The 40-year time skip that To Your Eternity‘s second season opened with made a lot of sense. It provided the story with a new status quo to springboard from and a new character arc for Fushi moving forward — which is why it came as a shock when the series featured another decades-long time skip in the following episode, throwing out the new status quo and fast-forwarding through Fushi’s reintegration into society after his long isolation.
Furthermore, the first two episodes took pains to establish Hayase’s granddaughter and leader of the Guardians, Hisame — only to unceremoniously kill her offscreen during the time skip, functionally replacing her with Kahaku, Hayase’s sixth successor and first male heir.
Could the Church of Bennett Prove a More Compelling Antagonist Than the Nokkers?
While it remains to be seen whether the second time skip will bear narrative fruit compelling enough to warrant it, episode three does shine a light on why To Your Eternity jumped ahead for a second time. During the episode, Fushi has a near-miss with two men who are hunting him, evading them with Kahaku’s help. Afterward, Kahaku explains that the pair were members of the Church of Bennett, a recently-emerged organization that denounce Fushi and the Guardians as heretics.
The rise of the Church is the sort of development that would only make sense had Fushi been traveling for years and years, making a reputation for himself across the world. As such, it’s understandable why To Your Eternity would press the fast-forward button to get to the point where such a faction would exist — but why go through such trouble to establish them in the first place?
To Your Eternity has received some criticism for the introduction of the Nokkers, turning the once-melancholic rumination on the human condition into something more closely resembling a battle shonen focused more on fights against generic monsters. Introducing a long-term human antagonistic faction for Fushi to oppose on a more ideological level may be a means of rectifying this issue somewhat — if To Your Eternity is to continue as an action show, then the least it can do is add some depth to the immortal’s rogues gallery.
For now, though, Fushi’s focus is on the Nokkers, and he reluctantly tags along with Kahaku and the Guardians to help vanquish them. Along the way, the episode provides insight into Fushi’s reputation across the land, with some villagers worshipping Fushi as a divine figure while others attempt to kill him to claim the Church’s bounty.
Prince Bonchien Is Markedly Different From Every Other Character Thus Far
The episode’s other big development comes when Fushi and Kahaku wind up captured by the prince of the Uralis Kingdom, Bonchien Nicoli la Tasty Peach Uralis. True to his name, Bonchien is an absurd character, and the episode’s tone makes a huge shift to accommodate this. Bonchien is a flamboyant, cowardly figure, who only manages to bring Fushi and Kahaku back home to Uralis when they willingly surrender, believing that they can use the naive royal to their advantage.
To longtime viewers, Bonchien’s debut might be a shock to the system, with his and his family’s antics providing broad comedy atypical of To Your Eternity. Based on his heavy presence in Season 2’s opening, it’s clear the prince of Uralis will be a major player moving forward — if so, he’s a major departure from To Your Eternity‘s usual supporting cast. Even previous characters who provided comic relief such as March or Gugu still had layers of pathos present in their debuts that would continue for the rest of their arcs, but Bonchien thus far is mostly just a gag.
On paper, Bonchien could have wound up an offensive, retrograde caricature, trading on tired stereotypes denigrating effeminate men. For now, though, To Your Eternity just about manages to make the character work, and his larger-than-life persona provides a shot in the arm for the show after a sedate run of episodes. It’s clear the animation team is having a lot of fun bringing his exaggerated movements to life, and veteran seiyuu Takehito Koyasu — voice of Dio Brando in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, among countless others — gives the narcissistic prince a chaotic energy that’s a joy to listen to.
After diplomatically ”capturing” Fushi and Kayaku, the prince provides the pair with hospitality at Uralis, turns away members of the Church looking to take Fushi for themselves and even offers the immortal an army to help fight the Nokkers. When Fushi has a crisis of confidence once the Beholder tells him the exact death toll of the Nokkers, it’s a pep talk from Bonchien that seems to bring the immortal back to his senses.
Whether Bonchien is a worthy addition to To Your Eternity‘s cast or an annoyance at odds with the tone of the series is a matter that will vary greatly from viewer to viewer. It’s likely the final word won’t come on the character until the rest of his arc fully plays out, but at the very least, he has the makings of a loyal companion for Fushi. After running from human connection following Pioran’s death, Fushi might have finally found another person worth bonding with, and hopefully, the prince will see further depth as the season progresses.