TL;DR – a powerful being creates an orb. The orb is featureless and emotionless. As it interacts with other creatures, it takes on the form of that creature and slowly learns what it means to be alive.
Review (warning: spoilers)
The series opens with a narrator known as the Beholder, who creates an orb that can capture the reflections of many things and can transform as a result. The Beholder releases the orb onto the Earth to observe it. The orb initially turns into a rock, then a wolf (achieving consciousness), then a boy, then a bear, then a girl… you get the idea. It receives the name Fushi (meaning ‘undying’) and slowly acquires speech and feelings. This includes pain, so while he is immortal, if he gets stabbed by a knife he will feel it.
Why Fushi is released to experience the world does not become apparent until later in the series when the Beholder reveals himself and tells Fushi that its purpose is to preserve the world and that there are creatures that are looking to destroy it.
Fumetsu no Anata e is an existential journey that sees Fushi learn about the things that living creatures experience and being taught that growth comes from suffering. His ability to transform only occurs when the subject Fushi develops a connection with dies. As such, you better grab the tissue box because practically all the story arcs involve suffering and death among the spattering moments of love and joy.
Each story follows an individual that Fushi develops a connection with. Each individual is young and have their lives cut short in tragedy. By the time you reach the final story arc, the formula is set and nothing that happens will be a surprise. Thus, in my opinion, Fumetsu no Anata e gets weaker as the series moves on. I struggled to complete the final story arc because the gravitas of the earlier episodes becomes diluted. By the time, I see Fushi befriending a group of kids on a prison island, I had lost empathy.
Even the primary enemy to Fushi is abstract. The creatures that are seeking to destroy the world rather than preserve it is a plant like creature, called Nokkers, that can steal Fushi’s forms and memories. It can also invade both living and dead human beings and turn them into violent zombies. In its natural form, it looks like an orbital brain and if killed in that form, it perishes. Why the Nokkers exist or how they came to exist is not revealed in this first season, which added to the feeling of dissatisfaction rather than anticipation.
Fushi’s other enemy is a female character named Hayase. She has no qualms in killing others if it means she can get her hands on Fushi. Her goal is much clearer, she wants Fushi all to herself. I assumed she wishes to acquire his immortality, but I find out later that she supposedly loves him. She is one sandwich short of a picnic because on one hand she confronts a Nokker and tells it that it can not bend Fushi to its will through brute force, yet she uses brute force and slays the people Fushi cares about to get closer to him. This is not love, this is a psychopath, and thankfully Fushi knows better and stays away from her.
Season one ends without resolution with season two slated for release in October 2022. At this stage, I do not know if I will go to the effort of investing into the second season. For all of its emotional pull, I did not enjoy this anime as much as I had hoped. The lack of direction and the formulaic cycle that Fushi experiences with each person he meets, left me feeling flat and disengaged. I also found the Beholder (narrator) initially interesting but then obtuse; he is more an observer who decides to interject in Fushi’s life when he see fit (why he acts the way he does is not revealed). Perhaps, all the answers will be given in season two but I am not holding my breath.
6.5 out of 10