Title: The Promised Neverland (Yakusoku no Neverland)
Release Dates: Jan 10, 2019
Genre / Themes: Sci-Fi, Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Thriller, Shounen
Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)
A group of the smartest kids at a seemingly perfect orphanage uncover its dark truth when they break a rule to never leave the orphanage grounds. Once the truth is discovered, they begin to plan an escape to save all of the children.
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PROMISED NEVERLAND
My significant other was the one who recommended me to read the manga under the same name. I started it but was not able to finish. Reading literature mixed with artwork is not something that is new to me, I have been reading graphic novels and comics my entire life but for some reason I found myself struggling trying to get through the manga.
Luckily, I believe sometime last year, they released the animated version. At the time, I couldn’t find a place to stream it, good thing it became available in Netflix this year. Talk about luck.
SO WHAT IS THE PROMISED NEVERLAND ABOUT?
Promised Neverland follows a group of kids living at an orphanage. The kids were well loved and were raised well by the head of the house who everyone called “Mama”. Everyone treated each other like family. However, since it is an orphanage, the kids still get sent out for adoption. Or so they thought.
Basically, that’s Promised Neverland in a nutshell. I don’t want to get too detailed about it to avoid spoilers.
SO LET’S TALK ABOUT THE THINGS I LIKED
It looks so much like the manga! But don’t be fooled by the artwork, despite the light atmosphere, and somewhat playful design of the characters, the story The Promised Neverland tells is not as fun as what the art looks like. I feel like it is such a brilliant thing to do, draw the characters in such a way the readers of the manga (or watchers of the anime) would not expect something much sinister is lurking around the corner of the seemingly peaceful Grace Field House.
YOU THINK YOU KNOW SOMEONE – YOU DON’T
One thing I appreciate most about characters is how a writer will be able to surprise me. Boy, did the characters here surprise me, not just in one instance but on multiple occasions. I love surprises especially when characters are involves. Manipulation, mind games, betrayal, I am all for those things, and I am happy to say that The Promised Neverland had them.
OUR MAIN TRIO
Majority of the time, we follow Emma, Norman, and Ray as they try to figure out the truth about the orphanage and what the role of their so-called Mama to everything that was happening around them.
I love these three so much. I wish I friends like that growing up, you know, those that would always have your back heedless of every difficult thing they run smack into. I admire the friendship and the camaraderie all these kids have with each other. They may not see everything eye to eye, but there is always that mutual respect among them, and I think that helped a lot with them finding the solution to their dilemma.
THE THRILL. OH YES. IT’S THRILLING.
Since I have not completely read the manga, I have zero knowledge on what was going to happen to them. The entire time I was at the edge of my seat, hoping and praying that they don’t get caught with whatever it was they’re doing because it will not end well for them for sure. It was a good thing I didn’t read the manga or else the experience of watching things unfold will be different – things wouldn’t feel as instense and as surprising should I have known what was going to happen prior to me watching it.
THE THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
To be fair, these are not things I completely disliked, these are more of things that I think could have been made better.
THE WORLD. I WANTED MORE.
The Promised Neverland is set in a dystopian world where you don’t really get to know much about anything outside of the orphanage. That frustrated me a bit. The manga may have more information about what is outside the walls of the orphanage but I wanted to know more. I feel like, we could have been introduced to the world it was set it but all we got was just tiny bits of information of “what-could-be” and not what is actually out there. But that could be a narrative style, I’m just not a huge fan of that. As someone who loves fantasy, aside from a compelling plot, I do love myself an extraordinarily vast setting. I want a world where I can be immersed with, a world I can be familiar with, this sadly wasn’t the case here. I feel like we only got a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the setting.
There was a plan here that was so perfectly executed, it seemed too good to be true. Sometimes, a plan needs to be flawed for it to be realistic. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how they executed every little thing, it completely took me off guard, it just didn’t feel too convincing that these kids were able to pull off something like that without any flaws.
A NOT SO EMPATHETIC ANTAGONIST
Antagonists are meant to antagonize our main characters – that is true. However, I prefer antagonists that has substance, that shows you why they end up being the way they did and what their motivations are for ending up the way they are. Sometimes, a cogent antagonist can make or break a story. An effective antagonist is someone who you can completely hate but at the same time, completely understand where they are coming from.
Sadly, the antagonist in The Promised Neverland was not wholly effective. Yes, this character’s presence has become ominous and terrifying at time, as no clue would be presented what this person is up to. My gripe comes from the fact that we never got to feel who this person really is and why they became the way they are. There was an attempt towards the end to make this person a little bit redeemable – it didn’t work for me though.
Overall, I loved this and would highly recommend any anime fans to watch this. The adorable kids, on its own, is enough for you to watch this, but then of course, the mystery, the suspense is really what will keep you watching this from one episode to another.