The first season of The Promised Neverland was lauded as an instant classic back when it came out in Winter 2019 – its blend of psychological horror and Death Note-style thriller elements made it a joy to watch week to week and the intriguing setting had viewers wondering what could possibly be lurking outside of Grace Field House. Now that the second season is well underway, though, some fans are wishing that the outside world had remained a mystery. Let’s examine The Promised Neverland Season 2 from the perspective of an anime-only viewer. Is this season really as terrible as manga readers say it is?
The Struggle is Gone and the Plot is Bananas
Season 1 used its 12-episode runtime to great effect, faithfully translating the manga’s first two arcs into a tense, well-paced story. The constant twists were sometimes hard to follow and the unrealistic ability of the main trio to think ten steps ahead of their opponents could get so ridiculous that it broke suspension of disbelief on occasion, but the very real consequences of seeking freedom balanced everything else out. The kids were only able to escape because of teamwork, luck, and making tough compromises like leaving the youngest children behind. Norman’s sacrifice was perhaps the most potent – if he did manage to survive being shipped out, he likely wouldn’t return for a long time.
Come Season 2, all of that careful story crafting has been thrown out the window. The plot still technically makes sense in that each event seems to logically follow from the last without noticeable gaps, but everything is just a bit too convenient and happens too quickly now. The Grace Field children almost immediately meet two friendly demons who teach them how to survive in the wild (convincing Emma that all demons are just like humans), they manage to find perfect shelters to protect them from their pursuers, and Norman comes back after only a few episodes with a hastily explained reasoning for why he’s now a gang leader with a villainous master plan to kill every demon in the world. Um... what!? We barely know anything about the outside world, so these grandiose treatises on human-demon relations make no sense. And since none of the children have been in any real danger since the season started, we have no confidence that the show will kill anyone off anymore. We’re completely lost!
It’s Pretty Hilarious If You Turn Your Brain Off
That said, this anime can still be entertaining if you don’t think about it too hard. If you’re the kind of person who enjoyed the 5D chess antics of the first season and just wants more over-the-top fun, you’ll get that. Emma’s all-loving shounen protagonist personality is in full force here, and watching her try to talk-no-jutsu her way out of what is obviously a very complex societal issue between humans and demons is hilarious. Norman’s turn from good-hearted pragmatist to megalomaniacal mastermind is also a riot, especially when he almost reenacts the “killing the younglings” scene from Revenge of the Sith and only realizes the error of his ways when the demon child he’s about to murder in cold blood happens to be named Emma. It almost feels like a parody instead of a real second season.
For people who count the first season of The Promised Neverland among their favorite anime of all time, this hack job of a sequel is the biggest insult anyone could’ve made to the series. Even if you have no idea what a Goldy Pond is or who Yugo is supposed to be, the blisteringly fast pacing and removal of any real consequences will irk you to no end. But if you’re just here for some “all according to keikaku”-style insanity, Season 2 delivers in a big way. We’re mostly in the former camp, but since we don’t have any attachment to the manga, we may just have to sit back and enjoy the train wreck that this series has become. Let’s just hope for a more faithful remake in the future!
What did you think of our analysis? How has your experience been with The Promised Neverland Season 2 so far? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!