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Anime Review: 'The Promised Neverland' (2019)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Official AniplexUSA "The Promised Neverland" blu-ray artwork.

Official AniplexUSA "The Promised Neverland" blu-ray artwork.

Quick Info

Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Distributor: AniplexUSA
Runtime 300 minutes
Released: March 31st, 2020
Availability: On blu-ray, streaming subbed on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix, FunimationNow and HiDive, streaming dubbed on Netflix and FunimationNow

Story Summary

Thee orphan children, Norman, Ray, and Emma learn that the orphanage does not send out children to be adopted, but they are eaten by demons after they turn 12. The three of them hatch a plan to escape while trying to outwit their “mother” Isabella.

It’s an Interesting Premise with an interesting Twist

As much as people call this an innovative and new story, it’s not a new premise at all. I’ve actually read a similar subplot in The Chronicles of Narnia, specifically the book The Silver Chair in the castle of Harfang except it was giants, not demons and they were not in an orphanage. While this premise is similar, it’s still interesting and I did enjoy this arc a lot, and since the manga is ongoing, I’ll be reading and reviewing it soon.

The twists and turns in the story are what makes it entertaining. I do like the mystery aspect of the story, but sometimes they do play that up a little too much.

Emma and the children are adorable!

Emma and the children are adorable!

The Promised Neverland English Dub Trailer

The Animation Is Very Nice

CloverWorks animated this series and it looks really nice. I liked the artwork and character designs. The animation is also very nice and fluid. While this is not an action-oriented anime, they still use interesting cinematography to keep conversations interesting and also love camerawork used in horror movies and evoke that atmosphere throughout the anime.

One thing this anime does very well is showing the character’s facial expressions. They’re very memorable and in the case of Sister Krone, they’re downright terrifying.

All the action-oriented parts of the story will be animated in season 2 in 2020. I’m reading the manga so I know what’s going to happen after this season is over.

Audio and Subtitles

Audio:Subtitles:

Englsih (Reviwed) (FunimationNow, Netflix)

English (Crunchyroll, Hidive, Hulu, Netflix, FunimationNow)

(Japanese)

 

The English Dub Is Great!

Erica Mendez gave a great vocal performance as Emma. She was a nice choice for this role and I do enjoy her work. She’s also a fan of the manga and it’s really fun to see a fan contributing to something they enjoy too.

Jeannie Tirado was a great choice to voice Norman. She gave a really great vocal performance that I enjoyed a lot. She sounded great and showed Norman’s cunning and clever side through her vocal performance.

Laura Stahl is perfectly cast as the voice of Ray. She was a great choice for this role and her vocal performance was fantastic. She made the character live and breathe and you could feel all the emotions in her performance.

Laura Post is a good choice as the voice of Isabella, the “mother” of the orphans. She can be both sweet and caring and show who she really is when the children know the truth. She did a great job in the anime and she was a great voice actress for an interesting character.

Rebeka Thomas did a fantastic voicing Sister Krone. She made her character downright terrifying with her voice acting, the scary expressions Sister Krone makes in the anime help that a lot.

The English dub for The Promised Neverland (2019) is solid and they picked an excellent English voice cast. While this isn’t my favorite English dub ever, this anime has a dub that I enjoyed and it was entertaining to listen to. It’s definitely a very good dub and I look forward to hearing the voice actors again in the second season.

The kids playing a game of hide and seek.

The kids playing a game of hide and seek.

Reader Poll

The Promised Neverland Opening Full『UVERworld - Touch off』

The Soundtrack Is Great Too!

Takahiro Obata composed the soundtrack for the anime and it’s very nice. While the music suits the mood of the anime, what I found to be most memorable was the opening theme song, “Touch Off” by UVERWorld. It just gets you hyped to see the episode.

The ending songs are "Zettai Zetsumei" by Cö shu Nie (episodes 1-8), "Lamp" by Cö shu Nie (episodes 9-11), and "Touch off" by UVERworld (episode 12).

The soundtrack is solid, but not my favorite. It fits the atmosphere of the anime, especially the horror aspects and it was a good soundtrack.

The Suspension of Disbelief Can be a bit Much

While I love this anime, there are some things that cause me to suspend my disbelief just a little bit. While the three main characters are the smartest orphans in their group it does feel like they seem to be a little too smart.

While the characters are kids, I do find the writing in the anime makes them feel like they’re adults when they’re supposed to be young kids on the cusp of becoming teenagers.

While I can suspend my disbelief enough and enjoy the story, I do know that there are some viewers who won’t be able to take this story seriously, because the writer made his characters a little too smart for their ages.

Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

They Overdo The Cliffhangers

While I don’t mind cliffhangers, it does feel like the anime is paced just so each episode can end on a cliffhanger. This will either be seen as extremely good pacing or it could be seen as being very annoying, depending on if you can tolerate constant cliffhangers.

It’s an Exciting Mystery that Relies Too Much on Pacing and Suspension of Disbelief

The Promised Neverland is an anime that I loved a lot. I enjoyed watching it on Toonami on Adult Swim. I love the story and the characters. It has an interesting premise and kept me on the edge of my seat.

But it does rely on the audience being able to buy the idea of child prodigies plotting to escape a horrific situation they’re in. While I do love the series I can see how some viewers dislike it because it relies so much on suspension of disbelief, not only for the entire story’s premise, but for the characters as well.

It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to season 2 next year and I will be reviewing the manga very soon.

Story Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Great story, characters, and world-building

Relies on supsension of disbelief too often

Nice animation and art style

Relies on cliffhangers to keep the audience interested

Great English dub

 

Excellent soundtrack

 

My Grade: A-

I highly recommend watching The Promised Neverland (2019). It’s a fascinating mystery with schemes and intrigue that makes the story interesting. It has great characters and an interesting, but not unique setting.

The constant use of cliffhangers could get annoying if you end up binging the anime, but the story is enjoyable. Some viewers might be annoyed by the constant mystery element but the plot twists are interesting and keep the story entertaining.

I’m not going to recommend buying this anime, it’s not that it’s a bad anime, but AnplexUSA’s blu-ray set will not be affordable to most of the fanbase since it will be over $100. That’s a steep price for just discs, especially if you’re just going to watch the Japanese version.

Since the physical release is ridiculously expensive I recommend streaming it if you’re going to watch the Japanese version since it’s readily available on Crunchyroll and Hidive.

If you’re going to support The Promised Neverland (2019), then you should stream it legally. If you can’t buy the blu-ray support the original manga by subscribing to the Shounen Jump app where you can read the manga for a cheap subscription fee or buy the manga online on Amazon or RightStufAnime.

The Promised Neverland (2019) is well worth your time to watch if you’re interested in the storyline. There are elements of the story that some people will find annoying but if these elements don’t annoy you, you will probably enjoy the anime a lot.

While I do love the anime, it’s not perfect, but it was an interesting yet unoriginal story premise that kept me entertained because of the characters. Give it a try and if you don’t find it interesting you can drop the anime.

My Rating

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