The Promised Neverland is a psychological thriller/horror anime without a single dull moment or wasted episode. The show runs on both Netflix and Hulu, and season 2 is coming January 2021! The worst part of the show, by far, is its title. The title has to be a translator error. My only other complaint about the show is its sometimes literary dialogue. The show is set in a dystopian near-future and focused on three children living happy and wholesome lives in an orphanage managed by a woman named “Mom.” Our three main characters sport a diversity of personality, from stoic, to cynical, to naively heroic.
To give any more plot summary is to give away crucial details. Instead, I’ll provide advice: pay attention, because every detail matters; you will not realize the significance of what happens right in front of your eyes on your first watch-through. I finished my first watch-through this week and now, digging Oreo crumbs out of my belly button hair and clearing Ramen Noodle cups from my couch, I have just finished my third watch-through.
The show is unafraid of silence and slow moments, which are utilized like fine pencils to fill each shot and scene with rising tension and anticipation. Sometimes ambient sounds are all that can be heard: a running faucet, birds, and footsteps across the hall. But these everyday sounds, when they take center stage, take on more meaning than a song ever could.
The show will cut scenes and end episodes on a razor’s edge. These cleans cuts are too close for comfort and will keep you coming back to find out what happens next. There are 12 episodes in the first season; I was on episode 9 at 4am, and there was no choice but to drink some coffee on a commercial break. The show expertly combines this style of narrative with a deceitful withholding of information, and which information is important. The show hatches its sly plot like an expert magician, showing you what’s up its sleeves, and yet you still don’t get how the trick happened.
This show blew all my whistles, tooted all my horns, and rang all my bells. You are depriving yourself of amazement if you choose to stick with any other anime that clings to its narrative security.
ABOUT GUY JAMES
Guy James is the pen name of Guy DeMarco, a young writer on the rise. He can be reached with music ideas and story suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead-In Image – Netflix