Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Mushishi, Volume 6

Mushishi, Volume 6
Yuki Urushibara
Del Rey (2008), Paperback, 256 pages

Heaven’s Thread or String from the Sky
A girl was taken by a white string from the sky and disappeared. After a while the girl returns and strange things start to happen to her.
The girl: ‘I just … pulled on this thread that came out of the sky … then everything around me went black …’ (p. 24)
A mushi called Tenpengusa nests in the sky, and ‘They’re born from the shadows … and they haunt the border between sunlight and darkness.’ (p. 29)
Ginko found the girl and they return to the village. The girl is infested by the mushi so she floats in the air. Only the man who wants to marry her tries to understand and ‘... no matter what awful thing happens during the daylight, the stars are always there unchanged.’ (p. 42)

The Chirping Shell
A man and his daughter live outside the village because he thinks the villagers are responsible of his wife’s death. A mushi and Ginko seem to fix the problem.
‘When I say the song in the shell … what’s really singing is a mushi that nests inside of shells. Some call them Yodokaridori. Others call them Sezurikai.’ (p. 62)
‘People who put the shells up to their ears to hear them … forget how to use their own voices.’ (p. 63)
The girl has lost her voice and Ginko thinks that she and her father have to go back to the village, so the girl can learn to talk again.

The Hand that Pets the Night
A man can easily capture animals with the power coming from an eye depicted on his palm. The man’s palm is infected by a mushi called Fuki. ‘ Your hand forces your prey to do whatever you want.’ (p. 106) ‘Fuki is … Koki, the source of life, that has gone to rot.’ (p. 107)

Under the Snow
‘They’re a class of being called Yukimushi. If you unravel a snowflake, sometimes you’ll find them inside.’ (p. 150)
Toki is a boy infested by mushi: he does not feel the cold and he can’t touch anything warm.
‘In a land where white snow blankets the ground for the better part of the year … there are more odd things found in the snow … than one could ever find in the water or earth.’ (p. 189)
Toki rescuing a girl has to carry her on his shoulders, so he has to bear the warmth of another body. Bearing the girl’s warm , although Toki feels it hot, he has to accept his condition and heal.

Banquet in the Farthest Field
Brewing sake, instead of yeast, a man uses a mushi called Suimitsu-to; drinking this strange sake the man see things ‘that looked like red and black hairs.’ (p. 229), but ‘those weren’t hallucinations. They’re mushi called Shojo-no-hige. Mushishi use them as guides to mushishi gatherings.’ (p. 230)
‘... when we can’t make a good batch of sake … I’d drink just a little of that leftover sake.’ (p. 237)
‘Then I’d be able to see the distinct shapes of living things …’ (p. 238)

Many episodes of this sixth volume tells about Ginko helping people who have to accept what they usually refused.

Mushi could be similar to spirits in western culture, and they have to be accepted as they are. Ginko as Mushishi can understand the meaning of mushi in the world, so he helps people to live with mushi, to avoid mushi, etc., but Ginko never kills mushi.
Mushishi episodes are set in rural Japan, during the Edo and Meiji eras (1600 / 1800).

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