Ginko arrives on a barren island, where according to a boy named Nagi, there is a “Living God.” He shows Ginko this person, a girl named Akoya, who the villagers are tributing food to, and says that a miracle happens every day. As the sun goes down, the girl suddenly starts to rapidly age and then faints. A pinkish-purple dust come out of her nose, which her father informs the on-lookers is basically a cure-all. Nagi tells Ginko that she wakes up in the morning as if nothing had happened. He goes on to blame Akoya’s father for spreading the belief in the living god. Nagi remembers when he and Akoya played together, but then her father took her away. Since then, she’s not communicated nor does she remember what happens from day to day.
When Ginko examines Akoya, he discovers a Mushi giving birth/budding and then dying by exploding, which is what Akoya is expelling from her nose. After doing some research that involves dissecting a rat, Ginko finds a treatment. He pokes Akoya’s forehead with a needle, and a Mushi unravels out of the hole. Akoya’s eyes lose their dead look, and she immediately recognizes Nagi. After they tell her what’s been going on, Nagi asks her to leave the island with him, but she refuses. When Ginko asks, Akoya recounts when her father presented her with a beautiful flower and urged her to smell it. Having heard her describe it, Nagi thinks the flower grows inside a dark cave by the sea.
Ginko and Nagi go to investigate this cave, and find the flowers there with the Mushi inhabiting them. Nagi spots someone else in the cave: Akoya’s father. They run away from him, further down into the water. Meanwhile, Akoya knows that her father is after Nagi, so she asks the villagers for their help in saving him. After she presumably tells them everything, the villagers find and lynch the father for what he did. When Akoya finally reaches the cave herself, she sees the bloodied corpse of her father. Feeling responsible for his death, Akoya sees a flower that he had pocketed earlier. Nagi finds her just as she smells it, but it’s too late to stop her. After Ginko says that the second parasite will be much harder to remove, Nagi lets it take her over, and she’s soon under its control. In the aftermath, Ginko stays on the island for one month and helps all of the people.

This is another amazing episode of Mushishi. I love the way they used the poem about the sun and the flowers at the beginning and end of the episode, tying it together in a beautiful way. It also doesn’t hurt that the theme and ending song of this episode feels so poignant, especially with a sad story like this. Akoya is basically escaping from reality by infecting herself a second time, while Nagi lives on, most likely protecting her.
The art’s also been pretty darn good for this show, but I hope it’ll be really good for next week’s episode, which features a lot of rain and rainbows.

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