Stream it or skip it: An arctic adventure of angst


It’s not often that an anime can be widely regarded as one of the best of the season just based on its first episode. Yet, the high expectations for the anime adaptation of popular manga “Fumetsu no Anata e (To Your Eternity)” since plans were announced were both reached and surpassed with animation studio Brain’s Base’s faithful adaptation.

“Fumetsu no Anata e,” which premiered in April on Crunchyroll, is based on the award-winning manga written by Yoshitoki Oima, the author behind the source material for the critically acclaimed animated film “Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice).”

The story follows a mysterious orb, sent to Earth by an unknown being, which initially shows no signs of consciousness. “It” is capable of mirroring external stimuli, first imitating the form of a rock before changing into the surrounding moss. Eventually it takes the form of an injured wolf, beginning its journey as a living creature. 

Now in the form of a wolf, “It” discovers a young boy living on his own in the middle of a tundra after his wolf companion Joaan had just died and then replaced by “It.” Soon, the two form a bond and it is clear that the boy, who seems happy on the outside, is suffering.

Nearly every member of his village struck out on a voyage five years ago to find paradise in the south, leaving him to tend to the eldery. He decides to pursue the other village members and join them on their journey, but in a freak blizzard he ends up injuring his leg and falling into icy waters.

Unlike Oima’s previous work, the show looks toward the future rather than dwelling on the past, by tackling the intriguing theme of immortality and its long term effects. The anime provides a unique perspective on loneliness, its melancholic tone pairing well with the small glimmers of hope offered by the unwavering kindness of the supporting characters.

So far, the show’s writing quality measures up to Oima’s past storytelling, with pacing unhindered by the formulaic design of its source material. In addition, the mangaka manages to make each segment seem new and refreshing, keeping the overall quality of the show well above average. 

Brain’s Base, though relatively unknown within the anime community, easily does justice to the source material with high production values. Even though it may not be the studio’s main selling point, the animation is still much better than that of the other anime coming out this season.

The show’s score is another one of its standout features, helping drive home the already convincingly powerful premiere and its following arc. When only one of the characters speaks for an entire episode but the show still manages to convey every nuanced emotion, some credit has to be given to the amazing soundtrack.

With its gut-wrenching drama, amazing original soundtrack and above average animation, it’s no wonder “Fumetsu no Anata e” has already been rated as the 52nd best anime of all time on MyAnimeList, and is, by any measure, a must-watch this season. 

Verdict: Stream it