Episode 12–“The Disorder Diaries (Learning from the Past)”

[Important note: This is a complete summary of the episode containing major spoilers. Please be sure you want to know this info before you read; spoilers are not blocked or hidden in any way so this is your only warning. If you aren't 100% sure you want to know who lives, who dies, who gets hurt, who walks away and who's responsible, please pack your katana and walk right now. My feelings will not be hurt. Thank you.]

While Fuu is having a relaxing soak in the hot spring, Mugen and Jin sit and talk. Mugen’s complaining: if we’re traveling to find this sunflower samurai guy, why won’t she tell us anything about him? And why are we heading for Nagasaki when all we have is that guy’s unreliable info? That man was the East India Company’s Japanese consul, counters Jin, I don’t think he’s unreliable. Besides, we have no other information, so it can’t be helped. There can’t be no other information, grumbles Mugen; I think she’s hiding something from us. He gets up; he’s going to go look through her things while she’s bathing.

[We see Fuu looking very, very innocently the other way while he sneaks into the bathhouse..]

Sure enough, there’s a little notebook among her belongings. Mugen sneaks the prize back to their room. Hey, you shouldn’t go through other people’s things like that, protests Jin, and Mugen retorts that it’s her own fault for holding out on them. But he can’t read it--it’s in hiragana, not katakana. Give it here, says Jin [so much for the token protest]. Hmm, seems to be a diary... I bet there’s some secret about that sunflower guy in there--read it out loud, says Mugen.

July 10th, clear and sunny, begins Jin. Mother died almost a year ago...

Fuu writes that she’d kept thinking she should set out, but was never brave enough. But today is the day, and from now on until she finds the sunflower samurai she intends to keep a diary, so she won’t forget this journey.

She lived and worked at the teahouse until these two outrageous guys caused a fire...she describes the low-class delinquent who walked into the teahouse, a guy she’d never want to be friends with ("Don’t mess with me!" snarls Mugen. "It’s no use getting mad at a diary," reproves Jin.) , and says even the magistrate’s idiot son was preferable--at least he didn’t get out of control like this one. Then a long-haired man with glasses arrived (“Does she mean you?”) : he was more attractive than the first one, and at first she thought he might be a good man, but he too wouldn’t stop fighting once he’d started, and she decided they were much the same inside. ("How rude, comparing me to this guy," mutters Jin. Mugen’s no happier.)

Fuu proceeds to basically tell her version of episodes 2-10, dwelling largely on food and the frequency of her having been taken hostage, with snide running commentary from the guys. [I won't do it here, but she really does list every single thing she's had to eat.] Contrary to her expectations her life has become full of ups and downs, and even though she has two bodyguards she keeps getting kidnapped and locked up–-they’re no help at all. She wonders if she made a mistake in choosing them... posing for Moronobu was a mistake, she admits, but at least he said nice things to her, unlike these two who are always mean.

She muses that she always has room for free food, and wonders if everyone is like that. (“Nope, it’s just you.”)

[a voice-over gives us a footnote: Moronobu and didn’t get out of Japan, but stayed to become the father of ukiyo-e art.]

I just noticed something, says Mugen: why are we still heading toward Edo, anyway? Does she say anything about that? Jin turns the page.

We came to Edo, Fuu writes, because we heard a rumor he might be there, but we had no real evidence. So now we’re heading for Nagasaki. She led us on with a rumor! –scowls Mugen. No way, I can’t believe it, says Jin.

She confirms that her strange dream in #7 was about her mother’s death, and muses that she’s been too busy to feel lonely on her journey. She does still think about Shinsuke-kun’s death, and wants to write a letter to his mother, to tell her what she couldn’t say at the time. Life is tough: they’re supposed to be finding the sunflower samurai, but so much time is taken up just scraping together enough money to travel on.

[same voice-over: modern times, with their chaotic sexual attitudes, are much like the Edo period. Openness about sexuality was the norm then, especially homosexuality, which–-as in ancient Greece--was seen as more noble than heterosexuality. Our narrator identifies himself as Detective Manzou from episode 5.]

Fuu wonders...I seem to get tricked a lot. Am I too trusting? Am I just not good at reading people? She’s definitely decided not to trust Mugen anymore, since he didn’t rescue them at Hakone. (Fine, don’t care if you trust me or not, sniffs Mugen.) And while Mugen was gone from Hakone she was alone with Jin for the first time, and she hoped they might talk, but he never said a word, just “yeah” and “hmm”...does he not like her? Is he just shy? It’s been a while since they set out; how long will it take for him to open up? It hurts her a little... So, what about that? How do you feel, as a man? -–teases Mugen. Jin says, “Hmm...”
Mugen throws up his hands: "You're hopeless."

[voice over: Zen, the beatniks and hippies, meditation]

We see all three sitting in the temple where they stayed in #10, in cross-legged meditation postures: Jin’s ruler-straight and scholarly, Fuu’s less studied but dutiful, Mugen’s a tangled slouch. They each get to ask the monk one question.

People are born free, they aren’t born to be bound by anything, says Jin. That’s what I’ve always thought. But isn’t that contrary to a warrior’s duty? Freedom, the monk tells him, isn’t something earned through suffering or pushing yourself. You must accept yourself just as you are and live according to the flow of things; that is true freedom.

I’ve been through so much trouble because of these two, says Fuu, that I wonder if I picked the right people to travel with. Every meeting, the monk tells her, is a chance of a lifetime. For you to have met and traveled with them is destiny, fate, no matter what you experience from now on.

Mugen just wants to know how he can become strong enough to beat Shuryuu, insults the monk’s bald head, and gets a thwack--no words of wisdom for you.

Fuu admits that with all that’s happened, they’ve still had a lot of fun. I’d still be working at the teahouse if I hadn’t met these two, and when I think of that, I feel like our meeting might be as precious as the monk said. I hope we can keep traveling together no matter how long it takes us to get to Nagasaki. I’m sure they feel the same...

...and since they’re probably gonna peek at this, I’d better write it down. Look at yourselves, idiots!

Mugen’s squall of “you bitch!” rings down the path, waking Fuu from her doze....

Samurai Champloo characters, visuals and materials (c) 2004 manglobe.
Original story synopsis written and (c) 2004 by Paula O'Keefe.

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