Any sturdy adaptation is certain to make polarizing adjustments. Even variations considered devoted, like Hunter X Hunter and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, nonetheless tweaked story beats now and again. The primary season of the favored horror anime The Promised Neverland did this too, however season 2 is making extreme sufficient adjustments to be known as one thing else completely. If it pulls it off, we could have a reverse Fullmetal Alchemist in our arms, a present that switches gears from a devoted adaptation to a profitable authentic story that also captures the intention of the supply materials in a satisfying manner.
[Ed. notice: This story accommodates spoilers by means of the newest episode of The Promised Neverland season 2.]
Season 2 picks up shortly after the tip of the primary, with our group of courageous younger children having escaped the farm they lived on their complete lives considering it was an orphanage. For the primary two episodes, The Promised Neverland gave the impression to be doing a superb job of adapting the important components of the manga written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu, whereas quickening the tempo. Then episode three makes a sequence of basic adjustments to the story, eradicating the fan-favorite character generally known as “Mister,” who serves as a catalyst for main story arcs.
Now, including and even rearranging characters and occasions isn’t essentially a nasty factor, like how the primary season expanded the backstory of Isabella and her time getting ready to change into a Mama. However followers took discover of how the present appeared to actively play with readers’ earlier data of the story earlier than altering it. Within the third episode, one of many children begins taking part in a piano contained in the bunker, and the digital camera lingers on for an prolonged sequence, increase stress with the idea that the tune will appeal to an enemy — however it winds up opening a secret compartment within the wall. Within the manga, this compartment is proven to the youngsters by the mysterious “Mister,” who reveals a giant room stuffed with firearms left behind so the youngsters may defend themselves in opposition to the hordes of kid-devouring demons who rule this a part of the world. The anime nonetheless consists of this reveal, however reasonably than racks stuffed with weapons, it’s an empty room that the youngsters abandon simply as shortly as they uncover it. The creators of The Promised Neverland make one factor clear: all bets are off.
Episode four doubles down on this thought, rearranging occasions in order that the primary scene within the episode offers the youngsters a decision to the thriller of their benefactor, and a set of coordinates that would imply a a lot faster technique to freedom than within the supply materials. It additionally introduces the concept of armed human troopers despatched to seize or kill the youngsters a lot earlier, and shortly tosses that concept apart. As if that wasn’t sufficient plot and world-building, the episode ends with the shock return of Isabella, the youngsters’ caretaker and really first villain in a reveal staged a lot, a lot sooner than within the supply materials.
The selections have induced an uproar in sure manga circles. Fan complaints recommend the present seemingly skipped one of many extra common story arcs, “Goldy Pond,” or at the very least modified sufficient of what comes earlier than it that, even when the arc is tailored, it will be considerably totally different. However what’s lacking from the talk is the concept this wouldn’t essentially damage the anime model of the story. Quite the opposite, it offers it an opportunity to be even higher.
Up till this level, the present’s greatest adjustments associated to the difficult lore of the latter half of the manga, which is thought to be overwhelming, rushed, and stuffed with plot holes. The manga by no means achieves the strain or inventive heights of the primary arc of the story (advised within the first season), buying and selling the preliminary survival horror tone for Simply One other Battle Shōnen story. This has led to assumptions that the present will finish after this second wave of episodes, a rumor fueled by the broadly reported involvement of the manga’s creator with this season.
By taking out the Goldy Pond arc and the extra “on the market” lore of the story, in addition to bringing Isabella again, The Promised Neverland season 2 feels prefer it’s course-correcting the manga to recapture the strain and horror of the primary season. Quite than following a solid of 50, the present is sticking to only 15 children. Quite than arming the youngsters with weapons and having them begin a revolution in opposition to a whole world of demons, the anime up to now accommodates the story to a different thrilling cat-and-mouse sport, with Isabella as the principle villain.
The fifth episode places your entire strategy in query, bringing one of many worst components of the manga on the worst doable time: the time soar. Thus far, each episode of the season has ended on a powerful cliffhanger, just for the subsequent episode to fully disregard any stress from that reveal. A morbid room with “HELP” written on the wall time and again, in addition to the names of unseen kids? Not introduced up once more. The invasion of the bunker by armed people? Nope. The return of Isabella? Nada. As a substitute, the episode jumps ahead in time an entire yr, breaking the pacing of the earlier episodes, in addition to the strain. Now the youngsters are grown up, they’ve been roaming the demon land, and are actually so well-prepared they’ll simply mix in amongst the gang in a demon village. Did Isabella not do something for an entire yr? Weren’t extra troopers despatched to search out the youngsters? If the present goes anime-only and telling an authentic story, why skip all the way in which to part of the manga we now have no connection to, reasonably than pay-off the twists you launched in your individual story?
This episode continues the development of merely hinting at plot factors or lore from the manga, whereas skipping them. The youngsters are staying at a temple that performs a pivotal position within the manga’s story, however right here it’s simply an deserted shelter. There’s point out of one thing known as “evil-blood” that turns into necessary within the world-building of the manga, however is used as a throwaway line within the anime. But, they nonetheless appear to be following the principle story factors from the manga, solely a lot, a lot, earlier. Close to the start, we hear two demons speak about farms being attacked, and their cattle (children) getting stolen. Then, the episode ends with the stunning return of Norman, one of many most important characters who supposedly died again in season 1.
Norman’s return within the manga is large as a result of we’ve spent far more time considering he’s useless than attending to know him. When he returns, it’s an emotional scene that kicks-off the third act of the story. Right here, we’ve spent much less time with out Norman than we did with him. The pay-off isn’t that huge. His inclusion within the anime’s model of the story offers technique to the concept perhaps The Promised Neverland isn’t planning on telling its personal story a la Fullmetal Alchemist, however reasonably burn by means of the manga chapters to be able to be accomplished with the story as quickly as humanly doable — nonetheless telling sufficient of the story that it resembles the unique, however taking manner no matter made it impactful within the first place. This brings again the way in which the final season of Sport of Thrones allegedly reached the identical ending because the books, whereas treating its story as only a sequence of bullet factors to verify off, whereas skipping all of the build-up and pay-off.
The Promised Neverland is at a crossroads. There are only some extra episodes to go earlier than the season (sequence?) ends. Proper now, the present has the chance to construct up its personal story freed from restraints from the supply materials, an opportunity to appropriate the errors of the manga and forge a brand new promise with the viewers. There’s additionally the possibility to deal with the story as an obligation by speeding to get to the tip and skipping every part that makes the story price telling. Whereas the anime is perhaps pulling a reverse Fullmetal Alchemist, the gamble feels as huge as Sport of Thrones.