Sui is a young girl who lives alone after her family has more or less abandoned her because she has a condition where light hurts her eyes, so she lives in darkness. Sui tells her only friend Biki that she thinks her eyes are filled with Mushi. She explains that people have two eyelids, and only when you close both, putting you in total darkness, can you see where the Mushi live. Biki can’t seem to achieve this darkness, so Sui tells him what she sees: a river of light that’s made up of Mushi. However, there is a one-eyed man on the other side of this river telling her not to get any closer. When Biki returns home, his mother warns about contracting Sui’s disease. Then one night, when Biki is reading in bed, he feels a pain in his eyes. By the next morning, he can’t stand light either. His mother visits Sui to tell her that Biki won’t be visiting anymore. When she returns home, she finds Ginko watching over a sleeping Biki. Ginko tells her that he already treated the early stages of the infection in Biki with medicine. When Biki wakes up, Ginko tells him that the Mushi that affected him breed in darkness. After the sun sets, Ginko visits Sui’s home, but is surprised to see her eyes smoking behind the blindfold. He knows that Sui’s eyes are now dead from having gotten too close to the river of light, but he wants to try something, so he tells her to open her eyes with her second eyelids closed. The moonlight lures out a flood of liquid Mushi, but Ginko manages to grab one in particular and kills it. He then gives one of his own glass eyes to Sui, injecting it with the liquid Mushi so that it can work like a real eye. When Biki asks about the river of light, Ginko and the narrator explain that man once could use their second eyelids to close out all light. In the darkness, the river of light is filled with creatures that are the source of life. Days later, Biki notices that Sui has adjusted very well to her new eye and is now able to live a normal life. He thinks that she won’t see the strange light anymore, but wonders if Ginko lost his left eye the same way Sui lost hers.
I really didn’t think they would show the eye episode second. Mushishi has a very episodic plot, so you can move the stories around however you like, but I thought they would keep with the order of the manga. Either way, the eye story somewhat freaked me out when I first saw it, partly because Sui without eyes reminds me of a Hollow (from Bleach). And the liquid Mushi coming out of her is just a tad creepy. Maybe I’m just a little too squeamish about this kinda thing.
We learn a little more about the mysterious Ginko this week. It appears that the reason that his hair is always down covering his left eye is because that eye is fake. Sometime in the past, he must have also gotten too close to the river of light. Now, he guards that river to prevent it from happening again. What I don’t understand is why Ginko uses a fake eye if he can just inject them with the liquid Mushi to make it into an almost-real eye. It’s not quite the same as having nothing there at all and thus being a reminder of past mistakes.
Next week will move us back “on track” with the manga, covering the second chapter involving a boy and his horns.