Winter 2019 was definitely one of the best seasons for all great anime. You got “The Rising of the Shield Hero” and “Dororo” which still ongoing, “Mob Psycho 100 II”, and “Kaguya-sama: Love is War“. But, it’s definitely “The Promised Neverland”. It’s one of the most anticipated series in 2019. An adaptation of the manga written by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu as the illustrator. Since August 2016, the manga comes with a very interesting story and plot where not all horror genre becomes welcome in each season. However, this anime able to adapted one cour and for the second season will be aired in 2020.
Take John Sturges‘ “The Great Escape” combines with James Dashner’s “The Maze Runner”. Or you can take “Oldboy” or “Blade Runner 2049“. You don’t have anything even you don’t know why you’re in such a place. After you know the ins and outs, you seem to escape to run away from it. Somewhere in the future to be exact in 2045, the story focuses on Emma, Ray, and Norman. They are three genius children in an orphanage. However, an unpleasant aroma smelled. A very suspicious smell at the beginning. Unlike the orphanages in general, children are given intensive education, health care, and luxurious food. This orphanage works when children who are over six years old or who have “matured”, they will be looked for their parents.
One night, Emma and Norman accidentally crossed a restricted area. A gate out of the orphanage was open, accidentally crossed the gate, and a boom twist. They saw an unexpected event. Something different when they were at the orphanage. Slowly, monsters aren’t clearly negotiating with their “Mama”. All changed when “Mama” opened her original mask, as well as the expressions of Emma and Norman, truly didn’t believe it. Until here, it was known that the three children were trying to escape from the orphanage or rather a farm. Farm food for monsters. With such education so that they are all smarter, their brains are the target. Psychology, the manipulation game between “Mama” and the three children began their plan.
“The Promised Neverland” brings the whole story very well. Very well-written manuscripts, good characterizations, diverse twist, and complexity as an added sense of food. The way it portrays the first episode was convincing, so subtle, and so terrifying. You are looking at children who have fun with each other as if they don’t know the reality. Great characterization can be seen from Emma’s roles and her friends. We see how they’ve to survive and run away in the orphanage. The connection between the outside world, small details, or even the relationship between the protagonist and villain is something I don’t want to miss. Unexpected twists are the main dish of why every episode always has the impression of a cliffhanger.
You can’t stop but you don’t want to see what happens next. As if, you are awake in front of the screen. You are still watching this anime. The atmosphere in the first episode was portrayed as cheerful but totally changed into a tense. Plots are weighty and don’t seem rushed. But, am I trying to be overrated here? Actually, of course. However, this isn’t one of the shounen masterpieces people always say it. Every time the show keeps the tone, was there something strange about the dialogues between these characters?
The story of “lies behind reality” was nothing new. Their situation when they react to all reality when they know everything, it’s very deceptive. Moreover, it’s also weird when each character “keeps” each other’s information. It seems as if it’s not like an escape from prison. You know what am I saying? I don’t think so. But, freak. This is a true psychological thriller. It’s pacing for me to binge-watching this show. It doesn’t really push all of its tones so that there is a build up of the character. You have to keep every second you’ve, breathe as much as possible.
While the show focuses on Norman, Emma, and Ray, we must see how unique they are in facing that invisible hell. This mind psychological game contains something that non-fans of the mind-freak plot can watch. Emma is the main character and leader of the children. Although not as smart as Norman or Ray, she is a guarantee and the key to all her plans. She is an outgoing girl, a leader, strong, but very optimistic that her goodness is a weakness. Norman is like a mastermind or the Joker but more to a hero. He is very creative, very calm, very cool, but not as strong as Emma when talking about physical. Ray is an informant, smart, but quite angry at something. He is the only child who doesn’t want to leave the orphanage on the grounds that togetherness is one of the most fragile things he has.
Psychological, mind-freak, or mystery anime and other media would be said as good if how great or smart the antagonist or villain was. Isabella or Mama is the caretaker of the orphanage. She is not the Joker but more to a Two-Face. She hid her real face using a fake smile mask. Isabella is different from other antagonists who are more exaggerated when talking about strength or whatsoever. She is more to realism especially when we know her backstory. She is very loving too even though she uses that fake smile mask. There are other characters like Sister Krone as Isabella’s right hand who also has the most important role in the story. As well as Don and Gilda as supporting characters and other vague supporting characters.
CloverWorks, apart from a new studio and has not yet worked on much anime, is at the top of the hill. They have worked on popular anime in previous seasons such as “DARLING in the FRANXX” and “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai“. This show stands out and makes one of CloverWorks’ best of everything they have worked on. The art style lies its perfect as they often maintain their tension and tone. There is something very attached to them they weren’t playing around here. They take care of the scenery, color gradients, and cute character designs which are quite ridiculous regardless this is a horror and psychological anime.
CG is rather bland even though they did it very well. The score is kind of remind me with an arrangement of Nino Rota’s “The Godfather” but more like horror. The opening theme song kinds remind me of Linkin Park’s “Living Things”, pretty catchy and fit with its lyrics and theme. The voice acting just blows my mind like, I don’t believe Mariya Ise and Maaya Uchida were cast Ray and Norman. Sumire Morohoshi as Emma as well filled her role very well.
“The Promised Neverland” is a horror anime takes inspiration from a variety of media making something new from its own premise. This anime, at first glance, has impressed all kinds of perspectives. A well-written story, characterizations, build up, almost everything is perfect. However, the ambiguous impressions of the character and world are bland make this show so promising but not the best of all. It follows a lack of common sense, such as the noisy dialogue between characters but not like trying to nitpick something cliche. Yet, sometimes occurs in several episodes. But, I want to see this sequel next year again. It’s a series which is the most awaited at the season and certainly going forward.
4 out of 5 stars.