The Promised Neverland S1 (2019) : Anime Review

Upon finding the young friend dead at the back of the truck, both children hid and heard part conversations between adults and aliens on shipping out children, fresh brain is best and more sacrifices are required. Somehow, both managed to sneak back to the orphanage, all jolted but pretended nothing happened.

The next few episodes focused on Emma & Norman making sense of the situation, sharing information and playing cat-and-mouse with the “Mother Isabella” of the orphanage. Looping in Ray, who are their close friends, the trio manoeuvred complicated emotions, intense info-gathering and making difficult decision on how to move forward & survive. As the story progressed, bits & pieces of information of the world beyond the orphanage are peeled layer by layer. When Sister Krone came to assist at the orphanage, the intensity went up one notch. The children got involved with multiple scheming mind-games with Mother Isabella and Sister Krone, with each adult having their own objective.   

All hell broke loose upon the “secret” being out in the open, and the children fought to escape. Failing the planned escape, the children went into despair with further perplexed emotions. More surprises await as the close relationship of the friends are tested again & again. The key theme that came across was do not give up. The ending of the 1st season pinned rays of hope for the children but also laid bare the desolation in reality.

Characters Development : Emma is the sunshine arc. She is bright, happy, positive and emotionally invested. She is also the idealist, always wanting to save everyone. Her journey forced her to grow up, facing the grey reality. Her failure almost crippled her emotionally sending her to a spiral of despondency, but she managed to scrap through with the support from Norman. Her decision to fight for her freedom differentiated her from Mother Isabella.  

Of the 3 main children, my favourite is Norman. He is rationale, open, compassionate & tolerant. Norman reconciles and accepts the situation, but looks for solutions. He lives for the moment & aspires happiness for his loved ones, specifically Emma. There is not an ounce of wickedness in the child’s bone. Personally, I hated the ending they had for Norman. If only… 

Ray’s story arc is melancholic. He is the opposite of Norman – calculative, secretive, scheming. Halfway through the story, I really wondered what made this child ticks. As the story unfolds, the divulgence provided the “ah-ha” moment on why Norman turns out to be as such. His is a pitiful life, none of which is his choice. His memory became his bane & his intelligence became his tool to survive, unravelling his personality. The positivity of the others became his enlightenment, waking him from the perpetual despair. I am glad for the awakening he gets, and hopefully another chance.  

Sister Krone’s character is devilish even from the beginning. The character is peeled through as her own past experiences pushed her over. Simply survival of the fittest. Emotionally Sister Krone is volatile, and probably mentally unstable. Her reactions are plain instinct to survive. An obvious villain to despise, but not one without her reason.

Mother Isabella is calm, seemingly loving and wily. I could not read her reaction at all, she is almost always robotic, seemingly emotionally detached. It is only at the end of the series that you see her real self, and what drove her to her current self. Her conflicts arose from her own decisions. Her need for self-redemption did not triumph over her need for survival. Her happiest memory is forever embedded in the tune gifted (best OST!) by her only friend. Nostalgic soul, but I truly believe it was her decision and she has to bear the consequences. Link to Isabel’s Lullaby. isabels-lullaby-from-promised-neverland-theme-song

Conclusion 10/10

The anime was recommended by a tween, and it didn’t disappoint. With each episode a short 25 minutes and a total of 12 episode, it is fast-paced with a lot of emotions packed for such young children. I feel for each of them, and am amazed they took in so much throughout their journey. Looking forward to the 2nd series which is rumoured for 2021 release. Link to the 2nd season review promised-neverland-s2-2021-anime-review.

The animation is bare, but adequate. I get goosebump everytime I watch Sister Krone as the proportion of her facial features is creepy. Focus on the story… 😀

Watch it!

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