Fushi’s journeys in To Your Eternity have him meet many different kinds of people, learning and growing as he discovers what it truly means to be alive. From the rambunctious March to the thrifty Tonari, there are a seemingly endless number of interesting characters in Fushi’s life, each teaching him their own unique perspectives on how life is best lived. None, however, is as memorable and valuable as his honorary grandma, Pioran.
From her very introduction, Pioran set herself apart from the rest of the cast. Most of the characters Fushi is inspired by are young, innocent, and naive in their own ways. Not Pioran – we meet this elderly but spry lady in a prison, where she immediately helps plan a breakout. We don’t know why she’s locked up – it’s implied that she poisoned a bunch of soldiers at some point, for reasons unknown – but it doesn’t matter, because Pioran doesn’t let it get to her. She’s here to have a good time and isn’t gonna let something like an imprisonment get in the way of that.
Indeed, Pioran’s lust for life helps her prioritize the important things, never phased by small setbacks or oddities. After their prison break, Fushi meets Pioran in the middle of the woods by coincidence, with Pioran having been fending for herself against all odds while trying to go back to her home country. She quickly finds out about Fushi’s immortality, but instead of being shocked by it, she realizes he can use his shapeshifting to easily forage for food and defend from predators – she even tries to get Fushi to feed her his leg. Because he’s immortal, it’ll just grow back! Later on, when Fushi’s deadly enemies, the “Nokkers”, attack, Pioran keeps track of information on them, which helps keep them safe from future assaults. Pioran’s desire to live manifests in an intense level of resourcefulness, seeing the best in every person and situation. In To Your Eternity‘s harsh world where characters are rarely expected to live past their arcs, is it really any surprise Pioran has made it to the ripe old age of 90?
Of course, not everyone can handle someone like Pioran with such a strong personality and clear fire for life; Fushi himself initially finds her to be more of a pain in the ass than a good friend. He’s put off by her insistence at finding strategies to survive in the wild at first, partially because he just lost March and is in a bad mood but also because he doesn’t realize yet how that strong desire to live is what will help him keep going after tragedies in the future. When he has finally warmed up to Pioran, he becomes too scared to lose her like he has lost so many others, and refuses to let her come along on his journeys. Like life, though, Pioran finds a way, and Fushi ends up keeping her around, whether he likes it or not. That connection ends up saving him in a more subtle way, as his friendship with Pioran gives him purpose, something to ground himself to mentally so that he isn’t surviving just for survival’s sake.
We can’t forget the many ways Pioran does help Fushi live in a practical sense too, though. Who taught Fushi to write, letting him keep memories of his friends in a more tangible way? Who taught Fushi to cook, giving him a way to show thanks to his family? Who brought Fushi to Booze Man and Gugu, giving Fushi a job and another weirdo friend to help him feel useful, accepted, and normal? Who else but his ever caring and thoughtful grandma, Pioran! She may be rough on the outside, but that’s because she knows how tough life is, and she uses her experience and wisdom to help Fushi do more than feel alive, but feel fulfilled, too. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to forget that your mental well-being is just as important as your physical one, especially for the immortal Fushi, but whenever things get tough Pioran is there to help Fushi see the path to a more full life. At the end of her life, she doesn’t seem to have any regrets or desires left except to see Fushi happy.
If Fushi’s companions are a kind of family, Pioran is the firm but loving matriarch, guiding them along a rocky path to a life that is fun and rewarding. In a show about living to the fullest, appreciating the people around you, and valuing the scarcity of life, Pioran represents To Your Eternity‘s ideals more strongly than any other character. When she is introduced, one of her first lines to a dazed and listless Fushi is “I wanna get out, find a lover, eat good food, and have some fun!,” and honestly, me too. We could all learn to prioritize the best things in life like our lovable crime grandma Pioran.
The remake will swim into theaters on May 26, 2023.
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