It’s time to face the world beyond the wall—and find the promised hope in this Neverland.
Freedom is so beautiful…Yet so cruel. – Emma
Truer words have never been spoken, especially when the trend for anime this winter season seems to be escaping confining walls and discovering the world beyond them. And the Promised Neverland is looking to do just that.
After delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Season 2 is finally here. And to jog your memory in preparation for the new season, here is a recap of what went down from the previous season:
• Emma, Ray, and most of the children have escaped from the clutches of the Grace Field House and their mother, Isabella
• Isabella’s backstory is revealed along with the revelation that Ray is her biological son
• Norman was shipped off before he can escape with Emma, Ray, and the others...(cue ugly crying)
There will be minor spoilers for the episode ahead. So, if you want to join in the discussion, you better start watching!
The episode opens with a rocking new OP titled “Identity” performed by Kiro Akiyama. The urgency and maturity of the song already foreshadow the tonal shift for this season. Playtime is over now that the children have escaped Grace Field House. What awaits them then is the harsh and cruel reality ruled by evil powers. Can they survive?
Indeed, Emma and Ray, and the others spend the better part of the episode navigating their way through giant trees and strange shrubs, all the while trying to figure out how to survive in the wild with what little food and water they have.
The only clues they have to guide them in search of human civilization are a pen, left by Norman before he was shipped off, and reveals their current location. And a book on mythology containing hidden messages from William Minerva, their supposed human ally.
But they are not alone in the forest. Demons are also on the prowl to recover the escaped food. And along the way, they are helped by two mysterious, hooded beings. Who are they? Are they allies of William Minerva? And just as quickly as these turn of events were, the episode ends, and with more questions than answers.
Despite the cliffhanger ending, the series still wasted no time dallying with flashbacks and thrust us immediately from where the story left us.
Emma and Ray are in full-form, still sharp and strong. And the bond between them is closer than ever it seems since their life-or-death escape from the Grace Field House. Of course, the trifecta would not be complete without Norman, but they realize that they have to carry on with their mission in his memory.
The animation from CloverWorks is looking crisp, especially for the action sequences and the forest outlook. The sound design is also worth noting for its excellent use of panning during conversations and in the more thrilling scenes.
As far as manga comparisons go, the first episode did leave out some scenes in the beginning, such as the aftermath of the escape with Isabella and a deeper exploration of the forest. But maybe the next few episodes will see these scenes for the sake of plot and pacing.
Nonetheless, this was an intense and action-packed episode to prelude the second season. The ED ("Mahou" performed by Myuk), peppered with beautiful (and spoilery!) imagery, is a chill and encouraging cooldown from the high-energy of this first episode. And with only 11 episodes this time around, expectations are high as to where the series takes us and what the future holds for the Grace Field children and their mission to find hope in this Neverland.
Have you watched the first episode of The Promised Neverland Season 2? What did you think? Leave a comment down below and let's discuss! Don't forget to tag any spoilers.
Official Anime Website: The Promised Neverland
Official Anime Twitter: @yakuneba_staff