Season 1, Episode 5: Act Five – Song of the Bugs
What’s the value of immortality?
While at an inn resting, Manji encounters Eiku Shizuma. Disguised as a monk, he offers to help Manji find Anotsu. Eiku claims he’s unarmed, but Manji claims that he(Eiku) killed more than 128 men (Manji’s number). Eiku claims that he “admires” Anotsu ambition. He feels that Anotsu, has created a magnificent school with Itto-ryu. Eiku is aware of Manji’s “immortality.” He claims that a man named Taito Magatsu, told him of Manji’s “swordplay and of your immortal body.” Manji rudely dismisses Eiku and tells him to “get lost.” Manji and Eiku attack each other. It turns out that Eiku is “immortal” too. However, unlike Manji he’s been alive for 200 years. He’s had five wives, many children and friends, but they all have died. He laments that his immortality is “cruel.”
Nothing in the world is immortal
Before he leaves Manji to ponder his offer, he reminds Manji that “nothing is immortal.” He suggest that “tonight” Manji will learn what he means. What Manji learns is that Eiku has poisoned him or more importantly the sacred worms inside him. Rui runs to find help. She conveniently meets the old woman. However, this woman isn’t the one that gave Manji immortality. Eiku Shizuma forces her to help him kidnap Rui by kidnapping her grandson. Rui forgives the old lady and tells her to flee. Rui asks Eiku if there’s a cure. He says that there is not. He leaves Rui to go and murder the old lady and her grandson. Rui is understandable horrified. After 200 years, Eiku has become nihilistic. After he explains the reason he became that way, he offers to share his sacred blood with her.
Manji verses Eiku Shizuma
Eiku temps Rui with his blood. However, before she can accept his blood Manji arrives. It turns out that Eiku didn’t kill the child but did murder the old woman. While, Rui holds the baby, Manji and Eiku battle. Eiku pours the poison on his sword providing a new threat to Manji. Succumbing to the still lingering effects of the poison, Manji begins to spit up blood. However, before Eiku can kill him, Rui distracts him. When he turns his back, Manji takes advantage. He cuts Eiku into pieces, leaving his torso pinned to a tree. Before he dies, Eiku tells Rui that Anotsu will leave for Kaga in half a month. Once again, Manji is bested by another warrior. He admits that he allowed himself to die, as he was tired of living. This episode has interesting things about the value of immortality.
While pointing out that “no one” is actually immortal, Eiku challenges both Rui and Manji’s view of immortality. Having lived so long, Eiku Shizuma became bitter. He has watch so many people he loved die and comes to hate life. However, he had the means to kill himself and didn’t. That might be a flaw in the story. Furthermore, Manji’s whole point in joining Rui is to end his own immortality by doing good. I felt that Eiku murdering the grandmother was completely unnecessary. He had already held her grandson hostage proving that he was a monster. I also don’t get why he left the grandson alive. It’s probably for the best that Rui didn’t become immortal, but a small part of me though she should do it. However, it’s possible Eiku would have killed her for doing do considering he was making a case how miserable he was.
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