One of the most thought-provoking manga is back with volume three this week. Yoshitoki Oima has crafted a tale that not only weaves in interesting fantasy elements but also never loses touch with what it means to be alive. In this latest volume Oima explores what it means to learn and grow.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Gugu is a masked boy living in servitude and trapped by his troubled past. When the two meet, Fushi’s abilities resonate with Gugu, who always yearned to be born anew. After being taken under Gugu’s wing, Fushi not only learns what happiness feels like, but also how quickly it can disappear…
Why does this matter?
With the advent of social media and the internet it seems like people have lost their ability to relate to one another. This manga captures the heart and spirit of its characters with a heavy dose of empathy between them. A more than worthy manga for a modern age. Plus I’ve loved the first volumes!
To Your Eternity Vol. 1 review.
To Your Eternity Vol. 2 review.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The new characters are filled with life and easy to like.
This volume completely changes things up for the main character Fushi. So far he’s gone it alone in a heart-wrenching journey learning about death, befriended a girl who became a freedom fighter and learned a little something about dying for what you believe in, and in this volume learns all about living with others. This volume is far less dramatic and action-packed than the previous, but there is something to be said about Oima’s ability to make daily living and chores so compelling. He does this through a masked boy named Gugu who steals the role as protagonist.
By using Gugu, Oima has effectively told a brand new story that just so happens to have Fushi, the boy who was once a glowing orb dropped from the heavens, in it. Oima tells Gugu’s story from when he was a street urchin collecting coins to a horrible accident that changed him forever. After his accident, he becomes an outcast and yet hasn’t lost his drive for self-preservation and growth. Once Fushi comes along Oima does a great job establishing Fushi’s inability to cook or do chores, both of which are essential to be a good person. One wonders if Oima is attempting to teach any young kids who read this what it means to be a whole person. By the end of the volume Fushi’s character is made more complex.
The art continues to be highly detailed and excellent at capturing the world and environments. It has been said actors have the hardest time in roles when their face is covered and when you consider Gugu is wearing a lizard mask for much of this volume–yet you never miss an emotion he is conveying–it speaks wonders to Oima’s ability to make these characters emote. When the supernatural stuff crops in–Fushi really needs to work on this part of his life–the grotesque and unfathomable power is immediately clear.
It’s hard to see, but Fushi can literally conjure a spear from his hands. He’s doing that in the middle panel.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Maybe it’s due to the excellent job volume one did in hinting at a greater purpose for Fushi, but I’m dying to see more of this part of the character. Oima is building him up slowly, which is good, but the fantasy element is barely in this volume. It does pop in, but no new ground is formed beyond a rule of always getting better and stronger.
An aspect that fell flat for me was Oima’s tackling of class divide. It’s hinted at early on with Gugu’s plight as a child and gets thrust at the reader at the end after not taking it into account for the middle portion, but ends up serving as an underdeveloped B-plot.
Is It Good?
I can’t get enough of this manga series. There’s a goodness in its approach to what it means to be alive that’s hard to resist. Though this volume is light on giving us answers on Fushi’s true purpose it does an excellent job building up a new supporting cast.