Anime

The Promised Neverland Episode 3: Recap and Review

Emma and Mujika bond over pictures of the children left behind. Meanwhile, Ray beats Sonju in chess. Norman comes up. Emma tells Mujika that she “made a promise to him to keep their family safe.” She notes Mujia is “not like a demon at all.” Last season, The Promised Neverland characterized the demons as a mysterious group that preyed on innocent children. This season, with introducing Sonju and Mujika, that image is gone. The history between humans and demons shows that even some humans have a cruel streak (leaving humans to be farmed). They have never seen humans as being completely good, with Isabella being willing to farm children, even her own son (Ray).

Emma and Mujika learn that human, and demons are different that expected. Mujika states that Emma and the orphans are the “first humans she’s spoken to.” She sees humans as differing from other living creatures. They’re both glad they became friends. They continue to travel through the underground caves, being cautious of the hunters. However, they reach the wasteland. The younger orphans want Mujika and Sonju to come with them. Ray tells them they must “make it on their own.” Sonju tells them they won’t run into any demons in the wasteland, but warns them to “stay away from water of forests.” Everyone says their goodbye’s.

After the orphans leave their sight, Sonju and Mujika discuss turning them in. Sonju smiles. He agrees with Mujika that they’re “smart.” He doesn’t mean the orphans any harm, but he looks forward to them “breeding.” Sonju hopes that the offspring, or “naturals,” increase so they can be hunted and eaten. He claims that “the doctrine of the original faith” allows them to “take the lives of their creations in the name of hunting.” He heads off to “take care of business.” Sonju runs finds and kills all the hunters. Later, Emma, Ray, and the other finally reach B06-32. There’s nothing. The children panic, but Ray tells them to calm down. Ray uses the pen and enters the word “History.”

William Minerva answers

A map appears, showing an entrance that leads underground. They enter the tunnel and find a series of doors. Inside one room, Emma turns on the lights and finds several televisions linked to cameras. A letter with Minerva’s seal is pinned to the wall. He congratulates them on arriving. The shelter has a kitchen, showers, a garden, a small library and a room with a piano inside. One kid plays and when another presses a key, a secret passage opens. They investigate and learn that there’s another secret passage. The hideout is a safe place for the orphans. However, Yvette discovers a room with the words “Help” scribbled on the walls. Emma unlocks a door leading to a phone. When she picks it up, William Minerva answers.

The Promised Neverland keeps the mystery going. As I stated in my last review, the series answers old questions while creating new ones. Even when it seems like the orphans have found safety, new dangers appear. Like the children, the audience can never relax. The series needs to balance this reality. I think the pacing between new discovery’s and new threats could be slower. The children should have more time to adjust before being rushed into another problem to be fixed. With only 11 episodes this season, this might not be possible. Regardless, The Promised Neverland is never dull and I’m always excited to see what happens next.

Anime

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2: Recap and Review

Ray learning that truth of the past in The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2.
Ray learning that truth of the past

Mujika and Sonju are the demon rescuers of the orphans. They don’t eat humans for religious reasons. They eat everything else. Mujika and Sonju reject the demon’s society farming system. Sonju tells them an “old tale.” Demons used to hunt humans. Some humans surrendered, while others killed demons. Eventually the number of demons killed by humans surpassed the number of humans killed by demons. The death toll became too much. So they formed a compromise. They will split the world in half, demons on one side, humans on the other. The orphans were born on the demon’s side. They’re the offspring of “gifts” given to the demon world. The demons established a “breeding system” to farm humans. That was over 1000 years ago.

Emma and Ray are at first stunned. Then their faces shift to excitement. If there’s a separate world for humans, then there’s hope. However, Sonju tells them that “no one’s come and gone between the two worlds in 1000 years.” This doesn’t change their plan. Emma believes they will simply get to the human world. The Promised Neverland gives us what we’ve been waiting for information about the larger world. How the farming system came to be and what happened to the humans. They create a new obstacle. No human has passed through to the human world. So as they answer old questions, they create new ones. There is confirmation of other farms besides Grace Field. Emma and the others plan to rescue all the children there, but first they need to find Mr. Minerva and ask him “how to cross to the world without humans.”

How to kill a living being

The Promised Neverland recreates the dynamic that existed in the inside Grace Field. Emma, the optimist, wants to rescue everyone. However, Ray isn’t an obstacle this time. Emma also accepts the difficulty of her plan. She still has hope and will “not to let anyone die.” Sonju gives them directions out of the forest. He tells them they need to “detour” to avoid wild demons. Instead, they should head through the wasteland. Meanwhile, Mujika and Sonju teach them how to survive on the outside. They continue to travel. When Sonju goes to check the surface alone, Emma joins him. Emma has an ulterior motive. She wants to learn how to “kill a living being.” When Emma gets her first kill, she prays over her prey. She notes that “they don’t want to be eaten, but have been eating others.” It never occurred to me that The Promised Neverland was a commentary on human eating meat.

We could compare Mujika and Sonju to vegans or vegetarians. They evade consuming the most “natural” food of the demons, humans. They do so for a “higher purpose.” Emma knows that they (humans) are hypocrites. However, she and the other must each in order to survive. Emma is maturing, but she doesn’t lose her kindness. Emma collapses. It reminds her of Conny when the flower blooms. Sonju assures her they didn’t suffer. I think he’s lying, but it’s a good lie.

Anime

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 1: Recap and Review

Freedom is beautiful, yet so cruel

The Promised Neverland season 2 episode 1 opens with the orphans running frantically with a black background. Considering how the last season ended, most would assume that they are fleeing from the orphanage. However, when Emma claims that “it’s just like a game of tag,” the scene shifts to reveal that their being chased by an alien. The outside world has been a mystery for both the audience and the orphans. Where are the monsters? What are other dangers? Turns out that there are some more “primitive” monster to deal with. Emma notes the “beauty” of freedom, but also its cruelty. The children stay together as they traverse the new surroundings. Emma tells the children that “everyone to stay in a group.” Ray apologizes to Emma for not cooperating sooner. In typical Emma fashion, she forgiving.

Emma first wants to find drinkable water and hopefully food. Ray notes that the “enemy” will assume that’s what they’ll do. They decide to head southeast. Emma presents Ray with the pen Norman gave them. Ray rotates it, resulting in holographic map appearing. Ray realizes that there’s morse code that reads “T.O.U.C.H.M.E”. So he does. It reveals another screen that requires a password. After referencing the “mythology” found in the book from Minerva, they enter the correct password. A note from Minerva appears. It reads: “if you need help, come visit me.” “I’m located at B06-32.” This scene gives us some peace of mind and tells us that where they can go. The moment also reminds us of Norman. Despite being shipped out, he’s still helping the orphans.

The hunted and the hooded

Yvette, a young dark-haired girl, notices a plant on the base of a tree. She can’t remember exactly where she saw the plant before. Ray chimes in that it was “The Adventures of Ugo.” The plants are “sea anemones,” they can store fresh water. Ray cuts one, filling a jar with water. This solves the river problem and even better the book is a guide. We return to the moment in the opening when the orphans were being chased. Ray decides that he will trap the monster in the “snakes of Alvapinera.” According to Ray, if “you fall down, you’ll never get back out.”

He distracts the monster, and it targets him. Suddenly, the monster is decapitated. Ray carves a message in the tree, then tells the hunters that all the others have died. Elsewhere, the orphans worry that Ray is taking too long. Emma tells them to head “downwind” as she heads to find Ray. Unfortunately, she faints. Her ear bleeds and her fever rises. Suddenly, a mysterious girl appears. Meanwhile, Ray leads the hunters away from the others, but they corner him. When all seems lost, Ray is rescued by a cloaked figure.

The hunters give chase but lose the scent. Ray awakens in a cave bathe in green light. Emma and Ray discuss the hooded figures that saved them. One of the hooded figure arrives to bring them to dinner. Ray asks about the other hooded figure and is told that his name is Sonju. When Emma asks the hooded figure about Minerva, she doesn’t seem to know who that is. Ray asks what we all want to know. Why are demons saving humans? It shocks Emma to learn who she’s been talking to.

So many questions

Season 2 of the Promised Neverland already has me scratching why head. This is a good thing. They didn’t focus on the creatures found in the forests. One child called them “bugs” is that literally what they were or was that a guess? Are they demons? The question of why the demons helped them is the most pressing, but I’m sure it will get answered in the next episode. The Promised Neverland has lost some drama created by being tapped in one place.

I miss the dynamic between the trio. While I miss the trio, I hope that the other orphans take center stage, at least sometimes. It will be difficult to do with such a large cast, but I would like to see how they handle this situation. The new mysteries are intriguing. What are the demons exactly? How does their society function? Do they all eat humans? Are the demons that saved Emma and the others like vegans? I can’t wait to learn the answers.

Top 5

Top 5 Horror Anime based on MAL Scores

Monster

Madhouse

Score: 8.73

Monster tells the story of Dr. Kenzou Tenma, “an elite neurosurgeon recently engaged to his hospital director’s daughter, is well on his way to ascending the hospital hierarchy.” When Dr. Tenma is preparing to perform surgery, the hospital director tells him to perform life-saving brain surgery on a famous performer, instead of a poor immigrant. The immigrant dies, causing Dr. Tenma guilt. A similar situation occurs later, but Dr. Tenma chooses to save a young boy instead of the mayor. This costs him his standing in society. Eventually, the death of several doctors results in Dr. Tenma becoming hospital director. Almost a decade later, Dr. Tenma saves the life of a criminal eventually he “comes face to face with the monster he operated on. He must now embark on a quest of pursuit to make amends for the havoc spread by the one he saved.”

The Promised Neverland

Cloverworks

Score: 8.65

The Grace Field House is an orphanage surrounded by a forest and a gated entrance. The orphans are raised as a happy family with their “Mama” Isabella. The children take daily tests but are generally allowed to do what they pleased. However, when a child is adopted, they are never heard from again. The three oldest and smartest siblings become suspicious and they discover the horrific truth of the world they live in.

Kenpuu Denki Berserk

OLM

Score: 8.48

Guts is a young mercenary born from his mother’s corpse. He eventually meets the Band of the Hawk, a group of mercenaries. Guts climb the ranks within the group becoming the head of the offensive faction. Kenpuu Denki Berserk “is a dark, gritty tale that follows one man’s struggle to find his path while supporting another’s lust for power and the unimaginable tragedy that begins to turn the wheels of fate.”

Parasyte -the maxim-

Madhouse

Score: 8.42

Parasitic aliens descended upon Earth and quickly infiltrated humanity by burrowing into the brains of vulnerable targets. When they acquire full control of their host, they’re able to morph into a variety of forms to dominate their prey. A teenage boy named Shinichi Izumi becomes a victim of one of these parasites, however, it fails to take over his brain, resulting in his right hand being taken over. Without the means to take over his head, the parasite, now named Migi, must rely on Shinichi to survive. The pair must coexistence, as they face dangerous parasites. 

Mononoke

Toei Animation

Score: 8.42

The “Medicine Seller” is a master of the occult who travels searching for malevolent spirits called “Mononoke.” The seller aims to kill these spirits. Before he can kill them, he must “first learn its Form, its Truth, and its Reason.” The Medicine Seller eventually reaches an old-fashioned inn. There a pregnant woman, Shino, rests in the last vacant room. However, the room is “infested by a lethal band of Mononoke, the Zashiki Warashi.” The Medicine Seller investigates, hoping to kill the Zashiki Warashi before they can kill again.

Lists · Top 20

Top 20 Anime from the 2010’s (Part 3)

10. Vinland Saga (2019)

Studio: Wit Studio | MAL: 8.61 | Genre: Historical

Vinland Saga is dark, violent series with a depressing protagonists that never smiles. If like me you have a love of Viking and Norse mythology this anime is for you. Wit Studio of Attack on Titan fame, continues to produce stunning animation. Vinland Saga balances the epic battles with realism well. Conflict manages to both feature superhuman feats with human consequences. The first scene in the first episode sets the tone, bloody, gorgeously rendered, outstandingly directed action. The quality remains consistent throughout. Vinland Saga also features complex characters and great world-building. It’s an anime series that simply cannot be missed.

Check Out My Review of Vinland Saga Episode 1


9. The Promised Neverland (2019)

Studio: CloverWorks | MAL: 8.69 | Genre: Mystery

The Promised Neverland shocked me. Not since Made in Abyss (also on this list) have my expectation been undermined for the better. Orphans housed in the Grace Field House live as a family under the watch of Isabella or “Mama.” Tested daily, the children are largely permitted to do as they will. Except they are not allowed to venture past the bridge. Being children they don’t question the world they inhabit much. However, the three eldest and smartest siblings begin to become suspicions of what’s happening. What they uncover is a conspiracy in which children are cattle for a mysterious alien race. You’ll need to suspend some disbelief as some of the plot can be convoluted, however, The Promised Neverland is never dull and will pull at your heartstrings.

Check Out My Review of The Promised Neverland Episode 1


8. Yuri on Ice (2016)

Studio: MAPPA | MAL: 8.07 | Genre: Sports

Is it possible to like an anime based on a sport and not care for the sport itself? To be honest I have watched some ice skating, but I can’t call myself a fan. Regardless, Yuri on Ice made me love ice skating at least for a while. Yuri on Ice’s main protagonists is Yuri Katsuki. Unlike a typical sport anime protagonists, he’s . . . well a loser. Literally. At the beginning of the series Yuri is crushed as he suffers another humiliating defeat at the Grand Prix Finale. At the age of 23, Yuri is old (in skating anyway) and his window is closing. He return home to supportive family and friends. Outside of the public view, Yuri performs a routine from five time world champ, Victor Nikiforov. This performance goes viral, inspiring the actual Victor to come to Japan to become Yuri’s coach.

Check Out My Review of Yuri on Ice Episode 1


7. My Hero Academia (2016)

Studio: Bones | MAL: 8.35 | Genre: Superhero

Izuku Midoriya subverts the expectation of a shonen hero. He’s born without any powers (in My Hero Academia they’re called quirks). Where characters like Monkey D. Luffy or Goku lack intellect but possess great power, Midoriya is the opposite. Sure he gains great power from the greatest hero All Might, but he struggles to control and master it. Izuku is highly intelligent, often stopping in the heat of battle to analyze the situation. Unlike most shonen anime, Midoriya is routinely outclassed by classmates, Todoroki and Bakugo. The series even switches from the heroes to the villains. Often the villains are already fully grown, in age and power. However, in My Hero Academia they must learn to be effective villains. Like the young heroes they develop new powers and simultaneously an affection for each other. This coupled with amazing action and humor, makes MHA on of the best series of the last decade.

Check Out My Hero Academia Episode Review


6. Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer)

Studio: ufotable | MAL: 8.92 | Genre: Supernatural

If Izuku Midoriya is the start of a new type of shonen hero, Tanjiro continues the trend. Driven by the sole purpose of returning his sister back to a human, Tanjiro embarks on a journey that results in him joining the Demon Slayer Corps. Tanjiro Kamado is smart and courageous hero, but his kindness is what makes him stand out. He will give his life to stop the demons, but when he defeats them he is compassionate as he helps them into the next life. However, his relationship with is sister, Nezuko, is probably the heart of the series so far. She can be forgotten sleep in her box for hours, but she manages to display human traits despite being a demon. Characters like Zenitsu and Inosuke add humor to the series, although they’re an acquired tasted. Finally, the only true evil in the series isn’t the lower level demons, but Muzan Kibutsuji. There’s no nuance to him. He a monster that takes advantage of the weak and expects them to give in to his will. Demon Slayer is a top tier series with amazing characters and action to match.

Check Out My Review of Demon Slayer Episode 1