Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season – 11 (End) and Series Review
We may one day get an explanation for this adaptation. Most likely not, which will only lead to incessant speculation, but it’s not impossible the truth will come out. We’ve seen popular manga get botched adaptations many times, of course – that’s something of an anime specialty. But a manga this popular, with an adaptation this horribly botched – that’s a rarity. I guess if you’ve going to go the “screw it up” route you may as well go for historically bad, because at least you’ll get remembered.
This is a tricky situation for a reviewer anyway, because whenever an anime changes a manga’s ending you can’t really talk about the changes without spoiling the original end – which I always prefer not to do. So I won’t go into specifics, but honestly this is so far off the rails that’s probably overkill. The anime basically took an ending I wasn’t sure could get sillier and made it much, much worse. At least the manga ending had some buildup – the anime version cut out 80% of that (at a conservative guesstimate).
It’s also not unfair to note that the final episode was about 30% still frame montages with no animation at all. Given that Neverland S2 already had a recap episode because of production delays (which effectively robbed the time-starved narrative of a further 9% of its oxygen) it’s safe to assume it never caught up. As we’re also seeing another Cloverworks show this season (Wonder Egg Priority) crippled by production issues, it’s worth asking if something significant is happening at Cloverworks (an A-1 Pictures offshoot). They’ve been very busy – are we looking at a MAPPA-like black company scenario developing? Let’s hope not, but to see two series in one season flailing like this is a very troubling sign.
Let’s just be clear: last year, The Promised Neverland was #6 in total manga volume sales, with about 6.38 million sold. In 2019, it’s last full year in publication, it was 4th with about 7.45 million sold (eclipsing the likes of HeroAca, Haikyuu, and Shingeki no Kyoujin). A fair number of readers feel as if it jumped the shark pretty hard in its last third or so, but that clearly never impacted sales. Yakusoku no Neverland was huge. It was a monster, a blockbuster by any measure you could use. So, to get back to the original premise, just what the hell happened here?
Since speculation is all we’re likely to ever have, one is naturally going to speculate. Yes the manga ended late last year, but other finished series with lesser sales have gotten (or will get) more or less complete adaptations, so I call BS on that. When a manga is this popular an anime will continue to generate sales of existing volumes. Maybe everyone involved realized that the manga ending was a mess, and decided to try and “fix” it? Seems very unlikely, and it wouldn’t explain why you’d take a series you could have gotten three profitable cours out of and condensed it into 10 episodes.
Honestly, that’s all I got. I just don’t know, and at this point I’m actually relieved the manga mostly lost me because if I’d been a huge fan, this anime would have gutted me. As it is it’s more bemused irritation than anything, coupled with a genuine curiosity about questions I expect to never get answers to. Anime can be an inexplicable industry at the best of times, even by the idiosyncratic standards of this most idiosyncratic county, but this shitshow really is one for the ages.
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