2017’s To Your Eternity, Volume 3 is the third 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 3 appeared in 2018.
Having successfully fled the Yanome empire and escaped Hayase’s pursuit, the protean Fushi and elderly Pioran make their way to a distant community. Here, Fushi will continue its efforts to learn to be a person.
Key to the process: a boy named Gugu.
Gugu shares desperate poverty with his older brother Shin. Determined to save his way to prosperity, Gugu carefully hordes the coins he earns. Seeing an opportunity, Shin steals all of Gugu’s money before fleeing to the big city, where Shin is certain that opportunity and prosperity await.
At least Gugu still has Rean, a wealthy girl with whom Gugu is inarticulately infatuated. When he sees Rean in the path of a rolling log, he pushes her out of the way. The log crushes his face. Gugu survives thanks to the intervention of local distiller called “Booze Man,” but his face is horribly maimed. Henceforth, Gugu wears a mask to avoid social rejection.
Believing himself to be a monster, Gugu finds a kindred soul in the ever-mutable Fushi. Gugu helps Pioran teach Fushi how to speak and behave. As Gugu grows into a young man, Fushi matures into a being who can pass for human.
Fushi’s abilities include being able to produce from the material of its body almost any physical object Fushi has touched. Fascinated, Gugu experiments with Fushi’s powers without particular concern for Fushi’s feelings. Gugu then discovers he himself was the subject of Booze Man’s curiosity. While tending injured Gugu, Booze Man implanted an alcohol-producing organ in Gugu to see what would happen.
Affronted at being treated as he treated Fushi, Gugu abandons his friends. Perhaps fate will be kinder to him elsewhere. But probably not.
One might ask how the heck someone from a culture that seems to be roughly on technological par with ancient China or Japan managed to implant an organ into a subject. Well, this is a fantasy series. Apparently, the fantasy isn’t limited to magical fantasy.
Such series important questions as “why was Fushi created?” and “what exactly do the Nokkers, the series antagonists, want” are briefly addressed, but only as hints to assure the reader the author has not forgotten about them. Otherwise, those issues are kicked down the road for another volume.
One might credit the staggering lack of empathy shown by many characters as a reflection of an underdeveloped economic system with too little surplus to facilitate charity. The evidence suggests a different explanation: a lot of people are just self-centered dicks.
While I admit the artistry with which the author retains reader interest despite her lead character being inarticulate, often unintelligent, and for considerable stretches of the early volumes unable to control their bowels, I am happy to see that Fushi is finally learning to speak. Further developments along these lines will be welcome.
It says a lot about how bleak this series has been that a volume in which a boy is robbed and abandoned by his brother, horribly disfigured, and then used in a medical experiment to satisfy idle curiosity is one of the more upbeat installments. Yes, some terrible things happen in this book, almost always because of human choices. However, not every event in this terrible. Some of them are heartwarming.