There is something so gentle about shows that explore the multi-faceted planes of our very existence. That sounds a lot more intimidating than it is because for as long as we have lived, humanity has persisted and persevered. Yes, there has been a lot of darkness in our history, but there are also so amazing stories of hope and pushing through. And when I see media explore that, it’s always so interesting. So, when an anime adaptation of Fumetsu No Anata E was announced, I was intrigued.
Fumetsu No Anata E, or To Your Eternity, is one of the best watches of the past five years. Its manga was already widely renowned across most anime forums but seeing it animated has been a treat and a half. Despite the two seasons being done by different Studios, with the first under Studio Brain Base and the second under Studio Bones, the show carried the same ethereal aesthetic that it has become widely known for.
There is just something cathartic about being able to see an anime and have its story resonate with you, or your circumstances. Not a lot of anime can reduce you to tears – in a good way, of course! But To Your Eternity is so special in that regard. When you first start watching it, you might think it’s far too real and gritty but that’s where its strength lies.
Considering this is the brainchild of Yoshitoki Ooima, of Koe No Katachi (A Silent Voice) fame, I am not surprised. I am not the type of person that seeks out shows that make you sad on purpose. But that’s the thing, To Your Eternity isn’t a sad story at all. It’s one about self-discovery, seeing the beauty in tragedy, and then getting back up to try again. And if that sounds like something you’d enjoy, then keep on reading!
The Premise: What Is Humanity To Those Observing?
Our protagonist here is Fushi, who is a not-quite-human being blessed with immortality and shape-shifting abilities. They started as a phenomenon known as the Orb, tasked with the responsibility to observe Earth. But as it observed, it grew.
First as something as nondescript as a rock, or moss, but slowly it grew more sentience and started interacting with its surroundings. In their experiences on Earth, Fushi became intrigued by the people they came across. And so, they wandered across the land, for years and years, absorbing more and more stories of humanity that they happened to witness on their journey.
Using its powers of changing form to adapt, they started to go through and understand the human condition. And as it saw, it grew so more. And before they knew it, Fushi had started developing something alien to them: a consciousness, a will of their own.
For truly, what does it mean to be human, if not free will?
The Breakdown: The Human Condition, But It’s Anime.
Considering how this show is categorized as a Shonen in most circles and, more specifically, a supernatural drama, it’s pretty atypical.
The way it explores what existence even means starts so clinical, almost animal-like in its observations. Living is growing, surviving, and reproducing. What beauty is there to be found in the mundane? But that’s where it flourishes. Its curiosity in finding connections and forging them despite not fully understanding how they are changing Fushi is just so profound and grounding.
Make no mistake, this isn’t a tame anime. It’s grounded in realism and can be pretty sad with some of its arcs. There will be times when you find yourself feeling despairing with the characters. But the underlying tone is of how humanity saves itself, time and time again, purely through hope. Fushi faces death, so many times, and yet all he sees is growth, a chance to start anew. It’s the indomitable human spirit, coming alive.
And couple that with some beautiful animation and haunting music, well. There’s a lot to like here.
The Verdict: A Tearjerker Worth The Watch!
This one is not for the faint of heart. However, I implore anyone who enjoys emotional anime to give To Your Eternity a try. I mean, it isn’t critically acclaimed for no reason, you know?
Keep a tissue box nearby and get ready for a ton of feels because Fumetsu No Anata E will get you tearing up!