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Watch & Learn: MUSHI-SHI #14

What does it take to make Ginko finally lose his cool?

What does it take to make Ginko lose his cool? A compass.
What does it take to make Ginko lose his cool? A compass.

Trees factor into religious iconography a lot, don't they? Yggdrasil’s been in the public conscious this year because of THOR obviously, and that's only the most recent example. Raise your cup of green tea to the most fascinating Mushi-fueled phenomenon this show’s dealt out yet. If the One-Night Bridge was somewhat akin to the Flying Dutchman, then this bamboo forest reminds me somewhat of a castle from folklore that’ll always remain on the horizon regardless of how long you walk toward it. I forget the name, but the subtle space-warping principle is more-or-less the same.

It’s a really ingenious notion to have the tree’s children and their familiars bound to its circumference as if they were tied up by invisible roots. For a show that takes such a leisurely approach to exploring ideas, MUSHI-SHI has certainly been giving me some rich concepts to wrap my head around lately. My concerns about the formula of the show getting tiresome have been largely assuaged, as it’s actually been picking up lately between this and “The One-Night Bridge.”

Perhaps the pick-up coincides with the seemingly-darker turn the shows has taken, as well. I compared earlier episodes to THE TWILIGHT ZONE, but all the scary business with the bamboo babies kicked this closer into the territory of THE OUTER LIMITS. That show had more of science fiction bent than a fantasy one, sure, but it also had a far more menacing undercurrent to all its short postulations about man’s interaction with the fantastic.

I suppose the message of this is that the guy should’ve been content to his outsider’s position since it meant he could live with his family. Even if we do get some hint of a rebirth, it still seems like more of an intellectual recompense for the horrible suffering he suffered once his girls’ water ran out.

Watch this episode “Inside the Cage" below, decide for yourself and then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

Contraon July 2, 2011 at 1:09 p.m.
Another great episode.  I agree with your comment about its similarity to those classic sci fi one shots where you take a high concept idea, and throw it at the wall to what happens.  Here the idea is one that anyone who's ever got lost in the woods at some point considers, what if I never get out.  I think most forrests develop their own ghost stories and myths about people that live in there, I when I was growing up we had more than a few about the local forrest.  
 
I took the rebirth to be important to the story though.  Bamboo has a massive network or roots, and basically is very hard to kill.  And at least it gives a spec of hope, compared to say episode 13; in no matter who you lose on the way, they are never really gone as long as you have roots... oh god I sound like a Hallmark commercial.  Thought aborted.  

Dig Deeper into Mushi-Shi

The story features ubiquitous creatures called Mushi that often display supernatural powers. Mushi are described as beings in touch with the essence of life, far more basic and pure than normal living things. Ginko, an expert on these beings, travels and helps those who have been effected by them.

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