In a rural village, there lives a man named Jin who is said to be having strange dreams – dreams that come true. Ginko visits this man and hands him some medicine, saying that these prophetic visions are caused by Mushi. He warns that the most important thing is balance, not too much or too little of the medicine or the dreams.
Flash forward one year when Ginko returns to the town. He finds it desolate, with the man alone in his home. Jin tells him that at first the dreams were good, benefiting the village and saving lives. He took the medicine exactly as Ginko instructed, and all was well. But then there was a tsunami that Jin didn’t foresee, and his own daughter was a victim. In frustration over not being able to save his daughter, he stopped taking the medicine. Things were fine again until the day he started having nightmares. Even worse, they soon became true: a disease spread through the town that caused people to rapidly decay, killing everyone but Jin. At this point, Jin accuses Ginko of deceiving him because he realized that the Mushi weren’t causing the dreams themselves, they were causing the dreams to come true. Ginko replies that he did it because this type of Mushi is like an incurable disease; all you can do is to keep the equilibrium. He explains that the Mushi live in the dreams, but they can sometimes escape and become the medium between dream and reality.
While Jin is sleeping that night, Ginko tries to figure out a way to help him. He hears a noise in the next room and finds Jin bent over in pain because he took all of the medicine in an attempt to kill himself. Jin, in a near-death state, starts to dream, and Ginko can see it all being projected onto the screen behind him. Jin first dreams about being reunited with his family, but then the scene changes to the room that he’s sleeping in. It starts to catch on fire, and soon everything is burning, including the house in the real world. After having been woken up by Ginko, Jin sees that the flames are coming from the pillow, and realizes that it’s the source of all this. Wanting to put an end to the Mushi, he takes a sword and cuts the pillow in half, revealing tons of maggot-like objects squirming inside. But then Jin himself gets a wound along his chest, and Ginko has to save him. When Jin wakes up days later, Ginko tells him that the pillow can be seen as a place to store the soul, but that if you cut it, you’ll lose something. Narrating after the fact, Ginko tells of Jin returning to a normal life until he killed himself one day. He was apparently afraid of sleeping, and so, after having cut his pillow that time, he never dreamed again.
I don’t have much to say about this episode that I haven’t said already (i.e. great animation, great music). Ginko once again acts as a sage-type figure that tries to help people affected by Mushi. This week, it’s a type of Mushi that lives in dreams and can make them come true. The episode itself ended rather effectively by reflecting on Jin’s life, but I don’t really like how his ultimate fate is suicide, even though it does show that Ginko can’t solve everyone’s problems. The story isn’t really a happy one, and I was also a bit grossed out by the insides of the pillow (like I noted above, they remind me of maggots). So not a bad story by any means, but didn’t it didn’t suit my tastes.
The next episode, “The Traveling Swamp” is another standalone tale, but the beginning does kind of tie these first four stories together, so that’s something to look forward to.