Spoilers for To Your Eternity episodes 1 – 3
Hello there, fellow anime enthusiasts, and happy “I feel like being emotionally compromised” Monday to you.
AKA: I’m featuring To Your Eternity for today’s Weekday Anime Recommendation.
In case you aren’t aware of the series that has made anitwit (anime Twitter) collectively share a box of Kleenex, I’ll be talking about everything that makes this such an intriguing, but emotionally devastating show to watch. Trust me when I say that these early episodes HURT, but they hurt in a way that makes you want more of the story. You can watch To Your Eternity over at Crunchyroll every Monday.
An epic fantasy saga of an immortal hero’s quest to understand what it is to live.
In the beginning, an “orb” is cast unto Earth.
“It” can do two things: change into the form of the thing that stimulates “it,” and come back to life after death. “It” morphs from orb to rock, then to wolf, and finally to boy, but roams about like a newborn who knows nothing.
As a boy, “it” becomes Fushi.
Through encounters with human kindness, Fushi not only gains survival skills but grows as a “person.” But his journey is darkened by the inexplicable and destructive enemy Nokker, as well as cruel partings with the people he loves. Fushi continues his eternal quest, bearing the pain of living with the fortitude of someone who chooses his own path.
Why you should watch
I know it kinda sounds like I’m exaggerating with the whole “emotional gut punch” thing, but all it took was a couple of minutes in the first episode to see that this was going to be a series that purposely tugs at the heartstrings. The orb ends up changing into the wolf and the boy after they die, but not before the series takes its time getting you emotionally invested in the two—especially the boy. The boy, whose name we don’t even know, has such a tragic story, and the entire first episode is dedicated to getting you attached to him. His circumstances never get any better, and the wolf (now the orb) doesn’t quite grasp why things are as dismal as they are.
There are scenes where the boy is clinging to the wolf, wanting companionship as it becomes more and more apparent that things aren’t gonna get any better for him. It’s so bleak that the boy even acknowledges the fact that he’s been talking to himself, giving himself false hope because he’s known, all along, how bad things are.
Since the wolf is the orb, it’s pretty stoic during many of their exchanges—at first. Unfortunately, by the time the wolf/orb begins to get it, the boy is already dead.
But wait! The orb can grow from this! And it does! The orb becomes the boy now, the central protagonist of the story, which means that the boy can now continue forward, right?
The reality is that this isn’t the same lovable boy we met in the beginning. Since the orb is learning from experiences, this version of the boy is an empty shell save for the basic necessities like “eating”—and even then, it has to learn that the hard way. It has to learn a LOT of things the hard way, so much so that it dies, over and over again, because it doesn’t realize that, yes, you need to take care of your wounds, and eat, and keep warm from the cold.
This ends up creating a new level of a tragic protagonist.
Since the orb now has the form of the boy who’d been so desperate to reconnect with people, seeing the image of that boy be so uncaring about discovering new places and people REALLY hurts. It also really sucks to see a montage of deaths. Even if I know he’ll come back to life, I do NOT want to see this kid die on repeat. At the same time, I WANT to watch him come back, learn more, and evolve as a person.
We spent an entire episode hoping this nameless boy would make it, watched him die, and watched his rebirth … only to see him passively walk the land because he has no idea what anything is. Seeing him see new lands and people should be a triumph, but the orb isn’t aware of what triumph means.
The series isn’t just about the boy, though. We also get to meet the different characters he interacts with, each with their own story. Most notably (so far) is the young girl, March.
Much like the boy, March has a simple dream. The boy just wanted to get back together with people, while March just wants to become an adult. Unfortunately, because the series doesn’t have enough sad feels, I guess, March is chosen to be sacrificed to a god. Much like the boy, the series lets you get to know March before throwing this heavy plot point at you. You get to meet her family, hear about her aspirations of adulthood, and … watch a bunch of folks try to convince her that her death is for the best.
It’s not all pains to the heart, though! March’s interactions with the boy are entertaining since he’s kinda like a dog, only focused on eating and constantly returning back to March for more food. She attempts to teach him how to, well, people, and he … gets it? Maybe?
As of the third episode, we have more characters getting involved with the boy and discovering that he’s not really human, and I’m already assuming that folks are about to start poking at him to figure out how he’s capable of doing the things he does. There are also more supernatural elements at play here. The third episode introduced an astronomically sized bear that everyone assumed was Oniguma (the god that March was supposed to be sacrificed to), but I dunno, I think that may have been something else (especially since the synopsis mentions a destructive enemy, Nokker).
More importantly, who even tossed this orb out into the world in the first place? What dictates when the orb is complete? And what’s gonna happen when the orb, inevitably, begins to blur the line between immortal trinket and thinking, feeling mortal packed full of different creature experiences?
(Image: Yoshitoki Ōima)
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