I’ve contemplated a lot about what I’m going to write for this article. After watching the first episode of To Your Eternity, I felt that I had watched something truly special. Over the course of a single episode, I had experienced the highs and lows of the entire emotional spectrum. This is an anime that has something to say, and in an ever growing anime industry which rewards series that don’t, To Your Eternity feels all the more precious.
This first episode was a thoughtful and meditative experience, the likes of which has become rare in the medium. Without spoiling the first episode, because I do truly encourage you who is reading this to watch it if you have not yet done so, To Your Eternity looks to be a series that will ponder the questions of life, death, and the pursuit of meaning.
This first episode is a largely enclosed story but there is the makings of an overarching plot, to be sure. Some higher power sent an orb down to Earth and that orb began to take various forms over time when stimulated, and with each new form this being is discovering about life on this planet. This episode explores the orb taking the form of a snow wolf as it accompanies a young man trying to find his people, who had set out to find a supposed “paradise” beyond the mountains.
What unfolds is both beautiful and heart-wrenching: the tragedy that is life itself and the endless endeavour to find purpose and meaning within it. As we learn more about the young man and his relationship with both his people and his wolf friend, Joaan, it is hard not to be swept up in the emotion of it all. Through the beautiful animation and incredible soundtrack, I was completely transported into the world of the series and absorbed in the tale it was telling.
After the tragic yet solemnly beautiful conclusion to this episode, I was left with many questions. I am very intrigued by where this series is going. It has a similar feeling to series like Mushishi and Casshern Sins, albeit very different in setting. The episode explored the idea of how we can keep people alive as long as we remember them; I for one won’t be forgetting this first episode any time soon. I think it may, in fact, go down as one of the all-time best first episodes of an anime series—in this writer’s humble opinion. Next week feels like an eternity away right now.