Remember some of you Karakuri Circus, the crazy 2018 anime about magical circus fighting puppets and evil automatons? Don’t worry, I don’t blame any of you for forgetting the series ever existed; hell, I’m the guy who’s been reviewing the show for months, and even I have to remind myself that the time I spent with it wasn’t an insane fever dream. Anyway, I’m only bringing up the show because I’m watching the last episodes of To your eternity has given me such a strange feeling of déjà vu, and this week I was finally able to find out what it reminded me of: the experience of seeing Karakuri Circus
To be clear, I’m not saying that To your eternity is headed down the same car crash road of rushed adaptation and flawed storytelling that plagued it Karakuri Circus, but the two shows have a lot in common when it comes to both their overall strengths and their increasingly glaring flaws. Both have solid world-building and lovable characters that get you invested in the overall narrative, and both deal with large time spans and a gigantic cast of heroes and antagonists that give the story a genuinely epic feel that’s hard not to get swept up in. . Unfortunately, To your eternity also demonstrates Karakuri Circus‘ bad habit of running through a lot of fascinating and meaningful material to speed up the plot and characters. However, i TYIn his case, I suspect that the problem is not rooted in having to wipe out large parts of the source material which Karakuri Circus did; I think Fushi’s story is inherently prone to missing the trees for the forest, given the scope and scale of his mission against the Nokkers.
Take for example the characters that is not it Fushi or The Beholder. IN TYits first few arcs, we spent a lot of time with each of Fushi’s companions, allowing us to become invested in the world they lived in, meaning the show was able to strike a good balance between story progression and character development (although it may have taken a little also long until Fushi will become fully self-aware). The Jananda arc was the story’s biggest hurdle, taking an incredibly long time to get Fushi through a personal journey that lacked engaging character interactions or world-building; now, in Season 2, the show has the opposite problem. Fushi’s curse of immortality has completely resigned him to being detached from the world, meaning that not only does each character’s death feel as inevitable as ever, we can’t even be sure that the time we spend with them will amount to much more than a glorified info dump or an accelerated plot montage.
All this is to say that I wished falling in love with Kahaku, which is a refreshing change of pace as far as Hayase reincarnations go, especially since his crush on Parona! Fushi is both incredibly obvious and charming for once. I can’t say I have as much love for (sigh) Bonchien Nicoli added Tasty Peach Uralis because his disgusting and genuinely insane shtick feels like it belongs on a completely different show. Still, I can’t deny that he’s brought a very, uh, “novel” charm that Fushi’s story has been lacking ever since he arrived in Jananda. I find myself keeping them all at arm’s length because nothing about this season has convinced me that these characters’ stories will be allowed to breathe and have the impact they should before they are unceremoniously killed off in… I don’t know, what bet will we take? One more episode? Maybe two?
This brings me back to another fatal flaw To your eternity shares with Karakuri Circusand so, while both shows were able to use their accelerated pacing and bonkers plot development to their advantage, it can never amount to much when the production values can’t bring that story to life. Karakuri Circus had at least Kazuhiro Fujita‘s striking character design to carry around limited animationbut “The Awaited” is another unfortunate reminder of that TYE’s art doesn’t translate well to animation unless the visuals are rock solid. The visuals in “The Awaited” are not rock solid. Between shocking storyboarding, some really confusing editing, and a general sloppiness in the character art and animation throughout, I never found myself believing most of the emotions on display…unless those emotions specifically involved Tasty Peach’s swinging butt cheeks, which they don’t. necessarily what I’m getting at TY because, you know?
So again, it’s the last point that I think TY and Karakuri Circus have in common, which is that their stories are so interesting and affecting at their best that I wishes them to overcome these obstacles, because they could be so great. I have long since lost hope of that To your eternity will achieve the same artistic heights as the incredible first episode, but I don’t think it’s too late for the series to scrape together a consistent level of goodness. There are glimmers of it still, even now, but anime, unlike Fushi itself, is anything but eternal. I hope the show can find its way before its time on this earth is over.
To your eternity currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop culture, which can also be found on Twitterhis blog and his podcast.