To Your Eternity Episode 1-2 Anime Review
To Your Eternity was an anime I was hyped for. The description was vague but enticing. It also is set up very similarly to animes I’ve loved from past seasons such as Dr. Stone and Somali and the Forest Guardian. It takes place in a secluded area not bogged down by a million characters and subplots. This leaves a lot to the mind to wonder and for the show to connect those dots as we go.
The first episode centers around an orb. Yes, an orb. But not just any orb. A presumed god’s orb. God tosses the orb down to Earth where it takes the shapes of things around it. First it becomes a rock. Then it takes the form of a dead wolf who can revive itself. As a clone of the dead wolf, the orb returns to the wolf’s owner. This is where one of the most gripping and well shot episodes of anime occur.
Episode 1 is really good. Like amazingly good. The wolf’s owner is stranded in a winter cabin. The elders of his tribe are long dead. He was left in charge of them while the rest of the tribe set off to find paradise. One by one, the elders died until it was him and his wolf, Joaan, remaining. Tired of sitting in one place and busy dreaming of the paradise his tribe discovered, the nameless boy and the orb disguised as Joaan set out to face the harsh, hazardous winter conditions.
As the days pass and the scenes progress, it becomes painstakingly clear the nameless boy wont survive the trek. His extremities freeze turning inhumanely red. His fate is sealed when the ice breaks beneath his feet. This not only intensifies his frost bite. He also suffers from cuts that break the flesh, causing constant blood loss. His delusions are cast away when he finds the remains of his tribe’s wagon and what appears to be makeshift tombstones seemingly cementing the fact they never made it to the promise land of fruits and paradise.
It’s around this time this anime really starts to kick in. The nameless boy comes to term with his own mortality. He realizes he has been having pretend conversations with his wolf and that he will never cross the giant mountain. Reluctantly, the boy and the wolf turn back around and retreat to their cabin. It doesn’t take more than 24 hours for the pain, infection and fever to sap the life from the young boy who was so full of hope and life a mere week ago.
His death is hauntingly slow and dawdles ghastly like. The show appears in no rush to give the boy the peace he deserves. And perhaps that’s what’s so compelling about this episode. The viewers know almost immediately the boy will die and yet the show spends 20 minutes making you love him, root for him and believe in his journey. Almost as if to get our guard down in some sick twist of fate. But it never left my mind. Each animation drawing him nearer to his inevitable death seemed like ferocious roars echoing against the snowscape. And as he crashes out of his bed and onto cold wooded floor, he crawls himself to his chair claiming he doesn’t want to be lying down when the others make their faithful return. He dies in his chair seconds later. And, against his dying wishes, plummets to the floor in one final defeat. The orbbed wolf pulls at his clothes out of desperation, or maybe sadness, hoping their pseudo owner would jump back up like he had done all week. No use. And just like that the transformation occurs. The orb ditches its wolf fur in exchange for human limbs, mirroring the appearance of the dead and nameless boy. He returns the fallen one to his chair upright and leaves the cabin for the final time.
Now, the only real knock I have against this episode is that it is cliche at times. Viewers will know the boy’s fate the second he is on screen thanks to a previous scene. For the orb to go from the initial rock to the appearance of a wolf, the wolf had to die. For the orb to transform once more, it require a sacrifice so to speak. Still, even with that said, there’s still some unsolved mysteries. For starters, when the boy finally teaches the orb version of the wolf how to eat, the wolf roars back at him “See”. Instead of acknowledging the talking wolf, the boy says “You can eat.” He is more dumbfounded by the fact the wolf can eat instead of the fact it spoke. Jessica said maybe his old dog couldn’t eat.
This is possible because the wolf was clearly dying when we met him. Did the boy know this though? That’s unclear. However, when the boy mentally cracks he says something along the lines of how he was having imaginary conversations with the wolf. So, theres a chance this scene never happened in the first place.
Episode 2, for better or worse, is a complete tonal shift. The orb is completely in the background as the narrative turns its focus to a small girl named March. This episode plays out like it is straight out of a Japanese folklore. Ever so often a village is selected and from there an untarnished girl from that village is chosen to be fed to the God of Prosperity. Enter March. She is treated to a royal fest and then tells her family bye for the last time. Only half way up the mountain she escapes her escort and makes a run for it. After tumbling face first down the mountain she runs into the orb still possessing the nameless one. He is devoid of manners or simple human skills. He is completely unlikable as opposed to his wolf form which actually had redeemable qualities. This is more or less how the episode ends.
Dont get me wrong, I liked March and this episode. All the characters introduced were pretty cool. There are more moral philosophies on display. The theme of coming face to face with your inevitable death continues to be a main focal point to juxtapose with the main character who can just revive himself over and over. But this episode seems completely disjointed from the first. It leaves me asking where is the show going. It loses the intimate charm the first episode had but gains charm in ways I cant explain at the moment. All in all it truly felt like watching two different animes.
That isnt enough to make we disappointed or want to drop it. I just felt it was worth noting. As a result, I will be scoring each of the first two episodes.
Episode #1: 9 out of 10. A truly magical experience that fell just short of perfection.
Episode #2: 8 out of 10. It loses what made the first episode so special, but found it’s on way to feel unique.
This anime is totally worth a watch. And I’ve been saying all week, I will go back and try to add pictures and fix any typos. I wrote this at work over the course of the last 6 hours in spurts.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!