Name: Yakusoku no Neverland
MAL Score: 8.74/10
Genres: Sci-fi, Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Thriller
There will be minor spoilers for The Promised Neverland ahead
Immediately becoming one of the more popular anime of the winter season, The Promised Neverland has been hard to ignore. For a Shounen Jump adaptation, its plot is rather unique. But does this mean that the show is good? Let’s find out.
The Promised Neverland begins by appearing to be a sweet lighthearted show. Several kids in an orphanage, Grace Field House, are introduced as having happy lives. However, something seems off. The orphanage that they’re in is surrounded by walls, and the one rule is to never go to the gate while someone is being “adopted.” One night, two of the main characters, Emma and Norman, decide to go to the gate because a girl had forgotten her toy in the orphanage. To their horror, Emma and Norman discover they aren’t getting shipped off to foster homes, but instead to their death. Of course they have to get out of here, so they share this information with their friend, Ray, and work on a plan to escape. For the rest of the 11 episodes, the three children try to find ways to escape their inevitable deaths.
While the synopsis of the show may sound interesting, the show at times has trouble achieving that. One flaw of setting up an anime in this way is that there’s bound to be a lot of planning going on, where nothing but talking is really happening. This happens in several episodes, making a lot of the early and middle a drag to watch. After about nine episodes I was just hoping for the show to end. Fortunately, because of the episodes spent with the character planning their escape, the last two or three episodes did not disappoint and were highly entertaining. The last two episodes almost made me feel like it was worth sitting through the first nine episodes that I thought were bland.
In terms of the characters, I wouldn’t consider any of them all that special. Emma is a relatively generic shounen protagonist who has the “I want to save everyone” mindset. Her being the main character isn’t really a bad thing, but she just didn’t stand out much to me personally. Norman and Ray both had a little more to them, but I don’t feel as if the writing was strong enough to unlock all their potential. Ray came off as an edgy preteen and Norman often mirrored Emma’s ideas when they both could’ve done more.
The worst character was most likely Sister Crone though, as she wasn’t really essential to the plot. Sister Crone was pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things, despite getting a lot of screen time. In addition to this, the show presents some scenes that make you question what you were supposed to feel about her, if the show wanted you to sympathize with her or not.
In terms of production, the art style was kind of awkward. This style is something that would make more sense for a moe show, not a “Psychological Thriller.” The soundtrack was pretty nice though, and the song that plays during episode 12 helped add a lot of emotions to the scene.
Overall, I thought The Promised Neverland was relatively average until the end. Before the last two episodes I would’ve given the show a 5, but I’ll bring it up to a 6/10 due to the entertainment I got at the end. I don’t regret watching The Promised Neverland, but I’m somewhat disappointed. I think the show could’ve been a lot more with some more polished writing.