The Promised Neverland – Anime Preview
Synopsis: The one adored as the mother is not the real parent. The people living here together are not actual siblings. The Gracefield House is where orphaned children live. An irreplaceable home where 38 siblings and Mom live happy lives, even with no blood relations. However, their everyday life suddenly came to an abrupt end one day… (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: The Promised Neverland breaks the shonen mold. Launching as a manga back in 2016 the series sat closer to Death Note with lots of scheming and planning. Its atmosphere focused more on thrills, chills and horror. The series doesn’t progress like a typical shonen either, more intent on producing strong mystery, puzzles, and obstacles for our characters to overcome as they’re forced to play a game of mental subterfuge against their captors. Neverland wowed Shonen readers and this first episode of its anime adaptation does so again, faithfully pulling the manga’s first chapter into anime form with a few improvements, quality animation, and solid direction.
Linny: The first episode does a great job of establishing the subtle, yet eerie nature of Neverland’s story from the very start. From the orphanage’s children questioning certain strange elements of their everyday life to actually showing the tests the kids undergo with a clearly sinister tone. It immediately makes you realize everything is not what they seem and keeps the audience on their toes for the actual reveal.
Tom: The animation, the music, everything about the production is solid and adds to the story’s experience, perhaps putting the anime as the better version for audiences to experience. Time will tell. That said, I should note however that the manga falls off after its first arc. The writing gets weaker, the character work crumbles, and much of what made Neverland stand out in 2016 fades away. Still, the anime’s 1st season won’t be covering more than that first arc. as our heroes Emma, Norman and Ray work to try and escape the orphanage, and that first arc is near perfect. For that alone I think Neverland is absolutely worth your time this season.
Linny: My only issue with this episode is that by taking Neverland from the page to the screen there’s a few additional flaws in the stories’ logic; Such as how Emma and Norman, our two lead characters, manage to escape undetected when there are clearly several dangerous individuals in the very same echoey and enclosed space. And right after, Emma lets out a loud wail of shock and despair that it would only seem logical that she would be overheard as her voice carries across the wide open field they escaped to. Yet not a single soul hears her. I’ll admit the latter is one that could be explained as artistic license but the first complaint is harder to explain away other than ‘because otherwise the story would end there’. That said, these are minor quibbles, and The Promised Neverland has such a shocking, gripping story at its core that it’s definitely worth trying.