Now that Emma and Norman are aware of their situation, they have moved on to the planning phase of their escape mission – specifically the gathering of information. Using previous dates as a guide they realize that one child is shipped out to the gate every two months – and the order seems to be related to their test scores. Because Norman and Emma always get perfect scores and haven’t been shipped yet despite being at the maximum age, they infer that they are higher value merchandise due to the size of their brains. They decide to escape with all the other children within two months.
The more information they gather, however, the more obstacles they realize. Mama always being able to find kids when they are missing clues them in to the fact that they must have trackers – although she seems to only be able to track them when she looks at a ‘pocket watch’. They also discover that the wall around the woods that surround the orphanage is ridiculously high and completely smooth – climbing is impossible, but a rope might help. While stockpiling ropes made from tablecloths in some tree hollows close to the wall, they run into Ray – the other super smart kid – and decide to let him in on the secret. Ray seems to take the news extremely easily, although he objects to Emma’s plan of taking every single child.
Despite their confrontation about how plausible it is for every child to survive, the trio are invigorated with new hope. This hope is soon dashed when Mama introduces two new people to Grace Home – a new baby, and a new adult – Sister Krone.
I’m still really happy with a lot of the adaptive decisions that have been made in the anime version of Neverland – as many of them greatly enhance moments in the episode. The things that stood out to me the most in episode two – besides this adaptions great sense of lighting, anyway – was firstly a scene at the beginning where Emma awakens from a nightmare. As she sits in bed, we see her from the POV of the clock’s pendulum – as it swings back and forth. It’s not the first time there has been a clock highlighted – the first episode also juxtaposed clocks onto the screen during the scene where the children were playing tag. The theme of clocks, and time – namely time running out – is something central to the story and I look forward to seeing what other clock symbolism there will be. The second scene that grabbed me came towards the end of the episode – when Norman explains to Ray about he and Emma’s decision to not leave the other kids behind. It’s a great moment in the manga as well, where Norman starts going on about how he and Emma plan to survive with an almost gleeful madness behind his calm smile, as well as the reveal that he has a crush on her. In the anime, the lighting and the music used here enhances it so more and it becomes a truly memorable scene, and it’s hard to not get pumped up along with him.
As for Ray himself, this episode also formally introduces him.. He’s a character I like a good deal, although there isn’t much I can say about him yet without possible spoilers. His pessimism makes a good contrast to Emma and Norman’s optimism though, and rounds out the trio quite well.
We also get introduced to Sister Krone at the end of the episode, and I know a few people are expressing concern that the story is being rushed through too quickly. It means that after the kids moment of hope, the new obstacle of a second adult crushes it already in the same episode. I personally think this isn’t too bad as it gives a good cliffhanger for the next episode, although I’m also wondering what the pace of this adaptation will be like and how much material it will cover. As for Krone herself…. well. There’s quite a lot to say about her design and some of the outright problematic aspects of her character and I’m really hoping they tone that down a little, but I’ll save that for the episode three review.