Winter 2019 Anime

Growing Up Is Hard – ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 1 Review

promisedneverland1

What’s the show? The Promised Neverland, Episode 1.

So how’s this episode? So here’s the thing, you might not know this about me but generally speaking I like my anime on the lighter side–after all, I personally watch anime as escapism and for fun! That’s not to say I don’t enjoy darker anime too for example I loved (the first season) of ‘Psycho Pass’, ‘Attack on Titan’ is a classic, ‘Happy Sugar Life’ was my favourite anime of 2018, ‘Made In Abyss’ I think earned its darkness even if it seemed occasionally excessive and even a show I consider flawed like ‘Magical Girl Raising Project’ was entertaining and has its value. And that’s just off the top of my head, there’s many more. But what I don’t like is anime I deem ‘edgy for the sake of edgy’, I won’t bother listing the shows I think are but there’s plenty of them and seeing the hype that was building around this show made me genuinely fear for the worse. It was at the point where I was going to not even bother watching because I didn’t need another dose of misguided drama in my life. But here we are, with me about to type my thoughts on this show–The Promised Neverland–onto the screen for you all to read. Are you ready for my opinion?

Oh jeez… Yeah, it was an okay episode.

…huh? What?

Simpler times…

Don’t “what” me! With all that build-up, I thought you were about unleash a tirade upon this show! Kinda like how all that build-up to the show airing had me expecting the worst too? Looks like I did the same to you!

Ugh… damn you! So anyway, you going to elaborate? What happened? What’s the “dark” thing about the show? Spoil away! Yeah, so obviously huge spoilers for the first episode, this isn’t going to be a post where I give a vague recommendation and let you go your merry way, the ~big reveal~ of Episode 1 will be discussed after this paragraph. If you want a spoiler free recommendation, watch it–what’s the worst that could happen? (That’s a terrible recommendation, but you’ll see why in a minute.)

The stuff with the barcode exams was curious…

Right, thanks for the warning. So go on… So yeah basically it’s a boarding house of 38 kids and they’re not allowed to be in contact with the outside world because their ‘mom’ says they can never leave the grounds under any circumstances. Their lives seem ~nice~ and peaceful enough except there’s an undercurrent that things are amiss, especially as none of the previous kids who have been “adopted” ever write letters back like they promised they would. So anyway it comes the day for the ‘cutest’, ‘most adorable’ one Conny to be adopted out and yeah, that’s a trope that’s kind of obnoxiously on the nose but I’ll get back to that. But Conny forgets her favourite plush toy so two of our three protagonists Emma and Norman go to return it–leaving the grounds of the estate, even though they were told never to do so. Then the big reveal! Emma passes the back of a wagon and finds Conny–she’s dead, her body battered and bloody. Two voices come from down the alleyway and so they hide under the wagon, the voices belong to two monstrous looking creatures who talk about how delicious children are and how they are being bred for the “quality of their meat” and their ‘mom’ who runs the orphanage is in on it too! The kids escape back to the orphanage, traumatised but determined to get not only themselves out but the other 35 kids too.

I mean that’d be ideal but I somehow doubt we’ve got a cast of 35 just so 35 people can survive.

Okay then, yeah that qualifies as pretty dark! So here’s the thing… I was expecting this to be a lot worse, especially considering what qualifies for ~entertainment~ these days (sorry that was very catty of me) but all the same I found this kind of–mediocre not just in execution but in tone. In fact, it was almost childish, like a Brothers Grimm fairytale and I just can’t shake the feeling like I was oversold on something. Granted this is only the first episode so I’m not going to judge too harshly the potential of this series. But having seen the swathes of people clamouring for this show (and likewise, the people’s reactions both positive and shocked) I’m left a little underwhelmed. What’s more is that it was predictable, from the moment I saw ‘Conny’ written up on the calendar I knew she’d be the first to go and I knew she’d be the ‘cutest, most adorable’ one too. (Sudden brief spoiler for Magical Girl Raising Project incoming!) They did that with killing off Nemurin–the cutest, quietest one in ‘Magical Girl Raising Project’ and they’ve probably done it in other shows too. And I get why they do it, its to endear the audience quickly to character visually without having to waste time on a lot of character development but it’s lazy in my opinion.

Don’t get too attached.

Seems like you have a lot of complaints but none of them are about how dark the show is? That’s surprising. I know right? Maybe I was expecting too much darkness from this first episode and the premise in general, it’s an adaptation of a shonen manga after all not a seinen or a light novel so there’s only so far they can push it.

Geez, what were you expecting? Listen, my mind can go to pretty dark places, let’s just say I wasn’t expecting the evil to be monsters but I was expecting Conny’s “meat” to be used in a different way and I’ll leave it at that.

Ew. Hey, theirlwaifu Sharon thought exactly the same thing, it’s not just me, okay?!

What’s with the look?!

Right. So what are your overall thoughts on the episode? Put simply, I’m intrigued but not enticed, I’m curious but not captivated but thankfully for you, dear readers, I’m not at all triggered (yet). So for now I’ll keep watching to see where it goes.


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8 replies »

  1. I went in blind and enjoyed it a lot. I guess part of the problem is that people exaggerate A LOT on the internet. I remember the reviews of The Haunting Of Hill House and Bird Box, and although I loved both, I didn’t feel anything.
    I guess people either overreact, or they are not used at all to dark stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the show kneecapped it’s own chance to be “shocking” by being so relentless with the fact that these kids were living these ultra-controlled lives. If it wanted the reveal of the big monsters and their accomplice to be more of a shock, they could have hidden the numbers, just shown them playing outside, eating together, getting up and ready for the day, say “ok children time for lessons” as they file into the room. Make it seem more normal. But they weren’t letting anything feel normal. So when the non-normal monsters showed up, there was no reason to be surprised that the kids were actually veal.

    I thought it was ok, but not too much more than that. I like that it wasn’t too gross or shocking, because those shows get dropped fast (things like Tokyo Ghoul). I wonder if it will be better if it’s not trying to be clever about a reveal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I was probably a bit harsher on it then my true feelings, my writing tends to either amplify positive or negative rather than neutral. I am looking forward to whats coming next and I’m glad you’re looking forward to my thoughts on it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I think the problem is a lot of them are manga readers and thus they are reviewing 1) The fact that it’s faithful to the manga, and 2) things that are yet to happen that they can’t contain their anticipation for. And so this is making people’s overall opinions seem inflated as a result. It’s like trying to talk about Made in Abyss and not instantly rushing forward to later moments in the season that were impactful.

      Liked by 2 people

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