2017’s To Your Eternity, Volume 41 is the fourth tankōbon for Yoshitoki Oima’s fantasy manga. Originally published as Fumetsu no Anata e, the series has run since 2016 in Weekly Shōnen Magazine. The English translation of Volume 4 appeared in 2018.
Fushi, a protean entity created by the mysterious Beholder for reasons poorly explained2, has been a member of Gugu’s household for four years. This has permitted Fushi, an immortal shapeshifter, an opportunity to master looking human.
The greatest drama in Fushi’s life does not involve Fushi, but his close friend Gugu. Horribly maimed as a boy, Gugu conceals his face behind a helmet. Despite this peculiarity3, the robustly built young man is well-liked. Among his closest friends is the pretty Rean. Gugu was scarred when he saved Rean (when they were both younger). Rean should be grateful … but she doesn’t know that the boy who saved her is Gugu.
Rean comes from a well-to-do family. Gugu and his found-family are considerably less prosperous. Despite the class differences, Rean’s family lets their precious daughter stay friends with Gugu. But that childhood friendship seems doomed. Like most girls of her class, Rean is to be married off to a young man of equal status.
Rean’s parents host a betrothal celebration. Two of her closest friends, Gugu and Fushi, are invited. Convinced that Rean is all but lost to him, Gugu gives a flower to Rean, a flower of the very same variety that Rean was picking when she was almost killed. Rean finally realizes that Gugu is the boy who saved her.
Can true love circumvent class barriers? We may never find out, because the party is attacked. A nokker — one of the mysterious monsters with whom Fushi has previously battled — descends upon the gathering. Two heroes interpose themselves between the rampaging creature and the surviving guests: Fushi, who cannot be killed, and brave Gugu, who can.
Four volumes into the series, Fushi is finally able to start asking important questions about why he was created. Alas, the Beholder, the mysterious cloaked figure who created Fushi, is not inclined to provide clear answers. The Beholder is only interested in encouraging Fushi to develop in ways that further the Beholder’s purpose; it’s possible that if Fushi knew what that was, he would resist even more than he currently does.
When immortals live with mortals, the immortal gets to see their mortal friends die. Often. In Fushi’s case, living as he does in a primitive world rife with violence and rudimentary medicine, he rarely has to worry about his friends dying of old age. If it’s not hypothermia, it’s an arrow to the liver.
Unsurprisingly, the series arc features likable characters who befriend Fushi and then die. The effect is rather melancholy. The leisurely pace combined with the intermittent gloom may not appeal to everyone. It’s certainly why there are such long intervals between my reviews of this series.
Other readers may be fonder of the series. After all, the illustrations are skillfully executed and the characters vivid enough that their inevitable deaths matter. Still, I hope Volume 5 is something other than “new friends for Fushi to lose.”
2: Of course, the Beholder could not explain much to Fushi when Fushi first appeared It’s hard to explain things to an entity who has yet to master higher functions like cognition, speech, or even bladder control.
3: Why does Gugu mask? Because people reacted badly when Gugu appeared in public without a mask.