Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Mushishi, Volume 5

Mushishi, Volume 5
Yuki Urushibara
Del Rey (2008), Paperback, 272 pages

The thread of Mushishi, volume 5 is mushi who destroy, also mushi who give birth new life. But mushi is a creator imperfect.

The Sea Palace or Shrine in the Sea
A shrine in the sea gives people another life. Ginko visits this place searching for mushi.
‘Below the rock ... is a trench they call the Dragon’s Palace. People who lose their lives there ... are -born again-; looking exactly the same as before.’ (p. 12)
‘The things in the water (some kind of mushi) are the embryos of several different types of living things. They are the animal in its earliest form.’ (p. 30)
Mushi is an original form of life, who shows itself in a multitude of appearances. Mushi gives people another life, although this people look the same as in the previous life.

Eye’s Fortune, Eye’s Misfortune or Eye of Fortune, Eye of Misfortune
A mushi entered a woman’s eyes: she can see again, but her sight improves day by day, until ...
Mushi helps a blind woman to see again, although ‘It seemed as though when I closed my eyes, I could see the past or future of those close to me.’ (p. 79)
Mushi is imperfect and goes beyond creation.
‘After the eyes fell from me ... they were buried beneath the earth.
Eventually a face came up from the ground.
And suddenly there was a beautiful flower reflected in the beast’s eyes.’ (p. 101)

The Coat that Holds a Mountain or Clothes that Embrace the Mountain
A coat is infested by a mushi. Ginko is looking for the coat’s first owner, who is also the painter of the mountain on the coat.
‘... I was trying to find out about the mushi living in the short coat. So I went looking for the mountain pictured in the painting.’ (p. 146)
This mushi is called Ubusuma, it means to give birth earth. The short coat’s fabric is made with thread and dye found in the mountain; the coat and its owner are linked because both come from the same mountain.
When the coat’s owner has to sell the coat, the mushi Ubusuma forces the man to return to the mountain, there he finds again strength and determination to draw again.

Flames of the Fields or The Journey to the Field of Fire
A mushi threatens a village. The mushishi of the village decides to burn the mountain, so to kill the mushi. Ginko doesn’t agree with the mushishi.
Mushishi of the village: ‘ Tomorrow we plan ... to burn everything on the mountain.’ (p. 167)
‘All of the ground we had just cleared ... was totally covered with that grass. And ... no matter how much we cut it or pulled it out, it would all soon grow back ...’ (p. 171)
‘That grass … is the larval form of Hidane. huh?’ (p. 188)
Fire give birth and death. ‘After it’s sucked enough heat … it gives off a grass seed from its corpse.’ (p. 195) This grass seed is called Hidane, a mushi who ‘... suck out the heat from humans to live’ (p.187)
‘... inside each Kagebi (little balls of flame) (there) is a mushi called Hidane (fire grass seed)’ (p. 186-7)
At the end Kagebi can kill mushi/Hidane with its fire. All that is born from fire, dies in the fire.

The Snake of Dawn or Sunrise Serpent
A woman is forgetting her memories. Her son is helped by Gynko to solve this problem.
‘A mushi … that eats memory … ? Yes. It’s called Kagedama (soul’s shadow). (p. 231)
‘... (mushi) enters the ear and goes into the brain. … the host hardly ever sleeps afterward. And it slowly starts to forget things.’ (p. 232)
‘We only know of one weak point for the Kagedama, and that’s the sun.’ (p. 233)
‘... keep recalling the things that you don’t want to forget.’ (p. 236)

Best artworks:
- Kai (the coat’s owner) watching at his native village after the landslide (p. 127);
- Ginko and an eagle (?) (p. 161).

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