“The Promised Neverland” has long since been a fan favorite in the manga and anime world. Since its release as a manga in 2016, it has since been praised for being such a good shonen jump manga, yet not being an “action superhero” story like other shonen jumps like “My Hero Academia.” The animated series has a plethora of story building elements, such as a fantastic voice crew, and using “camera angles” to build a narrative. After the first season was put onto Netflix, the series only got more and more traction, and now manga readers and anime watchers alike are all excited to see the unfoldings of season 2, which began releasing episodes on January 6, that is until episode five aired.
The original story of “The Promised Neverland” was that of a group of children all living together at an orphanage with their loving “mother” waiting for adoption by the age of 12. The story’s main protagonist, Emma age 11, soon discovers with her two close friends, Norman and Ray also aged 11, that the kids who were “adopted” were actually fed to demons, and the orphanage was actually a farm. The first season and chapters of the manga were focused on the kids developing their escape plan, with season one ending with 15 of the older children’s successful escape, and the first couple of episodes of season two held mostly true to its manga counterpart, but upon the release of episode three, fans who had read the manga knew this story was going to be different.
Halfway through the third episode, it is revealed that a crucial character to a pretty important arc, not to mention a fan favorite, Yuugo, has been written out of the story. It is pretty common for animes to sometimes stray from their manga counterparts, however fans argue that this was not the thing to cut. There are references to Yuugo that were in the manga, like the tea and snacks on the table of the bunker, or his siblings' names on the wall, but other than that Yuugo has vanished, along with the Goldy Ponds arc. With Goldy Ponds’ erasal, this also called for the return of Norman to come far too early, at the end of episode five.
Fans believe this is an attempt on the studio’s behalf to shorten the story and end the anime early, but they argue that if they wanted to do this they could have kept the Goldy Ponds arc included, and have the elevator to the human world work. With Goldy Ponds’ erasal, fans are worried that the show is progressing too quickly and important plot elements lose their impact due to not enough time passing. It also seems to lose the intricate storytelling ability in the editing as it seems like the show’s creators are more focused with re-writing the story rather than enhancing the viewing experience found in the manga, as while the animation is still beautiful in several scenes, there isn’t much meaning behind the “camera shots” anymore.
Because of this “downgrade” in production quality as well as storytelling on the studio’s part, yet a promising story and excellent history, “The Promised Neverland” has earned itself three out of five stars. The first season is available to watch in English and Japanese dub on Netflix, Funimation, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and HBO max, whereas the second season can be found in Japanese dub on Funimation and Crunchyroll.