Mushishi – 21 – Animalistic tragedy

Since the last few episodes of Mushishi left us in upbeat and melancholy moods, this was a timely reminder as to just how heartless a series it can be. I don’t mean heartless in a sadistic sense, rather how a mushi can cause such great tragedy to a couple of people who are quite clearly already at their lowest ebbs.
On its own child birth is hardly a pleasant spectacle, but to give birth to a glob of green goo would be utterly horrifying. Mushishi is filled with this kind of grotesque horror, but within the context of each episode (and as it is here) it’s usually a tragic, sad sight.
In many episodes previous we have seen that Ginko has an underlying passion for his patients; those usually stricken with life-threatening mushi, but here he is almost too clinical. When he tells a couple of budding parents that they will have to murder their mushi-infected kids, you can’t help but feel sorry for them, but Ginko comes across as a bit too detached from their peril and it’s no wonder that he ends up getting stabbed by “their” desperate mother.
Episode 21 of Mushishi is a sad, cautionary tale though this time there is no strong underlying moral. Instead we are again shown the darker side of Ginko’s travels and meet a animalistic mushi that will do anything to survive.

4 replies on “Mushishi – 21 – Animalistic tragedy”

Just FYI, the kids weren’t infected with mushi, they WERE mushi. The mushi had killed the child long ago and that’s why he could just kill them off. They were a breed that directly attacked unborn children.

Right you are Sang, though I guess I was trying to talk from the perspective of the parents (and especially the mother)- they’d lived with these kids for 3 years so I’m sure they see them as more than just mushi.

I may be mistaken, but I believe this is the first episode where Ginko is called "foolish". I wonder if this forshadows Ginko’s limits as a human?

I think you may well be right Shara. Ginko was far from the perfect mushishi in this episode and I wouldn’t be surprised if his resolve is further tested in the closing episodes.
It would be nice too; I’ve loved the episodes focussed on Ginko and his fractured relationships (especially the hinted lost-love in episode 20), so to see him in some real trouble would be very interesting.

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