Of all the episodes in Mushishi, I think I was looking forward to blogging this one less than any other. This was always one of my least favorite entries in the series for reasons I couldn't quite understand, and I was worried I wouldn't have anything to say about it. When I got around to watching it, I was met with something entirely unexpected; I liked it. I really liked it, in fact, and I also loved what it had to say.
I think for me this project just more than made up for what work it requires.
|Also, I would pay money to watch a buddy show version of Mushishi with these two.|
Sometimes, dreams are little more than obsessions. Koro's father obsessed over finding the Kouda rainbow just once more before he died, and like many obsessions do it ruined his life. Koro, too, seems to have become obsessed - he's been searching for a rainbow no one but his father thought existed for five years.
This episode is all about dreams. It's about the journeys to realize (or abandon) them, about what they mean to us. Koro's dream may have been an obsession, but it also saves him. The idea is fairly obvious from the very beginning of the episode: he's chasing after a rainbow, something ephemeral, almost intangible, and he's begging it not to disappear. It's the dream that gives purpose to his life, that gives him the feeling he can accomplish something.
Like most dreams, Koro's journey to obtain the rainbow is riddled with doubt. He himself admits the unlikelihood of success (and indeed, the seemingly obvious irrational stupidity). In spite of this, he keeps searching for it, fighting off doubts for five years. Five years, all spent chasing a rainbow.
|Some skepticism is appropriate.|
That's the thing about dreams. We sustain ourselves on them, and as a result we can never let them die. That's the first important revelation of Koro's journey; some dreams need to be let go of. He finds the rainbow. His dream is in front of him, and once he sees what it is, he gives it up. His dream has lived out its purpose, and it's time to move on.
Along the way, though, Koro realizes his second dream, one he's had even longer than his quest for the rainbow; building an indestructible bridge for his village. It's a dream he'd given up on - it was outside of his reach, beyond his capabilities, and so he abandoned it. That's the second revelation: some dreams are worth keeping alive and rekindling. After letting go of the rainbow, Koro accomplishes what no other in his family or even his village could - building a bridge that can withstand the rage of the river - and in doing so realizes the dream he's held his entire life: proving himself.
The other note of interest is that all this only occurs because Ginko is there to help him. Sometimes, we need the help of others to make our dreams reality. That's okay. Our dreams don't have to be ours exclusively - Koro shared his father's dream of seeing the Kouda, and Ginko shared Koro's dream of finding it (the distinction between the two is subtle, but exists nonetheless). No, not all dreams come true; Koro's father, for instance, never saw the Kouda again. But on the other hand, if we decide to keep them alive, if we find others to help us, then maybe we can fulfill them. And maybe, like in Koro's case, we can achieve so much more.
I would also like to take a second to formally beg someone to write a post on how the Nagaremono (or the Kouda, rather) serves as the perfect antithesis to Koro's way of life - it simply exists, directionless and aimless, with no dream to guide or sustain it.