The Promised Neverland
Manga Written by: Kaiu Shirai
Manga Illustrator: Posuka Demizu
Manga Run Date: August 2016 – June 2020
Anime Director: Mamoru Kanabe
Anime Series Composition: Toshiya Ono
The brilliant first season of The Promised Neverland used two arcs from the manga known as the Introduction and Jailbreak arcs. For the second season, the Promised Forest arc is used before going in a different direction while trying to keep to the themes of the manga and original plot.
The year is 2045 we are introduced to the children at the Grace Field House. Emma, Ray, and Norman take the main stage in this creepy orphanage. Emma is a bright, optimistic, cheerful character. Ray takes on the role of the skeptic. He is straightforward and is one crafty individual. Norman has genius-level intellect, seems optimistic but is a realist, and has the strategic mind of a military specialist. They are in the care of Housemother Isabella, known to the children of the orphanage as Mom. Isabella appears to be a loving, caring mother but is devilishly cunning, manipulative, and detached from the children’s fate.
“AT ITS CORE, THE PROMISED NEVERLAND IS A STORY OF LOSING INNOCENCE”
It takes place after an agreement called “The Promise” between humans and demons, dividing the world in two. One half of the world is for the human populace free of the dreadful demons, the other half for the demons with human farms. The expression you are what you eat comes to life in this horrifying setting. Demons consume humans to take on their characteristics. If they don’t, they will degenerate and turn into mindless monsters. Farms are set up in a guise of an orphanage. They have the perception of freedom within boundaries. They cannot go near the gate or the walls surrounding the orphanage/farm. Housemothers are responsible for education. If you have very intelligent children, the more sought after your livestock will be.
Emma and Norman find out the terrible truth when Connie is taken away for adoption. Emma finds Connie`s favorite stuffed animal left behind, so the two of them decide to go to the gate to give it to Connie, only to find out the terrifying truth. They are nothing more than meat. From here on out, Emma and Norman decide that escape is their best course of action, not knowing what horrors will await them when they leave their seemingly peaceful orphanage. Thus begins the planning to conjure up an escape plan and saving all the children in the Grace Field House.
The art style…
The art in this anime is truly unique. The way it presents itself helps towards creating that specific kind of eerie that the show is going for. Some might find it off-putting however that is exactly what is needed to propel this show forward.
The writing and Dialogue
What the series does well is the believability it creates through some clever dialogue. The level of maturity it creates in the children, namely Norman, Emma, and Ray. It is truly refreshing to actually sit back and not to think that they are only 11. Dealing with a situation so out of control, most adults will falter. The innocence that is found in every child is well portrayed. Housemother Isabella is a truly complex and intriguing character. You get the feeling that she loves each and every one of her “children,” and she tries to give them a full and happy life before their untimely demise. What the children don’t seem to realize is that Isabella has her own struggle for survival. She is a brilliant character, complex and intriguing.
Why should you watch The Promised Neverland?
The series is not your typical horror, with a great setting, some truly chilling facial expressions, amazing character designs, and an all-out feeling of eeriness; this hits more than one note in the psychological thriller roller coaster. The series does not rely on gruesome depictions or jump scares. No, it plays with one’s mind, and it is horrifyingly creepy. The flow from the first episode to the last episode is perfect. It keeps its momentum well. You grow attached to the children and the situation they find themselves in.
Verdict on the first season
The first season of this psychological thrill ride is nothing short of awe-inspiring and a must-watch for fans of this genre or any anime lover. Easily one of the best seasons of anime that I have ever watched. At its core, The Promised Neverland is a story of losing innocence, breaking out of the so-called fairy tale the miss conception of childhood, the real world is a lot scarier, and there is always a price to pay.