Episode 4 Impressions: Mushishi Zoku Shou

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Power is a curious thing. Often power provides a way to protect and aid others. Often it’s used for providing necessities. However sometime it’s used for one’s selfish desires. Corrupting to the point that one loses everything that makes them who they are. Ginko learns this first hand as he meets two brothers who are dealing with an interesting affliction.

e4mushishi6Synopsis
Walking through a dark forest Ginko notices a dark figure on the horizon. Suddenly he finds himself petrified as the dark figure draws closer. As the figure appears to be a man, the unknown person dismisses him and walks off into the horizon, freeing Ginko.

The following morning Ginko arrives at a village where he seeks some dry meat. No one but one vendor seems to carry any, but the other villagers warn of its stench. Sure enough, the meat stinks of rot and Ginko requests a fresh kill to which the boy Usuke agrees and brings him to his household. There Ginko finds even more rot smelling meat, including some fresh kills from the night before. After Usuke’s older brother Tatsu admits this, Ginko realizes that he is the man from the night before.

Tatsu offers a fresh kill and takes Ginko into the forest where he searches for a target. After a deer appears, Ginko realizes just how the man has so much kills and why they stink of rot. Tatsu raises his hand and slowly confronts the deer, grabbing it by its head. Ginko stops him and offers an explanation of his ability.

Back at Tatsu’s home, Ginko labels the mark on Tatsu’s hand as a manifestation of a taint called Fuki (Sake of Decay). Fuki occurs when kouki, the essence of all life, decays. It forms from groundwater in the appearance of reddish mud. The host of this Fuki can create the scent of sweet fruit from their palm.

While Tatsu believes this is a great tool for him to hunt with, the risks are too high. The taint itself can cause damage to the body and one sign is the coughing of blood. Since it passes on through generations Ginko asks if their parents had any similar issues. According to Tatsu, his grandfather died coughing blood and his brother Usuke has been coughing blood. Though Ginko mentions that some people are able to resist its effects though they arn’t immune to it.

e4mushishi4Though not all is lost as Ginko knows that consuming kouki can cure it. He offers to gather some and return in one month. Though before leaving, he points out Tatsu’s loss to the Fuki. Believing that he’s some sort of king of the mountain with his ability.

After Ginko secures the needed kouki, he returns to find Usuke alone at home. Usuke pleas with Ginko to give his brother the kouki quickly. While searching the forest for Tatsu, Usuke mentions that his brother has been acting more and more like their father since his passing. According to him, their father became progressively more interested in hunting. Obsessively seeking a kill and often wasting meat. Over time he became more cold to them and became ghost like in appearance, until eventually disappearing completely.

Ginko fears that Tatsu will see the same fate. Over time the Fuki consumes its host, stripping them of their body and soul. Ginko believes that their father isn’t dead, but rather passed on to the mushi world. Wondering endlessly through the mountain with no body or soul.

When they finally find Tatsu, he’s consumed by his desire to hunt. He refuses to take the kouki and remove the Fuki from his body before leaving Ginko and Usuke. Later they hear a gunshot from some nearby hunters and Ginko fears it was Tatsu they shot.

When they finally discover Tatsu, his arm is covered in blood from the gunshot wound. As he exits a cave he was hiding in, Ginko shouts for him to stay in the cave as hundreds of crows gaze at him overhead. Though it’s too late, and the birds swoop down to consume his arm.

e4mushishi1While Tatsu survives, it costs him his arm and the ability he so desired. After they both consume some kouki, it seems that will fully recover. Ginko mentions that the birds feared the eye on his palm, but yearned for the smell of the sweet fruit. Once the blood covered his mark, they jumped at the opportunity to take the prize.

Thoughts
Pretty solid episode. Though a bit less interesting than the previous. The whole element of the Fuki causing one to become overtaken by power was quite interesting. Though I wish they went into more explanation of how it passes on from generation to generation. They weren’t quite clear that the father passed it onto them, or if it was in the mud near their home. The explanation leaned more towards it being passed by blood.

As usual the music was great in this episode and really forced some eery moods. Though some of the scenes felt a little under animated, but it never took too much from the overall feel.

Episode 4 – The Hand that Caresses the Night

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IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Good

Goods:

  • Solid plotline
  • Dark feel
  • Interesting backstory

Fears:

  • Less dynamic of story

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.