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Headscratchers / Mushishi

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  • As wonderful a show as this is, it still manages to be so damn inconclusive at times. To wit:
    • Episode 1: Shinra's grandmother becomes a full mushi by finishing her drink from the green wine cup so that her grandson could see and hear her, but Shinra drinks too. Shouldn't there be some unfortunate consequences to this? Did he become a mushi, too? The episode ends with Ginko noting that he no longer heard any new rumors about the boy with God's left hand; did the drink rid him of his ability? That seems like kind of a shitty thing to do, considering how adamant the mushi who invited Shinra's grandmother to their banquet were about her grandson's power saving the world.
      • I thought the Koki didn't effect him the same way because of the circumstances: without the ritual that Ginko completed, the cup is entirely ordinary. Perhaps the Koki only transforms you into a Mushi with the ritual, but still has lifegiving properties at all times.
      • I postulate that the reason Shinra wasn't affected was because the drink essentially caused the part of his grandmother left in him—the true cup that he painted—to leave him.
      • I just thought that now his Grandmother was a full Mushi she had the power to subtly (or unsubtly) deter investigators, hence the lack of rumors.
      • The bit about Shinra's powers bringing happiness to the world is something of a Dub-Induced Plot Hole. In the Japanese dialogue of the anime, all the mushi tell Renzu is that Shinra will be born with a power that can change the world of living things, and that having her transform into mushi in order to watch over him for his entire life would be best for the world.
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    • Episode 2: If Ginko can make a glass eye into a real one so easily, why not fix his OWN eye? And maybe he doesn't have a spare on him, but it would have been nice if he'd left Sui with two eyes instead of just one.
      • Ginko mentions the phlebotinum he uses to make the eye real is the essence of the eye-infecting mushi. Presumably, they only contain enough essence to cure/create one eye. If it's explained later in the series, never mind, but that's probably why he only has one eye himself: only one of his eyes was fixed by whoever took the eye mushi out of him. Of course, that means they could just get Sui infected again, then repeat the process without her going into the light, thus acquiring more of the essence without losing an eye, which means they could get both of their eyes back, but it wouldn't be easy.
      • Ginko didn't lose his eye under the same circumstances that Sui lost hers; the circumstances under which he came to have only one eye are shown in a later episode. The reason he didn't do the "glass eye into functioning eyeball" trick more than once to give himself and Sui both two good eyes is probably due to it requiring the injection of mushi-goo, though. Biki's milder infection was cured much more simply, so there's no guarantee that it would be possible to obtain enough of the gunk without letting someone get infected to the degree that Sui was, and Ginko's hardly going to destroy anyone's eyes for the purpose of being able to make fake ones when he and Sui both at least have one functioning eye apiece.
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    • Episode 3: Why did Maho sprout the horns the moment he tried putting his hands over his ears? This was also apparently the method for killing the mushi, so how come it didn't work despite the fact that Maho was always cradling his head? One explanation could be that you need to specifically listen to the sound of your muscles, but that's not very solid as it's not you who has to hear the voice - it's the mushi.
      • The mushi might be controlled by the person that it's inhabiting. That's only a theory.
      • Because the mushi tries to stop the noise and battles with the host, just like Ginko said. Maho's mother lost the battle. Those horns were probably the mushi fighting for it's life and winning.
      • Specifically, it fights for it's life (and kills it's host) by drowning out all the bodies sounds with the noise of the Mushi. To do that, it needs the horns. Presumably killing it's host is part of it's lifecycle, unlike the relatively harmless Un.
      • I took as Maho covering his ears to shut out sound, whereas the cure is to cover your ears to hear the heartbeat from your hands. If you cover your ears with the center of your palm over the ear, a small gap makes it so that you can't hear anything from your hand. If you press too hard, you'll feel the heartbeat, but not hear it because the ear canal is fully shut by that little flap over it. You have to actually try to hear your heartbeat from your hands by holding it in a rather specific position, and it's not a position that you would necessarily bumble upon. Basically, unless you're trying specifically to listen to your heartbeat through your hands, chances are you won't hear it.
      • Maybe it's the sound of heartbeat in the manga, but in the anime, they talk about a sound that is like a flowing lava (i.e. blood flowing through veins). It's audible whatever the way you cover your ears.
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    • Moreso than the immediate horn-sprouting of Maho, I was bothered by the mushi Ginko deliberately let infest his ear canals dying not five seconds after his ears were covered, despite Maho having used the same technique for almost a year with no visible effect.
      • Perhaps the mushi that had just entered Ginko's ears were still weak, so they could be killed easily by the same technique that took Maho months to work?
    • Probably nitpicking the bizarre alien biology involved, but why did the Walking Swamp mushi return to the sea to die and create an ecological boom with it's death if, as shown in the ending, it left behind it's young on land? I know it doesn't have to make sense, but given the way the series seems to be 'Shinto rewritten by an ecologist'...
      • That't not unlike salmon, right? They leave their young in the land, when they grow up they'll go to the sea as well. It's the circle of life for Walking Swamps!
    • Episode 12: Nui mentions that even when she moved the one-eyed fish away from the glowing pond, they would still eventually turn into Tokoyami. Does this mean Ginko's also going to just disappear one day, and he doesn't even know it?
      • Don't know about any of the others, but yes, it does basically mean Ginko's gonna be eaten up one day. It's hard to say if he knows the specifics - although considering how knowledgeable he is about mushi, you'd think he's got a good idea what his missing eye and pale look means. Either way he tends to live as if he could die from a mushi at any time.
      • Episode 20 seems to hint that he knows that he won't live long, with him making a few comments about not being able to plan for the future, and about how he might get eaten by a mushi at any time. So apparently he does know, and just doesn't let it get him down. It also makes his respect for mushi far more admirable, since he knows first-hand just how dangerous they can be, but still tries to find some sort of compromise.
    • What EXACTLY was the deal with Nui and the Darkness mushi and the Ginko mushi? The only explanation I could come to was that the Ginko was a fish-like Mushi that lived in a dimension of darkness and the Tokoyami were it's young, eating and providing a conduit for it to send out transformative light. And then touching them...somehow brought Ginko there? And losing an eye let him come back? I was very confused.
      • It's vague. What I got out of it was that the Ginko and Tokoyami are symbiotic, or that they're really not separate mushi at all, but parts of one bigger yin/yang organism. Nui seems to think of them as separate organisms, and the Ginko feed on the pre-digested leftovers of the Tokoyami. It would almost make more sense to me if they were one organism though, and the Tokoyami is just a magical darkness exuded by the Ginko to help catch and digest its food. Like the mucus coating around a fish or something. What's not clear to me is whether after he touched Nui, Yoki/Ginko was inside the Tokoyami, looking at the Ginko within, or whether he was in that sort of mystical dimension that the Koki float around in that shows up in other episodes and he was able to clearly see the Ginko as a whole organism rather than just silver light in there because...magic...or something.

  • Why is Ginko's Fan Nickname "Pimp-ko"? He never once 'gets' the girl in any episode. In the few episodes where it's implied the girl might like him, he leaves before anything could possibly happen. Heck, the one girl he could possibly actually form a relationship with—the girl from "A Sea Of Ink"—sees him like, once every year or so, and seems to bear nothing more than respect and perhaps affection towards him.
    • Because he's so incredibly cool, of course. He wins the hearts of most female characters and then ditches them saying he can't stick along for long periods of time 'because of the mushis'. He travels from town to town breaking hearts and kicking ass. He doesn't *need* to get the girl, he knows he can, and that's enough for him and his hordes of fans.
      • Ginko's manner actually doesn't depart greatly from the way many doctors are trained to conduct themselves with patients: being polite, courteous, and caring but ultimately professional.
    • I agree with the troper who brought up this point. I think the nickname doesn't properly denote what fans are trying—for lack of a better word—describe. I mean, "Pimp-ko" seems to imply he's some sort of playboy, and he's actively seeking out girls...or something, I guess. Eh, I'm probably being too pedantic as usual...not to mention that I'd think that "Kinko" would be a better nickname simply because it rolls off of the tongue better, but I guess that would make him seem as if into weird sexual fetishes instead. Whatever.
    • I'm not sure I get this one either. Ginko does help some grateful young women, but he helps just as many young men, and with the exception of Suzu and Tanyu, none of the women seemed particularly interested in him. He certainly didn't get along with Yahagi at all. YMMV on whether Tanyu views him in a purely professional manner, I thought it was pretty clear there was some mutual flirting going on there.
    • Me, I just think the nickname becomes a whole lot more amusing when you remember that "ko" is a suffix often attached to Japanese noun to mean *noun-girl* (meganekko = glasses-girl, etc.). Pimp-girl?
    • The nickname probably came from readers of the manga, where several female characters actually do admit being attracted to him. Example here.
  • Episode 16: How can the woman remember her son without remembering her husband? I mean, shouldn't there be some sort of connection there?
    • She saw her son everyday but her husband had been missing for a very long time. And she had also just seen him living with another family, so it's possible that she wanted to forget. Even if she didn't that's the kind of thing that metaphorically cuts connections between people.
    • She forgot him after being informed about the mushi in her head. When it actually happened she didn't bother to try and remember how her son came to life, as she knew her own condition. She probably just assumed it was unimportant.
    • Memory is a funny thing, even when it isn't being affected by outside forces. It's very easy for someone to be aware of something's existence without questioning its origins. And, considering that there are so many holes in her mind already, her ability to think critically has probably been diminished quite a bit.
    • Also, she already started forgetting simple body functions like sneezing and the rumbling of a hungry stomach. So it's not that far-fetched that she'd forget the whole principle of reproduction as well. Add to that that the last time she has practiced said principle was apparently quite a while ago and she didn't seem to recall it often, which would have been the only way to keep it in her memory.
  • In Episode 4, Ginko tells the blacksmith that the mushi that infect his dreams can't stand sunlight. Wouldn't it have been a better idea to advise him to sleep during the day if possible, instead of giving him medicine that apparently only reduces the frequency of the dreams a little?
    • This is more Wild Mass Gussing, but Ginko probably sussed out that the blacksmith would literally rather die than give up any daylight working hours.

  • So in the "Path of Overgrowth" special from the second season, is the Sanekui mushi the same kind that Tanyuu has sealed inside her? And what's the deal with the growing number of "abnormalities" Kumado talks about?

  • What was the deal with the sailor kid in "Wind Raiser"? He seemed to feel bad about dragging the snake-like mushi back home and sickening his mother, but then he deliberately called them again after they were dealt with after making some vague comments that it shouldn't be his fault and she isn't his real mother anyway, and then when Ginko convinced him that was wrong, whistled up the wind mushi in such force that it destroyed his family's home. Seems for the best that he decided to leave forever, but what in the world was going through his mind during all of that?
    • He's a young man and doesn't seem to be the most emotionally mature. His relationship with his stepmother was clearly already very complicated - his main motivation before the ship he's working on sinks appears to be trying to earn her approval, and even though there's no way she could think that the ship sinking was his fault, she rebuffs his attempt to give her a gift because it's impractical. On top of his feelings of resentment toward his stepmother, he's wrestling with guilt over accidentally causing the ship to sink just when he'd gained a permanent job... and then it turns out that not only is that his fault, his actions also made his stepmother sick. Basically, he called the yobiko mushi back to the house (by whistling at night) because "everything's all my fault anyhow so fuck it."
      He clearly gets it together after Ginko lectures him, and the rest is the result of Ginko's instructions for how to solve the problem that he created for his family - by whistling at dawn, he called the torikaze mushi to eat the yobiko that were eating holes in everything and making his stepmother sick. The destructive force of the wind was purely a side effect of the torikaze showing up and having a feeding frenzy, not a purposeful act on Ibuki's part.


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