Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Mushishi, Volume 2

Mushishi, Volume 2
Yuki Urushibara
Del Rey (2007), Paperback, 240 pages

The Mountain Sleeps or The Sleeping Mountain
In this first novel of volume 2, an old Mushishi tells to Ginko the story how he became the guardian of the mountain.
The mushi is called Mugura and ‘are like the nervous system of the mountain.’ (p. 13) The old Mushishi cannot leave the mountain because of the dangerous mushi, and Ginko cannot help him.

The Sea of Brushstrokes or A Sea of Writing
A curse afflicts a family for generations: a birthmark the color of an ink stain means a new writer of mushi’s stories.
‘In the future ... we animal and plant life must live in concert with the mushi.’ (p. 59) In the past after a great calamity mushi’s separated from the other animal and plant, so started the curse of the ink birthmark.

They That Breathe Ephemeral Life or Those who Inhale the Dew
Mushi in called Biku and live in Akoya’s sinus cavity because she inhaled it from a flower. Akoya in a girl revered as a god and a boy asks to Ginko to investigate the case.
‘Once again today, the sun rises and sets again. The flowers that bloomed this morning begin to bow their heads.
Once again today, the sun will set and rise again. And when the sun hits it, the flower blooms, but it is a different flower from yesterday’s.’ (p. 93)

Rain Comes and a Rainbow Is Born or Raindrops and Rainbows
The fourth novel is the best of this second volume.
A boy travels looking for rainbows: ‘I’ve heard that treasures are buried at the ends of rainbows, but ...’ (p. 147)
Mushi is called Koda and means rainbow and snake. ‘The Koda ... are light ... and rain that has some Koki in it. ... (the Koki are) the stuff that is the basis of a mushi’s life force. ... they may have sources that cause them to start. But they have no goal. They live only to flow. They don’t let anything interfere.’ (p. 178)
Like Ginko’s travelling is without goal so Koda is not dangerous, they live only to show themselves.
‘In an area to the west where there’s a river famous for its flooding ... word is spread about a bridge that can withstand the floods.
When the river rises, they remove certain planks ... and they let the water flow as it well.
When the water level falls, they return it to normal.’ (p. 181)

The Veil Spore or Cotton Changeling
Ginko helps a family with strange children.
Mushi is called Watahaki: ‘they have the form of green cotton that floats on the air.’ (p. 195) Watahaki give birth baby with a short life span. Ginko has to burn the house with these mushi/children, but he keeps one for himself. ‘You are an inscrutable being.’ (p. 226)

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