The Promised Neverland (約束のネバーランド, Yakusoku no Neverland?) is a CloverWorks anime adaptation of the manga of the same name. The first episode titled "121045" aired in Japan on January 11, 2019 on the Noitamina programming block. The anime is directed by Mamoru Kanbe, whose other works include 2003's Elfen Lied.
Season 1 of the anime contains a total of 12 episodes, which adapted Chapter 1 to Chapter 37 of the manga as well as several Omake chapters that are included as extra pages in certain volumes. The season also adapted the entirety of the Introduction Arc and the Jailbreak Arc. Season 2 contains a total of 11 episodes.
Season 2 was announced in the 18th issue of the 2019 Weekly Shonen Jump. It was originally set to broadcast in October 2020, but it was delayed to January 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It began airing on January 8, 2021.
Set in the year 2045, Emma is an 11-year-old orphan living in Grace Field House, a small orphanage housing her and her 37 siblings. Life had never been better; with food that tasted gourmet, plush beds, snow-white uniforms, the love of their "Mom" and caretaker Isabella, and the litany of daily exams that Emma always aced with her two best friends Ray and Norman. The orphans are basically allowed to do whatever they want, except to venture out of the compounds or the gate that connects the house to the outside world.
On a fateful night, another orphan named Conny is sent away to be adopted, but Emma and Norman follow her after noticing that she had left her stuffed rabbit toy Bernie back at the house. Sneaking out, they find Conny dead and the truth of the existence of this supposed orphanage to be a farm where human children are raised as food for demonic creatures. Worse still, Isabella is in allegiance with the demons, ripping away at everything the two ever thought they knew. Determined to break out of Grace Field House, Norman and Emma partner up with Ray to peel away at the façade of the farm and find a way to escape with all their other siblings.
- Main article: List of Episodes
The first season of the anime has 12 episodes in total, and adapted Chapter 1 to Chapter 37 of the Introduction and Jailbreak Arc, where the children escape from Grace Field House. Several special Omake chapters that are included as extra pages in certain manga volumes are also adapted in Season 1's episodes. Originally, Season 2 was believed to be adapting the Promised Forest Arc, the Search For Minerva Arc, and the Goldy Pond Battle Arcs, However, it was later revealed that the second season will be an abbreviated version of events which take place between chapters 38 and 181. There are also changes to the plot, the major ones being the omission of the Goldy Pond Battle Arc and the battle against the demon queen and her nobles, and in the manga Isabella is killed and Emma has her memory wiped in exchange for forging a new "Promise" between demons and humans.
Development and broadcast
An anime television series adaptation was announced in Weekly Shōnen Jump in May 2018. The series is animated by CloverWorks and directed by Mamoru Kanbe, with Toshiya Ono handling series composition, Kazuaki Shimada handling character designs, and Takahiro Obata composing the series' music. The series aired for 12 episodes from January 11 to March 29, 2019 on Fuji TV's late-night Noitamina anime programming block. It simulcasted on Amazon Video, but only in Japan, contrary to the contract giving Amazon exclusive streaming rights to shows that have aired on Noitamina since Spring 2016, as Wakanim has exclusive streaming rights in France. UVERworld performed the series' opening theme song "Touch Off", while Cö shu Nie performed the series' ending theme songs "Zettai Zetsumei" (絶体絶命, "Desperate Situation") and "Lamp".
A second season was announced in March 2019. Originally scheduled to premiere in October 2020, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second season aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina from January 8 to March 26, 2021. The main staff and cast members returned to reprise their roles and the original manga writer Kaiu Shirai collaborated with the scripts and supervised an original scenario for the season, although the last two episodes of the second season did not contain any writing credits due to the backlash the season had received. Kiiro Akiyama [ja] performed the second season's opening theme song "Identity" (アイデンティティ, Aidentiti), while Myuk performed the second season's ending theme song "Mahō" (魔法, "Magic").
In North America, the series is licensed by Aniplex of America and it began streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation and Hidive on January 9, 2019. Funimation added the series' English dub to its streaming service on July 1, 2020. The anime's first season aired on Adult Swim's Toonami programming block starting on April 14, 2019. Toonami aired the entire first season of The Promised Neverland on the broadcast night of October 31, 2020, as part of its Halloween marathon. The second season of The Promised Neverland premiered on Toonami on April 11, 2021. On September 1, 2020, Netflix began streaming the series in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Madman Entertainment simulcasted the series on AnimeLab in Australia and New Zealand. The anime is licensed in the United Kingdom by Anime Limited. Both seasons of The Promised Neverland are available to stream on Disney+ Japan.
- Main Characters
- Isabella - Yūko Kaida
- Krone - Nao Fujita
- Sarah/Grandmother –Mami Koyama
- Peter Ratri - Yoshimasa Hosoya
- Supporting Characters
- Conny - Ari Ozawa
- Don - Shinei Ueki
- Gilda - Lynn
- Nat - Shizuka Ishigami
- Anna - Ai Kayano
- Phil - Hiyori Kono
- Thoma - Mari Hino
- Lani - Yuuko Mori
- Mujika - Atsumi Tanezaki
- Sonju - Shin'ichirō Kamio
- Barbara - Chika Anzai
- Cislo - Yoshiki Nakajima
- Vincent - Hidenori Takahashi
- Zazie - Hidenori Takahashi
- Minor Characters
- Leslie – Sanae Kobayashi
- Mark/Nina/Alicia – Yoshino Aoyama
- Eugene/Damdin/Rossi – Koko Hayashi
- Sherry – Mari Hino
- Naila – Yuuko Mori
- Jemima/Tom/Marnya – Erisa Kuon
- Chamberlain/Yvette – Nao Shiraki
- Minor Villains
- Episode 1's characters
- Demon A – Kiyohiro Yamaguchi
- Demon B – Ryou Sugisaki
- Demon C – Shinnosuke Ogami
- Episode 12's characters
- Announcer – Shuhei Matsuda
- Demon – Yu Wakabayashi
- Musen A – Yûsuke Okano
- Musen B – Masaru Kitamura
- Musen C – Takanori Kino
- Main Characters
- Supporting Characters
- Conny - Jackie Lastra
- Don - Cedric Williams
- Gilda - Ryan Bartley
- Nat - Michelle Ruff
- Anna - Brianna Knickerbocker
- Phil - Amber Connor
- Thoma - Cristina Vee
- Lani - Philece Sampler
In February 2020, the anime series was awarded "Best Fantasy" at Crunchyroll Anime Awards, and the Grace Field House caretaker Isabella won the "Best Antagonist" category Polygon named the series as one of the best anime of the 2010s and Crunchyroll listed it in their "Top 100 best anime of the 2010s IGN also The Promised Neverland among the best anime series of the 2010s Lauren Orsini of Forbes included The Promised Neverland on her list of the best anime of the decade The Verge also listed the anime series in its list of the best anime of 2019 James Beckett of Anime News Network ranked the series 5th on his list of best anime series of 2019 Toussaint Egan of Thrillist ranked the series 3rd on his list of best anime of 2019
Brittany Vincent, writing a review of the first season for Syfy, praised the twist at the end of episode 1, claiming that "Watching a seemingly idyllic community of happy-go-lucky kids seeing their realities destroyed in such a brutal way makes this a show that you just have to continue watching". Vincent particularly praised the animation and character designs saying "These aren't your generic anime kids, with pink hair and zany costumes. The lead protagonist, Emma, hardly looks like your typical anime character at all, thanks to her shock of reddish blonde hair and her wide eyes". Furthermore, Vincent referred to the series as "A great cross between shows like Deadman Wonderland and Seraph of the End, with dreadfully creepy characters and a narrative that keeps you guessing the whole way through.
Allen Moody of THEM Anime Reviews gave the first season 4 out of 5 stars. Moody praised the series for its story and the characters' ability to "devise amazingly sophisticated strategies (and counter-strategies) that surprise the viewer as much as their foes", adding that the series "maintains a high level of psychological tension throughout, even though we're hit with unexpected explicit horror only a couple of times". Moody concluded: "I was fairly satisfied with the story we have here. There are heartbreaking developments and moments of pure horror, but the unquenchable human spirit is in here too".
The second season of The Promised Neverland, in particular its final episode, received overwhelmingly negative reception for what many felt was a rushed and forced ending Reviewing the series' second season, Rafael Motamayor of Polygon said that while an original story could course-correct issues from the latter half of the original manga's plot, the season, specifically from episode 5 onwards, broke the pacing and tension of its previous episodes. In comparing it to the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime series, which changed from being a faithful adaptation to have an original story that "still captures the intention of the source material in a satisfying way", Motamayor wrote that The Promised Neverland anime was not planning on telling its own story, but rather skipping the chapters of the manga "to be done with the story as soon as humanly possible", still telling enough story that somewhat resembles the manga's plotline, "but taking way whatever made it impactful in the first place", adding that it was similar to the final season of Game of Thrones.
Jairus Taylor of Anime News Network wrote that the anime adaptation of the The Promised Neverland was a "total disaster". He explained that the anime changed the main focus of the original manga, which was meant to be a horror fantasy, as a "more linear version of Hunter x Hunter", instead of being a mystery thriller, as "the second coming of Death Note". Taylor commented that the anime "did a pretty good job delivering on suspense", but that it was at the expense of other elements that were vital to the original work's "larger ambitions", including entire cut out or trim down of worldbuilding elements, the lack of internal monologues and characterization that diminished the motivations of certain characters and the simplification of the series' actual themes and its messaging. Regarding the second season, Taylor considered various possible reasons for the staff's decision to make the changes, but he wrote: "Regardless of what went down though, it doesn't really change the reality that the second season faceplanted pretty hard". Taylor concluded: "If the anime had chosen not to skip anything it could have still faced problems since it was arguably poorly equipped to handle anything past Grace Field. Either way, the end result here is really disappointing, because while it certainly wasn't faultless, The Promised Neverland manga was easily one of the most interesting and thoughtful entries to the Shonen Jump lineup. It's a shame that its anime counterpart failed to live up to its potential".
Awards and nominations
|2019||Anime Grand Prix||Grand Prize||The Promised Neverland||4th place|
|Best Character (Male)||Norman in The Promised Neverland||5th place|
|Best Character (Female)||Emma in The Promised Neverland||Won|
|Newtype Anime Awards||Nogizaka46 Award (Monthly Newtype Joint Special Award)||The Promised Neverland|
|IGN 'Best of' awards||Best Anime Series of 2019||Nominated|
|2020||Crunchyroll Anime Awards||Anime of the Year|
|Best Girl||Emma in The Promised Neverland|
|Best Antagonist||Isabella in The Promised Neverland||Won|
|Best Drama||The Promised Neverland||Nominated|
|Best Opening Sequence||Touch off in The Promised Neverland||Nom|
|Best Performance by a Voice Actor (Japanese)||Yūko Kaida as Isabella in The Promised Neverland|
|Anime Trending Awards||Anime of the Year||The Promised Neverland|
|Man of the Year||Ray in The Promised Neverland|
|Norman in The Promised Neverland|
|Girl of the Year||Emma in The Promised Neverland|
|Supporting Man of the Year||Phil in The Promised Neverland|
|Don in The Promised Neverland|
|Opening Theme Song of the Year||Touch off in The Promised Neverland|
|Ending Theme Song of the Year||Zettai Zetsumei in The Promised Neverland|
|Best in Adaptation||The Promised Neverland|
|Best in Ensemble|
|Best in Soundtrack||Won|
|Drama Anime of the Year|
|Mystery or Psychological Anime of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Voice Acting Performance by a Female||Mariya Ise as Ray in The Promised Neverland|
|Maaya Uchida as Norman in The Promised Neverland|
|Joint Character Wildcard||Ray in The Promised Neverland||Won|
|Phil in The Promised Neverland||Nominated|
|Don in The Promised Neverland|
- Official Anime Site
- The Promised Neverland Anime on Anime News Network
- The Promised Neverland on Wikipedia