If you’re not already watching To Your Eternity, let Michael Iaboni convince you.
The hand drops ‘It’, an orb and immortal being, to Earth without emotions or identity. ‘It’ captures the form of objects around it and changes and learns in response. First a rock, then a white wolf, then a human.
From the first episode, you’ll discover To Your Eternity ranks among the finest anime from the Spring 2021 season (and 2021 as a whole). Not a lot of shows make you care about a cast of two characters – with one of them speaking 95% of the dialogue – in a frozen wasteland. But, To Your Eternity does. The show meditates on humanity and how outside influences spark growth. In the classic nature-versus-nurture debate, the show sides with the latter.
By the second episode, we’re presented a broader cast of characters. Each introduction gives us a reason to cheer for them. March, the little girl, plays with dolls as their mummy. A human and a kid, like all other kids we’ve seen in our lives. Parona trains with her bow and, though she fails to hit the target, keeps trying anyway. The scenes don’t show them achieving glory or defeating a great beast, but it doesn’t need to. The show explores the meaning of being human. Showing our heroines acting like normal people sync us with them without issue.
The anime also raises the theme for the episode early. In the second, ‘It’ learns how to regenerate faster each time after dying because pain promotes growth. Parona becomes more risk-taking, confident, and a better fighter at the pain of losing March. In the third episode, the narrator explains animals can’t choose their environments and must change to adapt. The fight concluding the episode depicts ‘It’ learning to transform into his wolf form to win. You’ll know what to expect as soon as you press play.
By the fourth episode, the time of this writing, we still don’t know much about the world, but it’s coming into focus. We learn Ninannah, March and Parona’s homeland, doesn’t have a written language. We also learn forty settlements form the Ninannah region. March and Parona don’t know this because they can’t pinpoint their village on a map. Third, Hayase, their ‘friend’ turned captor, doesn’t want them to know because she snatches and rolls up the map they’re analysing. It’s world-class world-building done by character interaction instead of exposition. Fantasy and sci-fi are an art in building worlds. Constructing them with little exposition is an art unto itself.
To Your Eternity provides plenty of powerful storytelling. It’s growing into a fantasy tale you’ll get lost in, for better or for worse, and I’m invested down to my soul about what’s coming next.