The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2: Learning to Hunt

Quick Summary of The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2

In The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2, “Episode 2,” Emma and Ray quickly learn the fate of the other children at the hands of Mujika and Sonju — which wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. Later, Sonju told Emma and Ray the world’s secret. It matched Emma and Ray’s “worst-case scenario.” Their reaction wasn’t quite what we expected. Finally, Emma asks Sonju to help her learn to hunt. The lesson brought back some uncomfortable memories for me.

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2: My Turn to Host!

Welcome to our collaboration review of The Promised Neverland Season 2, Episode 2. Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime and I have teamed up to give you twice the amazing insights. That’s the goal, anyway. Please don’t think it’s a guarantee or anything!

Review of The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2

Opening Thoughts: I Mispronounce Irina’s Name!

Before we dive in, do you have any opening thoughts on the episode, Iriina? 

I’m going to leave my name like that and I hope Crow doesn’t correct it. However, if he does, I hope he doesn’t erase this sentence so that people can wonder what did he call me, anaway…

Oops! I’ll leave it. It makes me sound evil to say it that way. 

So I ended episode 1 of The Promised Neverland season 2 already really impatient to see the next one. And then it didn’t air on Wednesday like the first episode had, and it actually made me a bit tufted. I was all ready to watch it; I had made a fancy dinner and I had a plan!

Did that little delay taint my experience? I bet you’ll find out if you read more…

A fancy dinner? Wow — you went all out! Good anime is a special occasion!

Unexpected Titles, and a Heroic Burden!

Irina, did you notice that the titles this season are just the episode and number? Kinda reminded me of one of your critiques in your review “The Irregular at Magic High School – In Hindsight The Title Should Have Been My First Clue.” I doubt it’s anything to worry about, but I thought it was funny.

No I did not. I’m not worried at ALL.

Also big thanks for the plug Crow. I really don’t pay you enough. Or at all. Which is criminal.

So that means our post titles have the responsibility of being the only titles? Oh my. I’m going to be staring at that first line for 45 minutes next week!

Were the Kids Okay in The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2?

Surely someone so elegant and beautiful wouldn’t chow down on kids, right? The Greek classical idea of beauty has sway here, right? Capture from the Funimation stream.

The first order of business in this episode was to answer the question: Are the other kids still alive, or are they stew? Emma demanded to know where the kids were, and Sonju pointed with his weapon. As she and Ray dashed off, Sonju called after them that they needed to take a left at the end of the corridor. Sonju’s calm and patience struck me. If he ends up being a villain, I’m going to be shocked.

Which is a dead-giveaway, because Ray and Emma not only found the rest of the group alive, but alive, well fed, and in good spirits. And yes, I did breathe a sigh of relief.

For such a little scene, I thought the narrative presented it effectively. What’d you think, Irina?

I was in this weird spot. See, I 100% believed and was convinced that the kids were all fine. Not a doubt in my mind. And yet I also don’t think I would have been surprised to see bloody little kid bits strewn around a pot. 

And that is what good tension can do to you. It’s extremely hard to create good sustained tension in a show. Especially an anime. And double especially nowadays when your phone is going to pull you out of it as soon as it gets the chance. But this show does it for me. And as you can see, good tension can make your brain do some really odd things.

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2 Reveals The Truth of Their World

Sonju offers to tell Emma and Ray the story of the world. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Don had already decided to trust them. Apparently, rescue and subsequent safety and meals had worked wonders. After seeing everyone together, and after seeing how gently Sonju and Mujika interacted with the children, Emma apologized for doubting them. Sonju, further earning my trust, said she should continue to distrust demons. Again, his patience dealing with the kids impressed me.

After the kids had gone to sleep, Emma and Ray approached Sonju. He dropped some knowledge on them, so quickly that I was almost disappointed. Of course, the story might change its mind later, but he told them that:

  1. Sonju and Mujika don’t eat humans because of their religion 
  2. Yes, it’s 2046
  3. Yes, this is Earth
  4. Demons had used to hunt humans and vice versa
  5. Humans had come up with the idea that they should split the worlds
  6. Humans, in an effort to make the arrange stick, left behind some “stock” for demon food
  7. Grace Field is one of the top producing farms among a consider number of them
  8. The agreement has been in place for over a thousand years
  9. There’s no commerce or travel between the human Earth and the demon Earth

I said I was almost disappointed because I was enjoying the mystery. But maybe this is just setting up something even more cool? Irina, what’d you think?

A Brilliant Narrative Choice…

Ray and Emma were horrified to hear that their worst-case scenario was true. Capture from the Funimation stream.

First of all, Ray was essentially me, and probably 98% of the audience. He sort of threw out all the theories I have speculated about over these two seasons. And I’m all for being Ray. I would prefer to be Norman but you know….

Second, OMG this was the best explanation. The problem with BIG SECRET narratives is that the reveal is almost always a let down. You just have to get satisfaction from the build up. At best, the situation is just a bit more bland than you hoped, at worse the explanation is dumb and disregards it’s own lore.

After a whole season of wondering what the heck was going on and all these insane but very intense clues, naturally The Promised Neverland couldn’t do anything cool with it’s reveal. The universe was either going to be something we all guessed or they were going to throw something completely ridiculous in that opens up way more plot holes than it explains.

Brilliantly Executed!

But this! 

I’ve been staying away from spoilers so maybe tons of our fellow bloggers saw this exact situation coming. But I didn’t. It is Earth, and Humanity is not wiped out. For all we know, it may be thriving. And the demons aren’t doing anything that wrong since these humans were gifted to them by other humans as sacrifice for peace. They are really just holding up their end of the bargain. This makes perfect sense and simultaneously changes everything. 

I get you were into the mystery Crow, but to me, this was a narrative tour de force. To bring everything together like this and recontextualize pretty much all of season 1.  I’m impressed.

Also hope. It’s what I was saying last week about this show. It has this really great way of creating bleak hope. 

I’m glad I said almost! You just described exactly why I wasn’t disappointed!

Ray Always Tries to Die

Lannion had Ray dead to rights! Capture from the Funimation stream.

Before we get to the big thematic event, there was another scene notable for its realism and sentiment. They were getting ready to follow Mujika and Sonju to the next leg of their journey. Everyone had started packing. Gilda, not longer able to contain her emotions, just laid into Emma about not telling anyone she was sick and working herself so hard she up and fainted.

Since it was open season on stupid decisons, Lannion turned to another one of the kids (maybe Thoma?) and, right in front of Ray, said, “Ray always tries to run off and die if you don’t keep your eye on him.” “Trying to die again, eh?”

Now, some of the kids are smaller and less emotionally sophisticated. Jemima heard “Ray” and “die,” and those two words in such close proximity terrified her. Exploding into tears, she hurled herself on Ray. “We were so worried!” she barely squeaked out.

It was like those were code words. Gilda had been furiously lecturing Gilda, but now she collapsed to her knees. “We were worried sick,” she said, her own tears flowing.

The Real Life Lesson: Gilda is Awesome

Yep. Gilda is awesome. Capture from the Funimation stream.

If this were an 80s sitcom, this is where Emma and Ray would have learned a valuable lesson about trust and teamwork. They got the message, though: everyone cared about them, they cared about everyone, and they needed to work together. 

What’d you think of this scene, Irina?

I always liked Gilda in season 1. I thought it was because of those cool glasses and the fact that she was such an effective foil.

Turns out I was wrong. I loved Gilda cause she rocks and everyone should love Gilda. 

This is actually a reprise from season one. It’s a theme that’s been touched on before but it was nice to see it again. 

The Thematic Heart

Now we come to a scene that I think sits at the thematic heart of The Promised Neverland. Sonju was going to scout ahead, and Emma wanted to go with him, also to scout, she said. He knew Emma had an ulterior motive. When they got far enough away from everyone, he asked her to come clean.

She wanted him to teach her how to hunt. She knew it would be a vital skill if they were to survive. And she wanted to learn, herself, so she could know what it was like.

So, they found a large bird that looked a little like a Turkey Vulture. She drew the arrow back (Oh — I forgot to mention that they practiced primitive weapons with Sonju earlier) and took aim. The bird looked at her, and suddenly, she couldn’t do it.

But this is Emma. She wouldn’t let herself back down. She drew the arrow back again, and this time, hit her target.

I Stood Where Emma Stood…

There’s no doubting Emma’s courage. She was evening willing to face herself after killing a living being. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Remember that uncomfortable memory I mentioned? Well, you’re probably going to think I’m a barbarian, but I grew up on a farm. We hunted and trapped. Like any pre-teen kid, I wanted to earn money, and trapping was a good way to do that. Well, we used leg-hold traps (since outlawed, and correctly so, I might add). When I checked my traps in the morning, I found a live muskrat. I brought it to the house and asked my dad what I should do. He handed me the .22 pistol we kept around the house. And now I remember the combination of 12 gauge shotgun shells and .22 bullets that filled one of our cookie jars… My dad told me to take care of it.

Yes, I took care of it. I handed the pistol back to him, and he could see what the act cost me. “Look,” he said, “it’s okay if you don’t want to kill them. Maybe trapping’s not for you.”

I haven’t raised a weapon against a living creature since. Woe be to the squirrels in our neighborhood if the zombie apocalypse strikes and I’m armed — because I refuse to let my family go hungry! — but absent life or death, I’m not doing that again.

But Emma’s Burden was Greater

Emma never had a father, at lease before Sonju. In my world, it’s the father’s role to teach when to kill… and when not to kill. Capture from the Funimation stream.

I watched Emma go through the same thing. But there was an additional hammer-blow to her heart, one I’m not sure I would have survived. Sonju handed her a vampiric plant his religion used to drain the blood out of prey. It allowed the meat to stay edible longer. Emma had to stab it into the bird’s still beating heart. If it worked, it would blossom in a very pretty red flower.

It was the same flower Emma had seen blossoming out of the still form of Conny.

The demons consume humans as a delicacy (present company excepted!). Emma was about to consume this bird as a staple. She wasn’t blind to the implications.

Irina, what’d you take away from this scene?

I’m sorry Crow, I skipped your story. I cry at nature documentaries. Like a lot. I don’t have the sensibilities to hear about animals getting hurt. I have also been a vegetarian for well over a decade. So I appreciated that the camera cut away and that the entire story acknowledged the gravitas of taking life. No matter the circumstances, it’s not something that should be done lightly. It changes a soul.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the necessity of destruction. We’re in a cycle. But just because I acknowledge the necessity, doesn’t mean I enjoy seeking it out, you know? 

The Power of Ritual

Emma chose to face the need to kill, when she had someone who could help her put the experience into context. Capture from the Funimation stream.

The ritual of the flower was both horrifying, after all those red blooms were nightmare fuel for the entire first season, and oddly beautiful. Death and rebirth illustrated once again. And the ongoing repeated theme of promises and sacrifices. 

Oddly enough, the part that really got to me was that it was practical. A lot of religious rituals have at least some facet born out of necessity. A ritual that is both visually spectacular, emotionally poignant, and serves as a natural preservative would absolutely be the type of thing to get ingrained in religious moires. And that adds a touch of realism to the Demons themselves and their beliefs. 

Obviously Sonju and Mijuka are very religious. The episode really insisted on it. Yet, they called themselves heretics. Not rebels or outcasts, but the very specific word heretic. Why? They don’t eat humans due to religious beliefs but they do share the rituals of all the other demons that eat humans. Is it a sect, a matter of different dogma interpretations? Is the demon world slowly festering a religious uprising? Not that it matters, we (me and the kids) have bigger problems right now!

I’m glad you skipped that bit of the story, if i would have bothered you! I rather wish I could skip it in retrospect…

No, these are parts of life. I’m squeamish but that’s not your fault.

Emma Bore the Burden

Emma came away from the experience changed. Which means she’ll be okay. Eventually. Capture from the Funimation stream.

When Emma and Sonju returned to the hideout, everyone welcomed them. The kids immediately noticed a change in Emma’s expression. Ray asked if she felt okay, and she said she did. But I don’t think she’s okay. 

She is. Taking a life is supposed to make you sad and a little introspective. It would be way scarier if it hadn’t changed her at all. And like you said, the parallels with their own situation are just so painfully obvious. That’s gotta sting.

But on the other hand, this is probably the very first time any of these orphans have ever had anything resembling parents. So Emma will have some support and wisdom to rely on. 

And now we get to wait a week to find out what happens when they leave the forest! 

I hope nothing happens to Sonju and Mijuka. This show is going to age me prematurely…

Ain’t that the truth? And it’s what makes this show do darned compelling!

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8 thoughts on “The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 2: Learning to Hunt

  1. I wasn’t that surprised at the reveal; I expected something like this, though not this particular constellation. And it did open up a possibility I hadn’t thought about before. I did think there was some sort of deal going on, but I thought they either had contact or were totally unreachable. What we got is very close to “totally unreachable”, but with a twist: opening a portal to the human world might restart the war. And that adds a potentially sinister motivation to Minerva, whether human or demon. The end of season 2 might trigger a large-scale conflict. What if, for example, human meat has become an upperclass rarity since the deal (struck by upper class demons), and there’s huge dissatisfaction in the general population, so that a huge jealous base says “Screw the deal,” while the upperclass largely consists of decadent fops? Our kids are the pawns in a game to bring back humans to the menu. (So, where’s Norman now?)

    Finally, I also have always liked Gilda and was happy she got to be awesome this episode.

    1. I like the way you think!

      That scenario is totally possible.

      I was interested in what I thought was mention of wild demons. That’s an interesting wild card.

      It was great to see Gilda and Don get some extra screen time. I’m still laughing at the two kids talking about Ray going off to die “again.” Ray’s gotten himself quite a reputation!

  2. When I read this scene in the manga; I was floored that she chose to phrase it like that. I thought she was actually willing to murder someone to protect her family. But just hunting? That was actually pretty tamed.
    Also; I DID check out “Mushoku Tensei.” The subbing and quality of where I was watching it was…..Weird. But I liked it. I think it’s fun to watch. Don’t know how I feel about the, uh……. HM-HM scenes, but it’s alright. Definitely gonna keep watching it.

    1. “But just hunting? That was actually pretty tamed.”

      It might be foreshadowing! This show is so well constructed that I wouldn’t put it past the writer to have the scene do dual duty of character development and foreshadowing.

      “I think it’s fun to watch. Don’t know how I feel about the, uh……. HM-HM scenes, but it’s alright. Definitely gonna keep watching it.”

      I thought I was taking a risk reviewing The Dungeon Only I Can Enter. But I think Jobless Reincarnation is the real risk! But yeah, whatever else it is, it’s a lot of fun!

    1. Thanks! I really liked the flow!

      I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to position the headings so we both enhance the reader’s experience and optimize SEO. So feedback welcome! Let me know if I awkwardly sliced any sections apart!

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