Mushishi Zoku Shou Ep. 7: Acceptance

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Once in a while, Ginko doesn’t have a cure. There’s nothing he can really do to help Teru. She’ll just have to carry the Amefurashi, a mushi that can bring forth the rain, within her body until it eventually dies. This is thus an episode about acceptance. When things are out of your control, you must simply accept your fate and carry on. Having said that, acceptance is difficult. As thinking creatures, we can’t help but create patterns and narratives out of nothing. If it begins to rain too much, perhaps… perhaps it’s somebody’s fault. Oftentimes, we’ll blame the devil or even the demons that plague our land. Sometimes, innocent individuals get caught up in the blame game. Say, don’t you think rain seems to appear wherever that little girl happens to be? Perhaps it’s her fault.

And yes, because the Amefurashi had entered Teru’s body, she’s technically the reason why rain would fall wherever she went. But like I’ve said, when things are out of your control, you simply have to accept it. The Amefurashi gathers the moisture within Teru’s body, and in doing so, it is able call forth the rain. Nevertheless, this is nothing that Teru can control. As Ginko explains, what we have here is kind of like a natural phenomenon. The truth is that Teru can only control where she goes; she can’t actually control the rain. Yes, when it rains too much, people will fall ill, but can you really blame this on a little girl who has no knowledge of the Amefurashi or even the existence of mushi in general? This is simply nothing more than an unfortunate set of circumstances. It is also a set of circumstances that one has to accept. Teru at least accepts the fact that she can never stay in one place for too long.

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Still, Teru blames herself because the villagers have blamed her. She cannot accept that she wasn’t at fault for the death of her childhood friend Ryou just as the villagers cannot accept that some poor, little girl was not at fault for the apparently perpetual rain. As a result, something terrible happened to Teru: she was no longer able to cry. And because she could no longer cry, she started to believe that she was no longer human. She even alludes to this even now in the peesent: “If anyone could [make it rain], they would no longer be human.” This implies that she hasn’t considered herself human for quite some time now, which cannot be healthy. Technically, the Amefurashi is the literal reason why the girl cannot shed a single tear. At the same time, however, there’s a symbolic reason why she can no longer cry. Because she continues to blame herself for Ryou’s death, she cannot truly mourn.

Mourning is an inextricable part of the healing process. Mourning allows you to open up and express your deep feelings of hurt and sorrow following a tragedy. Unfortunately, Teru as a young girl was never allowed to mourn Ryou’s death. First, more and more people started to fall ill around her. It is difficult to mourn when tragedies strike one after the other. Eventually, her own family shipped her away to live with a relative, which only served to remove the girl even further from the situation. Unable to properly confront the inevitability of death head on, this became another factor that prevented Teru from properly mourning. Finally, the villagers started to blame the girl. Now that she had to bear the burden of responsibility, the guilt is the last but most significant impediment in the girl’s inability to heal. Ultimately, it boils down to whether or not we are able to accept that most deaths are natural and inevitable.

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There’s one more example of the characters’ inability to accept that I want to point out. Water erodes. Water can cause people to fall ill. Water can be destructive as it floods and destroys our homes. At the same time, however, water is essential to life. Scientists are always looking for water on other planets and for good reason too. Without water, we would die. But this duality to water is yet another thing that Teru doesn’t initially accept. The tragedies in her life have skewed her perspective of water and rain to such an extent that she only sees the bad side of her situation. Yasu’s near death, however, is a reminder that water can heal. Afterwards, Ginko then reminds the girl that her situation isn’t all bad: “…you’ve figured out a relatively good way to coexist with the Amefurashi.” This is just the plain truth.

Wherever there’s a drought, Teru will drop by and give people a brief respite. Even though she curses the fact that she cannot settle down, she has probably even saved lives as a result of her wandering. Last but not least, Yasu certainly feels as though Teru has saved his life. For every villager that has wrongly blameed the poor girl for their unfortunate set of circumstances, there are likely just as many who are thankful that she can apparently predict the coming of rain. Teru just needs to accept that there are usually two sides to every situation, a duality to almost everything. She finally does so by the end of the episode. After all, the Amefurashi will eventually die, and the girl will finally be able to have a normal life.

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As a result, she can finally see that the rain can be beautiful.

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4 thoughts on “Mushishi Zoku Shou Ep. 7: Acceptance”

  1. Even though I remembered this story from when I read the manga, it was still a lot of fun seeing it with moving pictures. Something about the rain stuff really works for me, especially when the ending is happy by Mushishi standards. Someone also compared Teru’s wanderer status to Ginko’s and I think that helps a bit. Pity Ginko didn’t have too much of a role himself this episode besides explaining stuff.

    1. Pity Ginko didn’t have too much of a role himself this episode besides explaining stuff.

      I think it’s fine. It’s a lot better than Ginko always having all the answers to every single situation.

  2. “And because she could no longer cry, she started to believe that she was no longer human”

    Can I ask about your personal opinion on this? Not particularly about this anime, but life in general.

    1. Well, I don’t think I have any deep insights here. I think we all have our problems, and it does nobody any good to start delineating who and what counts as humanity.

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