Manga / The Promised Neverland

Life is peaceful for Emma, Norman and Ray, three children of a special orphanage directed by Isabella, a sweet woman they all call "Mom". In this house surrounded by a large playground and a forest, children of all origins are raised with love and care, the only constraints being the regular tests of knowledge that establish a ranking by score, and the forbidding to go near the main gate or beyond the forest. Every child is eventually sent away to a foster family, sooner or later, but always before their twelfth birthday.

Being 11 and the top-ranked children of the orphanage, our protagonists know they will be the next to leave after the little Conny. But while they thought they would see her off, they witness something they shouldn't have and discover with horror what kind of "foster family" the children are sent to... Now that they know the truth, they will have to find a way to escape from the house and save its children before they turn into the next dish on the menu. But their once-beloved Mom doesn't intend to make their mission any easier. A battle of wits soon engages.

Started in August 2016, Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland) is a Shonen Jump series written by Shirai Kaiu and drawn by Demizu Posuka, mixing an Ontological Mystery with an intellectual battle and a tinge of horror.

Tropes found in The Promised Neverland.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Krone might be greedy, opportunistic and willing to backstab anyone to benefit herself, but when she knows her life is going to end, she does what she can to aid Emma's group escape and reflects on her horrible life growing up, spending her final moments noting how beautiful the sky is. Terrible as Krone was, she never had a chance to be free and it's easy to see how she turned out.
  • Artistic License Biology: In the third chapter, Norman explains that the reason children get shipped at age twelve is that this is the point when the brain is fully-developed. This is not true, different parts of the brain,like the frontal lobe, continue to develop in your 20s.
  • Bait and Switch: The traitor. They tell Don where one of the ropes is hidden and find it gone the next day, giving Norman all the evidence that he needs to see that the traitor is...Ray.
  • Child Prodigy:
    • Emma, Norman and Ray are all exceptionally gifted and intelligent. Emma is a bit behind but is noted for her great learning ability.
    • Every kid in the orphanage may also count, considering how they solve numerous test questions everyday that are quite advanced for their age.
  • Darkest Hour: Chapter 30-31 is the point where nothing looks good for the protagonists. Krone has been offed, they learned that the orphanage is surrounded by a huge ravine, Norman is gone, Ray has given up, Emma has a broken leg and Isabella only gives her a choice between becoming the next Mom or being "shipped out". The only glimmer of hope seems to be the mysterious pen that Krone has left them.
  • Enemy Mine: Krone and the kids team up in order to overcome Isabella. Of course, the kids realise immediately that as soon as Krone's goal of becoming a Mama comes into reach she will betray them without hesitation.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The true nature of the orphanage as a farm To Serve Man is revealed in the very first chapter when Emma and Norman come across the corpse of Conny.
  • Freudian Trio: The main trio is comprised of this. Emma is the Id, as the most emotional and instinct-driven of the three; Normal is the Ego, more calculating but still driven by emotions to some extent; Ray is the Superego, cold and rational to the point of cynicism at times.
  • Genius Thriller: A psychological battle for survival between the brightest of a group of kids raised for their intelligence and two of the brightest of other groups who've already saved themselves.
  • I Die Free: Chapter 32 ends with Ray burning himself alive, both to help Emma and his siblings escape and to rob Isabella and the demons of their prized livestock.
  • I Know You Know I Know: When Sister Krone confronts Emma's group in the woods, her inner thoughts reveal that she has no intention of honoring her promise to spare the children if she gets to oust Isabella. Just from watching Norman, she figures out that he's likely realized this. She's right, but what takes this to the next level is that Norman not only knows she doesn't intend to keep her promise, he knows that Krone's likely already figured out that he knows.
  • The Mole: The trio believe that there's a traitor among the kids. There is, namely Ray.
  • Only One Name: Justified in this case. All the characters are orphans, so they don't have a family name.
  • Ontological Mystery: The children know they are in the year 2045, and that human books were published as late as 2015, but they have no idea what happened to humanity in this 30 year gap, let alone what awaits them outside of the orphanage.
  • People Farms: The first chapter reveals that the purpose of the orphanage and others like it is to raise children who will be tasty to the demons or otherwise make suitable sacrifices.
  • Red Herring Mole: Gilda gets a lot of shots looking suspicious and upset in the background and is seen talking to Krone, but is really just concerned for Emma. Right after she's cleared, the trick with the ropes seems to implicate Don... But that's another red herring for the real traitor, Ray.
  • To Serve Man: The orphanage is literally a farm where tasty humans are raised to be eaten. The main question raised by this is "why would the demons give education to their cattle?" The answer: because the more they know, the tastier their brains are.
  • Shell Game: Norman sets up one of these to root out the spy. He tells Gilda one location of the ropes, and Don another. Only he, Ray, and Emma know about the ones under Norman's bed—and those are the only ones that go missing. Given that neither Norman nor Emma can be the spies, that immediately proves that Ray is.
  • Slave Brand: While they don't know why, every child in the orphanage has a number tattooed onto their necks. The revelation of the orphanage being a People Farm explains their purpose and offers major implications when Isabella is shown to also have a number.
  • Stealth Mentor: If the kids' plan to save everyone is to succeed, as many of the other children as possible need to be trained to make the attempt. However, between Isabella's suspicions and the fact they can't tell anyone about her since they aren't certain to be believed, the protagonists have to be careful how to go about it. They engage the other kids in high level games of tag and hide and seek, which teaches the kids ways to run and hide without telling them why they're learning them.
  • The Unpronounceable: The name of the "god" the demons worship is written in an alien, unreadable script.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 32, and how.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Isabella pulls this twice:
    • First, to Krone. At first, it seems as if the system trapped them, but it's implied that Isabella did this to Krone and was behind her death.
    • Second, she does it to Ray, even saying "I don't need you anymore" before locking him in a room.