WARNING: The following contains spoilers for To Your Eternity Episode 2, “A Rambunctious Girl,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.
The series premiere of To Your Eternity was emotionally wrought with a beautiful soundtrack and a powerful narrative focused on a boy whose name we will never know. Episode 2 takes on a decidedly different shift with new characters, but what's also different about this episode is how unexpectedly funny it is -- especially given its context.
The humor in Episode 2 is offset by uneasiness once viewers come to grips with what they're watching: a child about to be sacrificed to a mysterious being, with Joaan learning how to be a human through dying and coming back to life. It's good that some of the darker moments are interspersed with lighter ones but it begs the question -- are we supposed to laugh?
Episode 2's Opening Scene
At the end of Episode 1, Joaan prepares to go off and see the world as the nameless boy wished. The ending is set to an epic OST, leading to expectations that Episode 2 would get off to some grandiose start -- but this is not the case. Joaan's creator, who acts as the omniscient narrator, reveals that Joaan has died six times from varying causes. Six times. That's not something you'd expect to hear, especially right after Episode 1's conclusion.
Joaan, currently a wolf in a human's body, has no notion of being a human. He doesn't understand that he has to eat, hydrate, and find a place to use the toilet. All of Joaan's six demises flash across the screen in quick succession, with one time looking like he gets crushed to death.
When Joaan revives for the sixth time, the same grandiose orchestral music plays in the background, lulling us into thinking now he won't die and will set off on his epic journey -- only for him to be eaten by a bear. Upon realizing you just saw someone die and come back to life in the span of two minutes, it's almost disturbingly funny. Except, it's sad to watch because Joaan has no idea how to be a human. And while the narrator says "Pain promotes growth. No death is wasted," it has to suck to be in this seemingly never-ending cycle of death. That is until Joaan meets March.
An Ominous First Meeting
March's escape from being sacrificed is exciting. She tumbles down a hill, lands in a swamp, then finds something even more terrifying than getting eaten by a great spirit: a floating eyeball connected to a rotting corpse. March can only watch in stunned silence as the dead body rises up and knits itself back together. While this scares off her pursuers, March barely bats an eye.
The one time she does get scared is after Joaan comes back to life. Her reaction is hilarious, and the fact that she doesn't really question who Joaan is -- even though she'd just touched an eyeball and watched this strange boy "go squiggly" -- is downright funny. With barely a second thought, March just follows after Joaan on the child-like assumption that since he saved her, he can't be a bad guy.
A Motherly Relationship
March quickly realizes that Joaan isn't like anyone else she's met. The first time he eats fruit, he wolfs it down, eating it from the ground. March valiantly tries to teach Joaan how to eat properly using his hands, but he just slaps the food to the ground so he can eat it from there. Poor March just wants to eat some fruit but Joaan, who's very much a wolf in a boy's body, doesn't understand and swats fruit after fruit from her hands, frustrating her to the point of tears. She starts lobbing the fruit at his head in frustration, eventually turning it into a game of "fetch."
The humor is cut short when March has a nightmare and realizes her freedom is short-lived. She knows someone else will die in her place, be it her friend or her baby sister, and realizes she has no choice but to return home.
In To Your Eternity's premiere, the nameless boy said he knows the outside world has both bad and good things. Joaan has experienced the bad in not knowing how to take care of himself, getting hurt and dying over and over again. But March is the first person who's taught him that being human isn't just full of pain -- it can be fun too.