Written by Worldismyne
You ever have that friend that won’t shut up about a show that’s come out? You know the one that hold you hostage in your own home until you watch the first episode? Unfortunately, I am that friend, and The Promised Neverland is the one of those shows.
Now I understand why anime fans have been split down the middle about this particular series. It’s definitely got a cutesy mid-2000 look to it that many find unremarkable, and the first episode has the pacing of a 3 hour Ghibli movie. That said it all is done with a purpose, and boy do they make it count. So, with a minimal amount of spoilers, let’s move on with the list shall we?
Faithfulness to the Source Material
Now here’s a hot button topic that has had anime fans foaming at the mouth for decades. There are a couple of series that come to mind, which started as faithful adaptations of the manga, but jumped off the rails later down the road. TPN manages to maintain panel for panel accuracy to the original manga, down to the framing and expressions of the character. Now there are some tweaks here and there, so certain characters don’t appear as exaggerated when animated. In fact, the largest difference is the animators’ aversion from using internal monologues and with favor toward external dialogue or imagery instead.
Story Focused Narrative
It really is nice to finally have a show have faith in its story. So often, writers in anime and manga feel they need to rely of mascot characters or fan service to gain an audience. It gives the show screen time to really focus on world building, the characters and their interactions with each other. The main cast consists of about seven characters; two antagonists and a traditional “five man band”. This makes of an interesting array of character interactions without any given character having to fight for attention. Having every interaction be relevant to the overlying story is also a plus.
A Surprising Psychological Thriller
As a jaded adult, there are very few things I’ve found in media that genuinely surprised me, and then held my interest afterward. TPN does a great job of establishing expectations and subverting them. I’ve often heard it compared to Death Note, and I can easily see the parallels. Both series go to painstaking detail to think out every possible solution to the problem they’ve presented and thoroughly explore the different reactions people would have to it. It adds a layer of verisimilitude when you can follow a character’s thought process and accept it as your own.
Utilization of the Medium
TPN wraps up the audiences nostalgia for old school slice of life anime into a tidy little box and stomps on it with an army boot. Simply by selecting the art and animation style, they’ve set up hundreds of expectations for the audience by subliminal assumptions. Because it looks like series X, Y, etc. we automatically have a set of bias associated with a different genre and it’s hard to shake those expectations when we’re continually plunged into happy façade created by the characters themselves. TPN acknowledges our desensitization to cartoon horror and gore, by abandoning it entirely and finding new ways to spook the audience.
The Story Continues
One of the pitfalls of animated adaptations is it takes longer to make manga than it does anime once a season has been renewed. A lot of action/adventure series, like Soul Eater, had to fabricate an ending because the manga wasn’t finished yet. Luckily for us, TPN has at least two more seasons’ worth of content already inked out on paper. Support for the anime adaptation would help to get another long running fantasy anime on air. Having read ahead like the obsessive weeb I am, I can tell you it only gets better from here.
Over all The Promised Neverland is a beautiful fantasy thriller that deserves all the attention it can get. Go watch it on hulu, or your website of choice, and join me in spreading the joy of anime to a wider audience.
This article was written by guest writer, Worldismyne!