Anime Review: The Promised Neverland
Psychological horror that will chill you to the core, The Promised Neverland is simply a tale that will have you both captivated and horrified. With a likable cast, an excellent OST and a dark premise behind it, this will be one of 2019’s best anime, but it will likely go along relatively unheard of due to the genre. Nevertheless, I decided to check out The Promised Neverland, as the idea behind it caught my attention at the start of the year.
||The Promised Neverland|
Their mother is not their biological mother, nor are they all siblings. The children of the Gracefield House are orphans, all under the charge of their Mother Isabelle. The children have a relatively simple life; to live well and to be healthy. The only major rule for the children is for them to not go to the gate. Everywhere else is their oyster, so long as they do not go to the gate.
After some time, children are taken away from the orphanage. They are selected to be given new homes, which is something all of the children aspire for. However, a fateful night sees Emma find her way to the gate – and the horrible truths are revealed. The children are not living in a paradise, the Mother is not the kind lady they should love. She is the enemy, selling the children on as if they were property, or more importantly as food for the demons.
Now, Emma and her friends Norman and Ray must find a way to try and convince the young children, all of whom are of different ages under the age of 12, to join them. They must train all of them up, to prepare them for the greatest escape of all. But when all appears to be going to plan, Mother brings along a new caretaker in Sister Krone. Is this a blessing, or a curse? Will the children escape? How many more will be taken away and sold to demons?
In a nutshell, the artwork of The Promised Neverland is washed out. Don’t take this as a criticism; it is hugely stylistic, adding an air of intrigue and fear to the whole affair. If you’ve ever seen an old horror film, you will likely be aware of the slightly misty appearance that a lot of them employed. This was down to the quality of recording at the time, as well as a bit of their own chicanery, but this series takes that washed-out, misty feeling and transcribes it to the anime format incredibly well.
As well as the misty feeling, the series is great at showing you something shocking, whilst not being too over the top. A close up of a face; a sinister smile; a raggedy doll – All of the images it throws at you are a shock, yet they’re not always macabre or even horrific. Exaggerated expressions coupled with clever filters, these moments are more than enough to make you remember something.
We believe you should be able to see for yourself, so check out our gallery of The Promised Neverland below.
Anime has a tendency to often go for one of the most hyperactive soundtracks it can, to pump the audience up. Alternatively, they’ll go for something that’s cute, but still of a quick beat. The Promised Neverland delivers an OST does sadly fit the former, giving us a high-paced beat and vocals. It’s slower than some shows out there, but it’s still a fast tune.
Having said that, don’t let this slight criticism be a deterrent. The tune is excellent and does actually fit the series pretty well. You can listen and watch the opening above.
Fantastic. This is the anime I wanted it to be and then some. I’m really glad that it’s all available on Crunchyroll, so if you want to check this out, you can watch the episodes for free over there (although as of the time of writing, the series isn’t over yet, so you will have to wait a week if you want to watch the latest episodes. Alternatively, paying for a Crunchyroll subscription will grant you immediate access).
The joy of this series is the supporting cast; they make up a complex image of what this House is like. The young blindly follow their Mother, as she appears to be the kindly figure you’d expect. Couple this with the training sessions the kids pull together, it’s a beautifully grim series. If you’re looking for something to itch that horror spot, this really is the series for you.