The Promised Neverland was one of the breakout anime hits of the year; it came out of nowhere, few had heard of it and now everybody is obsessed. So, of course, I had to check it out. And let me tell you, the hype was worth it.
The show focuses on a group of kids living in an orphanage called the Grace Field House. At some point before their 12th birthday, they’re shipped out to live with foster families. Otherwise, their days are filled with fun and love, as their raised by “Mother” a woman named Isabelle, who cares for them as though they were her own.
Then one day, Emma and Norman, two of the oldest and highest scoring children uncover the terrible truth about their home; it’s not an orphanage, it’s a farm. And the kids are being raised as high quality meat for demons.
The show at this time, also doesn’t say why the demons are eating children but it implies that the these kids are extra special and that the higher-scoring they are, the more valuable the kids are; since Emma, Norman and Ray are the highest scoring kids, they’ve been able to make it to 12 to ripen to their fullest potential.
The kids with no potential or who are average get sent out when they’re six.
The first season is spent as Emma, Norman and a third boy, Ray, figure out a way to escape and avoid getting on the menu. Much of the series though is an epic battle of wits, ala Death Note. The kids are constantly trying to stay one step of ahead of Mother, and often go into deep complicated plans often not explaining it until after the fact.
Emma is hilarious and super-optimistic but still managed to surprised; Norman is so smart that he would give a hypothetical L/Light love child a run for his money and Ray is fascinating in his motivations and character. (Even if I don’t like the perfect recall thing).
It’s an absolutely gripping tale, which is why I finished the thing in two sittings. I needed to know what was going to happen. I haven’t seen a show this gripping and suspenseful in a while, which is great.
I never could quite predict what was going to happen, but once the big twists were there, you can see where it came from and the payoff always felt worth it. Unlike some other shows.
The animation is great, particularly the characters’ expressions. They’re exaggerated, comical and creepy, particularly Sister Krone’s and it matches the tone of the series perfectly, even if almost led to some nightmares.
It’s definitely one of the best shows I’ve seen this year, and while I am considering getting the manga, with the music, expressions and Japanese voice acting, I’m really enjoying the anime as it is, so I’m not sure about manga experience except to see what happens before Season 2 comes out (cause there will definitely be a second season).
If you haven’t seen it already, drop everything you’re doing and watch it now. You won’t regret it.
And that’s the scoop.
Year of release: 2019
Length: 12 episodes; 23 minutes each
Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Writer: Toshiya Ono