The Warbling Sea Shell
Mushishi delivers yet another solid episode, even better than the previous one.
As this wonderful anime continues to entertain us weekly, I expect that the characters and their Mushi-related problems will grow in complexity, like in this episode. Ginko stumbles across a village by the ocean and recognizes that those cute little Mushi singing inside the sea shells is a warning sign that a disaster will happen. Meanwhile, a young girl who hears one of the songs suddenly loses her voice. This episode throws in another layer of complexity by focusing on how she and her father are outsiders due to a past traumatic event–that is, the death of her mother. Her father doesn’t even allow her to interact with other children, as he is overprotective and feels guilty for what happened to his wife.
Fortunately, the disaster isn’t terrible and doesn’t take anyone’s life. But the way it presents itself does force the father to confront his guilt and rejoin the village. It turns out that the cure for the girl’s voice is to interact with the other children and hear their voices. It’s one of those feel-good endings where the solution to one problem is also helpful to solve the others. I loved how the Mushi transformed into birds and flew off. It was creative and one of the best pieces of animation we’ve seen so far in this season of Mushishi.
Ginko actually had a very limited role in this episode. He warned the villagers about the upcoming disaster and gave some advice here and there, but he really just let them take care of themselves. He didn’t even stick around long enough for the young girl’s voice to return. It’s interesting to see how his roles change depending on the complexity of the problem. Sometimes he has to be a leader, a hero, or just an adviser who’s quickly passing through.
I’ve been watching Mushishi with my dad, and he just asked the question: So are these the good type of Mushi? The bad type? I think that’s an interesting question because I never really thought of Mushi as being good or bad. Some types are just more…helpful than others? So far, we’ve learned that some problems can be solved by making them visible, and you can tell if a disaster is coming based on their behavioral patterns. The Mushi are highly diverse, some with unintended consequences, like causing you to lose your voice temporarily…but I think Ginko’s point is that they’re not bad. They’re just organisms trying to survive in this world as humans are, and they are very much a part of everything. Perhaps what fascinates me most is that you never know what type Ginko is going to discover next.