First Impressions of ‘The Promised Neverland,’ Season Two

Season Two of ‘The Promised Neverland’ has made some waves in the anime community, considering the many liberties and changes that the Hulu video series took compared to the original printed comic book manga.

Before+watching+Season+Two+of+%27The+Promised+Neverland%2C%27+I+highly+recommend+that+you+watch+the+first+season+in+order+to+gain+a+full+understanding+of+the+series.+Both+Seasons+One+and+Two+are+currently+available+for+streaming+on+Hulu+%28subscription+required%29.+

Saamiya Ahmed

Before watching Season Two of ‘The Promised Neverland,’ I highly recommend that you watch the first season in order to gain a full understanding of the series. Both Seasons One and Two are currently available for streaming on Hulu (subscription required).

The second season of ‘The Promised Neverland’ has been met with mixed reviews so far. At the time of the publication of this article, ten out of the projected twelve episodes have now been released, so there is ample content to discuss. For this article’s readers, please note that there will be spoilers for events up to and including episode five of the second season. 

One of the biggest questions at the end of season one was whether Norman would return to the series in some way since he was oftentimes the ‘brains of the operation’ and doubled as a peacemaker between Emma and Ray in difficult situations. This was finally answered at the end of episode five, when he was revealed to be undercover as a demon in one of their marketplaces. While also being disguised as demons, Emma and Ray accidentally exposed their human nature, prompting the subsequent chase of the mob of hungry demons. As they were cornered in a far off alleyway, the demons slowly parted until one remained: Norman!

While this may not have come as a shock to readers of the manga, it was a huge relief to those strictly watching the anime adaptation. This topic was also especially heated due to the producer’s choice to stray from the original source material. In an effort to condense the manga and keep the audience’s attention, the producers skipped over a huge arc in the manga that featured a lot of character development and world-building.

The Goldy Pond arc was essential to the story, and for some dedicated fans, it may mean discarding the anime altogether. In this arc, the kids meet a new ally and learn more about the farms and the world of demons in which they live. They grow and become more skilled and knowledgeable and fight in many high-stake battles in their pursuit of freedom. Unsurprisingly, this was one of the most popular arcs in the manga, which makes it all the more odd how the anime skips over it entirely. They removed every trace of this arc and instead do a major time skip from the moment the kids are forced to leave Minerva’s shelter shortly after finding it, instead choosing to jump to over a year later when they live in an abandoned demon temple.

While getting to see Norman reunited with Emma and Ray is heartwarming, it is still quite jarring due to the confusing pacing of the past few episodes. All of a sudden, a year passes and we, as viewers, have no idea what has or has not happened and how the trio has changed since they were first pursued by the Grace Field security.

Everything feels very rushed and ultimately leads to the reunion falling flat. Trisha Majumdar ’22 went as far to say that, “The part where they found out Norman was alive after all was underwhelming. In the original manga, they were confused and happy, but here, they seemed aloof.” In a strange way, this makes sense. For the viewers, Norman was only presumed dead a mere six episodes ago. Nothing led up to ‘the reveal,’ and most of the children’s journey was cut from the final product.

All of these changes so far have been detrimental to the overall story of ‘The Promised Neverland,’ when one takes the original manga into account. However, if the anime insists on being an alternate stand alone story, it may still have a chance to be successful. If the producers are already cutting out major elements of the manga, one can argue that they are taking this series in a completely different direction.

There are many people who have not read the original manga and are therefore thoroughly enjoying this new season. “I love it! It is definitely on the same level as Season One,” said Cristine An ’22. As a stand-alone series, the show could turn out to be pretty interesting, since the kids may not meet any former escapees from the other farms or face the poachers at Goldy Pond. 

One hint at this may be the writing on the walls of a hidden room in the shelter that read “POACHERS” in the manga (referring to the children-hunting demons of Goldy Pond) and “HELP” in the anime. This could mean that the final battle at Goldy Pond may look much different, or that the kids will have to fight a different, more mysterious and dangerous battle with the farm security and Isabella at the end of the series.

That was also a significant change from the manga. Isabella returned to retrieve the children and to receive freedom from life on the farm all together. This, as a whole, is much different from what happens to Isabella in the original manga, which begs the question, ‘How will Isabella react if she is able to confront Emma, Norman, and Ray (her biological son) again?’ 

We still have two episodes to go with Season Two, so who knows how this will all turn out in the end. When Season Two has fully concluded, we might wind up in the same place as the manga, or maybe we will end up with something entirely new, different, and even more unique.

To watch ‘The Promised Neverland’ (Seasons One and Two) on Hulu (subscription required), click HERE. There is a also free trailer that you can watch, using the link. 

“The part where they found out Norman was alive after all was underwhelming. In the manga they were confused and happy, but here they seemed aloof,” said Trisha Majumdar ’22.

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