In line with our approach to the entirety of season one, Beneath the Tangles will be offering dual first impression posts for The Promised Neverland, one for viewers who are new to the series and one for those who have read the manga. This post is for manga readers and may include spoilers for the entire series. Spoilers are allowed in the comments, too. If you want to avoid them, we recommend you read the posts by TWWK (S1) and Gaheret(S2), which are spoiler-free and aimed at beginners to the series.
So… it’s been two years now, huh?
It was a longer wait than usual because of COVID, but we’ve now finally made it to Season two! You might be wondering how many chapters this season’s first episode covered, and the answer to that is nine! We’ll talk about the events of Chapters 38 to the first part of 46 and check out how the anime portrays them. Now, I’ve mentioned this back when episode 2 of season 1 came out, but it’s already been established that the mangaka Kaiu Shirai doesn’t mind slight canon divergences on small details when other media forms try to adapt the story (which means this also applies to the Japanese live-action film, and possibly Amazon Studios’ upcoming Western live action series). So expect the usual internal monologues and small character interactions to be cut out or adapted in a different way. However, for this season at least, Shirai is also helping Cloverworks’ staff with series composition, with the confirmation of anime-original scenes that they have personally approved of beforehand. With the other confirmation that this season will have 11 episodes overall, us manga readers will also be pretty much in the same boat as the anime-only watchers in how future episodes will show upcoming events.
Now, with all that said, let’s move on with the show.
We start the episode off in media res with the Grace Field escapees being chased off by a wild demon in the forest at night. For the sake of avoiding confusion, I’ll go by the events as they went in the manga, and get to the scene in more detail once I reach that point later on. The next scene then goes from earlier in the day, when they’ve already gone a fair distance off from GF. The anime does a great job at portraying at how vast and alien the forest is throughout the episode, especially with the various flora and fauna that show up every so often. The kids take a break to eat, and Ray makes his vow to Emma, which I’ve already discussed in great detail in a more recent article. What was interesting here was instead of just focusing on Emma alone, we watch through Ray’s POV observing as she’s on standby alone, subtly foreshadowing her getting sick from her ear wound’s infection before he comes to talk to her.
Now, it’s at this point where the anime starts to diverge because it skips Chapters 39 and 40 entirely, as the kids get sucked underground by the Alva Pinera tree and try to find a way back to the surface thanks to one of the books they brought along with them. The tree does get briefly mentioned during the demon chase later on, and The Adventures of Ugo book in a bit more detail when the water anemones are discovered.
The pen Krone left the kids last season is finally brought up, and it’s great to see more involvement from the other kids this time as they figure out how the coordinates and other mythology book help in finding where William Minerva might be. Emma also appears to be more well-versed in how the pen works compared here to the manga, as she needed more of Ray’s help in accessing figuring out how to access its other uses. The kids also muse on missing Norman, who at this point of the manga, is presumed to be dead. This is probably to replace the flashbacks of Norman figuring out how the pen works, but it also helps that his shipment would still be a raw wound to them, especially with the younger ones.
Night falls on the next scene, and this is around the time the demon chase from the first few minutes come into play. Unlike the sudden way it came about in the manga, there’s a long moment of impending dread among the children, similar to that of prey animals on the lookout from predators. The CGI used on the wild demon works to its advantage in portraying just how horrifying it looks and acts towards the kids. The kids split off to confuse it long enough to buy time, and Ray decides to use himself to lure it to the trap of the Alva Pinera tree Emma almost walked into just then. He does this while he lets Emma and Jemima regroup with the others to safety. However, the wild demon suddenly gets killed by the pursuers from Grace Field before it falls underground. Ray then baits the pursuers to chase him further down but not before leaving a message for the others in case. Exhaustion, however, catches up to him along with the pursuers, leaving him defenseless before a hooded figure on a horse rescues him. Meanwhile, Emma faints from her infection as she tries to head back for Ray. As the kids tend to her, another hooded, more feminine, figure tries to lead them to apparent help.
Ray regains consciousness in the next scene, this time inside what looks to be a giant cave. He reunites with Emma, who’s in better condition than when we last saw her. As they look around, the hooded girl appears again to check on them and lead them to the others. Ray, however, realizes what she actually is and it ends with him asking why demons were saving the kids just as the other hooded figure appears behind Emma.
When it comes to adaptations, your mileage may vary individually depending how much and how accurately you want everything to be show. For me personally, I thought Cloverworks did a great job in streamlining the chapters as best as they could while make it exciting enough for the viewers. I can only hope the quality remains the same for the remaining 10 episodes, but we’ll just have to wait and see for that.
It has to be said, the new OP and ED, wonderful songs that they are, spoil A LOT about future events, especially with the OP “Identity“. From certain characters and thematic points, and even more subtly, the fact that a timeskip will occur at some point. I’ve seen a lot of excited and concern from other manga readers, especially since no one on our end can accurately pinpoint where this season will end on. There also appears to be a lot of empty space left in between characters in certain scenes of the OP, which suggest the possibility of the credits subtly evolving to add in the new characters over time. As for the ED “Mahou“, the animation reminds me of the music videos I watched when I tried to research more on the song composer, Eve. There’s also hints that suggest the scenes containing Sonju and Mujika occurring post-canon, as it appears the buildings in disrepair and covered in foliage are the farms after the cattle children get transported to the human world. One of the animators who worked on the ED did confirm there would be a slight change by Episode 3, so there’s one more thing to look out for in the near future.
- You might be wondering why this episode didn’t show Isabella getting reprimanded by the GF higher ups for the escape as the first scene. My guess is that, just like how the anime didn’t show her number ID until the end of the first season, her coming back as the new Grandma will make it an even bigger shock to the anime-only fans by the hypothetical 3rd season.
- Personal nitpick: I wish they still had Ray say this before his vow
- In both the manga and anime, a younger child trips and is picked up by an older one during the demon chase, but who it is differs in each medium. For the manga, it’s Rossi and Don, while in the anime, it’s Jemima and Emma (which is why Jemima is around when Ray decides to lure the wild demon away towards him)
- Given what we later know of how demons gain certain traits from eating certain species other than human, there’s a lot of possible classism we can infer with how the GF pursuers sometimes interacted with each other.
- This was another bunch of panels I wish showed up somehow in the anime
- I really like how Ray smiles more now, and warmly as well
- This post gets into more detail with it better, but the scene where Mujika shows herself to Emma and Ray is also slightly different, both in how Mujika acts and how Ray physically responds to her.
- This may or may not happen in some form in the next episode, but it would be nice if Emma comparing Mujika to Isabella happens at some point.
- If your eyes darted quickly towards these two brief Mujika scenes, you know.
- This flew by so quickly I couldn’t catch it the first couple of times, but notice how there’s no ID number on Emma’s neck here?
- Felt kinda dumb realizing it now, but all the forest fauna being all somewhat aquatic and some even bioluminescent is because we find out later on that the demon world is being separated from the human world supernaturally underwater.
- The Mechanical Engineering book shows up again in the ED, but the author’s name, interestingly enough, is obscured enough to be undecipherable.
Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments section. Once again, spoilers are free to be discussed here!