Welcome to this breakdown for the last episode of The Promised Neverland Season 2! Episode 11 is a mix of anime-original and adapted scenes from the manga, and due to the manner in which it was structured, this article will NOT have spoilers separated anymore, and specific ones will be referenced in the main text. Now with that said, let’s move on to the episode!
We pick up from Emma’s offer to Peter Ratri to be free together in the human world. Emma explains that just as she and the others are trapped in their respective destinies, she also recognizes that Peter is burden by his own destiny as the current head of the Ratri clan. He decries her as a hypocrite and refuses to work together to free the children. Emma doesn’t budge from this, and gives him her offer once again.
More insight is given into Peter’s head and the history of the previous promise. Since childhood, his family had talked about the promise and their role as its gatekeepers as a sacred mission to protect the world. He also looked up to his older brother James, who was the acting leader of the clan back then, until one day, when he was distressed by the texts of some ancient texts he discovered. It turned out to be a remorseful confession from the clan leader who forged the promise, who revealed that the children that they currently raise as cattle were actually the descendants of his allies that he had betrayed to bear it into fruition. While James was filled with guilt and doubt from the revelation, Peter had thought it to be commendable, and was horrified when James started to take on the role of “William Minerva” to save the children. This culminated in him calling a hit on his brother, and his desire to carry on the clan’s mission intensified from then on.
The action cuts back to the present, and Peter still rebuffs Emma’s offer. He tells her how foolish it was to think they can change the world, especially when he says that other humans have done the same things that the demons did to them. He then says that it’s too late for him, and that he’ll watch them struggle with their goal in hell, before promptly slitting his throat in front of everyone. Emma and the rest try to revive him, but it’s too late at this point. Taking in Peter’s last words, she becomes more determined to prove him wrong with her goal. As Sonju and the villagers take care of the rest of the demon staff of Grace Field, we then cut to a scene in a castle where, while in the presence with the Demon Queen, the owner of Grace Field, Duke Yverk, gets word of what happened to his farm.
Going back to Emma’s group, Emma thanks Isabella and the other women for helping them with their raid, and then ask if they can also come with them to the human world. The women are shocked by this but they refuse, when Ray tells them to get over it just as Isabella tells them they don’t have any right to go with them. He and the others convince them that whatever regrets they have now they can deal with in the human world, and take their chance of another life to atone for their sins. Tearing up from this, Isabella asks them how they could forgive her, and Emma tells her that while it had taken them a long time to do so, they were able to recognize that the parental love she showed them was genuine, and that they still love her back as their only mother. With a final farewell to Vylk, Emma pulls the elevator lever down, where all the humans inside arrive to the bottom floor.
Once they reach the basement, they then find, surrounded by mysterious golden water, a pathway to a giant door, which turns out to be a gate to the human world. Using the Minerva pen, they open the gate, and the women and children slowly make their way into unknown territory. Phil tries to go while holding Emma’s hand, but he realizes that she’s not coming with him. It turns out that before they returned to Grace Field she, Ray, Norman, and the Lambda crew are staying back for multiple reasons:
- to set a new promise to override the one the Ratri clan made
- to rescue the rest of the children from both the other farms and the group Norman rescued from Lambda
- to keep track and take care of any possible enemies from the farms and the nobility that watch over them
Sonju, and Mujika especially, offer their assistance with their new plan. Don and Gilda also turn out to be in on it, too, but their role is to watch over the women and children in the human world while they wait for them to come back. The younger kids are hesitant after finding out at first, but they and Isabella eventually agree to help along, while Vincent goes with them in order to find a treatment for the Lambda illness. Before Phil leaves with the others, he runs back to Emma to give one last hug, asking Emma to promise him to come back safely. She does, and so, the cattle children leave as the gate closes.
We then see that the gate portal led the women and children to New York, and there, we get to see them live normal, ordinary lives as they join and make new families, and also attend school, while they wait for Emma’s group to come back. Meanwhile, in the demon world, Emma’s group move on to their current mission, as Norman reunites with the children he rescued, forge the new promise, and plan out a revolution that leads to Mujika being the new demon queen. A couple of years pass since then, and Phil, looking taller and older, walks by the shore to see Emma and her group back from their mission. He gives her a welcome hug, and she tells everyone that they’re home now.
The show ends with a look at Grace Field, wild plants now covering the entire facility, as a butterfly flutters by and lands on an unbloomed vida flower on the ground.
Okay…where do I even start with this one?
Peter actually offed himself in front of Emma (and around 300 other women and children too, for that matter), and his past aligns with what we know in the manga, but at the same time, we don’t get to really see his internal struggle of wanting to take Emma’s offer. There were certain pages from Chapter 172 that didn’t have any part of it adapted at all in the episode, which had Emma emphasize how much she realized that those she considers her enemies also have their own respective burdens in their lives, with he willing to take the chance. Peter even had his last vision before his death be his child self living in one of the Houses with Emma and the kids, and then mentally declares himself to be too dark for the bright world she offers. He also never told her about Code Solid which, according to Shirai in the fanbook, was supposed to signal the Ratris in the human world that the old promise system was over, and that the clan is essentially done for. Considering the first man that Gilda and Isabella saw in the human world was actually his uncle, Mike Ratri, I really wonder what he would have done to the children that crossed over without him being told of it.
Now, we focus on the old promise, along with the mysterious small creature and his dragon. Chapters 141-142 specifically deal with the history of the promise made by the original Ratri head, Julius Ratri. We learn more about the situation with how the war between humans and demons were 1000 years ago, and the despair that drove him to forge a promise along with Yverk to the creature, leading to the betrayal he committed to his comrades and the gatekeeper role his clan was trapped in. Chapter 101 also reveals that the mysterious creature we saw in both instances of a promise being forged turns out to be who Yverk refers to as “The One” in Chapter 7. The important role he plays will be touched upon more once I talk specifically about Emma’s promise, but the fact that the anime only shows him in still images and not even introduce him properly is one of many things that frustrate me about this episode.
Next, let’s move to Isabella’s fate in the anime. In the manga, because certain events played out differently, there was nothing around to stop one of the higher staff among the Grace Field demons from attacking Emma once she reunited with Phil. Rather than watch her kids die, Isabella takes the blow and ends up dying from it, not getting a chance to see the human world herself. This was something that a lot of manga fans wished went differently, especially since she was forgiven by Ray and the other kids. One of the very few things I actually liked from this episode was that Isabella got the chance to live on in the human world instead, but the more I kept thinking about it, the more my feelings are mixed on this decision.
So, the reason Emma and the kids gave for forgiving Isabella is also canon in the manga. However, the way it was presented, as well as the entire mood of the situation, was more somber in nature, because of Isabella’s impending death. As seen above, we also see another reason that, along with a character that was not introduced in the anime, they recognized that she was a “what-if version” of themselves, if they decided not to push through with the escape and run away, which also somewhat ties in to what I talked about with Peter earlier. The anime also never gave something the manga had, which was a few scenes that acknowledged the fact that Ray has a link to her as her biological son.
Now we deal with Emma’s promise, and the first thing we need to touch on is the portal we see in the Grace Field basement. In the manga, the gate we see is actually not meant to be a portal to the human world, but as the entrance point for meeting The One, reached supernaturally through a specific religious ritual. Much of what Emma and her group did after the Goldy Pond arc was dedicated to researching on how to get to the Seven Walls while keeping a low profile from any enemies, and the pendant Mujika gave Emma was one key in bringing them closer to that information in their trip to Cuvitidala. The actual portal in Grace Field, on the other hand, had a stairway going down the area where the gateway would have been, but the golden water surrounding it was actually the means that brought every cattle child (and I mean every last one of them) to the human world, through Emma signaling The One that her promise would be implemented with the same ritual she used for the Seven Walls.
Next is the when she was able to forge a new promise. The anime had that occur way after the human cattle at Grace Field crossed over to the human world. In the manga, instead of looking for Mujika as a way to convince Norman to stop his genocide plan, she and Ray actually performed the ritual mentioned above to reach that gate in order to go to the Seven Walls, which Mujika was supposed to mentioned to Emma when she gave her the pendant in Chapter 51. In Chapter 142, Emma ultimately was the only one who was able to make the new promise with The One, which was for all children and adults to go to the human world, and to make it impossible to travel between the human and demon worlds after that.
Keeping in line with the rules of making a promise, the promise maker has to provide a reward to The One in return based on what they valued the most, and in the case of Julius Ratri, his reward was that he and his clan we stuck with the gatekeeper/mediator of the two worlds, since he really wanted to return home from the war. Given that Shirai had mentioned in the fanbook that no one would be willing to challenge The One on matters like this since they don’t know what would happen next, this means that any cattle child that would have tried attempting crossing over before the new promise would probably have had something bad happen to them afterwards, whether by the Ratris or possibly supernaturally by The One. In addition to that, because Emma made her promise before returning to Grace Field, this means that when the Grace Field kids crossed over, the kids from the other farms (both premium and factory ones) were simultaneously transferred with them, but in different parts of the world. Even if the reward system didn’t exist in the anime, this still means that manga!Emma practically accomplished her goal in around 5-13 days compared to the many years it took her anime counterpart.
The final aspect of Emma’s reward involves the reward she gives to The One. In the manga, because The One usually goes for what the promise maker values the most, he specifically wanted her family. However, because of the conditions she already set up, he decided that the next best thing would be her memories of them and almost every trace of her identity as “Emma (63194) of Grace Field” (in other words, her “everything”). She willingly took it on herself, and this led to her being found in an isolated mountain region by her future foster father Alex Mikhaylov once she reached the human world in Chapter 180, and it took more than two years for the kids to finally find her.
Here in the anime, because the only instance we see Emma with The One is just a screenshot in an ending montage, we neither know what her promise entailed nor the reward she had to give, if there was any at all. If it still existed, it definitely wasn’t the one in the manga, since she not only arrived together with Ray, Norman, and the three Lambda crew members, she was still able to recognize Phil. I’ve seen a few people argue that an ending where there was no reward and Emma still had her memories is a better one, but honestly, that kind of ending, combined with a story that had lost the high stakes and consequences its original source had, feels just incredibly unsatisfying. The ending in the manga was much easier to swallow because we had seen how much struggle, loss, and sacrifice Emma and the others had to go through throughout the course of the story. Shirai even said in an interview that they felt that it was wrong to show a happy ending without something lost, as it would have been too opportunistic and easy for Emma. The bittersweet manga ending, even if some still have issues with it and its execution, is still realistic, satisfying, and congruent to the overall tone of the story.
With the other Lambda kids Norman mentioned in the anime, the manga actually has him and his crew bring Emma’s group to the hideout they put them in. As you can see from the pages below, they had found an abandoned demon sanctuary, and had developed a mini-society while living there. Chapters 113 and 118 also emphasized the image Norman put on himself as “William Minerva” to these kids, who in turn worship him almost like a god, which probably didn’t help with his self-sacrificial tendencies in the long run.
Meanwhile, with the factory farm kids, anime!Norman appears to be much more merciful with them than his manga counterpart. As far as we can infer, he hasn’t mercy-killed them after raiding the factory farms he infiltrated, or burned down the facilities with them still in it.
Moving on from that, we now talk about the demon nobility and the (old) queen, Legravalima.
Because of the anime’s canon divergence, the context for this meeting between the nobles and the queen is possibly different for both media. In the manga, instead of early February 2047, this meeting occurred around early November 2047, the time Norman set off his genocide plan as William Minerva. Since part of it involved attacking the factory farms beforehand, the meeting was mainly on them setting up a counterattack with the army to quell the “rebellion” against them before the Tifari event (which was still according to Norman’s plan). Chapters 131 and 147-151 in particular showcase that even among them, there are some who are more sympathetic than just the greedy nobles we assumed them to be, such as Bayon II and Lady Noum. Legravalima aside, Norman’s plan was successful in assassinating all the nobles, meaning that on that end of the demons, the cattle children’s possible enemies were almost all taken care of.
With Legravalima, Chapters 147-159 show how her avaricious nature contributed to much of the plight faced by the demon civilians under her rule, and even to other nobles who got in her way, shown by the actions of the disgraced Lord Geelan, who partnered with Norman on his plan against the other nobles out of revenge. It also revealed that Sonju is not only her younger brother, but also a royal prince who ran off from his position because of the Original Faith.
Adding on to Legravalima’s character and role, she was the one who gave Mujika the moniker of “Evil-Blooded Girl” and eliminated those who followed her to consume their blood, even locking her in a prison for some time before getting rescued by Sonju, according to the third light novel. Also, in the fanbook, it was revealed her current rule was responsible for the Original Faith becoming distorted and obsolete, leading to the overall decline of the demons’ culture and original language in the present time. At the start and end of Chapter 158, the epiphany Mujika had about her purpose for living in this episode, actually occurred when she gave Legravalima one final breaking speech as she self-destructed from consuming way more than her body can handle.
Continuing on with Mujika, that scene with her, Sonju, and the old man really deserves more context to be touched on, so I’ll do it here. Chapter 162 shows that this old demon, and four other ones are the designated high priest and sages of the Original Faith. Because of what had happened with the first promise, these demons allowed the citizens to eat humans from the farms, but in the process, went into a state of suspended animation while praying for their atonement and well-being for 1000 years.
Also, according to the high priest, it is implied that Mujika is the answer to their prayers for demonkind, as he explicitly refers to Mujika as a “girl with the special blood” instead of “evil-blooded.”
Additionally, because of their roles in assisting and appointing the current demon ruler, the high priest was also the one who crowned Mujika queen, while the final fallout with Peter Ratri had finished in Chapter 175 of the manga.
Now, for how Emma is separated from Phil and the others. I’ve already mentioned what the anime did in the summary before this, so I’ll focus more on the manga here. Since manga!Emma already established her promise beforehand, the others were concerned on what she had to give up as the reward. Essentially, she lied by saying that no reward was involved since the accumulated suffering of the cattle children was enough. The others thought it was too good to be true (and it was), and presumably she did it because she thought they would rather stay in the demon world if they learned about the true reward (which they actually confirmed for her after that). Eventually, she managed to convince them, so the initial reveal of what the true reward was came to a complete shock for them. As was touched on when I discussed the reward before this, Emma was then separated from everyone in an mountainous area considered a forbidden zone for more than two years before reuniting with them.
Now, our focus is on what happens in the human world. The anime seems to show New York City in a presumably idyllic state, with technology that looks more like what we have in our current time. In the manga, the human world is set up in a one world government, after recovering from a series of disasters and World War 3 in the 2020s. Shirai had mentioned their reason for doing so in the same interview linked above:
“I thought it’s wrong to show ‘a peaceful and happy world where nothing happened’ to the readers who are experiencing this world situation [in 2020].”
The technology shown there is also more advanced than what we currently have, with the presence of portable hologram devices and planes that allow people to stand on their roofs in-flight. The children are going to school in both media, but in the manga’s case, it’s implied that along with online learning, some of the Grace Field children were smart enough to either warrant tutors of their own or have already accelerated to and graduated from college/university level.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that some of the kids appear to have been taken in by families in the anime. It could very likely be true in the manga for the other cattle children, but not for the ones in Emma’s group in both Grace Field and Goldy Pond. According to the special post-canon chapter from the TPN Exhibition currently going on in Japan, because they were so focused on searching for Emma but didn’t want the help of the Ratri clan, Norman and Ray actually started an incredibly successful business corporation to earn the funds to make it possible for them. After they reunited with Emma, the kids decided to move with her and Alex, and eventually built a small village for themselves in the area.
Instead of becoming a doctor like in the anime, Vincent is actually the co-CEO of the company along with Ray. However, considering the fact that medicine manufacturing is one of the many areas that the company deals with, he could technically still be involved in trying to find a cure for the Lambda illness with the help of a Goldy Pond member/Lambda escapee named Adam. On the other hand, what they have so far isn’t so much a cure, as it just suppresses any side effects of the illness.
Now with all that out of the way, how do I feel about this season now that it has ended?
I’ve never seen an anime adaptation disrespect the original source as much as this season did, especially with how well the first one was done. I’ve seen comparisons to Tokyo Ghoul with how badly it was adapted later on, and while I haven’t seen that series myself, I’m inclined to believe it from the word of my friends that have. I don’t understand the decisions that were made to have the anime’s storyline go in this direction at all. If they were really making it “anime-original,” then they shouldn’t have adapted the timeskip and everything with Norman onward. If it was an issue how to get the story right with only one season, then just adapting the Goldy Pond and Cuvitidala arcs pragmatically would have sufficed well enough. Small gems they gave like Vylk, more details of the Lambda escape, and even Isabella surviving were not enough to save this, and I was even holding on to the increasingly shrinking hope that it would make sense in the end. There’s a lot more to speculate on the production side of this as well, mainly because of three things: the fact that we were told even in 2019 that the season would go “anime original,” the recap we had after Episode 5, and the fact that Kaiu Shirai and light novel writer Nanao’s credits were dropped in the last few episodes. However, seeing as Horimiya’s production is apparently also skipping a lot of chapter content for its anime, and with what’s going on behind the scenes for Wonder Egg Priority, at least the animation part of it can be attributed to what is assumed to be the overall working culture within CloverWorks.
I’ve gone into great detail explaining in the previous section and in past articles about the many aspects of the manga was skipped, so you can clearly see just how changing a few small things can lead to outright changing the flow and significance of later events. However, when one takes out take something as major and intrinsic as the Goldy Pond arc out, that’s when the story begins to fall apart completely.
The biggest disappointment from all of this was that Emma’s character development and significance as a main character was just erased. Without the experiences she faced from Goldy Pond, as well as the insight she gained from meeting new people that were involved there, we don’t get to see her grow into the capable leader she became by the end of the manga. We don’t get to see her face the worst among the worst demons and humans, she has no other weapons more powerful than the bow and arrow from the Forest arc and, worst of all, she doesn’t gain more human allies and parental figures that would show how all-encompassing her concept of family really is. The end result is that anime!Emma comes off as a more naive, ill-equipped, and inexperienced leader, to the point where it would objectively be easier to side with Norman on his genocide plan.
Speaking of Norman, and I know this will not be a popular opinion for some, but I honestly think the anime sometimes values him much more than they do Emma. There was the way he gets mentioned more often than in the manga post-escape, how his reunion was the next canon event that came after the shelter, and the way the new changes have affected the story to the point where one of the lines from the younger children was reworded to say that the group wasn’t able to make much progress under Emma until he showed up. Things like these were still present but more covert and scattered back in the first season, but this season pretty much shows this glaring issue clearly. It would have been much easier to ascribe this to just sexism, especially since Emma is one of the most prominent female leads in a shonen manga. However, if that were the case, Ray should have gotten even more moments instead of much less as the other part of the Full Score Trio still with Emma, and that’s not even touching on the other male characters from the manga that weren’t introduced. In any case, whether it be sexism or fanservice or maybe even shipping, it’s just a shame that the anime production doesn’t seem to have this much faith in Emma as a main character to be able to stand on her own feet.
This last one is probably even more of a personal thing for me, but I’m just saddened at the way the second season just threw back all the work Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu poured into the manga. With Shirai in particular, if you look at their author’s notes, interviews, and especially the fanbook, you can clearly see how well thought out they had been in structuring most of the themes and worldbuilding of TPN, even if other aspects may fall short in execution in other areas. Even small inconsequential scenes such as the children’s formation in running away from the forest demons are done with a specific way and purpose. And with the themes especially, I’ve never seen a manga show so many that capture closely to the Christian worldview before this, this made me so excited that it was what drove me to write articles like this for BtT. I can still write all those articles I’ve had in my head with the manga content (and I actually have one for the manga ending coming soon), but the fact remains that the anime would have made it even more easier to show them off had they had followed the story more faithfully.
Anyway, we still have the Amazon live-action adaptation coming soon, and maybe other possible special side chapters sometime in the future. Assuming there’s a chance Viz might finally license the light novels, I’ll also keep track on that as well. And maybe, with how the fan reactions have been so far, TPN Brotherhood might not be not too far off either
(we can only hope…). In the meantime, however, if you’re a first-time anime watcher, I hope the Tweet below would serve you well:
The Promised Neverland Season 2 has finally ended. So imma give you the proper way to enjoy the series
Rewatch Season 1
Start from chapter 38-181
Start from chapter 1-181
Thank you and apologies if anyone had to suffer through that abysmal of a season pic.twitter.com/fLrHerrsky
— AniKev♣️ (@ani_kev) March 25, 2021
- James Ratri makes his only appearance in the anime, and I’ve seen a lot of fans notice the similarities between his looks and Norman’s. It’s been a popular theory that Norman is actually either his clone or his son, but Shirai debunked the notion of either James or Peter having their own kids in the story.
- The location where James’ assassination is different between the two mediums, and it isn’t explicitly stated whether Smee was the one who killed him in the anime
- Once again, the other children are just unfazed at what they’re witnessing, especially since a grown man just slit his neck in front of them. This is so weird considering the other kids in the manga were much more appropriately reactive to seeing a demon for the first time.
- The Sisters I mentioned in the last episode showed up again, but in different color schemes this time. It’s very confusing, but I like this one slightly better, even though Scarlet is still lighter than she should be.
- Phil also got to ride a train in the exhibition chapter, which was mainly about the Grace Field kids finally getting to do the things they dreamed of while they were still in the demon world.
- I’m amazed that even though it was very briefly shown in the start of the OP, that we never see it addressed or confirmed whether Emma’s neck numbers ended up erased somehow, whether based on her promise or not.
- Speaking of the OP, I’ve got no complaints for it whatsoever. This, the ED, and the soundtrack were one of the consistent positive points of the season.
- I still think about those demon orphans from a few episodes back, I really thought that we would get to see what they look like now that they had Mujika’s blood.
- I did touch upon the unadapted male characters earlier in the article. But as shown with this Tweet I made a while back, four of them were very important father figures, and I think it would have been good to show them to balance off the many mother figures we have in the story. It would have also been nice to provide like a brief scene of them, mostly to see if they’re alive and well.
RIP TO EVERY FATHER FIGURE IN THE PROMISED NEVERLAND MANGA pic.twitter.com/dByFX2yt4o
— Michelle A. (@thathilomgirl) March 25, 2021
Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments section.