Light Novel, Manga, Anime. How the Direction Can Make or Break an Anime.


Have you been tuning in to watch Promised Neverland Season 2? It’s been creating quite an uprising in fans over the weeks and months. Anime fans reading the manga of Promised Neverland noticed that the anime isn’t quite following the manga as usual shows would do. Of course, anime always add original content known as filler to give the actual manga creator time to continue writing the manga. And not be rushed or have the anime put on a very long hiatus. We noticed that stories that first started as a light novel, then move to a manga, and then become an anime could navigate an anime differently from a manga straight to anime. Another example of this is “So I’m a Spider, So What?, written by Okina Baba.

Promised Neverland Manga

Learning of “So I’m a Spider, So What?, by Yen Press in its early stages. It already had several volumes of the light novel out. So, we grabbed a bunch of the manga after finding the plot intriguing. Reading some of the author’s notes, we find that the light novel has an entirely different artist and art style from the manga. Tsukasa Kiryu is strictly an illustrator and not a mangaka, so manga artists must interpret his work into a manga form. Asahiro Kakashi does it.

We burned through five volumes of the manga(Review Here). Then reports came out that Crunchyroll was producing the anime as a Crunchyroll Original. We couldn’t wait to see how this story would turn out in anime form. Here we are now, Winter 2021 of the anime season, five episodes into the show. It’s been great thus far, and it’s left us shocked and excited for more.

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Those who know the show know the main character is a high school girl transported/reincarnated from school into this fantasy world as a spider. The shocking part is the manga rarely shows humans or talks about them. We don’t know much about humans in this fantasy world and in places the manga drags. It’s a constant monster battle or survival for our main character for many of the beginning volumes. It isn’t till volume 4 that the manga starts to grip the reader. The early works are hard to relate to a spider eating a frog for dinner for multiple volumes. We wondered if this would be entertaining in anime form and hoped that people would not get turned off by the show in the early stages.


Then the anime drops, and the opening is excellent and shows tons of humans. Our excitement hit the charts, “Wow, more humans!” We couldn’t overthink the opening because they usually foreshadow things much later in the anime and possibly in a season 2. When the giant bomb dropped on us, the anime had complete sections of us learning of the humans in this fantasy world. More importantly, meeting the other students who transported/reincarnated some humans and others became monsters too, like our main character. Then the scene would switch back to our main character. None of these things were in the manga volumes that we read.

The director of the show understood that you couldn’t run an anime like this manga. It just wouldn’t be relatable early in the anime. Our knowledge is that they incorporated more of the light novel details. Much like other media entertainment, a book will have many more details and scenes to put into a visual representation. This ultimately became true with “So I’m A Spider, So What?” So, the blending of the light novel and manga gives us the human to monster/primary character ratio needed to keep viewers in the seats. The anime is world-building and continuing the story of the main character at the very same time. In this regard, it’s light years ahead of the manga.

If the fan didn’t read the light novels or the manga, they would never know these things. They could watch the anime solely and enjoy the viewing wholeheartedly. In the way of “So I’m A Spider, So What?” they get this situation right. We are very excited for more of this anime and looking forward to many more seasons. Can we say that Promised Neverland has a similar method planned? We’re assuming they have a technique that will satisfy both the readers of the manga/light novel and viewers of the anime? It seems we won’t know till much later in the season or possibly next season. Until then, we hope that fans of Promised Neverland will keep their hopes up and that the directors and producers know what they’re doing with the show’s direction.


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