Manga March 2022 (2): To Your Eternity

Note I have discussed the manga in some capacity here already.

Based on everything I know of her so far, I think Yoshitoki Oima is a creative genius.

…I might come back to eat my words one day, when I lose myself in a negative headspace again and then rediscover my passion for blogging, but for now (i.e. as I work on this post) these words are correct.

That’s because her entire oeuvre – or rather, what I’ve managed to get ahold of of it – has captivated me for almost as long as this blog has been around (according to my manga list, I started reading it in mid-September 2018).

Koe no Katachi aside, To Your Eternity (Fumetsu no Anata e, or as literally as I can put it, “To the Indestructible You”) seems to have flown under the radar, even though it had an anime this year. Admittedly, in terms of this blog, the fault lies with me for that – as of writing this in late December 2021, I haven’t really been paying attention to seasonal buzz since partway through spring of that year, although I tried to get back in the fall.

Then again, Fumetsu is one of those stories I fall hook, line and sinker for. Y’know, those sprawling stories incorporating many genres to become more like the story of life and, in turn, analysing what it means to exist upon this earth. Preferably with flashbacks consisting of an episode/chapter or more…I like those. “The story of an orb falling to earth and being able to take on the forms of those it has encountered who have died” sounds like it’s full of angst (if you’ve seen episode 1 of the anime or the corresponding manga material, hoo boy, you know the level of angst it can dish out), but it has many other facets to itself as well, including the fact Fushi (said orb, whose name means “undying”) eventually develops a fighting style based on knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the various forms.

I’ve wanted to write, for the longest time, a post about Fumetsu‘s language, itself based on the Japanese syllabary, but I never really knew where to begin with it – I only really gathered that two certain symbols said “tori” (bird), based on Pioran’s teachings in the story, and managed to string up the connection that way. Despite my aspiring translator status, I don’t have a background in linguistics and so I feel poorly equipped to tackle a subject like that – I’d probably, and rather, argue about topics like gender and identity in works like this.

Fumetsu goes a lot of places in the 11 volumes I’ve read and tackles a bunch of themes which don’t seem to go together at first, especially when you try to cherry-pick themes from different parts of its story, which spans generations and only really anchors itself in time and space by showing the daily life of people and creatures in different locations – not just their language, as mentioned earlier, but their rituals and the other various ways the people and creatures live. This understanding gets more and more complex over time, as Fushi experiences more things and witnesses the (sometimes brutal) ends of living things. However, this, as I explained earlier, is exactly what makes the series so dear to me and I’m glad I found it in manga form before tackling the anime. (Then again, as of the time of writing this post, I haven’t finished the anime yet…I don’t know if it covers more than what I’ve read or not.)

Fumetsu is available in physical and digital from Kodansha. I obtained it via a Humble Bundle of award-winning manga which also included another of my personal favourite series, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.

These Manga March posts seem to have been beneficial so far – writing this out, with not much of a filter, made me realise I actually really love this series, to the point where I didn’t nitpick at it as much as I did with The Wizard and His Fairy. (Blog posts are probably a better way to release my frustrations than vents in DMs that actually reach the users in question, haha…ha…)

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