Episode 11-13 Impressions: Mushishi Zoku Shou

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Mushishi Zoku Shou (The Next Passage) returns for its second cour after a brief pause for the Summer season.  With its return comes a slew of new amazing tales that are sure to deliver something only Mushishi can.

e11-13mushishizokushou05Synopsis
In our first story, Cushion of Grass, we follow Ginko at a very young age as he’s found by a mushi-shi named Suguro in a remote mountain range.  Ginko, unable to stop the mushi that is drawn to him, was found collapsed and enveloped by a swarm of mushi.

Suguro takes note of Ginko’s Tokoyami and informs Ginko of its effect.  A hollow of darkness trapped in his eye that eats at his memories.  Unfortunately, while Suguro knows much about the Tokoyami, he also knows there is no way of removing it.

Later Ginko learns of the peering eyes that he has been sensing for some time.  Apparently it’s of the mountain’s lord who is soon to pass.  What makes matters worst is that no new lord has been born to succeed it, so the fate of the mountains is uncertain as the balance of nature would be thrown off without one.

In the second story, Fragrant Darkness, we return to a more present time when Ginko takes shelter at a family’s home from the rain.  The husband of the household carries a very subtle sense of deja vu and an odd sense of anxiety when he smells flowers at night.  Ginko believes he could be trapped in an endless cycle of reliving his entire life.

Lingering Crimson, the third story, follows Ginko as he stays with an elderly couple.  He had found the wife alone at night in the forest.  Later when he speaks to the husband alone, he learns about the day that he met his wife when they were children.

e11-13mushishizokushou23A young girl named Akane had one day wandered off to play and disappeared.  As the village searched for her, another girl who had never been seen before appeared out of nowhere.  While Akane was never seen again, the stranger girl grew up and became the old man’s wife.  Though, as she grew old, she would constantly be seeking to “go home” when the sun set.

Thoughts
Oh Mushishi, how I missed thee.  While I greatly enjoyed the first cour of this season of Mushishi, this second cour has already blown the previous out of the water.  Providing more emotion, more heart, and more captivating stories.

In episode 11, we got quite a bit of insight into Ginko as a child, and discovered where he learned e11-13mushishizokushou15quite a bit of his signature traits as he stayed with Suguro.  While these moments weren’t as emotionally impactful as the other two episodes provide, it’s always interesting to see the story circle around our main protagonist for once.  Seeing his mistakes, seeing his gifts, seeing how he was formed.

Going on into the more emotionally charged stories in episode 12 and 13, we jump to more of a family oriented setting.  While Fragrant Darkness felt rather familiar at first in that it was a traditional deja vu story (or Groundhog Day), it quickly took a different direction that caught me off guard.  Moving towards the husband’s decisions going forward, and eventually leaping right into a pool of welling tears.  It wasn’t what I was expecting and it definitely put a smile on my face.

In Lingering Crimson, we got a heartwarming perspective into a loving couple’s relationship.  After e11-13mushishizokushou16making us chuckle at the banter Ginko is trapped in between, we move on into a tragic tale of a missing girl and a village moving forward.  Not only that, but a stranger girl growing up in an unknown place.  Though the spectacular moment was in its conclusion that has more heart than I can express.

I’ve said it before, but Mushishi never seems to aim at creating a Hollywood ending.  It never seems to try to wrap things up in a pretty bow and make everyone happy.  Instead it lives with its own consequences it creates and truly allows its characters to make decisions that are never our own.  They make sense, they work out perfect, and they always leave me emotionally happy in the end.  Even if it’s not always rosy.

Mushishi continues to excel in capturing my attention, moving me with amazing music, mesmerizing me with artistic direction, and shocking every bit of my emotions with masterfully told stories.  I’m gushing love here, but I can’t express how great this series continues to be.

This show is streaming on Crunchyroll.com!

Episode 11: Cushion of Grass
Episode 12: Fragrant Darkness
Episode 13: Lingering Crimson

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Amazing!

Pros:

  • Amazing storytelling
  • Emotionally excellent
  • Captivating presentation

Cons:

  • None

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.