The Promised Neverland Episode 1 (First Impression)

I knew this anime wasn’t as innocent as it made it look. Of course there was a mystery, it was told to us but we didn’t know what the mystery was. I had wanted to check out the manga but didn’t have the time to do so, and even then I was surprisingly never spoiled on what the mystery of the orphanage was. And the reveal was nothing short of terrifying and shocking.

As bright and fun as the episode was most of the time, there were also many strange and unsettling moments. But it did a great job in setting up the orphanage with how happy and warm it was with the children all being energetic and playing together, all while showing so much love towards their caretaker, who they all call Mama. It looks like your average orphanage with all the children eating together and studying together, as well as playing. It’s a lively place and they’re all being taken care of really well. They’re getting their education through some strange type of test with futuristic technology, so basically all their needs are met. It’s a happy and clean place with the most precious of children that genuinely love and care for each other.

But we opened up with a young Emma, Norman, and Ray at the aforementioned gate Mama told them to never go near. They look into a tunnel and wonder what’s on the outside and wonder why it’s so dangerous, but for all those years since they’ve always listened to Mama. Emma especially as she shows how much she loves Mama and loves the orphanage so much that, when the kids ask each other what they’d like to do when they leave, Emma admits that she never wants to leave. She’s happiest where she is. The other children talk about lots of things like wanting to wear cuter clothes, dating, just seeing new places, and seeing a train. But there’s one thing they mention that raises huge flags, in that the children that have left the orphanage have never written them back. One of the boys, Don, mentions that they’re all the closest siblings ever and that it’s strange that the other children wouldn’t write letters back to them, which makes total sense. But they all brush it off as the kids not wanting to inconvenience their foster parents.

But I was already nervous for these kids as the show zoomed in on the numbers marked on their necks. I was trying to figure out what it all meant. The orphanage looked normal and wonderful, but the numbers made me nervous. There were only two things that came to mind as I saw the numbers. Numbers usually mean you’re in a jail or concentration/internment camp, but that really couldn’t be it because the kids weren’t working or doing any kind of labor. The only other thing it could have been would be a type of farm and that’s exactly what it was.

Let’s remember her like this. T_T

Conny, an adorable little blonde girl with a stuffed bunny was the one that would be leaving next, as marked on the calendar. She bids her farewell to everyone and promises to write back, and she and Mama leave to the gate. The reveal was done really well I think. As Emma and Norman stepped into the tunnel to return Little Bunny, I loved the camera angle as they walked past the truck. They were a little confused and didn’t know where Conny was, until Emma checked the back of the truck and found Conny’s corpse. My suspicions were correct in that the orphanage really is a farm for these…demon monster things. Emma and Norman hide under the truck as they listen to the monsters talk with Mama next to them. I love the animation when it came to the monsters. It was very unnerving and I loved the designs of them too. They throw Conny into a tube to preserve her and we see a list of the next kids on the list. Thankfully, Emma and Norman escape before they’re caught but traumatized by what they see.

After learning the truth, Emma and Norman know they need to escape but Emma brings up a good point. There’s over 30 children, how are they ALL going to escape? Emma doesn’t feel right about being only her, Norman, and Ray escaping while leaving the others to die. I have to wonder how this is all going to do down too and I’m just so scared for these kids. Before the episode finishes, as triumphant and uplifting music plays while Norman comforts Emma, I loved how the music abuptyl stopped when the scene changed to Mama holding Little Bunny. Uh oh. She knows one of the kids went in there and probably found out the truth, so things are going to get really intense.

This episode was fantastic. The reveal and mood shift was done really well. We got the happy facade of the orphanage but the show did well slowly building up to the truth with the tiny mysterious and creepy moments sprinkled throughout like the numbers on their necks, the mystery of the fence, etc. Even though I knew something was going to go very wrong, I was still shocked at what it was and now I’m extremely excited at what the rest of the story will be and how it’ll go.

The production value was great with great camera angles and expressions on the children. I like some of the techniques used in certain scenes to really set the mood, and the OP and ED are bangers. I can see why this manga was hyped up so much and I’m upset I didn’t read it sooner but I’m happily eager to see the rest. This was such a fantastic start.

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Berry

We're all just a bunch of weebs

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1 Response

  1. zztop says:

    Neverland’s one of Weekly Shounen Jump’s top-ranked serialized manga of the 2010s (it came out 2016).
    Having read the source, I can confirm this – the plot and general pacing is very good, more like something from a seinen than the usual shounen adventure of the week.

    Neverland will have 12 episodes, so it’ll likely cover up to the manga’s first arc.

    Of course, if it gets popular enough they might do multiple seasons, like Hero Academia.

    Here’s the manga artist’s Twitter, if you’re interested.

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