Sometimes predictable storytelling isn’t always a bad thing. Could you predict the outcome of this story arc from the beginning? More or less yes, you could. But it works because it makes sense that this would be Gugu’s ultimate fate: a boy who had everything good in his life taken from him, ultimately sacrificing his life to protect the good things in life that he had later found.
This is undoubtedly the most heartbreaking episode of To Your Eternity to date, and to recap it beat by beat wouldn’t do justice to this episode. The tragedy of life, love, death, and all that lies in between cannot be understated, and To Your Eternity explores this tragedy with nuance and delicacy.
Gugu’s sacrifice may have been foreshadowed and teased for quite some time but the emotional punch it packed was immense. I can’t recall a time in recent memory that I was so moved to tears by an anime series as I have been with To Your Eternity. The final scene with Rean waiting for Gugu, only to acknowledge he is no longer with them and, as tears roll down her cheek, declare her love for him, was truly poignant and beautiful in a way only sorrow can be. The same can be said for the “passing on” sequence where Gugu is living happily with Rean, Fushi, and the others with his face restored to normal; living the life we know he will never get to live, only for him to become quickly aware that his time has come.
With the Knokker having escaped and Gugu now living on through Fushi as one of his transformations, the series will now shift as Fushi sets out to track down the Knokker that took Gugu’s life. Fushi now accepts that what the Maker says is true: he cannot live a normal life, he must continue travelling the world, learning and growing, even if the melancholy of life has started to outweigh the pain of death.