In a lawless island of brutality, will Fushi succeed in keeping his morals while faced with the harsh truth of humanity?
"There are some people who deserve to die"
In the last episode, during Fushi's battle in the tournament, he was forced to change into something he never expected. Parona, the kind-hearted friend of March, reappears as his new form. And through her skills, Fushi manages to win the battle without resorting to killing. But this victory comes at the cost of knowledge. Because the only way Fushi can change forms is if those creatures die. And Fushi struggles with the fact that another person precious to him has passed away.
Fushi is still young when it comes to death and loss. Still not fully able to understand the human experience and the fear of others in dying. And it makes it hard for him to understand everything about Parona. But her values are enough for Fushi. Reminiscing about Parona, Fushi decides to use Parona as his moral compass. To be the person Parona was, and to act accordingly. This is why he decides to do his best not to hurt anyone or cause any more pain. Even if it means being alone.
However, the island of Jananda is still unforgiving. It's people, even more so. Fushi struggles to understand the people on the island. He's constantly challenged with Pioran's past. And the people around him keep using him for their own gain. And, the longer he stays, the longer he creates danger.
"But I want to value that wish. It's all I can do."
The show continues its existential mess of an arc. In the very beginning, it sets the thematic expectation, with Fushi struggling to come to terms with Parona's death and having to accept the idea of 'finding meaning in death'. He doesn't fully understand this, since he hates the idea of death in the first place. He barely gets time to understand, since Tonari keeps challenging the notion of life being all special. She is raised in hardship and believes that some deaths are necessary. This is the major thematic tension so far. Do lives really matter in the face of the sins they've caused?
This tension worsens when Fushi finds Pioran, and she tells him that she deserves to be in prison. And Fushi cannot accept this. He cannot accept that another person will be gone in his life, and that he won't be able to stop it. He hates his powerlessness, a running theme in the episodes. He's an immortal who can't save his friends, and he's a humanoid who cannot understand all of humanity. Because he's stuck with how his powers aren't enough to save Pioran, to stop the killing, and the humans around him are just too different for him to understand.
The topic of Fushi's inhumanity rears its ugly head in this episode. During the episode, Fushi is faced with an angry mob of islanders who question his actions and intentions. Because he doesn't kill like them. He acts so high and mighty for not killing. That's what they think. And then there's Tonari and her everchanging attitudes. Because she keeps on lying to Fushi, but then showing her heart, she's untrustworthy and difficult to understand in Fushi's eyes. The thematic tension is strongest between Fushi and Tonari, since they're the ones who butt heads the most.
There's a quiet moment where Fushi asks Tonari what the concept of 'hesitation' is. It's barely heard and noticed, but it was a small moment that fully captured how different Fushi was to humans in that moment. The arc on Jananda has so far focused on isolating Fushi with the darker sides of humanity. These shadow parts of humanity are something that Fushi has to learn to accept. Because he's learning to be human, the entire arc is all about shoving him to make a choice on what moral compass he should have when it comes to these choices. But for that to happen, he has to know more.
When Fushi asked what hesitation could be, it's symbolic of how little he still knows of being human. How he doesn't hesitate to not kill despite it being a huge help if he did. How he doesn't hesitate to follow Parona because he doesn't know any better and has a hard time seeing any other alternative. How he doesn't hesitate to judge Tonari and everyone on the island despite seeing their hardship until he sees another person who believes in the same things as him.
The entire Jananda arc carries an important weight of full rounding off Fushi as a person. But it doesn't come without its flaws.
"It's my fault."
The biggest questionable thing the story has done so far is the treatment of Tonari. Specifically how she's characterized in the context of the story's moral theme. Tonari represents the normal people who struggle with life, making decisions that are questionable. And because of this purpose, her actions are to reflect the conflicting nature of most people in these struggling situations. She's manipulative and seems uncaring of what she's willing to do. And while these are understandable, the fact the Fushi is a victim who has done nothing against her makes her a less sympathetic character. Add the fact that she believes the exact opposite of Fushi, and it makes her a frustrating character to care for.
However, one way to interpret this is that she's the very new form of humanity that Fushi has to accept. The first form Fushi took represented the idea of humanity as pure and caring. With March, Gugu, and now Parona, this is the idea that sticks to him. But it's pure naivety to believe that all of humans are like this. Tonari is best to teach this because she is both calculating and still warm and loyal. She has love for the group of children who are like her, alone to fend for themselves. But she's willing to do underhanded means to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. But at the same time, she wants to change the fate of the island and its inhabitants. She's complex when you look closer to how she's written.
But it's a question if the show will pull this off. And if the story will allow it. While glimpses of the next episode could point to her story being put to the centerfold, she also runs the risk of being a character who is forcibly made to preach a moral to both Fushi and the audience. Hopefully, they flesh her out further, because Tonari has a lot of potential as a character.
Fushi needs to learn some moral philosophy.
New episodes of To Your Eternity coming out every Monday. Watch Episode 16 on 2 of August 2021 at 10:50 PM (JST).
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