A (human) index that likes to code
Also drinks way too much coffee
Published Apr 18, 2021
Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season (約束のネバーランド)
Argh, what a way to start my Winter 2021 binge watching session! The Promised Neverland Season 1 was one of my favourite anime of all time - so, I was looking forward to seeing what Season 2 had in store for us, especially after seeing the successful grand escape.
Promised Neverland Kids seeing sunlight | Source: Tumblr
Season 2 was a disaster. From the escaping kids having nothing short of pure plot armor, to the sudden appearance and world dynamics introduced by the demons, to how rushed the whole season seemed to be, I’m quite sure many would agree that this dumpster fire of a season brings shame to the franchise’s name. As a anime-only consumer of The Promised Neverland, I have no knowledge of the events that transpired within the manga, although I am aware that the anime skips many important world-building elements that made Season 1 a masterpiece.
To respect the original material, I will only talk about how the story was portrayed in the anime.
In Season 1, demons were these mysterious beings that ate humans - in fact, I can’t remember any scenes that outright illustrated a demon. To me, the mystery contributes to the engagement of the story, and enhances the meaning behind the actions taken by the escapees: humans are, after all, generally afraid of both death and the unknown, which causes the audience to be curious about how the characters approach this fear, retaining engagement. However, in Season 2, the first scene opens with a demon chasing the children, which they somehow escape, outright removing the mystery element from the story.
From that point on, the series needed an important distinguishing factor that would serve as the overarching goal for the main characters. In Season 1, this was to escape from the human farms; in Season 2, this was to reach the human world promised by William Minerva. The main essence of the series was completely changed the moment this distinguishing factor changed - I felt like I was watching a completely different anime.
Furthermore, there were many dilemmas faced by Emma that was solved way too quickly without proper exploration; for instance, to take the live of another living being for the sake of survival, or to be on friendly terms with demons that have terrorized humans for thousands of years, or to convince Norman (a super-highly-very intelligent kid) that his master-plan is a mistake.
What is more, the sorry excuse of a power-point slideshow at the end of Season 2 made the story highly discontinuous - remember, Season 2’s overarching goal is to reach the human world. The season bit off more than it could chew by compressing Emma’s exploits to unite both worlds into a less than 10 minute power-point presentation, and then trying to bury its misdoings to the series by showing an “emotional” reunion between Emma and Phil, which was honestly not very touching given that we literally saw them part in the same episode.
Putting aside the story, The Promised Neverland has great audiovisuals. Here, have a listen to one of the soundtracks that played in the anime:
Evil-blooded Girl OST | Source: YouTube
The visuals are as good as that in Season 1, which is a nice thing to see given how the substance was a dumpster fire.
Same as Season 1, but everyone gains plot armor, Norman gains some form of political power, and Ray becomes a useful tool instead of possessing independent thinking. In a nutshell, the characters aren’t consistent to what was observed in Season 1.
This could have been made better by introducing conflict between Emma and Ray; after all, they are both supposed to be of equal standing in Season 2. However, Season 2 turned out more to be Emma’s season than a “Promised Neverland” season. Very bland, very predictable, very disappointing!
Bad season. I hoped to see a great continuation to a series I loved so much, but alas, good times don’t last. You would be better off watching the other anime of Winter 2021.