Any sturdy adaptation is certain to make polarizing adjustments. Even variations considered trustworthy, like Hunter X Hunter and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, nonetheless tweaked story beats every so often. The first 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 totally. If it pulls it off, we might have a reverse Fullmetal Alchemist in our palms, a present that switches gears from a trustworthy adaptation to a profitable unique story that also captures the intention of the supply materials in a satisfying method.
[Ed. be aware: This story comprises spoilers via the newest episode of The Promised Neverland season 2.]
Season 2 picks up shortly after the top of the primary, with our group of courageous younger youngsters having escaped the farm they lived on their total lives pondering it was an orphanage. For the primary two episodes, The Promised Neverland appeared 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 3 makes a sequence of elementary adjustments to the story, eradicating the fan-favorite character often 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 develop into a Mama. But followers took discover of how the present appeared to actively play with readers’ earlier information of the story earlier than altering it. In the third episode, one of many youngsters begins enjoying a piano contained in the bunker, and the digicam lingers on for an prolonged sequence, increase stress with the belief that the tune will appeal to an enemy — but it surely winds up opening a secret compartment within the wall. In the manga, this compartment is proven to the youngsters by the mysterious “Mister,” who reveals an enormous 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 contains this reveal, however reasonably than racks stuffed with weapons, it’s an empty room that the youngsters abandon simply as rapidly as they uncover it. The creators of The Promised Neverland make one factor clear: all bets are off.
Episode 4 doubles down on this thought, rearranging occasions in order that the primary scene within the episode provides the youngsters a decision to the thriller of their benefactor, and a set of coordinates that might 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 rapidly 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 counsel the present seemingly skipped one of many extra well-liked story arcs, “Goldy Pond,” or at the least modified sufficient of what comes earlier than it that, even when the arc is tailored, it might be considerably totally different. But what’s lacking from the controversy is the concept that this wouldn’t essentially harm the anime model of the story. On the opposite, it provides it an opportunity to be even higher.
Up till this level, the present’s largest adjustments associated to the difficult lore of the latter half of the manga, which is understood to be overwhelming, rushed, and stuffed with plot holes. The manga by no means achieves the stress or artistic heights of the primary arc of the story (instructed within the first season), buying and selling the preliminary survival horror tone for Just Another Battle Shōnen story. This has led to assumptions that the present will finish after this second wave of episodes, a rumor fueled by the widely reported involvement of the manga’s creator with this season.
By taking away the Goldy Pond arc and the extra “out there” 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 stress and horror of the primary season. Rather than following a solid of 50, the present is sticking to simply 15 youngsters. Rather than arming the youngsters with weapons and having them begin a revolution in opposition to a whole world of demons, the anime to date comprises the story to a different thrilling cat-and-mouse recreation, with Isabella as the primary villain.
The fifth episode places the whole strategy in query, bringing one of many worst components of the manga on the worst potential time: the time bounce. So 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. Instead, the episode jumps ahead in time an entire 12 months, breaking the pacing of the earlier episodes, in addition to the stress. Now the youngsters are grown up, they’ve been roaming the demon land, and are actually so well-prepared they will simply mix in amongst the gang in a demon village. Did Isabella not do something for an entire 12 months? Weren’t extra troopers despatched to search out the youngsters? If the present goes anime-only and telling an unique 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 personal story?
This episode continues the pattern 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 function within the manga’s story, however right here it’s simply an deserted shelter. There is 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. Yet, they nonetheless appear to be following the primary story factors from the manga, solely a lot, a lot, earlier. Near the start, we hear two demons discuss farms being attacked, and their cattle (youngsters) getting stolen. Then, the episode ends with the surprising return of Norman, one of many major 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 pondering 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. Here, we’ve spent much less time with out Norman than we did with him. The pay-off isn’t that massive. His inclusion within the anime’s model of the story provides technique to the concept that possibly The Promised Neverland isn’t planning on telling its personal story a la Fullmetal Alchemist, however reasonably burn via the manga chapters with the intention to be finished with the story as quickly as humanly potential — nonetheless telling sufficient of the story that it resembles the unique, however taking method no matter made it impactful within the first place. This brings again the way in which the final season of Game 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. Right now, the present has the chance to construct up its personal story freed from restraints from the supply materials, an opportunity to right the errors of the manga and forge a brand new promise with the viewers. There’s additionally the prospect to deal with the story as an obligation by speeding to get to the top and skipping the whole lot that makes the story value telling. While the anime is likely to be pulling a reverse Fullmetal Alchemist, the gamble feels as massive as Game of Thrones.