WARNING: The following contains spoilers for To Your Eternity Episode 12, “Awakening,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.
The fans knew it was coming, but somehow we still weren't prepared for the latest episode of To Your Eternity. In Episode 12, the four years of peace that Fushi enjoyed with Gugu are shattered immediately when the Nokkers return, much stronger than before.
Although Gugu has developed his fire breath into a fearsome weapon, Fushi hasn't grown any stronger in all these years. This isn't the first death we've seen in To Your Eternity, but somehow, the episode's tragedy hurts much more than all the others that have happened so far.
Gugu & Fushi's Special Bond
Out of all of the humans Fushi has met so far, he's been with Gugu the longest. He made a conscious choice to stay with Gugu because he wants to live life as a human being with his brother. Because Fushi had lived four years without any attacks from the Nokkers, it gave viewers a false sense of hope that things would be different now. Gugu's relationship with his brother, Shin, is fraught with distrust because Shin abandoned him when he was younger. Meanwhile, Fushi's immortality means he will always live a lonely life as everyone else around him moves on. When he and Gugu connected, they found a home and a family.
Gugu & Rean's Special Moment Before He Meets His End
Over the past few years, Gugu and Fushi have found ways to work together. Their teamwork is seamless as they fight the stone Nokker-Oniguma, with Fushi transforming into the nimble March while Gugu clambers swiftly up to the top. Fushi tosses spears to Gugu, which he stabs directly into a small crevice at the Nokker's head before opening his mask and breathing fire into the hole. For a moment, it appears victory is theirs. Fushi admits he's still weak despite being immortal, but Gugu reassures him that he will always have his back. However, they get cut off when the Nokker emerges and crushes Fushi's skull before his brother's eyes.
With March stolen, Fushi resumes his form as the Nameless Boy again. Suddenly, his face starts twitching as he feels pain -- but it isn't his own, it's Gugu's. The sequence of scenes -- Fushi's slow realization and the fact that the last time we saw Gugu was while running with Rean amid the collapsing building -- forces To Your Eternity's audience to come to terms with what's about to happen through Fushi's visceral reactions.
The scene with Rean and Gugu is absolutely heartbreaking. Their story is nothing short of tragic with Rean not knowing it was Gugu who saved her all those years ago, that Gugu was saved by Rean's kindness, and now their time together is cruelly cut short. Gugu stops a piece of rubble from hurting Rean with the strength of his back, and as his arms bracket her head protectively it appears as if the two are in their own world. This is the first and last time Gugu allows Rean to look at him without his mask -- and the last time he will see her accept him for who he is.
Why Gugu's Death Hurts That Much More
When March died, Fushi expressed his grief through his rampage as Oniguma. Now, as Gugu dies, Fushi feels it in his human form and it hits him much harder than it did for March. His grief and horror explodes as he watches his body automatically transform into Gugu. This is the first time we see Fushi's transformation blur: it's like he's crying and trying to stop the process from happening because once it does, he'll have no choice but to accept the truth.
In a personalized version of the afterlife, Gugu wakes up while being carried by Shin. The brothers have grown close again because, despite his anger, he wants to reconcile with Shin. Gugu meets Booze Man and Pioran, who welcome him back as he had been on a long journey. His face has now healed and we see what he would've looked like if he hadn't been injured. Rean tells him that they need to go flower-picking as promised. Gugu looks happy and at peace as he walks with them, but suddenly he notices someone is missing: Fushi, who is immortal and won't appear.
Gugu realizes what's happened and watches as Fushi and Shin walk back to Booze Man and Pioran to tell them the news. He reaches out to Booze Man's shoulder, only for his hand to pass straight through. As the four of them huddle together in their grief, Gugu carefully wraps his arms around them like a protective older brother.
The Nameless Boy's death was heart-wrenching because To Your Eternity had formed an attachment with him in a very short amount of time, only to lose him at the end of Episode 1. We cried about March, a sweet little girl who dreamt about growing up but died too young.
Gugu once asked himself "Why am I me?" but it's also a question that Fushi will never stop asking now. Rean's last words of how she's sure Gugu is "with him" can be interpreted in a few ways. One, the old adage of how you never lose the ones you love, and Fushi will literally always have Gugu with him. But he will also carry the guilt of knowing Gugu wouldn't have ended up like this if Fushi had left when the Creator told him to.