As I’ve noted, what strikes me about Fushi’s arc is that after a long time where he was learning how to be human, he’s now learning to be himself. In other words immortal, alien, demon, whatever word the locals choose – inhuman, anyway. That’s not wrong – he’s not a human, after all, and he was created for a purpose. But it should still be his decision to use his powers as he sees fit (generally helping people, as it turns out). The problem is that now that he more or less knows how to be a human, he can’t turn that part of himself off. And that means he knows what he’s missing out on by choosing the course he has.
That’s why we get a growing sense that Fushi really isn’t happy (or at least I do). He’s become somewhat morose this season, even snappish at times. And it’s no wonder, with Bon (he’s really starting to annoy me, by the way) working him nonstop. For all that Kahaku has been kind of a creepy guy, he is the one person in Fushi’s inner circle who sees him as a human – and treats him as such. Everyone is working towards a larger goal, and Fushi is at least literally capable of keeping up with the workload. But he has human emotional and intellectual frailties now, whether he wants to admit it or not.
What worries me here is that I see Fushi on a course to becoming a martyr, which was not the direction I hoped his arc would take. He’s certainly using his powers prodigiously and selflessly, to the point where to the people of Renril his works (mostly through the mysterious wise man) begin to take on the air of a savior. Oh sure, there’s that weird white goo stuck to the furniture and even the fruit (yuck) but the house is probably a lot less drafty. This is all taking a lot out of him though, but Kahaku seems to be the only one showing any concern.
Actually that’s not strictly true, as Eko certainly acts concerned. She’s the subject of another of those Fumetsu sidebars that just pop up and end whenever they feel like it, with no regard for pacing or narrative flow. Eko is kind of being treated (benignly) like an idiot by Fushi, but she’s not a simpleton – very strange, yes, but more than capable of deductive reasoning and performing the tasks of daily life. She’s the one who figures out why the water is off (nothing to do with Nokkers this time, seemingly), making her something of a hero to the townsfolk.
Thanks to a dumb stunt from Kamu, Fushi’s secret gets out – what he’s doing to the walls is clearly more than engineering. It’s telling that Fushi is defiant about this – uncaring, if anything. He’s at the end of his rope (no pun intended), what with nonstop laboring over the walls and houses, and worse, being tuned in to everyone’s pain as a result of his tendrils now extending through the city. He’s too exhausted to bother trying to cover up, but fortunately for him the locals are smart enough to realize that this immortal has been unceasingly working on their behalf (and that the Church of Bennett is full of shite).
Poor Fushi. He deserves better than this – some peace and quiet and a life surrounded by people who love him for who he is. But he hasn’t really had that since Gugu and Pioran and Booze Man – which makes thinking back on that time (and the realization of all the memories he’s lost) all the more poignant. As much as Fushi is being beaten down by this arc, if he is able to regain what he’s lost from the Nokkers I suppose on that level at least it will all have been worth it.