WARNING: The following contains spoilers for To Your Eternity Episode 8, “Monster Brothers,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Ever since his accident, To Your Eternity's Gugu has been struggling to fit in. Everywhere he turns, he's met with fear and disgust from those who regard him as a monster. Juxtaposing him is Fushi, who, on the outside, looks human and normal. In reality, he's a shapeshifting immortal being. But just because he doesn't look like a monster, it doesn't mean that he isn't treated like one -- such as when Hayase decides to test how far his immortality goes in Episode 8.
The fact is, both Gugu and Fushi are treated in a dehumanizing way, but To Your Eternity asks us, the audience: Who is the real monster here?
Since Fushi is immortal, in Episode 8 Gugu asks to see what else Fushi can do other than shifting forms. He slashes Fushi's hand and even lights it on fire. This is how the two discover that Fushi can recreate physical objects, such as the knife that was used to hurt him, as well as the stick, but not the fire itself. Gugu's absolutely delighted but later sees Fushi's hurt expression and realizes that although these experiments won't kill Fushi, it doesn't mean he's immune to pain.
This experimentation parallels the discovery that Gugu makes later on in the episode: When he's badly wounded, Booze Man saves him but can't resist fulfilling a personal dream of his -- surgically adding another organ to his body to pump out highly distilled alcohol. Gugu is horrified when Booze Man echoes the same words he said to Fushi not too long ago: This won't kill him. Betrayed, Gugu runs away.
After leaving home, Gugu seeks out other employment but this proves to be difficult. Murmurs trail after him, whispering about the "monster." Gugu eventually tracks down the master who he once worked with who agrees to hire him again, even offering for him to move in with his family. It's everything that Gugu had ever wanted. But the ultimate test is whether or not he can be loved once he takes off the mask... to which the answer is, sadly, no. Once the mask is off, he knows that he can never be accepted by them.
Gugu then wonders if the mask is more or less his shield and questions why he even needs it. With that, he tosses it back into the river. Nothing changes. Even without the mask, he's still shamed and ostracized even though he's just a kid. Although Gugu acts indifferent, it doesn't mean he isn't hurt by what he hears people say about him.
Gugu, and everyone else around him, may regard him as a monster but To Your Eternity makes it clear that he isn't. Despite his brother Shin's betrayal, Gugu still cares enough about him to try to save him. He could've kept the ring that Rean gave him but once he saw Shin, he felt an overwhelming sense of pity for the brother he once admired, giving it to him instead. Gugu saw how society treated monsters and those like his brother but believed that Shin still had a chance. Why? Because no matter how horribly Shin treats him, Gugu doesn't see him as a monster.
Nobody in this world understands that this is just a lonely kid who has no choice but to hide behind a mask -- a mask that doesn't do him much good, anyway. He doesn't think anyone will ever care about him because of his monstrosity, but Fushi does. Overcoming his fear of the forest, Fushi eventually saves him from a couple of men who try to kidnap him, knowing that he can't grow up without Gugu by his side despite Gugu being the one who had hurt him. Gugu may have lost Shin but To Your Eternity's latest episode confirms he's gained a monster brother in Fushi.