And here we are, one final episode and one final death for Fushi to experience. I must admit, this episode felt a lot tamer after everything that we’ve been through – there was no major battle, no terrifying threat actively chasing after them, and no horrible traumatic death. That being said, this episode was a whole other ‘beast’ for Fushi to deal with. He was dealing with a more natural death, one that he was absolutely dying the possibility.
If I’m honest, this episode really feels like an odd way to end the season, but at the same time it was a really nice way to wrap it all up and get us excited for what’s to come. I loved the beginning of this episode as Fushi spent the time trying to decide whether or not to return to Pioran. It was honestly really sweet and shows that he cares for her quite a bit. Despite the individuals he can transform into, she’s been the one who has been with him the longest. She was with him all the way back to when March and group were captured. At that time did he know who she was or even care? Not really, but she’s been such a vital part to his growth. After March’s death and their escape, the two of them were separated for a while, but their paths eventually crossed again. Here is when she started to teach him to read and write – heck! I’d even argue that Pioran taught Fushi the most throughout the series. Then they live together with Gugu and the Boozeman for 4 whole years. She’s not a direct teacher to him at this time, but a teacher, nonetheless. She follows him to Jananda island (okay rather they are both bamboozled onto Jananda island together), but they both are freed and eventually meet up again in this episode. For the most part they’ve really been through it all together! So, I’m really happy that he showed such concern for her (leaving her food, a note, and even a coat)!
But of course, the two couldn’t stay separated for too long and eventually Fushi and Pioran end up as travelling companions once again. I really like how Pioran’s “Do what you want” attitude comes out. She’s mean and selfish, but she does what she wants and ultimately that’s a good message to impart on Fushi. And all of this together is what made this episode hurt. After everything they’ve been through, he still loses her. Except this time, he starts to lose her before her actual death as she slowly succumbs to a what I think is a form of dementia. She loses her motor skills and her memory starts to fade at one point she reverts back to running away from the Yanome. Still, he stays with her through all of this and I think it was a good lesson for him to learn.
The saddest part of the episode was during Pioran’s final moments where she reaches out to the black figure to become something that is useful to Fushi. Now, I’ll be honest I had to look up what was going on during this whole segment because I didn’t quite get what was going on. But still, before her soul was able to go on to paradise, she instead became an orb, just like the one Fushi was born out of. Now, at this point I don’t really know what that means, but maybe if she comes back to the world, she’ll be an immortal just like Fushi and he won’t have to be the only Immortal anymore? That’s probably speculation, but I’d say it’s pretty plausible. Now the real question is whether or not she would be the same Pioran we’ve grown to appreciate and based on the black-cloaked man’s words it’s likely that she won’t. But I really think, the saddest part of the episode for me is when Fushi was by the fire and was about to write down his memories from the day, but then there was a note from Pioran telling him to do what he wants! And even though I (surprisingly) didn’t shed any tears this episode, that moment almost made the waterworks start flowing. I’m just really happy that she left a final note for him.
And… then the episode just kind of ends. Fushi leaves with the donkey, but still lives on the island. Even the man in black states that there was nothing of interest with him for a while. Instead, when we see Fushi again he’s launched into the water by a Nokker, but he has aged quite significantly. (But hey! that’s pretty good, right? That means he hasn’t died for quite a while). And that’s really the end of it. If I didn’t bother to watch the ending credits and the post episode information, I think I would have been quite upset with that ending since it’s so open. But knowing that there’s a second season coming to us next year does make me feel a lot better. There are so many questions left unanswered and despite the absolute ride that we’ve been on I’m certainly not ready for this trip to end.
To Your Eternity started off as a bang came to a fizzle and then reignited again. And despite its ups and downs, I enjoyed my time with the series. I can’t even remember the last time that I cried in this many episodes in a single season (and too be fair these weren’t the typical tear falling down the cheek, no… they were full on ugly sobbing). This anime caught my eye from the first of its’ promotional art and even after the seasonal delay. With everything that has happened, I’m happy that I decided to give this series a chance.
This anime had incredibly large shoes to fill and they were shoes that they made themselves. Looking back over the thoughts that I added in the Spring 2021 preview I was fully expecting this anime to emotionally destroy me and boy did it meet my expectations in that regards, heck I’d even say that it exceeded those expectations. In my personal opinion, the first episode was absolutely stellar. In just 24 minutes, I felt as if I had just watched a movie – I fell in love with some characters and mourned those same ones. It set the tone for the rest of the anime and set the bar incredibly high. And while that kept me coming back, just knowing there was so much potential, I know that ultimately pushed people away from the series. I don’t think we got that same level of emotion evoked after that first episode.
That being said, I don’t think what came after that first episode was bad in any way. It was just a major shock to go from that episode and transition to the beginning of March’s arc. Now that being said, I think that was something that I noticed going to every new arc. Once we finished March’s Arc, it took me a number of episodes to get into Gugu’s Arc, and the same for Tonari’s. Everything just grows and grows and by the end of it you feel a sense of loss as well. I never expected to get too attached to March (okay that’s a lie, I fell in love with March really early on) or Gugu, but by the end of it all I was devastated to lose them. It was so hard to switch gears and be introduced to another set of characters and go through all of that pain again. But it still brought me in and each time I desperately hoped for a different outcome than before. Was that a foolish thing to do? Maybe.
While I think that each arc was wonderful in their own ways, in my personal opinion Jananda island, while really good, was the arc I felt suffered the most. It was the one that I liked the least and part of that was probably because we were seeing that from Fushi’s perspective. Tonari’s attitude was much different than that of Gugu or March she was much more of the “every person for themselves” whereas Gugu was the type to help others out and cared very deeply about the concept of family and March was 3 years old. I sympathized with Fushi during this whole arc as it was really the first time we’ve seen him so frustrated and able to articulate it. It took a lot more to connect with her and her story, but by the end of it I came around to appreciate her. Unfortunately, during some of her shining moments she had to fight against the production quality. Unless it’s incredibly noticeable I try not to nitpick the animation, but in the middle there, it was just… not good. Every single shot of Tonari looked like a completely different character and it’s just unfortunate because we started out this series with such lovely animation and atmosphere. Thankfully, that blip didn’t last too long and she was able to get the story she deserved.
… Okay, at least for the most part. I do think that Tonari shined in her arc, however I want to take a moment to talk about the series’ villains. On the one hand we have the Nokkers. These creatures are absolutely terrifying, they don’t talk all they do is hunt down Fushi and end up claiming the lives of those he cares about (now arguably they didn’t kill everyone he cared about, but Gugu’s death was probably the most traumatic for him and he was killed by the Nokkers). They aren’t a particularly cunning villain, but anytime they show up we just know there is going to be trouble. But on the complete flip side of that we have Hayase. I hope I never have the pleasure to meet someone like Hayase in my life because she is absolutely terrifying. Back March’s arc, she was more a traditional villain with nothing too out of the ordinary, but she really ramped up at Jananda Island. Her absolute obsession with Fushi just sends chills down my spine and she just stole the spotlight. She’s so off putting, I can’t even find the words to say more about her other than, Hayase! You terrify me!
I think this anime did a lot of little things right too. The little nods to things that Fushi has learned over time, the change in eye color, the subtle growth of his personality… it was all a joy to watch. I loved that they would add new characters to the mid-episode card after they died. When it first happened, it hurt a whole lot!! But still much appreciated! And then, I’m not going to lie, watching, and listening to the opening after all that has happened has been a real treat. Sure, now that I know everything that has happened it does kind of give away what’s going to happen, but I love seeing the nods to things in retrospect. (And speaking of the opening, when I sat down to watch Ep 20, I thought to myself “Who is the girl walking on the beach? We haven’t met her yet.” And I was pleasantly surprised to get that answer so quickly.) And just in addition to the visuals, the opening theme and ending theme were just lovely. Heck! The whole OST was strong!! It really brought all the emotions to the next level. Major props to Ryo Kawasaki!!
I really can’t believe the season is over. This anime was a treat from beginning to end even if I don’t personally believe it reached its full potential. It still had me coming back for more. I was invested in the characters and how they would grow. I wanted everyone to succeed and to be happy. There were just so many emotions I experienced while watching this series. Mondays are going to feel empty without it. But hey! Well, hey! At least we’ve got a second season confirmed for Fall 2022!
And now comes the hardest part of the Final Impression: the rating. At the end of the day, I would probably give this anime a solid 8.25/10. There were just so many things I liked about the series. From the music to the characters and the story. It was just an absolute treat. If I had the chance, I would love to experience it all again from beginning to end. Thank you all for reading and I hope you found something in this series to fall in love with too. Hopefully, I’ll see you all again for the second season! Fall 2022 can’t get here fast enough!!