The Promised Neverland Season 2, Episode 8: A Race Against Time

Welcome back to this week’s breakdown for The Promised Neverland! Episode eight is a mix of anime-original scenes; adapted scenes from chapters 61, 74, and 129; and side scenes 19-1 and 2 of the manga, with some elements of chapters 138, 143, and 145-146. I’m still separating technical spoilers for anime-only fans, which are clearly marked. 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!

The episode begins by continuing from the flashback at the end of the previous episode, and finally introducing the person who brought Norman to Lambda in the first place: Peter Ratri. Under the guise of helping his research in the facility, Norman is subjected to taking increasingly difficult exams that he still manages to ace, as well as taking experimental drugs, all the while being heavily monitored by everyone there. With Smee as part of the staff, and managing to communicate with someone discreetly (Vincent), he musters all his determination to plan an escape from Lambda using whatever he can gather to cause a timed explosion one night. With several casualties from both human and demon sides seen, Norman saves the kids who survived the explosion, and captures the remaining demon guards and kills them.

Back in the present, Emma and her group make their way through every possible area to find Mujika and Sonju before the five-day deadline, as Norman’s group gets their supplies ready for their attack on the town. With one day left, they finally find fresh footprints left by Sonju’s horse at a location by a lake and trace its tracks until night. A wild demon suddenly attacks them, knocking Emma and her pendant to the ground in the process. Emma gets up to run to give Ray a chance to take it down, but before she gets eaten by the demon, Sonju and Mujika save her at the last second, having found the pendant from earlier.

Sonju asks the group why they weren’t at the shelter they were meant to go to by now, but Emma responds by asking him and Mujika to help her and her family. Just as she’s about to explain, a giant explosion occurs a distance far away from their location. Norman has decided to start his plan earlier than promised, and chaos has already descended among the demons living in the town. With no time to waste, Sonju take Emma and Ray on his horse straight to the town to stop Norman while Don and Gilda lead Mujika there by foot.

Norman enters the town with his group as the town continues to burn. A young, scared demon girl runs off from her home to find her grandfather, while Vylk, the old demon from a few episodes ago, realizes what’s happening as he walks towards the town’s entrance gate, wondering if Emma is safe. The little girl makes it as far as the town square, only for Norman to come from behind, ready to kill her with his sword. Vylk finally arrives near the scene, and it turns out the little demon girl is actually the Emma he was referring to, his granddaughter.

Norman stops in his tracks the moment he hears her name, and Vylk finally recognizes his presence in front of him. He asks if Norman is a human, and then says that he knew that something like this would happen one day, as another wave of the poison gas explodes in their direction. Demon!Emma starts to degenerate, but Norman is surprised that Vylk doesn’t. Recognizing the implications of this, Norman quickly lunges at him with the sword, but Vylk blocks the attack with his hand. He then offers the blood from the resulting wound to his granddaughter so she can stop transforming and escape alone, but she refuses to do the latter without him.

Realizing that he has now has blood on his hands, a stunned Norman stares at them and his surroundings. The weight of the consequences of his actions finally dawns on him, but he still tries to attack the demon family. He’s stopped mid-strike, however, by human!Emma and Ray at on the scene, with Sonju behind them. For a brief moment, Emma doesn’t see Norman as he currently is, but that of his younger, more scared self, and then tells him that he’s not letting him go alone this time.

The anime seems to be getting back to its groove after the recap episode, with this being the third week in a row where I thought the episode went in a good direction, and this one being the one of the best this season. We never actually get to see how the Lambda escape happened in the manga (a future side chapter may change that), so I can assume that because of Shirai’s involvement, how the events took place in this episode are canon. Going by what they showed of the event itself back then, there were some things I thought were unclear or confusing in how it happened, such as what exactly Norman did to trigger the explosion. Also, since we only really had small panels of the aftermath of the Lambda escape, I never realized how bloody the whole thing had been. I had expected that for the demon and human staff, but I didn’t think that there would be so many casualties from the other children by the explosion either.

Tying on to that is just how Norman now somehow seems more…unhinged(?) with his hatred and ruthlessness here than he was in the manga, despite the Lambda flashback giving us more reason to sympathize with him. Part of that reason is probably because in this instance, he’s actually on the ground and actively attacking the village. It’s also for that same reason that I found this to be a plus for the anime: Norman actually faces what his actions have done to the demon civilians, unlike in the manga, which is one of the few points that I’m still very critical of with that work. I actually thought Demon!Emma was a different demon character from the manga, so I was surprised about her relation to old man Vylk, who’s also another positive addition for the anime. Him constantly visiting the Evil-Blooded Temple was most likely foreshadowing for us that he also drank Mujika’s blood long ago, and how he acted since his first appearance serves as an antithesis to Norman’s claim that the demons would still continue to eat humans even after getting Mujika’s blood. I did notice a lot of recycled animation from previous episodes too, but overall, I really enjoyed this episode, and I hope the trend continues to rise up until the end.

Other Notes

  • It’s interesting to see how a scene’s adaptation can change with interpretation if a certain action is done before another. For instance, Isabella gave this look to Norman before hugging him in the manga, which makes it look like a power move on her part. What I got from the anime version, since we see her make this face after she hugs him, is that this is Isabella trying to bury down whatever sadness/guilt she’s feeling about this situation, especially since Norman asked her short before that if she was happy with her situation in Grace Field.

  • The anime, according to Yvette’s record keeping, is now taking place at around early February 2047, as of the end of the episode.
  • The manga did show Norman having his vital signs scanned every morning while at Lambda, which is why I’m surprised that the staff there never caught on to something being wrong when he started coughing blood, unless that side-effect was also by design somehow.
  • We get a good look of what Smee actually looks like now:
  • On another note, this scientist does look pretty similar to Nat here:
  • The way Norman and Vincent first knew of each other happened in one of the volume extras that I mentioned at the start of the article, with the setting happening around Christmas 2046.
  • This episode had a surprising amount of jump scares compared to the other ones this season, mostly from the wild demon attacking Emma’s group, but Norman sure gave a pretty good one to that one demon security staffer.
  • What the manga implied by the end of Norman’s flashback to the Lambda explosion was that he got his data on demon physiology by making the demon security guards go through the same kind of torture the kids in the facility went through for his research, which accounts for the many demon parts and that corpses we saw in the basement last episode.
  • It seems we indirectly saw the progression of degeneration that the wild demon took before it attacked Emma’s group. The first pair of footprints before it appeared were in a size between Sonju’s and Mujika’s, and the next time they find it again, the size increased by tenfold before it showed up again.
  • I thought we would never see this panel get adapted after last week, but here it is:

  • It’s nice to see Ray get more action here in the anime, especially when it comes to him not hesitating with attacks.
  • My concerns with the anime not adapting imagine spots are laid to rest now, if only because they made them actually happen in the anime’s reality, such as with the chaos in the demon village this episode.
  • Demon!Emma sharing a name with Human!Emma is a bit cheesy, I admit, but it does explain why Vylk said the name was beautiful a few episodes back. On the other hand, the fact that Norman only really starts hesitating with his attack when he hears that name specifically is kind of troubling to me, more in terms of how he seems to center a lot of his moral ground consistently around human!Emma.
  • Vylk’s name was actually revealed with his character design shared by Cloverworks’ social media a few weeks back. Also, I’d consider him the MVP of his episode, mostly on him being a good, protective grandfather.
  • The OST was fire by the end of the episode. The composer, Takahiro Obata, even highlighted the track, “Evil Blood Girl,” in a Tweet he wrote earlier:

[Manga Spoiler Zone]

This is probably going to be much shorter compared to previous entries, only because I’ve said most of everything else in the previous section. My hope is that in the next episodes after this, we see Norman face actual consequences for trying to enact a genocide against the demons other than Emma calling him out as a liar and a coward for it. On the other hand, assuming the anime really is just rearranging the events of the story and a third season is assured for it, I wonder what they’ll do with Norman for it, whether he returns back to how he was before or if he ends up doubling down and do this again but at the Capital next time.

Other Notes

  • It seems this week’s episode takes place a year after the destruction of Goldy Pond would have happened in the manga.
  • I wonder if Adam was either already out of Lambda before Norman’s plan set off, or if he actually died from being caught in the impact in the anime.
  • Smee’s face was finally drawn in full in the Volume 20 omakes, but with a slightly different appearance, possibly due to this occurring many years before the actual start of the story.
  • The way the final jump scare with Emma and the wild demon went reminded me of what happened after Yugo baited a wild group of them to attack her and Ray back in Chapter 61
  • Cislo noticing Norman staring at the night sky alone alludes to the fact that he would be the first one of the Lambda group to realize how much pressure he was putting himself as their Boss/William Minerva.
  • I do recognize that Emma’s group was mainly acting in self-defense in trying to take the wild demon down, but on the other hand, this doesn’t exactly fall in line with mentality Emma sets, especially for Don, in the manga.
  • I also wonder if Mawla and her family at the Capital still actually exist in the anime canon now.
  • The sad part of anime diverging from the manga canon, is that we don’t get to see powerful scenes like this get animated:

Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments section.

The Promised Neverland is streaming on Funimation & Hulu in the US, and AnimeLab in Australia.



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