The Promised Neverland

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

Horror is one of the most under-seen genres in animation. Because audiences don’t follow flesh and blood people, it may be a bit harder to connect emotionally to the horror the characters experience than it would be with live-action. This often results in anime shows which rely more on gore or music for scares, or thrillers that barely dip their toes into horror – until The Promised Neverland.

CloverWorks studio’s adaptation of the manga with the same name wants to challenge the notion that horror doesn’t work in animation, with a story that is as terrifying as it is emotional and simply adorable (yes, we’re talking about Phil).

Writing about The Promised Neverland is tricky since the concept of the show itself is a such a big surprise that I’ll try my hardest not to spoil it. You should just know that the anime follows a group of orphans living together in the Grace Field House. They have everything they could want in life – they’re well-loved, well-fed, have an excellent education, and no cares in the world. But everything changes when two of the older orphans discover that there’s a terrible and deadly secret that awaits the children that get “adopted.”

From there, the show becomes a cat-and-mouse game of secrets and escape plans as the children uncover the sinister purpose of the orphanage. It’s a tense story full of cliffhangers, intrigue, and the most adorable 4-year-old orphan that will break your heart and have you worried for his true allegiance (yes, Phil, we still mean you). Read More »