The Promised Neverland is arguably the best anime series that I’ve watched so far in 2019. Based on Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu’s manga, the series is set in a picture-perfect orphanage where the children live in comfort and happiness, only to have it all ripped away when they discover the truth: they’re being raised as food for the demonic monsters that rule the world. From my review:
The Promised Neverland… has one of those premises that immediately jumps from the page when you read it thanks to how twisted and bizarre it seems. And thankfully, the series fully delivers on its promise, with the result being one of the best, most entertaining, and most suspenseful anime series I’ve seen in quite some time.
A second season of the anime is due to arrive in 2020, and now a live-action Promised Neverland movie is set to arrive in theaters sometime later next year, as well. The movie stars Minami Hamabe (Let Me Eat Your Pancreas), Jyo Kairi (Shoplifters, Erased), and Rihito Itagaki, and will be directed by Yûichirô Hirakawa. This isn’t Hirakawa’s first live-action adaptation; in 2016, he directed a live-action adaptation of the time travel murder mystery Erased, which was also adapted into an excellent anime series.
As one commenter put it:
[A]s far as anime and manga go this is something that should be really easy to adapt well. It is after all just a story about some kids, and strange ‘demons’ or what have you but those will be easy to do in CGI. The reminder is really just a human drama.
The Promised Neverland anime was so good, not just because of the cat-and-mouse game between the children and their overseers, but also because of the childrens’ psychological struggle given their situation. If the movie can handle those things half as well as the anime series did, and really ramp up the nail-biting tension and suspense, then it could certainly be a solid thriller, too.