Hmmmm… I said it before, there is something about To Your Eternity that’s just different. The way it treats its characters, the way it acknowledges morality but never quite commits to anything, and the way it insists on the mundane horrors when the story is full of supernatural. And it doesn’t always stick the landing, but I still appreciate the effort.
You may not have gotten from that opening paragraph that what I was saying is that I really liked episode 4 of To Your Eternity 2. But I don’t know why. Maybe we can figure it out together.
To Yor Eternity is in no small part a mystery anime. The show itself constantly brings up new questions and puzzles. To its credit, it also gives out some answers, occasionally even satisfying answers. However, some mysteries still remain. One of the biggest ones for me is, who is the Man in Black.
We got two clues this week. One that doesn’t help all that much and one that just brings up way more questions. But you know, when the questions themselves are interesting, it’s not as frustrating.
The smaller but still significant piece of information we got is that the Man in Black isn’t a ghost. At least, not a dead human. In a way this isn’t a big deal, I never thought he was so it’s not a revelation. However, there was a chance that he might have been an ancient and mostly forgotten form that Fushi collected before the beginning of the story and is now haunted by. Although I never seriously considered that option for some reason, I have to admit there’s a lot of dramatic potential in it. But I think that theory is now definitely shot down (more on that later).
The second thing was the idea that if Fushi collects as many forms as he can, as the Man in Black wishes, the latter will give Fushi his freedom. Now that is one cryptic answer. Fushi isn’t free? What does freedom mean? Is Fushi haunted by those he has encountered in his forms? If so does freedom mean not being able to transform? Is it freedom from the Man in Black nagging him? All that hoopla was just him saying he’ll leave him alone for a bit. Is freedom for an immortal, death? I don’t know. It brings up so many possibilities.
I would speculate more. Just that one little exchange filled my mind with ideas. But I want t talk about Bon for a bit. This was his episode after all. And I found myself taking notes about him as the episode progressed and slowly getting more and more invested.
My first note was: Prince Bon sure is beloved by his people. He’s an eccentric and excessive monarch. Those don’t usually have the best reputation. And he can certainly be quick to judge, arrogant, and flighty. All unfortunate traits for a leader. Yet the people of his land seem to genuinely like him. They awn over him and cheer him on and even excitedly buy news of his adventures when he’s not around to see them do it. Could he actually be a good guy?
I have to eat my words from last week, Bon is a pretty good character. At least he was in this episode. He balances out friendly goofiness and a sort of endearing helplessness with some real power and threat. I really liked him after this episode and I want his story to turn out well but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him become Fushi’s greatest antagonist. The mix of innocence and ambition with desperation and faith. It’s a potent recipe. Not sure if the character will be able to hold up under all that for too long but for one episode, I thought it was amazing.
So little Bon could see ghosts. I mentioned ghosts a few paragraphs ago but this is actually the first time we have the confirmation of ghosts in this universe. I always thought the few we saw were metaphorical. But no, there are ghosts and Bon could see them. However, just like in our universe, most people cannot and don’t really believe they exist. So just like in our universe, someone who not only sees ghosts but regularly goes around talking to them is going to make some people uncomfortable.
It wasn’t spelled out but what I got from the episode is that at a young age, Bon’s mother thinking he was insane for talking to ghosts all day, had him lobotomized. And that explains a lot. His strange behavior can cleanly be explained away by it. The people’s adoration is probably heavily tinged with pity. It makes sense.
It also makes sense that he would be skipped over to inherit the throne. I mean, I like you Bon but you can’t rule a kingdom. It’s not as much fun as you think it is. From the little we know, his brother would in fact not only be better suited but just be a very good king. Which makes Bon’s wish to be recognized as an heir not only heartbreaking but difficult to root for. And that’s really great writing.
I think it’s great that they decided to go with a procedure that’s familiar enough to most people to feel grounded but isn’t some kind of parallel to real-world mental disorders. After all, we’re talking about the equivalent of medieval lobotomies, there are not that many people around today that would be stigmatized by the comparison.
But for all that, they managed to not reduce Bon to a victim. Don’t get me wrong, even though the scene itself was mercifully brief, the very idea of what they did to a child is absolutely horrific. But Bon is still himself in many ways. He’s definitely still passionate and interested in the world around him. He still has his own ideas and aspiration. And most important for our little tale, he can still see dead people!
And that makes him one of the most potent foils for Fushi. Fushi can take on the form of dead people, allowing others to see them in a way, but he himself only faintly feels their presence. And he doesn’t actually know if they’re there or not. Having someone who can see and communicate with his lost loved ones. Well, that’s bound to make him feel some type of way!
Oh my, this post is getting so long. OK, I’ll just get my last point out of the way: Love! Love came up a lot in this episode. It looked like Fushi could see love sparkles. Now that’s new and wacky. They gently introduced ideas of same-sex relationships and it seems that at least in Bon’s kingdom, they are not considered normal. I’m not sure what this show is going to do with gay rights but I was very surprised to see that element introduced. This did nicely lead to the idea of what/who would Fushi fall in love with. His answer that it would be a girl because he has spent most of his time in the form of a boy was a facile brushoff. He probably didn’t think about it too hard. But it is a good question, right? What would be attractive to an immortal shapeshifter?
Oh, and I haven’t even talked about Fushi’s limitations for reproducing objects… But I’m gonna stop now. I think I have my answer. I really liked this episode because it packed in a lot and most of it was interesting and full of great potential for the story to come. Can’t wait for the next episode.
Ok, just one last thing, the ghosts following Fushi didn’t include the boy, the wolf, or Pyoran. I don’t know if that’s significant. Also, Parona wasn’t there but he was in Parona’s form. I’m not sure if that implies he also takes in the soul when he changes into a specific form?
Ok, I’m stopping for real this time.
- To Your Eternity ep. 1 – Forever
- To Your Eternity ep. 2 – Precocious
- To Your Eternity ep. 3 – Manners
- To Your Eternity ep. 4 – Pain
- To Your Eternity ep. 5 – Orphan
- To Your Eternity ep. 6 – Maker
- To Your Eternity ep. 7 – Dreams
- To Your Eternity ep. 8 – Freaks
- To Your Eternity ep. 9 – Home
- To Your Eternity ep. 10 – Flamethrower
- To Your Eternity ep. 11 – Confession
- To Your Eternity ep. 12 – Rebirth
- To Your Eternity ep. 13 – Empathy
- To Your Eternity ep. 14 – Arrow
- To Your Eternity ep. 15 – Return
- To Your Eternity ep. 16 – Freedom
- To Your Eternity ep. 17 – Promises
- To Your Eternity ep. 18 – Mercy
- To Your Eternity ep. 19 – Dato
- To Your Eternity ep. 20 – Happiness