Mushishi – 24 – Bound for Bonfire Field

Another episode that was only average in comparison with Mushishi’s previously sky-is-the-limit standards, “Bound for Bonfire Field” showcased one of the more deadly mushi Ginko has come across but failed to deliver the profound human empathy I’ve come to expect of this magical series.
The main problem is this episode’s frustrating central figure; a female mushishi who arrogantly spurns Ginko’s advice in favour of brashly burning down a field to kill a poisonous mushi, there by destroying countless trees and massacring the surrounding wild life too. Inevitably she (and her misguided neighbours) pay the price for her ignorance, but her evident lack of emotion by the time the credits roll left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied. The allegory of this episode; that fear can drive people to self destruction and that in acting rashly, you end up doing more harm than good, was an underplayed and subtle theme. Many allusions could be made to the real world’s current political climate.
As ever the art direction was fantastic and revelled in some beautiful (albeit short) glimpses of wild animals. Just as impressive was the sad yet alluring sight of a burning field, an entire night time landscape enveloped in flame and ash.

One reply on “Mushishi – 24 – Bound for Bonfire Field”

I found this episode to be a pretty bleak affair but looking at the situation from the villagers’ point of view Yahagi was taking the only course of action that appeared open to her. Knowing what Ginko knew this was of course an ill-informed path but I don’t think there was any way in which he could have pointed it out to them – that is what I found frustrating about this episode (not to mention frustrating for Ginko too, no doubt).
Whether it was arrogance on Yahagi’s part or just acting as best she could with pressure from those who depended on her, I can’t decide. In some ways it reminds me of the Nasusicaa movie, in which questionable and ultimately destructive actions are carried out by people who ought to know better but due to their circumstances, they don’t. Not my favourite episode by any means but it still leaves plenty of food for thought in terms of how people deal with unknown threats. It’s a shame there are only two episodes to go!

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