GRAPHIC BY EMMA CHANG
By ANNMARIE LI
Will the promise of the Neverland be worth the risk of being sold to demons outside of the orphanage?
On Feb. 15, the sixth episode of The Promised Neverland, better known as Yakusoku no Neverland, was released on Fuji TV, marking the halfway point of the first season. Yakusoku no Neverland is a psychological horror anime that focuses on the lives of Norman, Ray and Emma, the three oldest children at an orphanage named the Grace Field House, a seemingly happy place with a dark secret. The anime itself is a twist of the typical horror genre, simply due to the perspective that the whole show is centered around: the children. Ultimately, Yakusoku no Neverland is an anime that puts a twist on the usual tropes in horror and presents a whole new perspective.
Although the series is mainly of the horror and thriller genre, there is also the escape subgenre that underlies the main plot. This small genre is usually overlooked in horror anime, but Yakusoku no Neverland implements it into the storyline. The escape subgenre is used to intensify the psychological part of the show through small yet significant details.
Moreover, the anime utilizes strategic angles to further the horror aspect. As a result, viewers have to rely on their own visual interpretation of various violent scenes, in which the violence is not directly shown. For example, instead of showing the area surrounding the characters, the animation shows the character’s path to create an increasingly suspenseful moment.
Furthermore, the framework for Yakusoku no Neverland is satisfactory, including the fitting close-ups and transitions between the scenes to draw in viewers.
Additionally, the show is its own entity, yet it still stays true to the manga it originated from. For instance, the anime carried over the original horror elements from the manga, even though it has its own elements to entice the viewers.
Anime fans who have watched the series tend to say that the plot twist at the beginning of the show was not much of a twist at all. Although it is true, the so-called twist to the plot is supposed to be one of the main points of interest in the story. For example, numbers which are tattooed on each of the children’s necks are visibly shown from the first second of the anime, which were thought to be the plot twist, except there’s really no sudden change in the storyline itself. That small but obvious detail is meant to raise suspicion upon the audience, who still do not know what could happen in those few minutes of watching, that is, until something deeper happens in the first episode to fully know what is actually going on in the story. On the other hand, there are some moments of the show where the animation for the characters are not consistent for the animation style of the rest of the scenes. Nevertheless, the anime is still good because of its way of storytelling that keeps everything intriguing and enjoyable, as well as a good sense of character development.
In the end, Yakusoku no Neverland is a horror anime with a shocking twist, various themes and elements to give viewers an enjoyable yet shocking experience.