I’m still not mind blown with The Promise Neverland but to be fair, this is the first horror/thriller anime in a while that I’ve gotten into. Goodness, when was the last one I saw? Angels of Death? Before that, I think it was King’s Game. I’d definitely take Neverland over those shows.
One thing I really appreciate about Episode 2 is that it devoted a lot of time in establishing the obstacles. Episode 1 was all about setting the tone so now it’s time to figure out what exactly the characters need to overcome in order to get the hell out of the orphanage. First is, of course, the deadline. How much time do they have left? Emma and Norman deduce that the order of when they get shipped out is based on the quality of their brains, hence all the testing they take every once in a while. Nevertheless, it’d be ideal to get out before the next shipment in two months.
Next is the matter of how they get out. The front gate quickly becomes out of the question since it only opens when the monsters show up. Maybe scaling the surrounding walls with a rope might work and Emma and Norman seem keen about that plan. However, while they might be able to climb the rope just fine, the same really can’t be said about the youngest of the orphans who are just toddlers. It’s clear that they need to think of something ideal and while two months seems like enough time, a wall is the least of their worries.
The real threat to look out for though is Isabella, the orphans’ “mother” and Neverland is doing a good job articulating what Isabella is capable of and how well our protagonists know of those capabilities. Evidently, she knows that one of her children discovered the truth last episode but does she specifically suspect Emma and Norman? There’s some telling scenes for sure but no direct confirmation is given and acting oblivious is still Emma and Norman’s best option for the time being. That doesn’t stop from making the interactions involving all three characters or a combination of the two any less tense. One particular scene where Isabella asks Emma if she misses Connie genuinely makes me feel the years Emma is losing from her life as she tries to act normal.
There is also Isabella’s pocket-watch to consider. Apparently, it’s actually a tracking device that tells her where any of the children are. This naturally poses a huge problem since as soon as anyone leaves the orphanage, Isabella would know. The only concrete detail we have about the device though is that Isabella has to open it to see everyone’s location. Specifics regarding how it tracks and where the markers are on everyone’s bodies is something only Isabella knows. It’s that kind of balancing act that I really like to see in a horror or thriller story. We and the protagonists have an idea of what the threat is capable of but not being privy to the exact logistics makes us tense and makes things problematic for the protagonists.
What really takes the cake though is the last minute introduction of Sister Krone and a new infant Carol. That has to be a troll from Isabella. It’s like she’s taunting her enemies. Think the circumstances are tough enough? Here’s another foe and another soon to be dead child for you to worry about!
Eventually, Ray catches on that something is going on. I was curious what exactly his deal was since there’s been a lot of shots of him looking suspicious at Emma and Norman. Evidently, he was just suspecting that they have a secret but given the current atmosphere, you never truly know what might be going on in some people’s heads. Being the more calculating of the bunch, Ray points out a lot of issues with the current plan. Mainly, getting all 37 children out of the orphanage is incredibly impractical. Emma, however, won’t listen to reason and surprisingly, Norman sides with her even though he actually agrees with Ray. Most amusing with Norman’s choice is that he is apparently being driven by feelings he’s developed for Emma. I guess love always dictates logic (why do I get the feeling that Team Ray will win though?). I do wonder if the ethical and logical conversation ends here though. Given their personalities, you can’t necessarily expect me to buy that this trinity will be able to work out 100%.
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