Broken Promises – ‘The Promised Neverland’ First Season Review

Broken Promises – A Full Season Review for ‘The Promised Neverland’


What’s the show? The Promised Neverland.

And what’s it about? A group of orphans live in a massive orphanage in the middle of a forest and are looked after by a woman known as “mama”, while there’s the occasional mandatory intelligence test the majority of their days are spent having fun and playing together. Every few months one child leaves the house under the pretence of adoption and is never seen from or heard again. (Spoilers for episode 1 incoming) One particular “adoption” takes place with a young girl Conny leaving the house, accidentally she leaves one of her favourite toys so Emma and Norman–two of our protagonists hurry to bring it to her before she leaves. There they are confronted by a terrifying truth, as they witness the dead body of Conny in a wagon and a monster-like creature seemingly responsible. They hurry back to the orphanage, shaken by what they have seen but resolved to break out and take all the kids with them.

Emma’s seen some shit.

Sounds interesting. Sure, it’s an interesting concept one that has a lot of potential but I feel like its potential that’s squandered by leaps in logic and plotting, tonal issues and an overall inconsistent execution.

So that’s the one-sentence spoiler-free version, I take it you’re going to elaborate and get into spoiler territory from here on out? Yes. Firstly, I was willing to suspend my disbelief that our main characters were capable of such elaborate planning— their geniuses after all so that much I could reconcile. But by episode 12 it’s revealed that some of the younger kids, including Phil who is 4 years old were not only participating in an elaborate escape plan, managing to keep it secret and be trusted with keeping it a secret with little to no evidence that their beloved “mama” was the evil manipulator they sold her as. Credit to the final episode, they surrounded this revelation with plenty of other reveals that it was easy to gloss over it on a single viewing but thinking about it after the fact shows just how many holes this plot point has.


But that’s just one part of one episode (albeit a pivotal one) what about the “inconsistent execution” you spoke of? I’d argue that there was enough material for ~maybe~ 6 episodes tops. Whereas it’s stretched out to 12 here, maybe manga readers will argue that everything we saw was necessary for things later on but every episode felt it was 5 minutes of interesting stuff at the start and 5 minutes of interesting stuff at the end with 10 minutes of padding between.

Gives new meaning to ‘watching the clock’.

And the “tonal issues”? The show made an impact with its “powerful” first episode but ever since felt like it was tip-toeing around returning to the dark promise it first offered. And a part of that comes from the lack of scenes exploring the world outside the orphanage. Yes that’s certainly to come now that the kids have escaped but that’s too little, too late for me as I won’t be watching the second season. They had ample opportunity to give more of a glimpse of the outside world but instead wasted literal hours of run time on long winded, unimportant scenes inside the orphanage.

Our protagonists: Ray, Emma and Norman.

Well that’s certainly a lot of complaints. What did you actually ~enjoy~ about the series? Visually the series is attention grabbing, and all the voice actors are expectedly high quality—especially Emma who wrings a lot of emotion out of her scenes. And as I said at the top of the review, the idea is compelling I just think it’s not well executed.

Mama’s story was pretty good, but again all left to episode 12.

Right then, so final review and recommendation for ‘The Promised Neverland’? I’m probably the last person you should be looking for a recommendation from because the majority of people really loved this series from beginning to end—and chances are you will too. For me though there were too many things I had issue with to say I “enjoyed” the experience. Promises undelivered: 65 out of 100.

Happier times.

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Author: Cactus Matt

I love anime and more recently manga too. What else do I need to write here?

6 thoughts on “Broken Promises – ‘The Promised Neverland’ First Season Review”

  1. I was under strict “orders” from Karandi to avoid reading anything about this series until I have seen it. And well…I don’t want to disobey orders and get in trouble of course 😅😅 So…I have not read a word ….yet. But…already seeing the familiar format of your posts is still intact (yes!) I am going to return to this and read after I have seen the show: I promise 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, thank you😊 Well…I’m back, and then again I’m not “fully” back so to speak. I’m still having the same health problems and a lot of other stuff going on (wrote about it in my update post a week ago), but bottom line is I missed everyone here, and blogging in general. So I decided some blogging is better than nothing which in a round about way means I’m sort of back 😅
        Yeah I heard that, in fact I have heard some really good things about this series, so can’t wait to get started on this (and way too many other stuff I missed out on 😅).

        Liked by 1 person

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