The Promised Neverland Season One Review: I am Hooked.

4 and a half stars
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding The Promised Neverland, both during and since its release.
I heard so much hype surrounding it that I started watching the anime half way through the season and I was not disappointed.
The series instantly hooked me with its gripping concept, characters and direction, resulting in an incredibly intense first season.
Based off the manga of the same name by Kaiu Shirai, and directed by Mamoru Kanbe, The Promised Neverland is set on an orphanage where 38 children live with their “mom” Isabella (Yuko Kaida), until they are eventually adopted.
Our three main characters are the energetic Emma (Sumire Morohoshi), the intuitive Norman (Maaya Uchida), and the sly Ray (Mariya Uchida), who are the smartest of all the children.
However, their happy life is completely shattered when they learn a dark truth about the orphanage and their so called mom.
The three then begin to plan an escape with some of their siblings, all while evading the ever watchful eye of Isabella, who will do anything to stop them getting away.

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Watching Emma, Norman and Ray desperately attempt to outsmart Isabella makes for a very intense viewing.

All twelve episodes are great and full of many intense moments.
Even something as simple as tag is made scary in this series.
What amplifies the tension is how much you grow to care for these children.
Emma, Norman and Ray are all very relatable and well performed by their voice actors.
As for the other children, their adorableness makes you feel instant horror at the thought of them staying at the orphanage with the manipulative Isabella.
Speaking of which, she is a very intimidating character, being able to switch between the personalities of a loving mother to a cruel warden in an instant.
As for the secondary antagonist Sister Krone (Nao Fujita), her nightmare inducing facial expressions will keep you up at night.

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Good luck getting this terrifying image of Sister Krone’s demented face out of your head when you sleep. Sweet dreams!

But what is most interesting about these two antagonists is also how relatable they become.
They are certainly twisted individuals, but are made much more sympathetic by the conclusions of their stories.
Their sympathetic sides do not make you forget the plight of these kids though, as you will be routing for them to escape every cruel step of the way.
Watching the effect the trauma of their experiences has on them is touching and makes you relate to them further.
This is also helped by the expert direction, with well thought out shots that both amplify the horror and make you care for the characters by placing you right in the middle of their plight.

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The cinematography of The Promised Neverland often places you right in the kids’ perspective, making the horror much more personal.

Combine all this with a great amount of twists and turns, it makes for a stellar season with only a few problems.
These problems are minor and, for the most part, do not hinder the experience.
For example, there was a scene in the first episode with a bit of bad editing, but the rest of the direction was so good that it more than made up for it.
Then there are the episode titles, which, while having no impact the story, are not memorable because they are just a representation of the date.
The final issue has to do with the intelligence of some of these kids, which does seem a bit outlandish at times, but I was able to push my suspension of disbelief above this.
The Promised Neverland is a fantastic anime that looks set to be one of the greats.
Season two has already been greenlit and I will be excitedly watching when it comes out in 2020.