Ginko happens upon a man on the beach who says he’s waiting for his wife. Since Ginko is willing to listen, this man named Shirou, tells a story of two and a half years ago. Because of an argument, Shirou and his wife Michihi took separate boats to travel across the sea. The water soon became filled with white snakes-like creatures, and a white haze enveloped them. The rudder on Michihi’s boat stopped working, and Shirou soon lost sight of his wife. After the boat rode a giant waves of the white snakes, Shirou washed onto the shore, but there was no sign of his wife or her boat.
Ginko suggests that Shirou should do something more with his life. Shirou ends up living and working in the nearby village with a girl named Nami. Recently, however, the white haze has returned. Ginko comes back months later to tell Shirou that what he thought to be a group of snakes is really a creature that spends 1000 years in the ocean and 1000 years in the mountains. When in the water, they will form together into one large Mushi. Ginko also warns Shirou that inside the fog, only the people who want to return to land will be able to see the shore. With the white fog nearby again, Ginko and Shirou go out to investigate. Shirou sees his wife’s boat appear and float towards them. Prepared to see his wife’s dead body, he uncovers the blanket over her, but is amazed when she wakes up. Michihi is in tears after being reunited with her husband after what she says has been almost three days. That statement sends a warning signal through Shirou and Ginko’s heads, but Shirou is happy to see his wife again.
Shirou is ready to take Michihi back home, but Ginko stops them and asks if Shirou can see which way land is. After Shirou points the wrong way, Ginko corrects him and notes that the Mushi have begun to transform, so they should hurry up and get out of there. Michihi calls out Shirou’s name, but he turns around to see her disappear in a white foam. The villagers, who are searching for them, see a giant multiple legged dragon-like creature fly up into the sky in the white haze. When Ginko and Shirou do make it back to land, they find out that they’ve been missing for an entire month, when they only spent two or three hours inside the white haze. Ginko later surmises that inside the haze flowed the time of the Mushi, different from outside time. Days later, a boat and several crates washes up onto the shore. Shirou tells Ginko that it’s ok if the villagers take the stuff because there’s no owner any longer.
This is another episode with a fairly sad ending. Shirou, who has held his wife in his heart for three years, is finally reunited with her, only to be torn apart again. He comes to accept it her death at the end by allowing the villagers to have her clothes, but his face clearly still shows signs of his pain. At least he’s able to give up on her now and fully move forward with his life, especially since he got to apologize for their original argument. And there’s still Nami, who I guess becomes a bit of a consolation prize.
My favorite parts about this episode are all the flow of time references. A day inside the haze equates to roughly a year outside, as Ginko and Shirou found out. It makes me wonder why the time of the Mushi is so much slower than that on the outside. The story itself seems to be told over the course of several months, though that may not be immediately clear.
The animation seems a bit lower quality to me this week, but overall I’d say this episode is still pretty good.