So I see everyone advising me to watch Promised Neverland and I have no fucking idea what it is. I never heard of it. I see a picture of the kids in the show and I’m snowed in so I turn on Crunchyroll to watch episode one.
Holy Mothafucking Fuck.
Let’s start from the beginning.
We’re introduced to 3 kids named Norman, Emma, and Ray standing at a gate and they’re wondering what’s beyond that gate. The reason for that is because they’ve been told to never go beyond it and that it’s dangerous. So of course at that point I’m already speculating what could be beyond the gate. I see that they’re all dressed alike so I assume it was a group home. But the line that strikes you is Norman poses the question “I wonder what this gate is protecting us from?” It sets the tone immediately because at that moment I gotta know what’s beyond the gate. Not even a minute in and the episode has me interested.
I finally see that these kids are living in an orphanage and there are 38 kids total. I also noticed that all the kids had neck tattoos of numbers. So immediately I thought this is a prison and they’re about to train these kids to be soldiers or have the do some evil shit for their gain. There’s only one adult present in the orphanage and of course all of them call her “Mom.”
You get a feel for Norman, Emma, and Ray who are now 11 years old and the oldest children in the orphanage. Norman is the genius. Ray is one of those kids who’s practical, too cool and too smart for his own good and Emma is the athletic, immature and ambitious one. I like how all of them are different and see examples of it when Norman is challenged by one of the other kids to a game of tag. Ray sits out to read a book because he’s too cool for that shit. Norman tags all of the kids with ease while explaining to them why they got tagged. Norman is flexing at this point and showcasing his intelligence by actually approaching the game of tag with a strategy.
When it’s the kids turn to chase Norman the episode takes an eerie turn. It’s the same eerie feeling it had in the beginning when you wondered what’s beyond the gate. The kids start talk about leaving the orphanage and recall that every kid that left the orphanage never wrote them or kept in contact with them. So of course my mind is like “Okay what the fuck happened to the kids?” I’m guessing all types of shit like an apocalyptic world is beyond the gate and the kids are about to be slaves in that world.
The interesting thing about the children is that they have no recollection of the world outside of where they live. You notice this as they declare what they’re going to do once they’re adopted. Simple everyday things like eating good food, wearing different clothes, dating girls, seeing a train. These kids are all institutionalized and Ray is the only one that understands it because as he stated, when he gets out he has to learn how to survive first. A little girl named “Conny” who’s leaving the orphanage makes a pledge to never forget about her siblings and write them all the time.
Conny leaves the orphanage with Mom and leaves her stuffed bunny behind. Emma and Norman leave the house to go return it to her before she leaves. They arrive at the gate they were told to never go past and do so anyway. They see trucks but no sign of mom or Conny.
Then it happens.
Emma looks at the back of the truck in horror and calls Norman’s name to come look. She’s clearly mortified. Norman looks and you see Conny dead as fuck (At least I think she’s dead) with a flower coming out of her body on the back of the truck in a bag. The episode is now real as fuck. Voices yell out from behind the doors in the alleyway and Norman and Emma hide under the truck. The voices make their way out of the room they were in and ……
It’s these ugly ass creatures. This anime has turned into a horror film. I’m shocked that this is a Shōnen. We just seen a kid as dead as Denzel on Training Day. That’s not normally in Shonen. We learn that the orphanage is a front and these kids are for harvest. They’re being raised like cattle and are being prepped for a slaughterhouse. Now the creatures wanted to eat Conny but they don’t. They actually follow orders from rich humans that have the desire for human children. Mom name is revealed as Isabella and you see a complete change in her as she is stone faced and emotionless and takes orders from the creatures on what children to bring next. She’s not the caring and loving woman you saw in the beginning of the episode.
Norman calms down and realizes what he’s up against. Emma is having a breakdown and Norman calms her down and they make a pledge to leave the orphanage with all of their siblings and they compared it to the game of tag. It’s all about strategy. Beautiful writing and execution of the writing.
When they abruptly ended the music and cut back to Isabella holding and staring at the stuffed rabbit with this look of rage my heart dropped to my stomach. I got chills. This is some dark shit and I had no idea it would get that dark.
I’m hooked off 1 episode.
Character wise we’re set with Ray and Norman. Their personalities and attributes are explained. One’s a genius the other is a tactician. Emma still has question marks because with the situation now in place where does her athletic ability fit in the equation and how will she grow as the series goes on. Also what I found interesting is that Emma said that none of the kids have ever beaten Isabella at chess. Not even Ray or Norman so that leads me to believe that Isabella will be a formidable enemy who’s just as crafty as all 3 of the main kids combined.
This shit is 5/5 fruit snacks hands the fuck down. I’m trying to prevent myself from reading the manga and I think I will I like the suspense of this and I don’t wanna lose that feeling. Best Episode 1 of a series in a lonnnnnnnnng time.
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