Hmmm, I see….
Welcome back to this week’s breakdown for The Promised Neverland! Season 2, Episode 5 has scenes adapted from Chapters 102 and 118, with some anime-original content. The line has become even more blurrier with each new episode, but I’m still separating technical spoilers for anime-only fans, which are marked clearly. However, for those that still want a deeper dive into those scenes, I would encourage you to read them at your own risk. Now with that said, let’s move on to the episode!
Within the middle of a demon village, some masked and hooded figures going through an outdoor market. As some of those hooded figures walk towards an abandoned temple up a mountain, two demons make some passing remarks on the status of the Grace Field escapees as they purchase whatever human flesh they can get from the store. We then find out that they were Emma, Ray, Don and Gilda on their way back from gathering food for the group. Months have passed since the infiltration of the shelter, and while the kids have been faring well so far, the issues of food scarcity and making progress towards D100 are still hanging above them.
Their current situation starts to take its toll on Emma, and she wakes up in the middle of the night because of it. Ray also wakes up to her pondering on her feelings and verbally beating herself up, and he stops her right in her tracks:
The day after, as Emma’s group allows Thoma and Lannion to come gather food with them, the wind chime the kids used as an alarm sets off. They hide further towards the side of the temple from what’s revealed to be an blind, elderly demon who’s apparently encountered them enough times to the point of familiarity.
When the elderly demon accidentally drops his things at the shrine, the kids try to subtly run away until Emma decides to just come up and help him. Grateful for her help, the demon then prays to the shrine for his family and leaves some food as offerings, which we then find out is another way the kids have been to eat in the temple. As he leaves, he mentions the worsening state of the village he lives in, that everyone there is already at high risk of degenerating into beasts from the lack of quality human flesh provided. As I pointed out in episode 2, we once again Emma gain more empathy from the demons through a similar manner with Sonju and Mujika’s case: prayer and food/meals. This is actually an anime-original scene, and I have to say, I was very impressed by it.
Back in the village, the demons who commented on the escapees before are now in their own desperate situation, as their younger siblings are already in an advanced stage of degeneration. As they decide to look for the Grace Field escapees to provide them better food, another group of unknown, hooded figures overhears their plans.
Meanwhile, after gathering some Goowee fish from the forest, Emma’s group heads back to get more food from the market. Thoma and Lannion accidentally reveal themselves to the two demons looking for them, and the kids separate in groups before they get the chance to catch them. Emma and Ray try to distract the demons while evading them before encountering the mysterious figures themselves at a dead end. They take care of the demons by slashing them to the ground, and the main figure makes himself known to Emma and Ray at the end of the episode:
So yeah, I think I’m at the point where I am very worried where the anime adaptation is gonna go. On the one hand, the original scenes with the demons were a good way of helping both Emma and the audience gain more empathy to their plight. One complaint the manga has is that we never see enough from the eyes of civilian demons just living their lives for some readers to be more understanding of them. It also shows the process of degeneration ruin their bodies, and it worked especially well for me because it involved young children in this instance. On the other hand, with how different events have been portrayed here and how many chapters that weren’t adapted, the whole mood of the anime starts to become starkly different from the original canon, in a more rushed, hopeless sense. Certain scenes like Norman’s reappearance would probably elicit a similar level of emotion among anime-only watchers, but would pale in comparison to their manga counterparts, if only because they lack the weight that those unadapted chapters brought to them. I’m still hopeful enough that the remaining episodes would make enough sense by the end of the season, but with where we are, I’m not even sure if we’re even going to get a third season at all with where they are at in the story.
- Personally, the scenes where we see various aspects of life in the village reminded me a lot of the streets and markets back in my home country, so I got a bit of homesickness now.
- Alvacchi on Tumblr went into more detail for how Norman and his group were foreshadowed from the start of the episode.
- So the dates Anna wrote last episode were an animation error, but I’m unsure for the one written here (January 24, 2047). It would track well with it being almost a year since the shelter attack in February 2046, but it was also mentioned that six months had passed with no incident from the demons for the group. So it’s likely it’s around August 2046 in present time at the very earliest.
- Evil-Blooded Temple, huh? Interesting name, I wonder what that might allude to later on…
- I still like hearing the prayers being said in this series
- I’m pretty sure the elderly demon knows full well the kids are humans by scent alone, I think he’s a swell old man for letting them hang around like nothing’s unusual about it.
- Mawla? Mawla, is that you?!
- Like I said earlier above, I feel so bad for these demon kids essentially wasting away
- Norman’s group attacked the brothers of those demon kids, and while they weren’t slashed from the eyes, it feels like a fatal enough blow that I’m even more sad for them because they’re now dying AND orphaned…
- Apparently, the Goowee are not considered meat, at least by the demons. Either they’re classified the same way some people consider fish in real life, or they’re a whole different non-animal species altogether.
- So that picture I used for the featured image at the top? It’s gonna be a big mood for me for the time being…
[Manga Spoiler Zone]
As I mentioned earlier, with how everything Goldy Pond-related got skipped out, the whole vibe of the anime’s story is changing into something very different from canon. In the manga, there was enough information the kids could grab onto that would have guided them to make up a general plan for how to free the cattle children, like with Mujika mentioning the Seven Walls when she gave the pendant to Emma. The anime, on the other hand, has the children be directionless in many ways because there was simply no time, place, or resources available enough for them to help them while they’re just barely surviving, which then leads to this hopeless feeling surrounding it.
This also extends to Emma’s portrayal as a leader, especially in the midst of a difficult situation. It’s understandable in the anime to some extent because of how long-occurring the situation had been for them and with no other experiences to back her up, yet at the same time, it…really doesn’t seem like Emma at all. Manga!Emma, in the middle of a crisis, would still be optimistic and keep looking forward while having a clear head for decision-making. While we probably should have gotten more manga scenes where she showed more doubt, she was always the type of person to bounce back up for the sake of everyone else, and the one who would always encourage people to not give up hope. Then again, manga! Emma also had the opportunity to mature as a person and a leader all because of the events of Goldy Pond, so there’s that.
The scene with her and Ray, even as someone who much prefers them as a ship, I have a lot of mixed feelings on as well. In the anime’s context, it was nice to see him reassure Emma on her decisions even with how hard life has gotten for everyone involved, yet how it’s portrayed here feels somewhat off to me too. Ray, in the manga, is well-attuned to how Emma is to the point where he knows when she’s internally struggling with something, and is able to tease it out of her effectively. Emma, on her part, trusts Ray enough as a friend and confidant that it would make perfect sense for her to reach out to him first whenever she needs someone to talk to on matters such as this.
Now let me talk about one of my biggest concerns with where the anime is heading: Norman. Even with the timeskip technically already happening in the anime, it still feels too soon for him to show up again. The manga had everyone occasionally grieving over him in the 2 years since they last saw him, but they were able to essentially move on with their lives, whether out of necessity or because of the passage of time. The anime, however, made the effort to mention him at least once every episode, with all the kids almost depressed every time it happened. There wasn’t enough time to make people second-guess whether he actually died or not, which diminishes a lot of the surprise factor his big reappearance has compared to the manga. The only other issue relating to this is how the manga makes him look like a much older man at times after the timeskip, but that’s something the anime can’t really help with in order to for them to maintain consistency with their character designs.
The other possible concern I see involving Norman is the possibility that the anime might go through the effort of basically making him “cleaner” in their adaptation. As far back as the first season, some scenes showing him being willing to dirty his hands to achieve his goals were not shown, which probably also contributes greatly to how a good portion of his fans see him, especially among anime-only fans. His hatred for the demons to the point of planning genocide against them, and his ideological conflict he had with Emma, are both very integral parts to the themes of the story, and with the amount of episodes this season has left, I don’t even know if it’s gonna be portrayed well. Those scenes with him overhearing the two demons and letting Zazie kill them, however, is one sign showing that wrathful side of him is still in there. His newly updated profile in the anime website has him in his Lambda uniform, so I’m not even sure if he’s also William Minerva 2.0 here in the show. However, he seems to at least have Zazie traveling with him, so maybe this is him beginning to build up his Minerva persona since they mentioned the raids on the factory farms at the start of the episode. And that’s not even going over the possibility of Ayshe showing up here either.
My last concern regarding Norman is also related to Emma’s portrayal in the anime. Norman’s character holds a certain charismatic aura which enables to get a big following around him, whether they be other manga characters, or his fans in real life. So much so, to the point that Emma, even when proven right in the end, still has some readers criticize her now for ultimately not going along with his genocide plan ever since she did that in the manga. With how shaky anime! Emma’s confidence in her leading abilities are at this point, there is an even higher possibility of her going along with whatever he may be planning in here, having him lead everyone else and essentially overshadow her in some way. And frankly, this feels like a spit in the face to her as a well-characterized female protagonist, which is already pretty rare for a shonen manga series as it is.
Now, next week’s episode is apparently gonna be a special recap, but depending how they do their format, I may or may not have an article for it on that day if there’s enough content to justify it. If I don’t, I will see you the week after for Episode 6!
Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments section.