Mushishi Zoku Shou – Episode 04 and 05 Review

mushishi-0401

Episode 04 – The Hand that Caresses the Night
Episode 05 – Mirror Lake

I finally found the time to catch up on the latest 2 episodes of Mushishi and it never disappoints me.

It’s been really cold down under recently and watching this 2 episodes in the dark with a tiny candle to keep me warm definitely helped with building the atmosphere especially since as usual, this series tries it’s hardest to suck you into the mood of things with it’s ambient sound effects, soothing voice actors and heartwarming stories.

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Episode 04 Synopsis:

The Mushi: Fuki. If a person is tainted by the Fuki,  a mark shaped like an eye on the palm appears. It is passed down through blood relations. Fuki is what occus when Kouki (the essence of life as we had learn in episode 1) decays. A sweet smell is emitted from the palm and this attracts preys, thus aiding with hunting.

The Story: Tatsu and Usuke live in a hunting village where many of the people there hunt and sell their goods in order to make a living. However, unlike the other hunters, Tatsu and Usuke’s meat gives off a foul smell due to Tatsu’s method of hunting – by depending on the Fuki. Ginko first stumbles upon Tatsu in a forest and once more through the sellers by the road during his journey through the village. Upon learning of Tatsu’s situation, Ginko passes on some advice before dissappearing for a period of time in order to acquire the antidote needed for Fuki. When he returns, he learns of Tatsu’s decline and goes into the forest with Usuke to seek Tatsu out only to have his help turned down by Tatsu. Things then spiral out of control with Tatsu getting injured and being placed in a dangerous situation.

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Episode 05 Synopsis:

The Mushi: Mizukagami – A mushi that lives in still ponds. They resemble mercury and when a person or animal is reflected on the lake, it mimics the being and comes ashore. Once it’s pray has weakened, the mushi will then take the place of it’s pray leaving it’s prey without a body or physical form.

The Story: Masumi is a girl who had recently gotten her heart broken by a travelling mirror man (is that what you call a guy who polishes mirrors?). On one of her walks, she stumbles upon the lake where the mushi lives and ends up becoming it’s target. The story continues with Ginko coming to her aid and teaching her about the mushi and how to deal with it. However, due to her broken heart, Masumi is conflicted as to whether life is still worth living and if she should deal with the mushi or just let things be.

mushishi-0405Yeap, that black blob (if you loo hard, you can see a face) on the left captured the mood of the episode in my mind.

Review

Where Episode 4 puts a focus on darkness and shadows, Episode 5 does the opposite and focuses on light and reflections.

Watching these two episode back-to-back probably enhanced the viewing experience for me. To be able to see two such different approaches to in the story telling style really made me appreciate this series even more.

mushishi-0403From start to finish, it’s death all around for this episode.

Episode 4 successfully creeped me out, and sitting in a dark room by myself didn’t hurt the experience either. The presence of the crows through out the episode were a nice touch with it’s ominous role that it had played in the sad scene towards the end with regards to Tatsu’s arm. This just goes to show that Mushishi stories don’t always end happily.

It is rare that I feel sad after watching an episode of Mushishi, but this is one time where I actually go beyond the feeling of bittersweetness and actually feel bad for the character.

Many of the Mushishi stories usually have a hint of happiness in them, a silver lining of sorts, but with the way things turned out for Tatsu and his unconvincing performance of being “alright” at the end of the episode, I can’t help but feel that his “happy ending” was robbed from him by those dang crows, especially with how he had broken out of his daze and had found his will to be rid of the mushi.

One thing that I liked about the episode was the way the animation had focused on the dark tones and the use of shadows in most of the scenes. Without those dark backdrops and tiny touches, the story would have lost a lot of it’s effectiveness.

Even the approach taken towards the sound effects were great, especially with the scene where Tatsu was all alone in the forest. The echos and the background noise (or lack thereof at times) really helped to put forth a bond between the viewer and the character.

On the other hand Episode 5 starts off on the opposite(but still good) end from the get go, where we see a bright lake with a cheerful character sitting beside the lake.

mushishi-0502It’s pretty much teen angst if you asked me

Her “love story” was less of a “love story” and more of a “crush”, as such the heartwarming aspect of the episode was definitely not the “great love story” but rather Masumi’s approach towards her “heartbreak” and the tale of her losing her way and feeling like her existence didn’t matter. I am sure many of us would have had gone through this phase at one point or other in life – of wondering if we actually mattered in the grand scheme of things, and it’s no different for our Mushishi characters.

Unlike the dark and heavy story in Episode 4, Episode 5 is a lighter one focusing on a girl as she tries to find back her appreciation for life and herself.

All in all, both episode were great episodes and I can’t wait to see more.

Episode 04 Rating – 8.5/10
Episode 05 Rating – 8/10

Till the next post~ Keep warm! (Or cool, if its summer where you are (: )

-ra

About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on May 7, 2014, in Anime, Mushishi Zoku Shou, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I loved “the hand that caresses the night.” It was so brilliantly dark. It reminds me of the changeling episode from the first season. Sometimes…these Mushishi situation just get really morbid and serious. I like it. It makes the ambiguity of whether Mushi are bad of good much more pronounced.

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    • “It makes the ambiguity of whether Mushi are bad of good much more pronounced. ”

      I agree, but more often than not, I think that the Mushi’s are a test of the character’s mental strength.

      Rather than being good or bad I like how the Mushi’s are meant to be accepted as part of life/nature and it’s what we make of things.

      Like

  2. Is mushishi better than Natsume Yuujinchou?

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