The second season of The Promised Neverland has proven to be controversial among anime fans. Its decision to abandon the manga and become anime-original seemed logical at first, after the ending of the manga received widespread criticism. However, the omission of entire story arcs and even key characters is not exactly what viewers wanted either.
To provide a brief overview of the plot so far, the story revolves around a group of children who escaped from the farm which they were brought up on. I’ll start off by saying that I really enjoyed Season 1. It received positive reviews across the internet, therefore the second season had a lot of hype surrounding it prior to its release.
Why not make it a longer season, with more episodes?
It’s understandable that in only 11 episodes they were unable to fully execute each and every plotline from the manga. They had to pick and choose which sections to animate in order to create a cohesive season. However, the question then becomes – why not make it a longer season, with more episodes? Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to this.
The first issue with the season was the pacing. There is a moment early on in the season where an episode ends on a cliff-hanger: a tense, high-action chase scene. The expectation is obviously for the next episode to pick up mid-chase. However, instead, the next episode started after a time-skip of an entire year, and there was no mention of how they managed to escape the chase AT ALL.
There is also an episode that is set in only one room, consisting entirely of conversation between characters, with no action scenes. Sure, you learn a lot of important information from the past, which is essential to the understanding of the plot, but it would have been more entertaining and engaging if these flashbacks had been animated, so that we could actually visualise them.
They also made the strange decision to only introduce the main villain of the season right towards the end. This results in him not actually seeming that evil, as we barely know anything about him, and his role in the plot ends up being very anticlimactic. He doesn’t even try to stop the protagonists from achieving the ending which we all knew was coming.
The villain from Season 1 also makes a reappearance during Season 2, and whilst it is nice to see a familiar face, she doesn’t end up impacting the plot much either. At the end of Season 1, we were provided with hints of the direction in which her character will develop, and it’s at least nice to have this link between the two seasons.
She isn’t the only character to make a surprise return – a character presumed dead in Season 1 is in fact… alive! Even though I knew that this character would be returning at some point during the season (due to the fact that I was unable to avoid circulating internet spoilers) I still couldn’t quite believe it when this character appeared on my screen, and their return was an undeniable highlight of the season for me.
It felt rushed, and it took away the emotional build-up that should be experienced
With the exception of moments like these, I think the overall lack of impact that Season 2 has is a result of the decision to cut the plot of the manga down to the bare minimum. It felt rushed, and it took away the emotional build-up that should be experienced when the much-loved protagonists, whose journey you have spent two seasons following, encounter a figure who is supposedly their most dangerous enemy.
I can’t help but agree and sympathise with the criticisms that the season has received; it definitely has its flaws. However, I must admit that I still enjoyed the show. Despite feeling like the plot hadn’t been executed as well as it could have (and should have) been, I was still invested in finishing the season, and I still found myself looking forward to the next episode to see how the story developed. Ultimately, I still cared about what happened to the characters, and it was rewarding to see the story come full circle.
Featured image courtesy of Glenn Carstens-Peters via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @funimation via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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