What Happened To The Promised Neverland: Season 2?


Promotional image created by Clover Works, for Clover Works

Eleanor Shaw

After two years of anticipation, the second season of the psychological horror anime, The Promised Neverland, was announced to begin airing on January 8, 2021, after being postponed from October due to COVID-19. Airing on Fuji TV in Japan and being made available on streaming services such as Crunchyroll and Hulu, all episodes would be made available to the public as they were released. With an episode scheduled to release each Thursday, fans anxiously awaited the series’s triumphant return. However, after the first few episodes had become public, there was a clear disturbance in the fan base.

The first season was full of thrilling twists and turns, following three beloved protagonists, Emma, Norman, and Ray, as they fought to survive the horrors of the world they once accepted as warm and welcoming. Beginning with the three protagonists discovering that the orphanage that they had lived their entire lives in is a farm, the children work to escape with their peers. Each episode had the audience sitting on the edge of their seats as they hope that the children of Grace Field House would successfully escape. With beautiful animation, slow and fulfilling pacing, and believable character development, a second season was certain to be released.

Based on the manga of the same name, The Promised Neverland’s second season was set up for success. Since the manga had been released in the best-selling Shounen Jump magazine, the anime already had a gold mine of material to work with. With successful merchandise and manga sales alongside a popular first season, there was no shadow of a doubt that the second season wouldn’t perform fantastically. However, once the show’s animation studio, Clover Works, had begun to plan out this season, dramatic alterations were made to the story. With an estimated third of the source material cut out, the second season became more of an amalgamation of plot points introduced in the latter third of the manga.

With nearly the entire middle section of the manga’s plot having been extracted from the anime, there would have been a noticeable and jarring shift in the transition between the story arcs introduced in the two seasons. To iron out the wrinkles this dramatic change had presented, the anime has integrated a slew of anime-only content. Despite these efforts, the pacing has severely suffered. There is an obvious drop in quality of pacing, character development, and world-building from the first season (largely since the middle section of the original plotline is missing). In an article published by the online fan publishment, Den of Geek, one fan of the series went on to say “The most concerning aspect of the rushed pacing of Season 2 is that it seems to imply that The Promised Neverland will end after its second season, as we are getting very close to the manga’s plot conclusion, which wrapped up after 20 volumes.” As of this moment, it seems as if Clover Works is pushing to complete The Promised Neverland.

Unsurprisingly, these changes have upset the majority of fans. An instance of this is through the removal of the Goldy Pond arc, in which the titular main characters find themselves subjected to being hunted by rich, high-class demons for the sake of sport (an exceedingly similar plot device as seen in the infamous short story, The Most Dangerous Game). During this storyline, several fan-favorite characters were introduced alongside the development of the characters Emma and Ray as they mature into the brutal world they find themselves in. While this arc was, fairly inconsequential to the story as a whole, seeing such a beloved plot-point being cut altogether alongside several other changes has left fans of the manga speechless and disappointed.

With factors such as plot points found in the manga being entirely left out of their anime adaptation and the failure to introduce well-loved characters, much of The Promised Neverland’s fanbase is calling for action. Many fans of both the manga and anime were enraged by such an adaptation of the manga. As previously stated, the manga was published in the magazine Shonen Jump, arguably one of the most popular and respected manga publications–if not the most. Such changes made to the anime adaptations to Shonen Jump’s manga are few and far between, causing confusion and frustration concerning such changes found in The Promised Neverland. Outside of that, there is the aforementioned drop in quality between the first and second seasons.

Casual viewers of the anime who have not read the manga may find themselves disappointed in the second season as well. In one article written concerning The Promised Neverland published by another fan website, Comic Book, the author states, “The Promised Neverland shouldn’t slow down now, bring the rushed story to a rushed close in season 2, and end this failed experiment…The world-building and character evolution that sustained the series beyond the initial mystery and reveals has all been cut out.” As seen in the quote, several fans argue that the anime should be canceled after the close of the second season. With the season’s disappointing run with only eleven episodes being released (eight having been released at the time that this was written), there is still the hope that the series will stick its final landing, leaving fans of the anime and manga satisfied.

There is still time for the season to end with a bang, however, there is no denying that the second season has damaged the show’s ability to reach its fullest potential.