After an adventurous and terrifying journey, “The Promised Neverland” has finally come to an end after two successful seasons. The show was originally a series of 20 manga books created by mysterious writer Kaiu Shirai, whose identity is unknown to the public. Shirai is also famous for writing Kaiu Shirai x Posuka Demizu Short Stories. The Promised Neverland was developed and released in January of 2019. Since its release on Netflix, the show has received critical acclaim from fans worldwide.
Critics also enjoyed the show, giving it a whopping rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite having high ratings the show managed to stir up controversy with its abrupt ending and lack of pacing.
The show’s plot begins with a family of 38 children living with their mother, Isabella, in a foster home. Every day, the children go to a classroom to take IQ tests administered by Isabella. Out of all the children, three stand out because of their excellent test scores. The three children, Emma, Norman and Ray, become the main characters of a gruesome nightmare. Though everything seems to be perfect from first glance, more is revealed about the children’s living conditions.
The children are not allowed to go beyond a certain point outside the house’s location, guarded by a small metal fence. The children have also never seen any adults other than their mother. The true horror of the story begins when Isabella announces that Conny, one of the youngest children, is being transferred to a new home beyond the gate. After Conny leaves, Norman and Emma notice that she left behind her prized stuffed animal. In the hopes of returning it, Norman and Emma take off to catch up to Conny.
However, instead of finding a happy little girl, Norman and Emma are greeted with a lifeless body on the back of a truck with strange demon-like monsters and Isabella beside it. From then on, the story only is filled with twists and turns. The children find themselves stuck in a world of demons who only desire to eat their brains once they have developed. The children’s only hope is to escape from their home.
The character development in the show is taken to another level as each character is equipped with their own robust traits and personality. Isabella’s character is one of the most complex developments over the course of the show. Though her initial role was to foster the children for harvest the audience is eventually shown a softer side to Isabella’s character. Isabella never wanted to see her children die and this is later shown through her helping the children escape the demons at the end of season two.
Norman’s character growth was also particularly interesting. In the first season Norman is sent away to another facility to be tortured and tested on because of his perfect test scores. His personality shifts from soft-hearted and kind to vengeful and murderous while he is in the laboratory. He eventually escapes the facility with a mission to massacre the demon race but undergoes a change of heart because of Emma’s yearning for peace. Norman’s emotional intelligence underwent massive growth that fans did not expect.
“The Promised Neverland”ends on a high note with Emma saving all of the children by taking them to the human world and creating a new peace agreement with the demons. There was controversy over the anime’s ending in comparison to the manga. Fans were displeased with the anime ending because of its minimal effort to remain true to its source material. In the manga’s ending Emma loses her memories to the ruler of all demons in exchange for the new peace agreement. Emma’s memories are of equal value to the safety of the humans.
Though many fans complained about the anime’s ending, other fans took a liking to the light-hearted end they had been waiting for. Either way, “The Promised Neverland” gave its fans a chilling and adventurous ride.