Mushi-shi Season 2 Episode 3 Recap – “Beneath The Snow”
In our opening scene, a brother and his little sister walk by a lake during the dead of winter. She hopes the lake will freeze soon. After that amazing theme song, Ginko is looking for an inn to stay at. He spies one cabin encased completely in snow, and another collection of houses further down the path, with smoke coming out of the chimney. As he passes by the encased cabin, a pale face peers out at him.
At the inn, a young woman named Tae comes to tell him that his bath is ready. Ginko is surveying the snow mushi of the area, and explains some of the types he is looking for. There’s the Yukinarashi (Snow Smoother), which live in animal tracks. The Yukidangomushi (Snow Roly-poly) rolls in the snow to make snowballs. If they get too large they crash into trees to lighten their load. If there aren’t any trees around they may try to hit you instead. They can also cause avalanches at times. The Tokoyukimushi (Neverending Snow Mushi) are rare, but they travel in packs, milling around a specific animal or person, slowly stealing it’s warmth. An possessed subject looks like they always have snow falling around them at all times. For humans it will only decrease their body temperature for a period of time; there’s not a large risk of death. Tae appears to be very curious about all of this, so Ginko asks if she has someone in mind, and she brings up the man in the snow covered house.
His name is Toki and he lost his sister Sachi to the lake. He is constantly covered in snow, but doesn’t feel the cold. Whenever he is near heat it feels like his skin is about to burn up. He can’t even tolerate the heat from a human body if they get too close. He’s been that way since the day Sachi died. Ginko warns him that he has frostbite and will lose his limbs if he doesn’t warm up soon. The burning sensation is his sense being deceived as well. Toki doesn’t listen though, and goes out to the lake to fish.
Caught up in the memory of the accident that killed his sister, his boat hits a patch of ice and he topples into the lake. The townsfolk and his family search for him at night, including an emotional Tae. While the town searches for him above the water, he is lying on the floor of the lake, alive but buried underneath unmelting snow. Which makes for a beautiful visual by the way, but that should be no surprise with this show’s animation. That night, the lake freezes over completely.
The next night, that ice is contracting and cracking due to the extreme cold of the winter. Toki rises back up to shore, returning home. He runs off again though as his family tried to heat him up, since he looks considerably frozen now. Ginko and Tae take off to look for him, since Toki will die if he doesn’t warm up before the night is done.
Tae finds him trying to break apart the ice with a shovel. He wants to go back in to find Sachi, who could still be down there, but hasn’t woken up yet. Tae tearfully reminds him that Sachi is indeed dead, Toki dragged her out of the ice, where she died in his arms. Toki won’t believe her though, and begins to hammer at the ice. Tae steps out to stop him – and falls through a breaking patch of ice.
Toki grabs her hand and drags her back onto the ice surface, putting her on his back and rushing back home. While he is trekking, he remembers his sister’s traumatic death (it’s seriously heartbreaking). His limbs begin to feel the cold, and his normal body temperature is creeping back to him. He can also feel the intense warmth from Tae’s body as she huddles against his back. Ginko finds them both and leads them back to the house. By the time Toki reaches it, his senses are back to normal. Ginko thinks that it might just have been the warmth of Tae’s heart.
SO mushy, but hey, it still got me. That’s the beauty of this show, that even though these characters only appear in one episode, I can establish enough of a connection with them. I find myself waiting eagerly to see where Ginko travels next, and even though I know it will most likely be tragic, I don’t dread watching each episode.
Interest Level: High