Following Season 1 of the anime’s release back in 2019, The Promised Neverland gained widespread praise for its enthralling premise, interesting characters and refreshing take on the shonen and mystery genres. However, the acclaim quickly deteriorated with the premiere of Season 2 last year. Unfortunately, it fell far below expectations for simplifying important storylines and characters, or even cutting them out of the narrative for an incredibly rushed conclusion.
Thankfully, the manga continues the original storyline more naturally with a few light novels to complement it further. With over 32 million copies in circulation, a Japanese live-action film and an upcoming live-action series by Amazon Studios, The Promised Neverland as a whole remains high in popularity. Here’s how to get started with the anime, manga and light novels.
The Promised Neverland follows Emma, an 11-year-old living at the Grace Field House orphanage with her two best friends, Ray and Norman, among others. They seemingly have everything: plenty of food, a large shelter and a family among the other orphans who are all taken care of by their parental figure, Isabella. No one leaves the house until they are adopted, which always happens by age 12.
One night, Emma and Norman rush to deliver the forgotten plushie of their younger sister, Connie, who has just been adopted. They venture past the gates and discover that Connie has not been adopted but is being shipped off to be fed to demons. As it turns out, the orphanage is a lie and acts more like a farmhouse; the children are raised by Isabella to one day be eaten by a demonic race. Desperate to change their fate, Emma, Norman and Ray plan to escape Grace Field House and find their own freedom.
Written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu, the Promised Neverland manga ran from August 2016 to June 202o in Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine and amounted to a total of 181 chapters and 20 volumes. It’s available to read in English digitally via Viz Media on their website for a small fee. Physical copies are also available for purchase on Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart and other local retailers.
Additionally, four light novels written by Nanao titled A Letter From Norman, Mom’s Song of Remembrance, Records of Comrades and Films of Memories were released from 2018 to 2020. These are spin-off stories that expand on certain events from the manga. Unfortunately, the light novels are much more difficult to obtain and are currently only available in Japanese as of this writing.
Both seasons of the Promised Neverland anime were adapted by CloverWorks, the same studio behind Wonder Egg Priority and the currently airing My Dress-Up Darling. Season 1 released with 12 episodes during the winter 2019 lineup, while Season 2’s 11 episodes aired in early 2021.
Seasons 1 and 2 are both available to stream on Hulu and Funimation, while Netflix, HBO Max and Crunchyoll only carry the first. Fans looking for physical copies can find DVD and Blu-Ray versions of Season 1 on Amazon or Right Stuf Anime, while Season 2 has yet to see a physical release in the West. Despite the manga and anime having concluded, Amazon’s upcoming live-action adaptation means fans haven’t seen the last of The Promised Neverland.
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