"Somewhere Anteros is Seething…"* (Or Crying)

*Idea of Anteros as it relates to this episode of Mushishi was presented here https://mushi-shi.fandom.com/wiki/Suzu by an unnamed FANDOM User on 8/22/2019.

Ginko tends to attract mushi (life forms that are invisible to most people, but can affect humans, and have a supernatural quality). Ginko is a mushishi (mushi-shi), someone knowledgeable about mushi and able to see them. He travels and tries his best to help people and mushi coexist. He is patient, intelligent, and works very hard to help others. Because Ginko attracts mushi, which can cause imbalance or distress, he doesn’t stay in one area for too long. He isn’t used to having roots in one area or being too familiar with others. Ginko has a doctor friend he visits from time to time. Otherwise he wanders from town to town, meeting new people, and researching mushi.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Season One, Episode 15 of Mushishi (watching on Hulu), Ginko is seeking shelter from the harsh winter weather. He stumbles upon Suzu’s home, that she shares with her little brother Miharu.

Since Ginko is usually on his own traveling, it was refreshing seeing Ginko interact with Suzu and Miharu like they were family. I enjoyed seeing him as a father figure, or mentor, to the young boy who was able to see mushi.

I didn’t plan on doing so many screen grabs, but dammit if this wasn’t one of my favorite episodes so far. Every scene felt meaningful.

Look at Miharu’s face! He knows he shouldn’t have done that lol.

Ginko and Suzu even parent in a similar way!

With the type of soil near Suzu and the cold weather, Ginko was hoping he’d be alright staying in one place for a little while, but realizes the number of mushi in the area has already increased.

Suzu we know you also want Ginko to stay!

Ginko knows attracting more mushi won’t be helpful to Miharu or his sister Suzu.

You can tell Ginko doesn’t want to leave and Suzu definitely doesn’t want him to leave. Miharu enjoys Ginko’s company as well. Unfortunately things being what they are, he doesn’t have a choice. Even the mushi repellent that was in an earlier episode would be a temporary fix and not a long term solution. That house near the mountains, with Suzu and Miharu, provided warmth in more ways than one.

It’s been a year, so feeling that’s been a safe time frame, Ginko returns. You can see how happy he is to be back, especially when you compare it to his expression when he left.

Have you ever felt that you’ve been so strong for so long, and resilient, but it’s been a weight on your shoulders. You’ve become accustomed to the gradual increase in load, but it’s heavy. Suddenly you see that person. That person you feel safe with, whether it’s a parent, another family member, friend, or significant other. They give you a sense of relief. Whenever you’re with that person, whoever it is, you feel safe and you can let your guard down. And you realize how much you’ve been carrying? How much you’ve had on your shoulders? And it just releases from your body? In tears, fatigue, or an outburst? It could even be just a silent hug, that conveys more than words ever could.

That’s the feeling Suzu has upon Ginko’s return.

Her brother’s slumber lasted longer than usual and she is understandably alarmed. Caring for her little brother as the sole guardian can be stressful, especially when he is chasing after mushi, but worrying that he’ll never wake up is even more stressful.

Ginko is going out to search for clues to the cause of Miharu’s hibernation. Of course mushi are involved.

I’ll let you watch the episode to see the reason for Miharu’s deep sleep, but ultimately Suzu has to go find Ginko, and bring him all the way back to their home. Oh and now he’s afflicted with the deep sleep too. She finds a mushi in Ginko’s coat that is helpful to them. It’s rare we get to see Ginko be helped, usually he does the helping, so it was nice to see another person caring for him.

Ginko awakens and tries to figure out what’s happened. He comes to his senses quickly. Suzu is overjoyed that her brother and Ginko are awake.

Proud Dad

You know you’ll miss him too Miharu!

At first I was annoyed Ginko wouldn’t say goodbye to Suzu, she saved his life! Granted he risked his to save her brother’s. But still, he could see her to say farewell. And Ginko’s avoiding eye contact in this scene, like he did earlier when he told Suzu he was sorry that he couldn’t stay.

I think it would’ve been incredibly difficult for Ginko to say farewell to Suzu (again), knowing how hard it was the first time. Plus there’s a chance he would’ve changed his mind, and he knows that isn’t practical, or safe, for him to stay with Suzu and her brother (as much as they may want to stay together). But still, it would’ve been nice for him to give Suzu a proper farewell.

The butterflies that are involved with this episode, made me think of that saying about how one shouldn’t chase butterflies. I don’t know if the idea of chasing butterflies conveys that it’s not practical, or unrealistic. Perhaps that is a metaphor for the idea of Ginko living in a home with a family and being happy, in that sense, is impractical.

Ginko wanted to stay. He enjoyed their company. And having a home with a family.

Like that person who left the comment, on the Mushishi Wiki, I can only imagine the frustration Anteros, the Greek God of requited love, is feeling. Having experienced a degree of this myself (no mushi were involved), I know it’s frustrating to come to terms with a situation you cannot control. Some people will push the other away because it’ll help them make peace with the situation. Someone may limit or restrict contact for the same reason. Perhaps Ginko will return, but I have a feeling that would be too difficult knowing he cannot stay.

Even as a child Ginko knew staying in one place too long wasn’t a good idea. It could bring trouble to the folks kind enough to welcome him into their town, as evidenced from an earlier episode when Ginko was saved by a Good Samaritan.

To spare the Good Samaritan, and his town, Ginko left and has lived as a nomad ever since.

He might’ve been happy living in that town as a child. Like Ginko pointed out to Miharu, at least he had a place he belonged. Ginko doesn’t. Although he would’ve been happy with Miharu and his sister. But alas that was not to be. His leaving didn’t mean he loved Suzu any less, if anything he did it to keep her and Miharu safe. Whether he loved her as a friend or more, you may decide for yourself.