Hello everyone and welcome to another First Impressions! Today, we’ll be reviewing the highly anticipated first episode of The Promised Neverland!
If you’ve been following NintendOtaku – or even just my personal social media accounts – you’ll probably know how hyped I’ve been for the past months while waiting for the first episode to finally make its debut.
In addition to reviewing the first episode, I’ll also be writing a manga comparison article which compares the manga chapters to each episode of the 12 episodes currently announced and confirmed for the anime’s run, so be sure to keep an eye out!
As per usual, this First Impressions goes over the entire first episode of The Promised Neverland, so as expected there will be spoilers.
So without further delay, let’s get started!
The episode starts off in a flashback following the main trio, Emma, Norman, and Ray as they approach a large metal gate closing off a strange hallway leading to what is referred to as the “outside”. Apparently, they were born on the “inside”, and never had the chance to see what lies beyond the gate and furthermore have always been warned by the person they call “Mom” to never pass the gate or the fence in the back of the forest as both are very dangerous to approach.
Oh yeah, I’ll be referring to “Mom” by her given name Isabella to make things more convenient.
Emma says if she were to ever go beyond the gate then she would like to ride a giraffe, while Norman and Ray wonder what exactly is the gate protecting them from.
Surprisingly, we actually then get to see the OP (which is not common in the first episode of an anime), which is a nice track by UVERworld titled Touch off. Other than that, while the visuals for the opening are simply stunning, a lot of fans (myself included) feel that the tone of the opening doesn’t really fit the tone of the show, but overall, it’s definitely a nice song.
After the opening, we get to see the beginning of the day for the Grace Field children as Emma is to first to wake everyone up to prepare for breakfast. Here we get to see all of the children currently living at the Grace Field Orphanage as they start their morning routine which comprises of breakfast, followed by a mandatory test all of the kids take under their caretaker Isabella’s watchful eye.
It’s not clear what the test is for, but from the viewer’s perspective, it just comprises of scanning barcodes. It then cuts from the test to the children playing tag outdoors, and we get to learn a bit more about Emma, Norman, and Ray’s personalities.
I would say more about the trio’s special traits but that would spoil too much. As the game of tag goes on, we can really see all of the beautiful scenery the forest has to offer as well as added details that make the anime pop compared to the manga.
After catching all of the kids (which was quite easy for Norman), the group decides to play reverse tag where everyone is “it” except for Norman. As the game progresses Emma finds Norman standing by a small fence extending throughout the woods, and they are soon joined by Ray. They discuss a bit about the warning they’ve always been told about never crossing the gate.
A couple of the other children find Norman and join them in their discussions with the topic eventually switching to about why children who were adopted before them never write back once they’ve left. Norman assumes that maybe they’re just being considerate to their foster parents, while the others assume that they either have forgotten about them or are just having too much fun to remember.
The night soon falls over the Grace Field Orphanage and it turns out that one of the children named Conny has been adopted and will be leaving the orphanage to live with her new foster parents. As the rest of the children say their goodbyes, their caretaker Isabella takes Conny to the gate where her new foster parents will pick her up.
As Emma and the older children get the house ready for the night, Emma notices that Conny left behind her prized stuffed bunny – something she’ll surely miss once she realizes she left it. So, Emma and Norman grab the stuffed animal and run as fast as they can to give Conny back her doll before it’s too late.
The two approach the now open gate leading to the outside world, but can’t see Conny or Isabella anywhere – so they assume they must be further in. Knowing that they’ll be in serious trouble once they get back for entering, the two proceed down the dark, large hallway through the gate.
The mood changes completely as they venture down the long tunnel, and they notice a cargo truck parked along the way with no one in the driver’s seat. Emma looks into the back of the truck, hoping to find some trace of Conny – which she does, but not in the way she expects – and even Norman is disturbed by the sight.
In the back of the truck is a dead Conny with a bouquet of flowers stabbed through her chest!
But their staring would have to wait, as they soon hear someone behind one of the giant doors approaching them, so they hide under the truck for safety. They try and peer out to see who it is, however, what walks out of the door isn’t human – rather, it turns out to be three large demons.
As Norman and Emma watch from underneath the truck, helpless and terrified, they wonder where Mom had gone since she had been with Conny. They then see the demons pick up Conny’s corpse while joking between each other about eating just a tiny bit of her before putting her in a giant blue liquid filled container for shipment and preserving. The demons then reveal that Conny is reserved as a premium product meant for the rich since she comes from a farm that produces high-quality goods.
As the third, more sensible looking demon is going over a harvest schedule, he says that there are three more children ready for harvesting as they will be becoming of age soon – referring to Norman, Ray, and Emma! And to top it all off, it turns out that Isabella is working for the demons in getting these kids ready to harvest.
But while the demons and Isabella are talking, one of the demons smell something coming from under the truck and as he looks under, it appears Emma and Norman made a quick escape but left Conny’s doll laying under the truck.
As the episode comes to an end, Emma and Norman make a run for the house as they quickly realize that all of the children who were adopted before must have suffered a fate similar to Conny’s. Now burdened with the truth, Emma and Norman promise to find a way to escape the Grace Field Orphanage with all of the other children.
Right before the ED plays, we see Isabella looking at the doll with a menacing expression – as it is clear she now knows someone was there and they pose a threat to their entire operation.
There is almost no doubt about it – Cloverworks has given this adaptation their all and the series premiere perfectly encapsulates this. The episode’s plot twist was executed perfectly and makes for a pretty interesting concept. Not too many other shows can pull that off so such a gripping first episode will make The Promised Neverland even more appealing in general.
As someone who read the manga, I can tell you when Cloverworks said that they’re focusing on quality character animation, they weren’t exaggerating to any degree. All of the characters (even including the demons) are very well animated with the facial expressions especially being on point. We have yet to fully hear the soundtrack, but from what I can tell, it’ll be a mixture of both calm, soothing music and music that sets the horror, suspense tone very nicely.
Overall, The Promised Neverland looks to be a great adaptation from the get-go and with everyone talking about just the first episode being the next big thing, there’s a possibility that The Promised Neverland can stand up to the other big shows like Attack on Titan, Made in Abyss, and some are even saying Hunter x Hunter.
I’m very excited to see what comes next.
And that’s all for this First Impressions! What do you think about the first episode of The Promised Neverland? Let us know in the comments down below! And as always, any feedback or suggestions you may have are always appreciated!
Thanks for Reading!
P.S, If you want a cool place to hang out and talk with other TPN fans about the manga and anime then come join The Promised Neverland Group Discord server by using the link here!