This review will be spoiler free, aside from revealing the overall tone of the show. The Promised Neverland is a compelling thriller that utilizes sound and animation to form an effective tone. In particular it’s use of sound effects and music serve to build tension and create emotion.
While I can’t reveal much of the story’s contents, it remains a tense thriller with incredibly high stakes should the main children fail in their task or be caught. From the beginning the show always feels off, even before revealing its hand in how it will terrify the viewer. The world the show builds is mysterious but very well put together. What is revealed hints at a larger narrative beyond the main children, but leaves much of the world outside of the Gracefield house a lingering mystery. The ending of the season still leaves the viewer questioning things about the world. However, unlike certain other shows, the ending remains impactful and feels complete and satisfying in spite of the remaining questions.
For those who desire the continuation of the story, while the show is not due to continue soon, the manga has continued far beyond the end of the first season. However it isn’t yet finished as of the time of this review.
The story is complimented well by the show’s animation, character art, and sound, which all serve to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout.
Nothing in the show looks particularly bad animation wise, though nothing is spectacular. Many scenes of characters talking are shot well to convey the tone of the piece, though much consists of characters simply talking. While the story they’re discussing is compelling and the shot composition is good, it’s not always the most interesting to visually look at. Two characters standing together and speaking, even if framed welll, doesn’t always add to intrigue.
However, when building tension the show is expert. It’s use of cgi in a first person perspective is fantastic at making the house feel huge and foreboding.
The background art and coloring are quite lovely to look at. The colors are realistic, bright, but not oversaturated, capturing the view of a child well. When they alter for the sake of a flashback, such as in the last episode, it works quite well.
Overall character designs are effective. Adults appear huge and menacing without losing their humanity. Certain creatures are bizarre and terrifying. The only character design you may have already heard discourse of is that of Sister Krone. Sister Krone is a black woman who comes to assist Isabella with caring for and watching over the children. She is a fascinating character but her design - as often happens with black characters in anime - has been the cause of some controversy. Honestly, while she retains the large lips and hairstyle typical of African stereotypes in the United States, her design is toned down from the manga. Her personality is still immensely over the top, but she’s a enjoyable character. Honestly, if you’re particularly sensitive to this sort of design it will probably still distract you.
The opening and ending themes are both excellent. I enjoy them musically and they fit the tone of the shoe, with the opening being more rebellious and the ending more somber and subdued.
As hinted at in previous sections to music and sound mixing in this show is absolutely superb and truly makes horrifying scenes more palpably effective. I do not want to know how they foleyed the sounds of the creatures in this show.
Further, music overall enhances the experience that the manga provides and makes characters like Iabella more sympathetic in its presence.
Despite much of the cast being young children, the characters are fascinating and deal with heavy issues. With much of the show surrounding intelligent children attempting to outmaneuver manipulative adults to achieve their goals, the characters always feel intelligent and compelling.
While I cannot go into much detail, I can express that they all work well.
If you enjoy psychological thrillers, I highly recommend you check out The Promised Neverland.
While the show isn’t always the most interesting visually it is an absolute treat in its storytelling, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the genre or curious about the show.
This anime is a great psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves your nails a jagged mess from biting them in anxiety. Without giving away important parts of the story, as I feel it's better to go into this anime without knowing much or anything at all, the first episode appears to seem like a normal story about orphans living their lives in an orphanage with no real obstacle in life than lacking parents. However, it very quickly turns into a horrific situation and left me, who is rarely surprised by the stories in anime, incredibly surprised and feeling a sense of, "Oh my God, what the hell is happening?" Each episode, including the first, adds layer upon layer of a mystery that makes you suspicious of everything and everyone, and also makes you want to play along with the mind games. The story becomes progressively more complex with each passing episode without feeling like the writers are trying to cram everything into a single episode to fit the entire story into twelve episodes. The story itself is captivating and I always find myself trying to play the mind games with the characters and trying to solve the games before the characters do, which makes the anime even more enjoyable. The animation is absolutely stunning, as it seems, in certain points, that a "camera" is actually moving with the character. The facial expressions of the characters are also believable and convey the proper emotions of the scene, in most cases. Though every character isn't the most complex, they still add a certain level of depth needed for the story to be interesting and progress through plot points to the eventual end. Honestly, you should just be watching the anime instead of reading my half-baked review. You'll thank me later.
A show similar to Made in Abyss where a group of young kids slowly become aware of how brutal reality is that they live in. The show does an excellent job in building suspense and it also manages to keep you on your toes, wondering who is really in control of this multilayered chess game.
The animations are amazing and there is always something going on in the background which always makes you second guess if you're focussing on the right thing..
The show does a really great job in creating a very dark and gloomy atmosphere which will keep you feeling like something can happen at any time.
The show does a great job in capturing the emotions of the kids. Going from joy, sadness and anger in the blink of an eye.
Brilliantly executed project and deserves nothing but highest praise.
Throughout this entire review, you'll most likely just be hearing me praise "The Promised Neverland," highly. I do mostly think it deserves it though. Anyways, "The Promised Neverland," is a show where children are raised together is what seems to be an orphanage by someone called a "mother." You can do whatever except, leave based the gate of the house. When returning a girl's bunny to her at the entrance of the gate, Emma and Norman learn the true horrors of their seemingly perfect life.
Keeping this spoiler free there's not much to say. I believe the show does a fantastic job of keeping you on your feet and trying to guess what's going to happen next. Additionally, to anyone who is initially turned off from this show initially because it's horror, try and give it a shot. Trust me, I'm glad I did and I'm the biggest baby on the planet. I dropped "Another," right after the umbrella scene.
What I love about the animation is not only the opening and how well rounded the opening is. I love how well the animators show everyone's emotions just through facial expressions. Additionally, because of the lighting the animators create, you're able to read the mood and how intense the scene really stands out based on the shadows and lights and etc.
I don't have much to say for this category. I didn't pay too much attention to the music. But the music did get the mood across effectively. Additionally, the voice actors did a great job with everything and I never felt like their tone of voice was out of place based on the scene. The sound is only a 9 because nothing from the sound was that remarkable for me. While it was good, nothing stood out in my face for me.
Honestly, I think all of the characters are so precious. I'll quickly our three main characters: Emma, Norman, and Ray.
Emma: She's your more optimistic character who you can't help but love. What I like about Emma is that even though she's intended to be the optimistic characters the show doesn't make her extremely annoying with positivity.
Norman: Has a crush on Emma and honestly, it is really cute. Additionally, I'd say that Norman is the most naturally smart and the best at deductive skills.
Ray: At first glace will remind you of an emo, but has good intentions and isn't emo. He just wants to help out his friends no matter what and he also is very smart.
The entire cast dynamics work extremely well and the friendship between them makes your heart melt. I do think all of their character developments got interesting as the show went on. Ray remarkably had one of the coolest ones and I like to see how Emma changed since the beginning. What makes it great is that no one character is static because in this show no one would really be static realistic in general. Their entire lives are turned and the show does show us an inside of what some characters think.
I have a lot of questions plot-wise that I really can't discuss for the point of keeping this review spoiler free so what I hope is that they get answered in the second season. What I love most about the show though is how well it manages to keep you engaged. I love the facial reactions from anyone too because it perfectly shows you every single emotion without the characters having to say anything. So even if you're a huge scaredy cat like me, give "The Promised Neverland," a try because while it's labeled as "horror," it is entertaining and not too scary. Thanks for reading, I hope this helps anyone who's thinking about watching this show.
No doubt this anime has been one of the more popular shows of the season, but after the final episode I feel there is a lot to be desired. The review contains spoiler free sections and spoiler containing sections, make your choice. However before choosing to go full spoilers ahead beware, that the story relies on mind-games, which means I recommend to watch the first episode and then decide. Overall let me just say this, it was a good one time watch. I would consider to read manga after watching anime, because it’s better in my opinion. After reading all current volumes (13) of the manga I decided to fix some mistakes I have made in my evaluation of the story.
The story – spoiler free
The problem with the story is its execution, which is done poorly. It’s like a detective story, where not all clues have been revealed to the viewers.
The ending was disappointing, because it cuts and leaves viewer with more questions than answers. When the proverbial Rubicon is crossed. It feels more like an introductory movie. The only another series with more broken ending is World Trigger, because the source manga had been stalled at the time. There is going to be the second season next year, but it would be better to have one longer two arc season instead this kind of split.
The story - spoilers section (to avoid spoilers skip)
The biggest problem with the story is the amount of things that go behind the scenes and get revealed towards the end. Trainings, meetings and decisions made off screen. Another problem is with occasional portrayal of imaginary dialogues with departed characters in the mind of another character, which makes impression of the character being present for real. It’s very confusing, because viewer has hard time to distinct it from reality. This issue originates from the manga, which has this very problem. This is the case with Norman seeming to be at the wall, when the children finally make the escape. He is only figment of Ray’s inner monologue with Norman. This problem is more prominent due to the fact that the anime ends its season right there. Only in the manga I’ve notice later that Norman is no longer with the group.
There is also one reveal, which came out of nowhere. These parts could be crafted better and more spread out or at least fore-shadowed in some previous episodes. At best one could just guess it right by a mere chance. Not everything was entirely out of blue, but still. Overall the story ending felt rushed compared to the previous episodes.
There are more issues throughout the story. The fact that Ray was her own child didn’t make any sense. It didn’t make much of sense, why to force mothers to actually be the mothers. To have that experience to be better. Then having her to raise the child knowing, that at the age of 12 the child is going to be killed. What about Emma’s broken leg that conveniently healed ahead of time.
One could even speculate whether the whole escape has not been tenaciously supported by the mother or even maybe other adults in the end. However at this point there is no hard evidence for it to be the case.
While even manga does not explain fully things going behind the scenes, it shows more characters outside the house. For example the man, which was behind the messages in the books. The manga presents the façade of happy slice-of-life and the harsh reality hidden behind the house better in my opinion.
Due to the fact that this is just the first arc many question are left unanswered. After reading manga I understand, that the story is constructed as never ending mystery box set within survival story line. Once some question is answered another mystery takes its place.
The characters – spoiler free
The world setting tries to preserve shroud of mystery as much as possible. This is double edged sword. One can understand the advantage of keeping audience speculating about origin and motives of characters. On the other hand it is detrimental to the characters themselves, because the story doesn’t reveal a lot about the characters unless to throw a sudden curveball or to move plot slightly further. Plus most of the characters are children living in a small enclosed area of the house. There is nothing much to their lives by that fact.
The characters – spoilers section (to avoid spoilers skip)
One thing is undeniable the sister Krone is creepy as hell. Only psychopathic women could do this kind of job. That is why she has that creepy doll, which is to represent her own child. An inconsistency, why Isabella could live with her child and Krone did not, is not explained. The trio of main characters are kind of typical, but with quirk of being genius level smart. Ray is the cynical type. Norman is the glue between Ray and Emma. He is more balanced between idealism and realism. He obviously likes Emma. Emma is somewhat tomboyish girl with a heart of gold, caring about others. Until the story throws a curveball making Emma to be much more pragmatic, than she is portrayed for the most of episodes. Ray gives up, until the story says, it was part of the plan! I think the anime does this part differently, because in the manga it’s made quite clear, that both faked giving up. Initially I thought the Norman comes back literally out of nowhere, but that is just in the mind of Ray Norman explaining things going off-screen sic. This confusion is possible also by the last scene of Norman looking surprised, when peering into the room behind gate.
Animation and Art – spoiler free
The art is ok, the background especially external scenery seems like painted with a brush. The foreground and objects are crisp in contrast. I would still say that characters looks are more pronounced visually in the manga. Some people praised the design of the characters at the end of first episode, I would say it was well done.
Soundtrack and Music – spoiler free
Opening and ending is meh, I skip both. Soundtrack is fitting for the scenes. I have no issue there.
Overall – spoiler free
For sure it was one of the top anime of the season, but in a large scope including other past series it isn’t that great. As I said in the beginning it’s a good one time watch. I don’t feel like watching it again in any foreseeable future, but I did read manga. Moreover the manga looks and does things better in my opinion. Let’s see if the next season fixes some of the issues the series has.