WARNING: The following contains spoilers for To Your Eternity Episode 2, “A Rambunctious Girl,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.
To Your Eternity is turning out to be an emotional rollercoaster of a show. Last week, viewers cried about the nameless boy's death in the series premiere. Now in Episode 2, we're pushed to the edge of our seats once more watching the story of a little girl named March, who is intended to be a sacrifice for her village.
In the village of Ninannah, March dreams of growing up, watching enviously as an older girl is praised for finally becoming an adult. When March plays with her toys, she acts like a mother. And when she plays with an older girl named Parona, the two of them act like a married couple. March is lively and exuberant but there's something that marks her as different from the other children: her forehead and cheeks are painted with black ink.
A woman dressed in armor named Hayase tells the villagers of Ninannah they will choose an "untarnished girl" to be a sacrificial offering to the powerful being Oniguma, who will bring "peace and prosperity" to the village. Of the three girls marked with ink, March is chosen as the sacrifice without any real explanation. Still being a child, March doesn't understand what's happening until she returns home and her parents break into sobs, apologizing to her.
Hayase is tasked with watching over March until the day she dies, and there's a whole fanfare that goes with it: a banquet, ceremony, and a three-day procession to the mountains before March is to be laid on an altar, waiting to be eaten. What's worse is that her parents will have to wait a year before they can properly bury her -- and that's if there are any remains left on the altar.
With childlike matter-of-factness, March tells Hayase that she doesn't want to die because that would mean that she can't grow up -- which would also mean she can never be a mother. She gets angry and bitter, asking why she must be the one to die.
March has no way out. If she runs away they'll just pick another girl to take her place, which makes the act of choosing one of the girls moot. This is another aspect that makes March's sacrifice so heartbreaking -- she was just extremely unlucky. She has no choice but to wait to die.
As Hayase accompanies March to the altar, she reassures her that death will give her the freedom to grow up. Just as March's eye catches an eagle soaring in the sky, almost mocking her, Parona distracts Hayase with a badly-aimed arrow. March gets the opportunity to escape and encounters a dead body, which instantly scares her pursuers away.
The corpse suddenly trembles as it rises up, and March can see that parts of the boy's flesh have rotted away. But before her very eyes, his body starts knitting back together and regenerating into Joaan.
March instantly takes to her accidental savior but soon gets frustrated when Joaan can't talk. All of a sudden Joaan stops walking, completely enraptured by a fruit tree -- a bittersweet call-back to the nameless boy's wishes to eat fruit in Episode 1. With March's help, Joaan practically gorges himself with the fruit. At first she has a hard time dealing with Joaan, who constantly swats at her hands to eat fruit, but she starts viewing him as a child -- which makes sense. Joaan may look like a human but he has neither the experiences nor knowledge of one. He is essentially a child.
This is what makes seeing March take care of Joaan so endearing. A child who nearly lost her life so young now gets the chance to live out her dream of being a mother. Thanks to her, Joaan is finally learning how to be a human. The "freedom" that Hayase promised her isn't through death -- it's through living.
To Your Eternity's first two episodes do feel a little jarring with the introduction of a new character and storyline that seemingly comes out of the blue -- but watching Joaan and March interact and navigate through their newfound relationship makes it worthwhile.