First Impression: The Promised Neverland

Emma, Norman, and Ray are a gifted trio, three youngster who excel among a group of 38 “siblings,” children all under the age of 12 who live a simple, fairly happy existence in a forest orphanage. They spend their days in play and learning, with the occasional stressful test being performed, and under the tutelage of “Mother,” who cares for their needs and guides them when they eventually leave the home for apparent adoption—though what happens when they leave remains a mystery, at least until Emma and Norman stumble upon the truth.

I was ill-prepared for this episode. I’ve known that The Promised Neverland was going to be huge, having heard about (and avoided spoilers for) the manga for so long, but still…the first episode was stunning (including a quick final scene that made me jump). I haven’t felt such impact from the opening episode of a series in who knows how long; I want to avoid comparison to Attack on Titan, but that may have been the last series with an opening that shook me as much as this. And I’m excited, too, because the episode fit as many sci-fi conventions as it did anime, and the direction was very cinematic, from beautiful landscape shots to great animation in motion to a scene that took me back to The Village and one of that movie’s few positive attributes—the suspense with which it revealed its monster. The secret here is unsettling as well, and I’ll be thinking upon it all week as I eagerly wait to see what happens next.

The Promised Neverland can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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