Ginko arrives in a farming village that, as he is told, gets a bountiful rice harvest after a natural disaster. But the price of this harvest is the death of one of the villagers. He meets a boy named Sane who confirms that and explains that someone who eats the rice will develop a tooth in his or her mouth. When that tooth falls out, the person dies, but the village is provided with a good harvest and is dependent on this cycle. The tooth is entrusted to the village priest, whom Sane introduces Ginko to.
Ginko tries to get the priest to tell him about what’s going on, but the priest is reluctant to, particularly on the subject of the tooth. Ginko tells him about a Seed of Narazu which, when planted, can also produce a good harvest, but it also costs a life. The two then debate the scruples of using such a seed for the greater good. The priest doesn’t admit that this is what’s happening, but Ginko is pretty sure of it by this point. He leaves the priest’s house with the intent of helping the villagers, if given their approval. The priest thinks that Ginko is going to burn the rice fields, but faints soon after. Ginko finds out that the priest has been taking medicine, which Ginko identifies as poison. When he wakes up, the priest admits that he wanted to be the last sacrifice for the seed. He explains that this has been going on for twenty years, and when he became priest, he buried the seed just like those before him did. However, his own wife developed the tooth/seed and died. He had kept the seed until this year, when he planted it again.
Some time passes and one day the priest finds himself coughing up blood, with a tooth growing inside his mouth. On his deathbed, he takes the tooth out of his mouth, gives it to Sane, who is his successor, and then dies quietly. Ginko grabs the tooth out of Sane’s hand and puts it back into the priest’s mouth, forcing him to swallow it with water. Much to Sane’s delight, the priest returns to life, but is now a Mushi and immortal. Ginko later hears of a legend of a man who doesn’t age and doesn’t die and travels around teaching farming methods.
I really thought that this story was going to end with the priest dying, but that wouldn’t have resolved anything in the story. The episode ends on a much more hopeful note, with him traveling around helping other farmers. The theme here is sacrificing for the greater good. It’s in the original legend Ginko hears, it’s in the story the priest tells, and you can even say that the priest’s immortality becomes his sacrifice of a normal life for the greater good. The Seed of Narazu deal with having to sacrifice a human life for a good harvest reminds me a bit of Full Metal Alchemist, in the equivalent exchange sense.
Next time, Adashino-sensei returns 🙂
Mushishi’s schedule gets a bit weird from here on out. Mushishi airs weekly on four channels: KTV, Tokai-TV, FUJI TV, and TSS. Normally, KTV and FUJI TV air the episode before the other two channels, late Saturday night (Japan standard time). Tokai-TV and TSS air the episode late Wednesday night. However, KTV, FUJI TV, and Tokai-TV are putting Mushishi on break for two weeks, returning January 7th, 2006 for episode ten. But as far as I can tell, TSS is not, though their official schedule doesn’t list that far yet. If they are indeed not taking a break, then the first airing of episode ten will be Wednesday, December 28th, 2005, on TSS. If they are taking a break, and the wiki just hasn’t been updated properly, then the first airing will be January 7th.
Edit: Schedule was updated. There’s no Mushishi for the next two weeks. Episode 10 will air on January 7th.