I have to say To Your Eternity is shaping up to be one of the best anime the season has to offer. I went back and finished the first volume and I should say that I might like it a bit better in manga form. Mostly because of the pacing. This is super rare for me. But I’m not entirely sure yet. The adaptation is very good and this episode was great. Seriously using cinematic language.
I didn’t mention it in my past reviews but I was a bit let down by the character of Parona. Not that she was a bad character, not at all. But her motivations were really not well established and it made her seem like more of a plot device character. Someone to move the story along or change the course of events so that it can go the way the writers want it to without much explanation. As far as I had understood she was very close to March and had known her all her life but that’s all. It’s as if she was a beloved babysitter. I get that she was sad but I wasn’t quite understanding that she would go that far for the little girl. Especially when no one else would.
Giving her a backstory in which her own sister was sacrificed made everything so much clearer. The guilt and need to prove something or redeem herself would drive her to be more passionate than she might otherwise be. And it adds a very personal and emotional side to her relationship with Hayase as well. She sees her as her sister’s killer. Of course, she hates her more than the others do. It’s a small thing but I found that this bit of character development really brought a lot of the story together for me and I enjoyed it much more for it.
I was a bit less convinced with the entire scheme of enforcing the sacrifices for the sake of monetary gain but it’s as good an explanation as any. And it adds this whole layer of political intrigue which may prove to have a great payoff. I really liked the idea that the village is so isolated they have no notion of maps or how many other settlements there are. It’s interesting.
To me, there were two things that made the episode work particularly well as an anime. The first is the pain. To be clearer, it’s Fushi endlessly repeating it hurts throughout the entire episode. I hated it! I hated it so much and really wanted him to stop and I think it was brilliant. Hearing him, both as a boy that I really wanted to see happy and as a wolf that looks like a big dog, actually audibly say it hurts in a small whiny voice over and over again without knowing exactly why was infuriating. It was frustrating. It made me feel helpless.
Was he actually hurt? Had Fushi developed the ability to feel pain? That’s a bummer for him. Was he somehow tapping into the pain of those around him? In that case who is hurting? Is it the bear, is it March, Parona, the other prisoners, everyone? The emotional resonance of something like that isn’t the same on paper. Hearing it, not being able to gloss over it. Having the insistence of it forced on the viewer. It’s really interesting direction. Directing(?)
The second aspect were the colours. To Your Eternity is cycling through colours. The first episode was white, 2 and 3 were green and now it’s ochre and a little blue. The palette is getting progressively warmer and i’s creating a suffocating atmosphere.
However, the very last scene was splendid. March is in her cell and a disguised Parona is telling her that they are leaving. March is scared and doesn’t know what to do, she cowers a bit in her cell sticking to wolf Fushi. Then Parona removes the mask and a relieved March breaks into a smile. The back of the cell is dark but a window is letting moonlight in. The colours are dark and very cool. March looks desaturated. The front of the cell has a lot of torchlight coming through the bars. It’s extremely bright and warm. However, this light has permeated Yanome. It’s nice but it cancels out the cooler tones, restraining the colour palette a lot. In that last second, as March moves from the dark back of the cell to the bright front, she passes through a more neutral white light for a second and her face is in full shining colours. Her eyes a warm brown but the flush in her cheeks a delicate cool pink and her hair shining. It was the most expansive colour palette of the entire episode and it really hit me. I thought it was a fantastic visual.
These were supposed to be short reviews, weren’t they. Uhm, I really liked this episode.