The kids have made camp near a demon marketplace, and are hiding out in an abandoned shrine. The only visitor is an old, blind demon who isn’t aware that the kids are not demons. Their daily visits to the demon market, while in disguise, has sustained them, but just barely. When the older kids let Lannion and Thoma come along, things get dicey.
Hmmm…despite my excitement for this show, I have to say…this episode is not its best showing.
First things first, how did we get here?! Last time we left off, the Convenience Monster (who thankfully only eats adults) had shown up and our kiddos were stranded in front of a giant forest. So we…somehow traversed the forest, then snuck past a bunch of demons in a marketplace, then conveniently found an abandoned temple somewhere on a hill, AND THEN we crafted little disguises/found out how demons smell so we could disguise our scent with theirs?! Is anyone else getting major S1 Episode 11 vibes? Sonju’s parting words made it very clear in Episode 2 that the kids should avoid forests, as all manor of danger lurks within. There’s way too much convenience here for me to be satisfied. Wait…6 months have passed?!?! WHAAAAT?!
It’s come to my attention that this eleven episode run of S2 is an “anime original” plot. While I know not all manga are well paced, I feel like it was a mistake to make this choice for Promised Neverland. I already feel like the writing for our main characters makes them waaaaaay too mature to be < 12 year olds. The fact that they can do all the stuff mentioned in the first paragraph and not have one of them get eaten is stretching my patience a bridge too far. I imagine the manga had its plot beats better laid out than what we got here.
My next big issue is the odd character moments with the older kids (especially Emma). There’s a sequence where the blind old man demon comes into the abandoned temple and Emma helps him collect fruit that he drops, despite protests from the rest of her family. Emma darling…while I appreciate that you are a kind and optimistic munchkin, can we please remember that these creatures EAT KIDS LIKE YOU?! Kind or not, it was very out of character for Emma to endanger her whole family like that.
Part two of bad decision making comes when the four eldest kids decided to let Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb join the expedition into the demon marketplace. Guys…if you get caught…that is the literal end of all of you. The little ones likely cannot survive on their own too long without the likes of the older kids. An affirmative line from Don about taking these two punks is the equivalent of “Awww….come on Emma. They’ve been good boys. Let’s give them a chance!”.
Sure Don…it’s not like one tiny misstep could make it so you all end up dismembered and in jars!
After all this, you can bet I was agitated when things immediately went south in the marketplace. Alright, my complaining is done. The other idea that’s brought up in this episode almost makes up for the bad character writing and ridiculous time skip/plot handwaving mentioned previously. By following two bumbling demon brothers (dads?), we hear a mention that A.) There’s an upper echelon of demons who are taking all the prime meat for themselves and B.) The lack of prime child meat means something bad for the psychological state of demons who cannot afford it.
Are you ready for another one of my wild theories?! What if eating children is what allows the demons to walk/talk/dress/act like humans?! What if 1000 years ago, the demons were full on beasties and they discovered that eating humans made them civilized? As part of the pact between demons and humans, the human ancestors left them these child farms so they could keep their civilized society. I’m talking some Animal Farm shiznit here!! Oh man…that would add a whole new layer of tragedy to this story.
Regardless of whether or not my crazy theory is correct, it was nice to see some worldbuilding on the demon end of things. They have hopes, families and societal struggles, akin to humans. The plot thickens…
Episode 5 is not great overall, but I’m still intrigued by what’s going on. There’s some hand waving shenanigans that I am not fond of, and some of the character writing that is just off piste. It does introduce demon societal conflict to us, and it raises some interesting questions about what human meat gives the demons besides simple sustenance. Ah yes…I forgot to mention. There’s a character that returns at the end of the episode. I bet you can guess who it is, so I won’t reveal it here. No spoilers for you this time around! Watch the show!