Oof, where to begin?
Please note — there are some preliminary spoilers for some character motivations, but no detailed plot reveals.
Why don’t we start with the reason why you might be curious: The Promised Neverland’s first season is a well-celebrated and enjoyed show. Its fun premise, overarching horror themes, and fantastic pacing and strong art presentation won several fans that, at its conclusion, looked forward to enjoying more of its world in a hotly anticipated season 2.
Looking for an anime to watch the post-call? Check out our The Promised Neverland Season 2 Anime Review to see if this is worth your valuable rest time.
Familiar friends and faces.
The show follows a group of effectively farm-bred human children, who have been selected to be delicacies for the demon overlords that run their world. Initially blissfully unaware, Emma, Ray, and Norman are the top of their class, and when they find out their life’s purpose, they plot an escape plan that seems foiled at every turn. Not by their demon masters, however – but rather, by their human caregiver, affectionately known as “Mother”, which serves to underpin the classic theme of humans perhaps being the most devilish creature of them all.
Those who didn’t follow the manga or the series eventual drawn finale might not have been aware that the plot, generally speaking, did not do well in carrying through to its final conclusion. Similar to other promising manga and anime projects, TPN ultimately suffered from having shlocky answers to its larger questions, and ends on a soft and rather mushy point. Regardless, it still sold well throughout its run on the basis of some strong arcs that it had sprinkled throughout its rush to its ending.
Rushing to the Human World – and its ending – at breakneck pace.
Season 2 is a studio attempting to get to the ending and fore-go any attempt to either create a new ending, or re-presentation of its source material, in any meaningful light.
The first several episodes work as a fun re-introduction to the plight of our heroes. Emma and Ray are on the run, with some of their companions in tow, and their first mission is to find a safe haven from which they can secure safe passage to the human world while keeping an eye on some day saving their comrades from the Grace Field House. They meet Mujika and Sonju, two errant demons who are branded as heretics by the Powers that Be, as the former is the host of “evil blood” that can stop demons from degenerating. You see, that’s the whole reason why humans are bred and raised as food — while it’s for supreme flavour (in the case of the heroic trio), commoners depend on human meat to maintain their intelligence and semblance of being . The evil blood can undo that — except, the demon royalty enjoy their current place of power and see it as the spark to end their current reign and control.
A brittle and dry biscuit.
It quickly falls apart. While the stakes are appropriately high and characters are shown to have grey motivations – Sonju, for example, initially only saves the children so that they can hopefully grow old enough to procreate and so he can “morally” eat their children (a loophole in his creed and pact with Mujika) – large hints and foreshadowing are done away with; popular arcs from the manga are not recreated in the slightest; and the pace slows down glacially as the anime attempts to reach the same ending as the manga.
To the point that major characters and story points are included in a 30 second “slide show” presentation in the very last episode to wrap up the major remaining story beats. Yes, you read that correctly.
Never mind that character motivations and development are haphazardly completed. And this isn’t mean to be a knock against the anime for being an anime — good shows have to adapt and reduce material into a denser form all the time — but rather, simply just the fact that characters are caricatures to enable plot conveniences to work for the show to end on time.
The art quality has also taken a hit from the stellar first season’s animation. While the music is still phenomenal, in the backdrop of all of this disappointment, it’s definitely a heartbreaking conclusion to what was a stellar and phenomenal beginning.
If I give you any advice: either watch season 1, let it end, and enjoy what could be; or read the manga, though be forewarned that it, too, has some disappointing (but at least completed) closure.
Overall Score: 3/10
You can watch The Promised Neverland Season 2 right now, with subtitles, at the two following major streaming sites: