A few weeks ago, we were celebrating the release of the second season of The Promised Neverland, an anime adapted from a beloved manga that just recently concluded after twenty volumes and ofter one hundred chapters (though the final two haven’t been published in English yet). As of the week of January 25th, the anime has released its first two episodes on Hulu and Funimation.
If you aren’t familiar with the story of The Promised Neverland, the show focuses on three kids: Emma, Ray, and Norman, all orphans. They live in a house called Grace Field under the mysterious “mother” figure before they are shipped out to foster homes. When the three protagonists try to follow to see one of their siblings go to a foster home, they find her dead; killed by a race of demons they didn’t know existed. Soon, they realize Grace Field is a farm, and they are raised to be food for this race of demons—not sent to loving parents at all, but jaws.
The story then focuses on the kids as they try to plan an escape from the house. There is much meditation on the philosophies of this food chain that build into an anime that is thrilling, mysterious, and dark. (That being said, I’m extending a content warning because death and suicide applies to the series in its entirety.)
The first season of the show followed the manga to a near exact replica. Artist Posuka Demizu’s style was fantastically matched for the screen, and the art of the adaptation directly mirrors the manga (beyond the addition of color). That being said, the writing may arguably be closer. Though the team of writers for the anime doesn’t include original storyteller Kaiu Shirai, some of the lines are word for word, the plot taking little to no creative liberties from it’s source.
The second season, however, has already taken some leaps. Though they haven’t been far, there are small added scenes, details, and more importantly—detail exclusions.
Without going into spoilers, after the release of the third episode, fans started to notice very important clues from the manga that weren’t seen onscreen. Though the moments surrounding these details seem small, they are the building blocks for the next plot arc from the original manga.
The Promised Neverland is well known to its fans as as series that builds upon much… and there’s plenty of intensive detail and minor elements coming back up to five volumes later than their introduction. With these changes in the anime, fans are concerned that the screenwriters have decided to take the plot in a new direction, one that will skew from the original. And with that, they aren’t happy.
So, the question now stands: were these details left out purposefully in the idea of skipping this plot arc, or do they merely delay this for later in the series? If the anime skips these plots and characters entirely, in what kind of a direction are they going? Were the original creators on board?
In general, are creative liberties in adaptations exciting or fearful?
Now, for the spoiler section of the article. If you haven’t read through the second arc of The Promised Neverland manga, stop here!
So, if you’ve watched the series, you’ll notice something jarring in episode three—where is Yugo? In the manga, when the children arrive at the shelter, they are immediately met with the face of “Geezer” or “Mister,” the man later identified as Yugo. He is one of the lone survivors from the Glory Bell escapees.
In the third episode, there is no sign of Yugo. The wall in which he has written “poachers” and names in the series instead reads “help.” The kids find the secret room immediately upon their entry and without him. Instead of being met with Yugo, they’re met with a phone call from Mr. Minerva—something that isn’t supposed to happen until the conclusion of the Goldy Pond arc.
There are some clues that mean Yugo’s entrance could have just been delayed until episode four. For example, in the manga, they arrive on day seven. In the anime, they arrive on day six. Also, there is a tin of cookies left out, showing that someone must have been there at some point.
Still, the question remains… did the writers cut Yugo? If they did, does that mean they cut the entire arc of Goldy Pond?
feature image via CBR, Goodreads