If you’re wondering about a psychological anime to watch, then The Promised Neverland should be your choice, definitely. The series has raised the interest of a wider audience volume-release after volume-release. The merchandise cannot still compete with the giant One Piece but the sales are extremely high for a newcomer like The Promised Neverland. The animated series is composed by 12 episodes which cover the story till the volume 37 of the Manga, written by Kaiu Shirai. The anime TV adaptation has been performed by CloverWorks and a second season has been postponed to January 2021 due to COVID-19.
Only a great story could have been written by an author such as Kaiu Shirai (image below). Yes that a pen name. Set in an orphanage, The Promised Neverland is a product soaked with suspense, tactical battles and intense personal bounds.
The author of The Promised Neverland, Kaio Shirai (pen name of the Mangaka)
In short: The Promised Neverland. An idyllic setting.
The whole story takes place inside the Grace Field House. An idyllic, apparently perfect place for the orphans where to grow and spend their lifes, waiting for family adoption. That is the sensation the anime wants to send in the initial episode. The pleasant appeareance barely resists 20 mins of episode 1, when the true nature of the orphanage is revealed. The Grace Field House, directed by the caretaker “Mama” Isabella is literally a farm for raising up the children. The three main protagonists Ray, Emma and Norman have to set up the most exciting escape plan of recent time. Please, don’t be fooled by the “childish” appearance of the characters, you will not be disappointed! Be aware, spoiler below! Let’s begin with The Promised Neverland review!
The characters of The Promised Neverland.
Ray, Norman and Emma are the three exceptional guys who get perfect scores on individual tests. The trio is constituted by 3 different personalities which completes each other. Let’s analysed them in more depth.
Norman, Ray and Norman in the Promised Neverland.
She is the strong-willed presence inside the Grace Field House. She represent the never give up mentality. Her positive energy influences the guys around her, till imposing a mass escape from the orphanage. A plan in which no one, even the younger siblings, should be left behind. During the episodes, she becomes able to control her impulsiveness in order to outsmart Isabella, the “Mama”.
If I can make a easy comparison, Ray is the Sasuke Uchiha of The Promised Neverland. He’s the vengeful character of the trio, the one who has been struggling since his childish due to his past. Since the beginning his escape plan is also a suicide plan for himself. The mental pressures which have been casted on him over the years have determined that decision. However, on the perspective of the whole plot, a smart guy like Ray cannot collapse under the burden of an entire life spent on espionage. Ray, the true child of Isabella, discovers the strength inside himself to go on.
The most tactical. Despite his (poor) physical abilities he outperform all the siblings in the chasing-game. In fact, as Ray explains, that game is more a tactical than a physical related-game. Norman is the most difficult character to inspect because of his matchless skill to comprehend the other people’s mind. Thanks to his relation with Emma, he goes beyond the mere rational approach. In his plan, he chooses the option of self-sacrifice in order to save his mates. The role of Norman is fundamental in order to figure-out how to overcome the presence of the crevasse which surrounds the Grace Field House.
The prison-break establishment.
The Grace Field House. A perfectly chosen name in the Newspeak language. The “house of the grace” becomes the last harbour before death for the orphans. As pointed out in other dystopian animes, such as Psycho-Pass, some touching points with the literary masterpieces of George Orwell can be found. The children are referred as “cattle” by the Mama. They’re fed like animals in a farms and, when ready, they’re sent to the consumer. In that context, the orphanage becomes a prison as in 1984. Emma, Ray and Norman are for the whole time under-surveillance. They cannot trust anybody till the very end. Also Ray revelas to be the Isabella-spy inside the Grace Field House. All these elements contributes to a recreate a-suspendend tension on the air. Is that thrilling that keeps the spectactor stuck to the anime series.
The Promised Neverland season 2, preview and curiosities
The Promised Neverland: Isabella. The devil hidden in a smile.
The fascinating mimic of Isabella.
In the Promised Neverland Review we need to highlight the exceptional characterization of the antagonist, Isabella. Her behaviour is always well considered. Her attitude never exceed the limits, like her perfectly tied- hair. Only at the end of the series, when we see her loosing the hair, she shows her true feelings. Isabella is not a evil character on the pure sense of the term. As she explains well in the final episodes, she truly cares about her children. But unlike Emma, her willing was not strong enough to bend the faith (remember her dialogue with the grandmother). She is the character who accepted the role of Mama. The contraddiction establishes on the contrast of being a Mama who raise “meat” children.
Isabella is the villain that The Promised Neverland deserves. She’s an adult who has the same desire of the orphans she look after. Isabella is the one that at the question “Are you happy?”, hesitates to answer. The facial mimic of Isabella is something unique. Those perverted smiles, immediately communicate her mental imbalance. In those eyes, the despair of being a Mama is comprised.
As a counterpart, sister Krone is not at the same level of Mom Isabella. That constitutes a little flaw inside the anime.
What future for Norman? Demons and The Promised Neverland 2.
The second season of The Promised Neverland will be released in January 2021. What about Norman? Is he really dead? In my opinion, a pillar character like Norman is fundamental for the story development. All the efforts done to introduce his complex personality cannot be wasted. For this reason I expect Norman to come back. Moreover, the second season has to reveal a lot about the main villain of the series, the Demons which hide beyond the boundary. In fact, we know nothing about the outside world (Attack on Titan citation). A more dynamic season has to come!
The Promised Neverland Review. Final Thoughts.
The Promised Neverland contains all the ingredients for a successful and exciting anime. It is an anime so complete it can sacrifice “the action side”. The focus is set on the feelings which bound together our trio, Emma, Ray and Normal. The compassion of the siblings for each other, the real sense of brotherood are the key point the this first season. The musical compartment (remember Isabella’s lullaby?) is outstanding. It literally feeds the augmented sense of suspense. The perception of oppression transpires throughout the entire series. The situation seems several times to overwhelm the protagonists which are in the position of the under-dogs. However, the level of cunning showed by the guys is something very challenging for the audience. In very short amoun of time (12 episodes), The Promised Neverland affirms himself as a masterpiece.
What do you think of the Promised Neverland review? Let’s write in the comment!