The Promised Neverland is a popular manga series written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu. It was published in Shōnen Jump on a weekly basis from 1 August 2016 to 14 June 2020. The manga series has been well received by critics and has sold over 21 million copies. An anime adaptation of The Promised Neverland consisting of twelve episodes was developed by CloverWorks and aired from 10 January to 28 March 2019 in Japan. An English adaptation of the anime was made by Bang Zoom! Entertainment and ran from 13 April 2019 to 29 June 2019. The Japanese voice cast starred Sumire Morohoshi as Emma, Maaya Uchida as Norman, Mariya Ise as Ray and Yūko Kaida as Isabella. The English dub starred Erica Mendez as Emma, Laura Megan Stahl as Ray, Jeannie Tirado as Norman and Laura Post as Isabella. The anime was directed by Mamoru Kanbe and adapted chapters 1 through to chapter 37 of the manga and the entire Introduction arc and Jailbreak arc. The opening theme song is called "Touch Off" by UVERworld and the ending themes are "Zettai Zetsumei" by Cö shu Nie and "Lamp" by Cö shu Nie. This review will contain spoilers.
The orphans living in Grace Field House are kept isolated from the outside world
The Promised Neverland anime is a faithful and enjoyable adaptation of the manga. Set in the year 2045, Emma is an 11-year-old orphan living in an orphanage called Grace Field House with 37 other children she considers her siblings. The children are happy, have warm beds, clean white uniforms, never go hungry, and are cared for by a caretaker "mother" called Isabella. The orphans are allowed to explore the ground as they wish but are forbidden from venturing past the gate that connects the house to the rest of the outside world. Emma, Ray and Norman are curious about the gate and what exists on the other side.
The children are cared after by a caretaker mother called Isabella
One faithful night, Isabella comes to the children and tells them that their sibling, Connie, is being adopted. After a tearful farewell, Connie leaves with Isabella to go down to the gate to meet her new parents. A short time later, Emma and Norman realize she left her favourite toy behind. The two of them sneak out of the house and run down to the gate to give it back to her. They find the gate open and Connie's dead body hidden in the back of a truck. The terrified children find a place to hide and witness Isabella speaking with a pair of demons. To their horror, they discover the truth of their existence. Grace Field House is a farm raising children as livestock to be fed to demons and Isabella is in allegiance with them. All of their siblings who left the house to be "adopted" were actually shipped out as livestock and killed and fed to demons. Emma and Norman escape and flee back to the house and join forces with Ray to find a way to escape the farm with all of their siblings.
The children bid farewell to their sibling Connie who is being shipped out
The Promised Neverland works really well as an anime. I love the opening credits and the theme song "Touch Off". The song is fast-paced and has a frantic, desperate vibe to it. The lyrics translate to read "How much freedom do we have now?" and "the things I want to forget can never be forgotten" and "even the tiniest spark can start a raging fire". You can feel the rage, the betrayal, and the hurt the children feel in the words. The imagery in the opening credits are great as well. You see flashes of Grace Field House, burning match sticks, the children running, the world being made of puzzle pieces and glimpses of the children in their white uniforms and with numbers tattooed on the sides of their necks.
The orphans living in Grace Field House love each other like siblings
I love how The Promised Neverlandstarts off bright and cheery and then takes such a dark, horrifying turn. Isabella is an engaging, well-written character with very real human flaws. She loves being a mother to the children and caring for them, but has no problem with sending them off to their deaths, because she is selfish and cruel and will do whatever it takes to ensure her own survival. Her mother-daughter relationship with Emma also adds a fantastic level of suspense to the show.
A new caretaker called Sister Krone arrives to help Isabella watch over the children
If I have one criticism about The Promised Neverland it is how a character called Sister Krone is portrayed. Sister Krone is an adult caretaker who arrives at Grace Field House to help Isabella watch over the children. The problem I have with Sister Krone is how she acts in comparison to Isabella. Isabella is a chilling, intimidating and creepy villain who is robotic in her emotions. Krone is meant to be scary because of her speed, her size, her oversized lips and nose, and the grotesque shapes she contorts her body into. It is her "otherness" (the fact that she is black) that makes her stand out. The reader is supposed to fear her because she looks and acts differently. Her black body is shown as monstrous, horrifying, and pursuing the children like a demon. Sister Krone is a racial stereotype and it is such a sore spot in an otherwise great series.
After the children discover the truth about Grace Field House they vow to escape.
The Promised Neverland anime was an exciting, terrific adaptation of the manga. Emma is a wonderful female protagonist, Isabella is a great villain, and the show has fantastic pacing, excellent music and a great premise. But it is not without its flaws.