3 out of 5
So many ideas; so many blips of fun characters; so little patience.
During the Jananda arc, Oima upped the scope and tone on To Your Eternity rather immensely, world- and cast-building in a hurry, and putting more of an emphasis on action. This was uneven, but promising – an interesting way to keep expanding Fushi’s world. However, this approach has proven to be the rule thereafter, and instead of sitting with any of these big changes and iterating on them (which is more how I felt the first few volumes worked), chapters started to boil down to rather simple variations: discover a new power; have a nokker fight; learn one character’s background; and end most of these things with Fushi either realizing life is worthwhile or justifying why it’s better to remain alone.
The art has gotten stronger and more dense along the way, and Oima has proven capable of shaping what started out a bit more esoteric into a really effective shonen manga. It’s not really how I wanted the story to go, admittedly, so I’m getting close to checking out, but there are still creative ideas and fun beats along the way, and that really hits fever pitch in volume 10.
We ended the previous chapter with an insane uptick in Fushi’s abilities, and Oima just absolutely goes to town with that here. But it’s never explored, really – at this point, it’s just “cool,” and then it’s a total background detail for a good portion of the tankobon. Prince Bon goes off to find “other immortals” – I can’t tell how much of the somewhat half-assed dialogue is translation, or my misunderstood social context, or of the original text, but this feels incredibly rushed and never quite logical – and returns with several non-immortals to help Fushi fortify Renril against forthcoming nokkers, and then we get one chapter each to give these characters tragic backstories. …And then they’re shushed to the background as well.
That’s the biggest “loss” in my eyes to the series, is that it no longer feels like much matters, and Fushi’s continual “realization” that life has value is akin to a typical shonen protag’s proclamation to always fight for good, or to save everyone… which Fushi actually says, here. Some of the moralistic greys that have been explored do occasionally peek through, which is intriguing – for example, when Fushi’s altruistic actions are re-contextualized as his dislike of feeling pain, and since he feels the pain of those around him, QED he must protect everyone – but those beats are as fleeting as everything else.
Enjoyable, but more and more ephemeral.