WARNING: The next incorporates spoilers for To Your Eternity, now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Season 1 of To Your Eternity begins with an extremely robust opening episode. It places viewers by the emotional wringer because it depicts the ultimate days of alone but relentlessly optimistic boy trying to make a journey to seek out his individuals — one that’s already implied as being futile, provided that the boy’s tribe is probably going lengthy useless and that his personal days are numbered with out meals, heat, and human firm, even had been he to stay in his now abandoned village.
Fushi, the principle character of To Your Eternity, begins his journey in human type when the unnamed boy dies from his accidents, which permits Fushi to copy this physique. From there, the primary main arc of the sequence begins, which takes viewers to a village the place March, a younger and energetic woman with massive goals, is chosen to turn into a human sacrifice — supposedly with the intention to appease an area spirit.
This primary story arc is massively impactful, largely as a result of Fushi begins to be taught what it’s wish to be human, with all of the drawbacks this implies: starvation, ache, worry, and loss. He additionally learns to speak, albeit solely as a child would possibly, with obscure sounds and gestures, and he positive aspects an inkling of what it’s wish to be a part of a household.
Regardless of her tender age, March takes Fushi below his wing, gifting him his identify and taking care of him as finest as she will in an nearly mother-like vogue. This makes March’s eventual loss of life particularly painful, each for Fushi and the viewer — all of the extra so as a result of these adults who ought to have stepped as much as defend the lifetime of a weak little one, together with her dad and mom, are too cowardly to take action.
Nonetheless, the next story arcs of To Your Eternity turn into progressively weaker. That is partially as a result of the story turns into somewhat formulaic and predictable — viewers are capable of guess properly forward of time which characters will die and when, significantly lessening the emotional gravitas of those occasions.
Extra to the purpose, because the sequence focuses extra on the supernatural factor of the Nokkers, it provides much less time to display Fushi’s growth in a world he’s nonetheless largely unfamiliar with, notably when it comes to social norms. By as an alternative emphasizing its supernatural motion parts, To Your Eternity sadly loses a lot of what was as soon as the very coronary heart and soul of the present: a honest and relatable depiction of what it means to be human, together with experiences of unspeakable loss and deeply-felt grief.
By the point the ultimate Jananda Island arc rolls round, Fushi’s growth appears to have largely come to a standstill. He can now talk fluently and procure all of the requirements of life for himself, but with one or two exceptions, his psychological development has roughly stalled. Furthermore, the Nokkers have turn into such an integral presence that necessary aspect characters akin to Pioran are shelved to make room for this side of the plot, with largely unlikeable characters like Tonari taking heart stage.
In the end, because of this, apart from the season finale, To Your Eternity fails to stay as much as the emotional payoff showcased so heart-wrenchingly inside its first episode. Whereas the sequence delivers a becoming sendoff that portrays the ultimate days of Pioran — and Fushi’s refusal to depart her alone, regardless of not understanding that the sudden adjustments in her psychological state are the results of worsening dementia — it’s an in any other case prime instance of the present’s diminishing returns.
Maybe, in setting such a excessive normal for itself at first, To Your Eternity may by no means have fairly matched the standard of its personal narrative set-up. However, since every predominant story arc turns into steadily much less and fewer impactful proper up till the top, the shifting focus from slice-of-life drama/tragedy to supernatural motion presumably doomed To Your Eternity from the beginning. Whereas this doesn’t imply the upcoming Season 2 lacks potential, it does imply the sequence could have to discover a new emotional core on which to pin its ongoing story.