To Your Eternity exceeds expectations
Released in April earlier this year, To Your Eternity is the anime adaptation of Yoshitoki Oima's 2016 manga series Fumetsu no Anata or To You, the Immortal. Being the author's only other major work after her critically acclaimed film Koe no Katachi, or A Silent Voice, expectations set for this adaptation were high to say the least.
It is safe to say that not only did the anime meet those expectations, but also exceeded them in many instances, presenting itself as one of the best releases of 2021.
The premise of the show is about an entity sent to earth in the form of an orb, which adapts to its surroundings by transforming into the creatures it encounters. After coming in contact with a rock, moss, then a dying Arctic wolf, the being makes its first encounter with a human in the form of a young abandoned boy. This encounter allows it to learn about bonds and emotions and gives it the ability to transform into a human. The being, later given the name Fushi, makes new connections and starts to comprehend the way of life while facing shapeshifting adversaries called "nokkers" trying to hinder his progress.
The supporting characters are the crown jewels of the show. A lot of time is spent behind character development which is why the progression can often feel very slow. However, the show manages to keep viewers hooked with its meaningful worldbuilding.
Flawed yet charming, with their own unique backstories and inspiring goals, the characters are stupendously fleshed out. One cannot help but be attached to them. Fushi himself does not get lost in this though, as his growth is strongly influenced by these characters; each encounter invokes new traits inside him. The bonds he forms with them are what truly bring out the best within everyone in the show.
Death is a recurring theme in To Your Eternity. Many key characters meet their demise and it is bound to make the viewers, who have spent so much time with them throughout the show, emotional. However, the show does not keep delving into such heart-wrenching feelings. Rather it celebrates the beauty of the cycle of life and keeps moving forward. Failures occur, but Fushi learns to better himself through these experiences whilst cherishing the memory of those he has lost.
To Your Eternity goes far and beyond to elevate the experience of the viewers. The incredible animation is complemented by the outstanding sound direction, and the attention to detail adds a layer of polish to the show. The anime takes its viewers on an emotional rollercoaster shifting from agonising sadness to gleeful positivity and drives the message of the significance of human life in a magnificent way. Vague, at times stagnant, yet enjoyable and inspiring, To Your Eternity is a fresh take on the adventure genre with its hints of supernatural occurrences, and it serves as an exemplary benchmark for what the best of anime has to offer.