappy raising this odd child either. She did it because she wanted him to happy and make friends. She wanted a normal life for her son. It’s upsetting that a mother trying to do everything she could for her child ended up with such a tragedy occurring. The way even Ginko looked absolutely shellshocked just makes the scene all the more powerful. This was never supposed to happen…but it happened anyways.

Despite all of these horrible things happening, Ginko tells her to stay positive. Yuuta is not dead – merely misplaced. She is able to take comfort in the fact that anywhere where water is, Yuuta may be. It’s not the best consolation for losing your son shortly after your husband’s death, but it’s better than nothing. Without that optimistic spin at the end, it would be far too depressing. Sometimes bad things happen to good people for the wrong reasons…and you just have to move on and be happy for what you had when things were good.

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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2 Responses to “Mushishi Zoku Shou S2 – 07”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    This was a pretty macabre episode as it had the most depressing end I’ve ever seen in the series. Sure, you get a few people with unfortunate outcomes like losing a few digits to frostbite and such but here, a parent lost her child. That’s really sad. Call what I say grim but if one had to go, it could at least be the mother because she’s lived long and the child stay because he still had a lot ahead of him or at least both to make it somewhat peaceful for both of them. Because, it’s one thing to lose a spouse but also the child you had what that spouse. Jeez…

    The fact the Uko possessed Yuuta even before birth set it in stone there was ultimately nothing that could’ve changed his fate. Somehow, I get the feeling because he was born with it, fully separating the Uko might’ve to unpleasant consequences. At least him doing what he wanted allowed a form of comfort and he had his mother by his side who fully accepted him. It wasn’t that Ginko failed, he just didn’t know the full circumstances between the two and the crucial stuff didn’t come to mind until it was too late. Being an expert doesn’t mean knowing everything. There’s something to learn every day.

    • Overcooled says:

      It was incredibly depressing and dark. This is one of the worst outcomes I think I’ve ever seen in a Mushishi episode. She tried to focus on the positive aspects in the end, but she still had to watch her son turn into mist into her hands…never to be seen again.

      There really was nothing Ginko could do…they were so intertwined that separating them would likely kill Yuuta. If he had known from the beginning about the drowning incident, he might have treated the case differently. But things are always so tricky when you’re dealing with mushi like this. Really interesting to see him fail for once, which just proves how impossible it is to understand these creatures.

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