To become human is to know suffering.
Story/Art: Yoshitoki Oima
Translation/Adaptation: Steven LeCroy
What They Say
Four years dedicated to his family have molded Fushi into an approximation of a human. But Fushi’s new acquisitions in that low-stimulus life have been few. When he attends Rean’s birthday party, Fushi is attacked by a Knocker. Can Fushi, fighting with the help of his brother Gugu, defeat the Knocker and defend his family? This is a story of turning pain into strength.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The tragedy was coming, we knew it all along. This is not a series about long-term happiness. Case in point, we were told in the previous volume that Fushi could stick around until Gugu’s inevitable death. It’s just a shame that existence is such a fragile thing and mortal lives are unjust and short. Tragic irony seems to be the foundation on which this series is laid. For every moment of sincerity, there is an equal level of absurdity.
Fushi settled down to live as a human and in doing so gives up transformations for a whole four years. That’s when we learn that the bodies he can change into can age if he doesn’t start over from scratch. To everyone who doesn’t realize he’s an immortal shapeshifter, he appears to be a normal human. When we rejoin him in this volume he speaks and acts like a person, and has the emotional base of one as well. His creator may not see this as valuable to his growth as a weapon against the knockers, but Fushi is happy.
Gugu’s transformation over those years is equally impressive. He bulks up and has a massive growth spurt, but never takes his mask off. (The cover of this volume, and several of the previous volumes, hint at impossible and perfect futures. The dreams of the doomed. Gugu’s real face is never shown post-accident.) Rean starts to grow up as well and on her 16th birthday the past catches up to Fushi, dragging Gugu and the makeshift family into a fight with a massive knocker.
Gugu’s end hit me harder than the previous tragic deaths. In one way he finds what he’s looking for, and like March dies protecting someone he loves. Now though, now Fushi is entirely aware of the love that humans feel for each other and the affection he feels for those that have taken him in. He rages, he loses part of himself to a creature, and then he realizes that if he stays around people he’ll lose more of what he loves. So he flees.
Now that Fushi has a human’s heart he’s a lot easier to understand as a protagonist and can stand on his own as a lead. He can’t run from his destiny and he learns why he has to fight the knockers, at least for his own sake. Fate is a strong driving force in this series. Often times it feels like Final Destination in how death and tragedy stalk the protagonists. Fushi can’t shake the bad luck, and it sends him and Pioran straight to a nation ruled by an arena battle to the death. It’s a perfect way to motivate him to get stronger, and it very much feels like the hand of god guiding him.
I noticed that the artwork for this series does something that I don’t see very often in manga, and that’s to give the characters a thicker outline. Like a coloring book. I kind of like the aesthetic but it’s used inconsistently. The artwork in this series is idiosyncratic in many ways but always engaging.
To Your Eternity continues to tell sad stories of loss and the foolishness of mankind to defy their eventual end. Fushi is closer now than he’s ever been to being human, and suffers from the emotions that all people do when losing loved ones. He knows now what’s at stake, and for a moment that understanding drives him to get stronger to combat that which stalks him. For a moment the absurdity of the cruelty and tragedy brought down on these characters is forgotten and replaced with real pathos. Then we’re on an island ruled by a bloodthirsty tournament and right back to the horrors of mankind once more.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: 13 +
Released By: Kodansha
Release Date: April 24, 2018
MSRP: $12.99 US / $16.99 CN