「隠り江」 (Komori e)
“Secluded Cove”

On Japan’s Kyuushuu island, in the prefecture of Fukuoka, is a quaint little city called Yanagawa. The main tourist attraction there is a network of canals that still runs through a part of the town, going between the houses and requiring boats to navigate. These canals have earned Yanagawa the nickname ‘Venice of Japan’; just trade in European architecture for Japanese. The setting for this week’s episode of Mushishi is undoubtedly inspired by the canals of Yanagawa, but with more of that greenery that has come to define Mushishi‘s naturalistic beauty. It gives a sense of peaceful tranquility and reminds me very much of Aria, but while Neo-Venezia was a very bright, clean utopia, fantasy Yanagawa is a much more agrarian ideal. The landscape of Mushishi has always been beautiful, but the villages have always been less Arcadia and more dirt farms, so it was quite a treat to see a human habitat rendered so picturesque. Of course, Mushishi is still ultimately about people, and this week is about nursemaid Sumi (voiced by Shimamoto Sumi, a mother) and her charge, Yura (voiced by Koshikawa Shiori, the daughter). Their home serves as a metaphor, a place of obscuring mist, both divided and connected by the canals that make it distinctive.

Humans are social animals, and while Mushishi adds a fantasy flair to it with the Kairogi, we can see that even today humans tend to build communities to form connections with each other. But Mushishi also warns against valuing these established connections to the exclusion of all others. Yura’s bond with Sumi is warm and maternal—and society holds little in esteem higher than motherhood—but that bond turned into dependence and escapism. It’s the same with the Kairogi: like many mushi, they can be useful, but they are double-edged swords. The abuse of mushi has never gone well, and neither does it here. As is common with social withdrawal in real life, the longer you hide the harder it is to emerge later. Mushishi, however, has a optimistic message: like with Yura, if you call out, people will answer. Although each home had the appearance of an island, in truth the village was still a tightly knit community.

Mushishi still paints Yura and Sumi’s relationship to be, ultimately, positive. Without a doubt, Sumi filled an important hole in Yura’s heart (both metaphorical and otherwise) that her dead mother left behind. In a series that has both closely examined and greatly valued the relationship between parent and child, Sumi’s love for Yura is as real as all the other examples Mushishi has shown us over its span, and to take it away still felt cruel. Visiting each other, and even using the Kairogi, is still fine in moderation. What is important is finding the initiative to reach out to others. It’s not easy, for sure. Every person is shrouded in a veil—a mist, if you will—that we need to pierce before we can know each other. Every individual is a secluded cove. That makes the bonds we do forge precious and beautiful.


Full-length images: 36.




  1. I like how they showed another pair of father and daughter who woke up in the middle of the night when they were affected by Kairogi. This subtly illustrated the power of the consciousness connection between parents and children, which was the theme of the episode.

    1. Anyhow the episode number is not that important, sorry about that.

      But in this Scene:
      the Faceless MC
      and here:
      When the MC was talking to the Girl the first time, they forgotten to give him a mouth while speaking

      Dont take it wrong, i just noticed it. But the soul of this Anime in telling it’s story is great, they do it with that many love that i still have a happy heart inside my chest. Perhaps because i also born in a village far of the big cities with their “children” stories of the surroundings

      Fells like these old Days. Thank you for this emotion

    2. Re: 12 vs 14, 14 vs 16

      Remember that special from in between seasons “Tokubetsu-hen – Toge no Michi”? Well RC didn’t count those two in their episode count while other groups do.

      Hanover Fist
  2. It’s funny how things got resolved at the end.

    Yura: I guess this is goodbye Sumi.
    Ginko: Just get a boat and visit her.

    That made a whole lot of sense to me. Better alternative than to use a Mushi that could potentially make you lose your consciousness forever.

    Tragedy averted.

      1. You could transfer this kind of story into the now. Internet and the instant massager
        today sending some stuff through the Phone is easier as visit your friend in real. And if you keep on depend on this handy technology, you fall into the Internet addiction

      2. From the impression I got from the episode, Sumi doesn’t seem too far away. Granted they did find out about the negative effects only after Ginko visited. I can only attribute their reluctance because of the very strict father or Yura’s condition. I find it amusing how they were prepared to distance themselves near the end after giving up the ether medium until Ginko pointed they could always visit each other.

        It’s a good thing the Internet doesn’t take away your consciousness though. As much as I rely on it to contact people, it’s the last place I want my consciousness to get stuck in :P.

      3. Perhaps we are seeing this theme in our way of light, because we grown up without these Handy or Internet or not depending to much on them. But of Children that only know their friend or friends from the Internet, they surly will not cut the ties with them. And here in this anime it was only 1 friend, she rely. i do not know how a child see the world, if he or she have many many friends like these facebook contacts, never saw them in rl, but have grown so much trust that we have perhaps here the same situation. the mist here is the golden cage they build, the mushi is the net, and if you do not have a flat-rate (i know, today you have everywhere flat-rates) you bills will kill your wallet

    1. yeah, indeed. this beautiful nature landscapes, let my old valley heart skip a beat. the calmness this pure nature, yeah as if they are there waiting for you to stretch your hand to reach them.

      when it comes to nature landscapes background, then Mushishi do not need to hide, no it even can outshine the sun

      yeah, i know, i should not overdo it.


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