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Manga / The Promised Neverland

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”Would you leave that person behind? Or take them with us?”

Life is peaceful for Emma, Norman and Ray, three children of Grace Field House, a special orphanage directed by Isabella, a sweet caretaker 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 being forbidden 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 no later than their twelfth birthday.

Being eleven years old and the top-ranked children of the orphanage, our protagonists know they will be the next to leave after little Conny. But while they thought they would see her off, they witnessed something they shouldn't have, and discovered with horror the "foster family" the children are sent to...


By the way, what was for dinner again?

Now that they know the truth, they will have to find a way to escape from the house and save the other 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, The Promised Neverland/Yakusoku no Neverland (約束のネバーランド) 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. The battles do get more physical in later parts, but without letting go of the strategic aspects. The manga concluded in June 2020, after 181 chapters, although several bonus chapters were released in the following months.

It should be noted that the series was born in a particular context within the Jump magazine, after several long-running big-hitters ended in rapid succession (Naruto, Bleach, Nisekoi, Toriko, and even the king of long-runners Kochi Kame). Among the many new series that were launched in the hope of bringing new blood, Neverland was one of the few that came out on top, and rapidly gained success. The manga received an anime adaptation by Studio Cloverworks in the Winter 2019 season; the English dub began airing April 13, 2019 at Adult Swim's Toonami block. The second season was slated to come in October 2020, but due to COVID-19 Pandemic, it got delayed to January 7th, 2021. Unlike Season 1, it significantly diverges from the source material.


Spin-Off Light Novels include:

  • The Promised Neverland: A Letter from Norman/Yakusoku no Neverland: Norman kara no Tegami (約束のネバーランド~ノーマンからの手紙~) that was (2018)
  • The Promised Neverland: Moms' Song of Remembrance/Yakusoku no Neverland: Mama-tachi no Tsuisōkyoku (約束のネバーランド~ママたちの追想曲~) (2019)
  • The Promised Neverland: Records of Comrades/Yakusoku no Neverland: Sen'yū-tachi no Rekōdo (約束のネバーランド ~戦友たちのレコード~) (2020)
  • The Promised Neverland: The Films of Memories/Yaksoku no Neverland: Omoide no Film-tachi (約束のネバーランド ~想い出のフィルムたち~) (2020)

Other media includes:

  • The Parodied Jokeland/Oyakusoku no Neverland (お約やく束そくのネバーランド) (2019): A Parody Yonkoma series.
  • The Promised Neverland (2020) A live action film adaptation.
  • The Promised Neverland (TBA): A live action tv-series based on the manga developed by Amazon for Prime Video.
  • The Promised Neverland unnamed game app (TBA): A game app has been announced for mobile devices.

Tropes found in The Promised Neverland.

  • Abusive Precursors: Seeing as how the human ancestors of the characters left a group of them behind to be bred for food, as part of a peace treaty with the demons before the two worlds were separated.
  • Achilles' Heel: For demons, the eye in the middle of their face. This is why the intelligent demons wear masks, to cover their weak point.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The anime ends with Emma, Ray, and Norman having to stay behind in the demon world while everyone else gets to go to the human world, but the trio intend to find another way to join them after ensuring all the humans in the demon world are saved and make a new promise to further protect them. They eventually succeed, somehow, and as Emma recognizes Phil this new promise didn't require she lose her memories of her precious family and friends made in the other world as collateral.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime adaptation gives more details on Mama Isabella's past.
  • Adaptational Explanation: In both versions, when he's cornered Ray scratches writing into a tree and this is noticed by his pursuers. Nothing comes of this in the manga, but in the anime the Raitri family's commandos zero in on the safehouse at those coordinates within a few months, rather than having to search for a year and a half as in the manga.
  • 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.
    • Chapter 37 is an extended one for Isabella: for all her ruthlessness, it is revealed that she had a similarly awful past, lost the one boy she loved to the 'farm' system, tried to escape and found that there was only one way she could get out of being eaten, and when she realized Ray was her biological son, devoted herself to surviving while trying to protect Ray. At the end, she realizes she's been defeated and resolves to care for the youngest children while awaiting punishment from her superiors, wishing Emma the best.
    • Again for Isabella in Chapter 177, where she dies while protecting the kids from a demon, realizing that she really did love them..
  • Alternate History: The present day begins in 2045 and the map in the orphanage indicates that the world (or at least the real world) is in a version of our own, and the backstory is that thirty years ago (or more accurately, a thousand years ago), the demons took over the world. In spite of this, technological advancements such as military trucks, trackers traceable by device, the orphanage tests, Morse code, space shuttles, etc. still exist.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Of the open-ended variant. After spending two years missing, with amnesia, and adopted by the Old Man that found her, Emma is eventually found by her family. After much tears and gratitude towards her, the story ends with Emma and her family vow to rebuild, leaving it open as to what their next steps will be.
  • Angry Collar Grab: During Don's breakdown after learning the truth about Grace Field House, he ends up slugging Norman and Ray in a fit of anger of them keeping the secret for him, then grabs Emma by her shirt front to do the same thing. However, he stops himself short of doing so as he can't bring himself to harm her, and walks outside calm himself down.
  • Arc Words: "Promise" (and its verb derivatives, such as "promised," "promising," etc)., starting with it being in the title. Emma and Norman promise to each other that they'll escape, with Emma also promising to safely get every child out of Grace Field. William Minerva promises to lead the kids to human civilization. Sonju and Mujika promise to bring the Grace Field group away from the hunters' and guards' eyes. The pen given to Emma leads them to a shelter unknown to the demons and ultimately to a transporter that would take them straight to the human world. A survivor among Minerva's supporters promises to head to the shelter where the kids are staying to assist them. There are also broken promises, as betrayals: Isabella promises the kids a normal life and adoption but betrays them to the demons. Krone promises to give the kids what they want if they help her overthrow Isabella, though she clearly acts out of self-interest. Sonju promises to be good to the kids and refuses to harm them, though it's only through his religious beliefs, as he carries no such compassion for the offspring he expects them to have. The man found at the shelter immediately turns on the Grace Field kids. Goldy Pond was intended to be William Minerva's town set up to keep escapees safe but has been turned into a hunting ground for demon poachers. Minerva's elevator he promised would help them to travel to the human world has been sabotaged. Norman does not promise to Emma that he'll halt his plans to annihilate the demons even if Emma finds the Seven Walls and makes a new pledge.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Demon nobility not only exist, they're as corrupt as any evil human noble. Right down to using connections so they freely hunt human children. Even more so considering that all of the demon nobility are immune to the physical deterioration other demons have if they don't eat humans. The demons who most aggressively hunt humans are the only ones who don't need to do it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • As Isabella escorts Norman to be shipped off, Norman asks her, "Are you happy, Mama?". Isabella is briefly stunned by him asking this, but she then answers that yes, she is, because she got to meet someone like him.
    • In Isabella's flashback, Ray directs one to Isabella: "Mama, why did you have me?" It takes a moment for Isabella to process it and calmly respond that she did it for survival.
  • 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. In reality, this is not true, as different parts of the brain, like the frontal lobe, continue to develop in your 20s. This could be justified by intentional misinformation being spread.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work:
    • To help the children bring about a future where humans run free out of the farm system, Sonju fights off the farm pursuers, killing them all with ease. It is his hope that by buying them more time they can win and finally allow him to hunt and eat natural-born humans again.
    • He's an Anti-Villain, but it still counts. Emma would like to get rid of the farm system while avoiding any needless casualty among the demons by forging another promise. However, it's hard to deny the fact that Norman's slaughter of the demons' aristocracy did Emma as service, given how corrupt most of them were.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The traitor. Norman tells 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. Norman told Don a different location entirely once Ray was out of earshot, expecting Ray to frame him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Archduke Leuvis comes back from the dead just in time to save Mujica and Sonju from execution.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Against all odds, the demon world has been saved from itself, and the kids and moms get to go home to the human world. However, said world has been ravaged by war and natural disaster, Isabella died to make sure they would all live, and Emma paid the price of the new promise with the memories of her family and being forcefully separated from them. Thankfully, they find her and she gets to start over with them again.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: "Demons" vary in shape and form, from large monstrous humanoids with one to two eyes, ones with hulking muscular bodies, and ones designed more like hounds, to lesser ones that run on all fours and are essentially large wild animals. There are also ones that are near human-like in appearance, like Sonju and Mujika. Mujika herself notes that their kind has been undergoing many changes since the barrier between the demon and human world was put into place.
    • Research later reveals that all demons are the same species, and get their appearance and abilities based on what they eat, with their natural forms being shapeless ooze. In fact, if they don't keep eating intelligent brains they will "fall to the wilderness" and degrade into animals. Mujika has a genetic disorder that makes her maintain her shape and intelligence regardless of diet, something she can spread via blood ministration.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three main focal characters, with Emma having red hair, Ray being a dark brunette and Norman being a very pale platinum blonde.
  • Bookends: The Grace Field arc and the Goldy Pond arc end in a similar manner where one of the final shots is burning down/destroying their homes as the children escape.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ray does this to Isabella when he reveals to her that he is her son, asking her how could she give birth to him so that he could eventually die in this terrible world.
  • Canon Foreigner: Season 2 of the anime adds a new character who never appeared in the manga, the blind demon Vylk. He plays a significant role as one of the few demons with the Evil Blood, a trait given to him by Mujika.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Despite the rather uncluttered character designs, every human has their own facial features and skin color. Even the Demons have various sizes and shapes.
  • Casting Gag: In the English dub, this isn't the first time Laura Stahl has played a young, Crazy-Prepared preteen boy who contemplated killing a parental figure to save his allies. Ray and Hayato Kawajiri would probably have a lot to talk about.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Isabella pulls this on Peter Raiti.
  • Child Prodigy:
    • Emma, Norman and Ray are all exceptionally gifted and intelligent. Emma is a bit behind, but is noted for her exceptional learning ability and athletic prowess.
    • Every kid in the orphanage may also count, considering how they solve numerous test questions everyday that are quite advanced for their age. It makes sense that they'd be smart kids, since younger and more intelligent humans are more valuable merchandise, and Grace Field is supposed to be very high-end.
  • Chore Character Exploration: In episode 3, Norman and Ray discuss whether Mom suspects them while washing dishes together, the chore allowing them an excuse for a covert meeting.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: After regenerating using her second core, the Queen turns into a huge, terrifying monster by devouring every demon corpse in the room, and briefly seems unbeatable... only for the countless minds within her to turn out to be more than she can handle, leading to her degeneration and death.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The second season cuts out the Goldy Pond, Seven Walls, and Andrew arcs in favour of going straight into a simplified version of the final arc. Taken to the extreme in the final episode, where many scenes that were skipped during the season are condensed into a five-minute montage. If these events weren't reduced to a montage, they would have given the show several more seasons' worth of content.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The second season of the anime is particularly guilty of this, as the writers had to come up with ways for the plot to move forward despite entire arcs of the manga being cut out of the story. Some of the most egregious moments being:
    • Norman having a Heel Realization about his demon genocide plans when just happens to come across a young demon named Emma.
    • The children coming across a dropped data storage device that was discovered 15 years ago that just so happens to contain the cure for the Lambda children's degenerative conditions and a detailed map of Grace Field and its defenses. And then, at the moment they discover this information, Peter Ratri and Isabella make the public announcement that they are preparing to ship the children Emma left behind, provoking her into raiding Grace Field to save them.
    • Minerva's pen just happening to be the key that opens the Gate leading to the human world.
  • Crapsaccharine World: From the point of view of kids in farms, not that they know it. You grow up in a pristine orphanage with a loving, kindhearted caretaker, surrounded by friends with a wide open range to run around in, and once you're at least six years old... you're harvested for meat product.
  • Crapsack World: The world of the demons outside the farms in contrast to being a Crapsaccharine World, is this. The areas outside settled areas are plagued by voracious monsters that eat almost anything they see. Settled areas seem nicer to live but the demons need to consume human meat or they will turn into the very feral monsters who live in the wilderness and will eat anything they see, including their own families. And the poor quality human meat that demons' leadership controls of the supply of is failing to do its job and more demons are becoming feral. There was a way to prevent demons from needing to relying on human meat to stay sentient but the aristocracy hoarded it for themselves to ensure the commoners had to continue to rely on their human meat the supply. The aristocrats don't even need to human meat to stay sentient but they still horde the best quality meat for themselves.
  • 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.
    • By Chapter 168, Sonju and Mujica have been captured, Ratri has taken hostages in Grace Field to force the rebellion's cooperation, the guards the rebellion had knocked out are waking up, Isabella is alive and working with Ratri, the rebellion's escape routes are all cut off, and with the demons' leadership eradicated Ratri has plans in motion to install himself as the demons' new king as well as replace every single one of the current human plantations with Lambda-based farms.
  • Defector from Decadence: Sonju abandoned his place in the royal family to follow Mujica as an exile.
  • Destroy the Abusive Home: Lucas and his hunting group decide to destroy Goldy Pond, where demons hunt humans as their prey.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Obviously, the metaphor for animal husbandry and the children being raised to be eaten is right there.
    • The kids have trackers in their ears, not unlike ear tags on farm animals.
    • The kids at the orphanage being treated more mercifully yet at a more expensive price and being more likely to be bought by rich demons that want higher quality food can be seen as analogous to the demand for organic food or food prepared in a certain way (such as different cuts of beef). For example, in real life, organic food is more difficult to produce but is seen as better quality and is thus pricier.
    • Some demons only want to eat free-roam humans due to restrictions by their religion, which can be seen as similar to people practicing diets that restrict them from eating certain foods, including how those foods are prepared. Alternatively, this could be seen as the equivalent to people who are okay with animal husbandry, but want it done a certain way.
    • Mujika comes from a group of demons who have a special kind of blood that can permanently turn demons into intelligent humanoids like her and her kind, and thus removes their need to frequently eat humans to maintain this form. As a result, the companies in charge of the human farming industry wiped out her people as their condition threatens their finances.
    • The hunters are rich demons who don't need to hunt because they've already gotten their fill of humans to stay sapient, which is reminiscent of some real life hunters who hunt for fun rather than for survival.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the first episode, a pretend-angry Emma chases after some kids, and after catching them, jokes that she's going to eat them. In a later episode shots of the kids saying "Thank you for the food!" and eating are juxtaposed with Krone trying to fight off a demon and being killed.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The demons instate Mujika as their new queen and accept taking her blood instead of feasting on humans, and therefore abolish the farms. The humans in the demon world emerge in the human world and are accepted into society, but at the cost of Emma being separated from her family and losing her memories. However, her family is able to find her a couple of years later and joyfully reunite.
  • 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.
  • The Faceless: William Minerva.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Guns exist in the demon world but they are all manufactured by humans. Demons all use swords or spears.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: The rule by the demon nobility in a nutshell. They refuse to do anything that could listen their grip on the world and also refuse to part with any of their human meat even when the populace is suffering from a famine. By the series proper, the humans supplied by factory farms is failing to allow the commoners to retain their intelligence. Rather than share their food stocks or the blood they gained that allows demons to retain their intelligence, the nobility had their human allies preform experiments on humans to produce better quality ones, which so far has led to nothing but failures.
  • Fattening the Victim: A variation: since the demons prefer Brain Food, luxury meals are "fattened" by being put through a rigorous educational program during their childhood, which is what happens to the children of Grace Field Orphanage. This backfires when some of the kids at Grace Field learn the truth about what's going to happen to them, and manage to use their intelligence to outwit their captors and formulate an escape plan before setting off to overthrow the demons' rule.
  • Fed to the Beast: The true purpose of the orphanage is to raise humans to feed to human-eating Demons.
  • Feed the Mole: 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.
  • Finger-Tenting: The ending credits feature a shot of a caretaker and her children with their hands clasped, praying at the table. The way the faceless caretaker is framed in the shot has her in this pose, fitting their mysterious and sinister nature.
  • First-Episode Twist: 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 Connie.
  • Flash Forward: In Chapter 134, shows a distance future where an elder Ray has been trapped in the Demon Boss' world for years and Emma presumably killed or disappeared by an unknown cause from the Demon Boss. Worst of all, Ray can't remember his own name since he been trapped for so long trying to find a way out. However, it turns out he had only been separated from Emma for a few minutes, and him imagining the worst-case scenario caused the Demon Boss's realm to screw with his memory and physical age. Emma re-appears and explains they can control their ages by mentally visualizing time changing.
  • Flesh Golem: After the destruction of the Queen's first core, she rises again as a massive abomination whose skin is covered with the still-talking faces of every creature she's ever eaten.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Isabella's age is given as 31 despite the Demons supposedly taking over 30 years ago. Turns out the lands the kids are in have been controlled by the demons far, far longer than a mere 30 years.
    • Isabella's behaviour and resemblance to Ray foreshadows that Isabella is Ray's biological mother. The anime further foreshadows this by having Ray hum the same song as Isabella in episode 10.
    • The bizarre alien biology when the group finally escapes? No way that could have been there in thirty years...
    • The kids break into a factory farm and its security is piecemeal compared to what we saw on Grace Field. The factory farms supply food to the commoners while the premium farms only supply food for the nobility, which foreshadows something confirmed later. The demon nobility doesn't care about the commoners.
  • Freudian Trio: The main trio is comprised of this. Emma is the Id, as the most emotional and instinct-driven of the three; Norman 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.
  • Genre Shift: Partly. The first arc is mostly a Psychological Thriller while the second arc veers more towards action-horror and fantasy, then the third arc takes the direction of a fantasy drama.
  • Gilded Cage: The farms have everything a child could want, but they're never allowed out beyond the walls or the gate.
  • Go for the Eye: Eyes are the only known weak points for the demons. This is why they wear those masks.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The farms were intended to produce intelligent children to provide a better meat product. The main characters are the result of children who got a bit too smart, escape, and eventually bring about the end of the demon nobility's reign along with the system of farms.
  • Guns Are Useless: Subverted. Guns intially appear worthless due to the demons' regenerative abilities but it turns out that a shot to the eye will stop them.
  • Happily Adopted: In a story filled with orphans, one orphan can claim to have been raised by a genuinely loving adoptive parent with no dark secrets... and Ayshe's father was killed in front of her anyway due to a misunderstanding by humans who thought they were rescuing her from a demon captor.
  • Healing Factor: Demons have the ability to rapidly regenerate from nearly any wound. Killing one involves attacking the eye in the center of its face.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • 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. It's then thankfully subverted, as Emma stops him in time.
    • Tragically played straight in the Cuvitidala arc, in which Yuugo and Lucas sacrifice themselves via explosion to take down Andrew. This is made even worse when we find out Andrew somehow survived the explosion, nullifying their sacrifice.
    • During the attack on the capital, Geelen's retainers willingly sacrifice themselves in order to power up Geelen and slow the Queen down. It... sort of works. While Geelen doesn't manage to kill her, she's damaged enough by the end that the Lambda group can fight her on even terms.
    • In the final arc, Isabella herself dies protecting Emma and the other children from a hungry demon.
  • Human Notepad: The children have identification codes printed on their bodies. The format and location varies from farm to farm, and factory farms use brands.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Demons provide the main threat for most of the series but it is shown that humans can be just as bad. The farms were set up by an agreement between humans and demons to prevent them from going to war with each other. Humans in the Ratri clan have for the past thousand years worked to ensure the deal is upheld and when the kids escape, a team of commandos are sent to kill them. A team led by a Sociopathic Soldier who treats the death of his team as an inconvience to the mission and sees children raised on the demons' farms as subhuman.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Any wild demon the group encounters qualifies, but the poachers at the Goldy Pond hunting resort play this trope the straightest.
  • 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.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Most Lambda escapees suffer from seizure fits and bloody coughs as a result of the experimentation they underwent.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Minerva and Geelen both know that the other will turn on him as soon as their mutual enemy is gone, but until that happens they're both willing to cooperate with a minimum of backstabbing.
  • Insistent Terminology: "Demons" are called as such due to none of the kids knowing what they really are and their monstrous appearance being the only thing they have to go on. Krone simply says "them" when Emma refers to them as demons. Sonju and Mujika reveal humans called them demons in the past as well, and while it's not a true description of what they're called they never correct the kids and call themselves as such.
  • Klingon Promotion: The current queen took the throne by killing her father.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Norman is somewhat of an outlier for admitting he has feelings for Emma, but all the children at the orphanage are raised to regard each other as siblings even if there are no (known) biological ties. They all deeply care for one another.
  • Little Hero, Big War: A group of 38 preteens against an entire race of flesh-eating demons who are three times their size, have regeneration powers, super senses and a population in the millions, most of whom would eat them as soon as look at them. The little group grows in number and ability as the manga goes on, but then they're also facing adult humans with advanced tactics and technology who are completely ready to defend the status quo.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Ray deliberately hums Isabella's song while the two are alone near the wall so that she realizes that he is her son, as she hummed that song when she was pregnant and he does not have infantile amnesia.
  • The Mole: The trio believes that there's a traitor among the kids. There is, namely Ray.
  • Mysterious Waif: Mujica is an oddly nice demon with an oddly skilled bodyguard Walking the Earth to escape religious persecution.
  • Mythology Gag: The final scene of the anime is of the children at the beach during sunset in the human world, based on one of the final splash pages from the manga.
  • No Blood Ties: None of the kids know anything about their birth families. Except for Ray.
  • The Nose Knows: Some of the demons have a very keen sense of smell and are used to find escapees. Though they have a quadrupedal dog-like shape, they are fully sentient and can speak.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Ratri points out that, although humans don't typically eat other humans like demons do, every other monstrosity the cattle children have encountered in the demon world has its reflection in the human world, and that the paradise they're fighting to reach isn't what they'll find.
  • Off-Model: While it's unclear how much of it was caused by the pandemic or by the radical changes to the story, the animation in the second half of Season 2 is a massive step down from not only Season 1; but to the first half of its corresponding season. With characters becoming massively simplified even in tense moments or close-ups, and scenes with choppy movement or just outright lacking animation entirely.
  • One-Winged Angel: After losing her first core, the Queen briefly becomes a monstrosity composed of every creature she's ever eaten. When she regains her humanoid shape, she's back to full strength and then some. This turns out to be a Clipped-Wing Angel when her wounded, poisoned, exhausted body is unable to control the resulting strength or the numerous minds accumulated within her as a result.
  • One World Order:After ten years (2020-2030) of environmental instability, famines, and natural disasters, and ten years of global war, humanity has, apparently, united into a single world government, with borders abolished and countries like the United States no longer in existence. This comes somewhat inexplicably to the both the kids and the audience, as the human books the kids had access to only went up to 2015, thus they imagined a world much like the ours at the time of the manga's writing. It also is narratively convenient, as the lack of borders means that there are no such things immigrants, thus the kids and other human survivors of the demon world, will not have to worry about immigration laws or such, nor should they face substantial persecution for their status. As a result of its reveal right at the end of the story, this information may feel like a last minute addition to wrap up any loose ends to the plot.
  • 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.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The Demons are a species of intelligent, tall humanoids with many eyes who eat humans to allow themselves to remain sentient. Feral Demons are just large monsters.
  • 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.
    • Chapter fifty reveals that farms like the one the kids grew up in, which raise them in happy ignorance until the time comes, are rare. In fact, including theirs, only four farms raise premium goods like the main protagonists. The rest of them are housed in mass production farms, where humans are literally treated like cattle, fattened up solely for the slaughter, and can't survive being taken off life support.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: After his defeat at Goldy Pond, Leuvis goes into self-imposed exile at a remote village. In order to keep a low profile, he disguises himself... as himself. Without his hat.
  • Poor Communication Kills: One of the reoccurring themes of the series.
    • While Don and Gilda's plan to break into Isabella's room wasn't wise, they did it because they thought they could uncover a lead to save their siblings, because Norman and Emma, however well-intentioned, had kept the truth from them. It marks the turning point where Emma realizes that having all of their siblings in the know is, in fact, the key to their escape.
    • As Ray himself acknowledges in the aftermath, they could've avoided the messier parts of the escape (specifically, Emma burning her hands to prevent his suicide and her cutting off her ear) if he had just told Emma and co. beforehand what he was planning.
    • In Ch. 123, Ray makes an active attempt to avert this, getting Emma to spill her doubts to him (because he knows she'll otherwise blow up at the worst possible moment) and encouraging her to talk about them to Norman, whose plan she's dubious about as it's far better to do it now than when everything is underway.
  • Posthumous Character: William Minerva is revealed to be Dead All Along in Chapter 71.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime eliminates all narration and inner monologues, occasionally integrating some of it in the spoken dialogue. As a result, the show has a faster pace but focuses more on visual, auditive and emotional tension, and slightly less on the intellectual and psychological aspects of the conflict. Also, instead of inventing a pronounceable name for the Demons' supreme god, the anime only refers to it as "that Person" to preserve its aura of mystery. The English dub refers to him as "the One".
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The demons overseeing the farms perform the Gupna ritual in honor of God, not because they particularly care about respecting their food or God, but that the Vida plant is the most efficient means of preserving their meat. The fact that it is also a painless death is likewise unimportant in their use of it.
    • The demons in their private hunts in the Goldy Pond arc limit themselves to killing around four humans a hunt so they don't exhuast their supply.
  • Predecessor Villain: The anime flashbacks add a previous Grandmother who indoctrinates Isabella when she was a child. The current Grandmother was the mom at the farm Isabella grew up in, and is the successor to the former Grandmother.
  • Public Secret Message:
    • The books sent to the orphanage by William Minerva are all very subtle messages for the kids, from what the orphanage wants to do with the kids to how to survive should they manage to escape. Minerva's stamp on the inner front cover has imperfections on the ring surrounding its owl emblem that, upon closer examination, spell out words in Morse code, for instance, and that is the least hidden of his messages.
    • Also from William Minerva, Krone's pen contains an encrypted message from Minerva himself with the coordinates to his location and to go there if the kids need help.
  • Race Against the Clock:
    • By Norman's estimation, the kids have less than two months to plan and train for their escape attempt before the next "shipment".
    • In everything after the escape arc, Emma has estimated that she and the others have two years before any of their siblings left behind are eligible for shipment.
    • Emma and Ray have to locate the Seven Walls, find the main demon, and make a new promise before Norman begins his war on the demons.
  • Record Needle Scratch: The end of episode 1 of the anime, when Isabella finds Connie's Bunny doll. The look on her face is horrific.
  • 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.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In Chapter 178, the humans from the demon world arrive in the human world by washing ashore in New York City, with the Statue of Liberty looking overhead.
  • Scary Black Man: Actually, Scary Black Woman: Sister Krone, who acts incredibly creepy and often puts on a Slasher Smile, especially when she plays with the children.
  • Schizo Tech: Technology for demons mostly appears to be in the middle ages, except for the farms which appear to be on the level of present day humanity. Given that technological of that level doesn't appear anywhere else, it's implied that the nobility hoard it for their own use.
  • Shoe Phone: Krone's parting gift to Norman is a high-end pen in a fancy box. This pen is actually a GPS device with a holographic display, though it only displays locations using an atypical coordinate system and requires a password Ray and Emma have to figure out to access.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Isabella named Ray after Ray Charles, who she was listening to on the radio when he first arrived at the house.
    • For One Piece's 20th anniversary, Neverland tips their hat to it subtly with a cover page of Emma and Isabella in a field with straw hats.
    • Chapter 158 literally features someone dying in exactly the same format of a death courtesy of Kenshiro, right down to the use of You Are Already Dead and the Big "WHAT?!" that follows afterwards. Specifically, the self-inflicted demise of the Queen, as Musica explains why consuming so much has ultimately doomed her.
    • According to Word of God, Lucas is named for George Lucas as a Star Wars reference.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: While other characters criticize Emma for her idealism, the narrative ultimately shows Emma to be in the right. The cynical option is certainly safer, but Emma's idealism is what allows her to work towards a future in which none of the members of her family have to die. In chapter 38, Ray realizes this, and vows to also protect every single one of the kids.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Ray and Sister Krone both disparage Emma's idealism, calling her naive for wanting to Leave No Man Behind. Ray in particular never planned on escaping with anyone other than himself, Emma, and Norman.
  • Sins of the Father: Emma is against performing a massacre on demon children, because they're innocent and don't know any better.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Emma is an idealistic protagonist while Ray is a cold, pragmatic cynic and Norman comes down somewhere in between. All the characters' viewpoints are shown to have their own merits and flaws.
    • The characters with these roles eventually change in the later arcs, with Norman believing that kindness alone can't save everyone, while Ray is more moderate and willing to support idealistic solutions.
  • 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.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the anime, Isabella isn't Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, so she survives and joins everyone in going to the human world.
  • Spiteful Suicide: Ray's original plan to help Norman and Emma escape the orphanage was to burn himself alive as a distraction the night before he would be eaten by the demons. He spent his entire life building himself up as the most valuable product that would only be eaten by the demon leadership. Burning himself would destroy all of his value and Norman and Emma's escape meant there would be no replacement. He could have come up with any other plan, but chose this one because it screwed over everyone involved in the orphanage. Thankfully, Norman figured out Ray's plan and came up with a new one that only required faking his Self-Immolation and allowed all the kids over four to escape.
  • Surprise Creepy: Emma and Norman when they first come across Conny's dead body, followed up by them hiding from some people who converse about eating cats and humans, Emma and Norman taking a glimpse and seeing that these people are monsters, and these monsters placing Conny's corpse in a strange preservation jar so she can be sold off and eaten.
  • Surprisingly Good English: For a Japanese story, all of the in-universe text written by humans is in English, and all of it is perfectly spelled and grammatically constructed.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: When the entire group is forced to travel again, Emma and Don struggle to find enough food to feed them all... at which point the younger kids do so with minimal effort. After all, while Emma and co. spent the past year and a half busy with plot-important tasks, the other kids honed their general life skills such as, again, feeding the entire group.
    • After the farms are abolished not everyone is willing to obey as seen when a demon tries to devour Emma and everyone else at Grace Field. This quickly gets him arrest however.
    • As it turns out the demons are not Always Chaotic Evil. There are demons who are capable of good, just as there are humans who are capable of evil.
    • The kids are far more numerous than Andrew's commando team sent to kill them, but as Emma notes, they are still at a disadvantage since most of the kids don't know how to fight and the commandos are wearing body armor.
    • Andrew survives the gas explosion Yugo set off to kill him and continues his pursuit of the kids. When a few see him and how badly injured he is, they don't shoot him they had the chance because he was a human suffering like them. Andrew reminds that human or not he's still their enemy and more importantly, that a human can be as bad as a demon.
    • Even though he's only going after children, Andrew is still beaten. He was an adult with experience as a commando but there was still only one of him and after he made a point of showing he wasn't to be shown mercy, the kids don't make that mistake again and shoot him through the arms the first chance they get.
    • In a flashback to Geelen being framed its explained that the demons' farms can't meet the demands of the population because without humans killing demons the populace has gotten more numerous.
    • In the final arc, Peter is trapped without the army of demons the queen lent him due to the bridge at Grace Field getting blown. He demands the eat birds to gain the ability to fly, and the demons respond to him like he's a lunatic.
    • The first time the kids have guns and are faced with demons, they struggle to pull the trigger. Beyond the fact that they are just children, people with no combat training often have difficulty pulling the trigger on a live target.
    • Norman in the anime attempts to start of plan of genocide against the demons on a small town. He very quickly shows that even though he contemplated the horror of what he was planning that it did not prepare him for the act. In his escape from Lambda he had only been killing demons who experimented on him on the other humans. In the town he was killing innocent people who had done nothing to him, including children, and found he didn't have the stomach to kill any of them himself.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • So the escape is finally on. Emma and co. have two main options for escaping the complex, and their only option for actually getting out is the bridge (which they know will be heavily guarded), with their two main routes being: attempting to run along the wall and hope they're not spotted, or try to use the other platations as cover on the way to the bridge. Of course, they pick an option that's far more conductive to their success: they reach a spot where the cliff on the other side was closest to the wall, and used ropes they managed to attach to the trees to zip-line across to the other side. By doing that, they completely fool their pursuers (all except Isabela, who notices too late to do anything about it) and successfully escape, and with Isabela doing her best to cover their tracks, the demons won't realize they're already gone for a long while.
    • Similarly, instead of taking every child with them in the escape or leaving them all behind, Emma and Ray opt to take the oldest children who are all at least capable physically on a basic level, and leave the toddlers— who are too young to be shipped away— at the farm, though they plan on coming back and rescuing them later.
    • Minor example, but a volume extra shows some additional insight as to why Ray and Emma wanted ETR3M8 to come with them: Ray didn't want to leave him alone with the kids but knew they couldn't just take everyone with them to Goldy Pond either, so he suggested to Emma that they just take the man with them.
  • Theme Naming: The four major orphanages all have two-word names that start with the letter G: Grace Field, Glory Bell, Grand Valley, and Goodwill Ridge. Also fitting with this naming scheme is Goldy Pond, a location William Minerva intended to be a human settlement within the Demon World.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Emma, Norman, and Ray. They're all the same age, are best friends, and work very well together. While Norman admits early on he has feelings for Emma, it doesn't interfere with their dynamics or change how highly they regard each other.
  • Time Skip: As of chapter 102, the series jumps forward about a year and a half to the intel team finally hitting gold on their information trail.
  • 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. As well as because demons absorb the traits of the animals they eat, so smarter humans means smarter demons.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: None of the three protagonists behave like they are 12 (except maybe Emma sometimes), but Ray is especially bad. Knowing that they're all cattle on their way to the slaughterhouse since day one did little to make him enjoy his childhood. He appears very cold and cynical as a result. That being said, all the kids have been forced to go through intense education regimens to produce intelligent (if not outright genius) children with more appetizing brains, not to mention centuries of selective breeding for high test scores, this is somewhat justified by the setting.
    • This is actually commented upon by ETR3M8, who notes and is somewhat unsettled that the kids' preparedness and willingness to gamble with their lives without hesitation in order to survive is more advanced than his own when he was their age. Goldy Pond residents repeatedly see how good all the Grace Field kids are at memorization and are creeped out.
  • True Companions: Emma considers all the Grace Field children family, and once they venture outside of the facility, she ensures that they always stick together as a unit. Their family gradually grows larger as they meet more people along the way.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The story begins in the year 2045.
  • Tunnel Network: At some point in the past, Sonju built an extensive network under the forest outside Grace Field by connecting caves already carved out by the meat-eating trees.
  • The Unpronounceable: The name of the "god" the demons worship is written in an alien, unreadable script. In general the demon language is portrayed as such but with the exception of the aforementioned name, most of it is translated.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    • Played Straight with Krone and Isabella's scheming. Krone announces her plans to her doll (anime) or through her narration (manga), detailing what she will do to defeat Isabella to get ahead. Isabella plays her cards close to her chest and doesn't tell the audience what she's up to. It's unsurprising that Isabella outmaneuvers her with ease.
    • Played Straight in the climax of the first arc. Two plans of escape were drawn, one is described in detail before it is to be implemented the other isn't explicit until it's underway. Ray's is exposited to the audience; they intend to light themselves on fire, burn the orphanage down as a distraction for Isabella while everyone runs to the exit and makes use of hidden molotov cocktails he planted. The second plan was initiated a few episodes before completely unbeknownst to the audience. It was formulated by Norman who played to the group's strengths where they scale the wall and cross the cliff rather than head for the gate. The second plan, naturally, was the one implemented and the one that saves them.
  • Vampiric Draining: The flower that is found on Connie and pierces Sister Krone's heart and kills her is known as a Gupuna plant. It sucks the blood out of living beings if it accepts the body it's thrust in.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Emma thinks demons should be given a chance to show that they can coexist with humans. Norman disagrees.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 32. Emma and Ray never gave up on escaping after all, and on the night the chapter takes place—the night before Ray's 12th birthday—the escape plan goes into action. To pull it off, Ray sets himself on fire in addition to burning down the orphanage, partially to ensure that Isabella will be too distracted to stop the escape and partially to spite her and the demons by denying them his brain.
    • Chapter 34 goes even harder. Emma is acting on a revised plan made by Norman, because Norman figured out months ago that Ray intended to kill himself. Many other kids have been let in on the secret, with Norman having used the Power Trio as bait while Don and Gilda moved behind the scenes to spread the truth to the other children. And if that weren't enough, the chapter ends on a Cliffhanger suggesting that some of the kids have been left behind to keep Isabella from running the escapees down.
    • Chapter 47 takes it further. Emma and Ray discover that the demons have been around for at least a millennium, with the demons being apex predators. After a long war, humans and demons agreed to divide the world between each other: humans got a realm of their own and so did the demons. An additional measure to maintain that 'promise' was that nothing should be ever allowed to pass the boundary that divides the humans and the demons. The unlucky humans that remained in the demon territory when the split was completed were sent to plantations in order to harvest the human meat that the demons love so much, and the kids in the multiple plantations around the demon territory are their descendants (a.k.a. Emma and co.).
    • Chapter 51 has a minor one relative to the others, but it's still there. Sonju, the male demon who's been helping protect and feed the children, who also taught Emma to hunt, isn't actually on their side. It's true that he aided the children and refused to kill them...but that's because his religion demands that he hunt natural food. Humans raised on farms don't count. He didn't help the children because he's a good guy, he just wants humans born freely into the world that he can hunt and kill for food. Mujika, for her part, does seem somewhat attached to the children now, but it was revealed that she originally considered handing them over to the orphanage trackers for a reward and was only stopped by Sonju enacting his own plan.
    • Chapter 52. The kids have reached B06-32, to find a man already there. Except he's not William Minerva, but a former escapee who's been hiding in the shelter for years. But while supplies in the shelter are plentiful, they're still limited, and he has no intention of sharing. He holds Emma hostage, threatening to shoot the rest if they don't give him the pen and get out.
    • Chapter 72. William Minerva is a descendant of the people who trapped the remaining humans with the demons and is likely long dead, Goldy Pond was supposed to be a sanctuary for escapees that Minerva would smuggle into the human world, only to be compromised by a collaborator he was with, Emma has the options of ending the truce and restarting the war between humans and demons, sneaking out with a select few people, or a third option known as the "seven walls". Also, there's multiple elevators to the human world, some of which are located at plantations, Grace Field included.
    • Chapter 74. Norman makes a reappearance after 44 chapters, revealed to be alive and well after presumably being shipped off to the slaughter and killed MONTHS ago.
    • Chapter 162. Peter brought the captured children back to Grace Field, and we find Isabella is now the "Grandma" of the farm.
    • Chapter 169. The children have managed to defeat the Raiti clan and captured Peter, right when the Mothers of Grace Field arrive with weapons, seemingly to rescue Raiti. Then, Isabella congratulates Emma and the others for their actions, and she and her group aim their guns at Peter.
    • Chapter 171 Grand Duke Leuvis saves Sonju and Mujika from execution then uses Mujika's blood to liberate all demons present from needing to consume human flesh. He subsequently becomes the leader of all demons by virtue of being the Queen Legravalima's younger brother.
    • Chapter 179: All the humans in the demon world are teleported to the human world and emerge in a society recovering from decades of environmental cataclysm and a world war. However, Emma has been mysteriously separated from the others to an unknown location and is found by a mysterious figure, while the kids vow to find her and bring her home.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Norman's shipping date has been decided."
    • Chapter 69: "Nice to meet you. I'm Lucas."
    • Chapter 72:
    William Minerva: It is currently May 20th, 2031. By the time you are listening to this recording, I am probably no longer in this world.
    • Chapter 178. What does Emma have to give up to fulfill her end of the promise so that the children can go free?
    Demon: What I want in exchange... is your family. Your family is most important, so I want your family. But there's one problem. The promise is that all of your family will go to the human world, so I can't have your family. So what shall we do? ...It's fine. This time for you, I don't need anything in exchange. For the last 1,000 years, you've had everything taken from you, so those 1,000 years are the price. You have entertained me in various ways, though, so that's enough.
    • Then comes Chapter 180, where we learn Emma lied. So, what did she have to give up?
    Demon: What I want in exchange... is your family. Your family is most important, so I want your family. [...] I can't kill you or your family, and I don't intend to. Don't worry, all of the children can live and go to the human world... but you'll say goodbye to your family.
    Old Man: [meanwhile, in the present] Where did you come from? Why were you out there?
    Emma: I... don't know.
    Demon: Your past memories and future connections. Everything. I'll take your family from your world. That's what I want. I'll grant your wish, but in return... you'll never see your family again.
  • Wham Shot: Chapter 118. Emma finally comes face to face with William Minerva... and he's the spitting image of Norman.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted hard. Andrew and his commando team are killed like any demon antagonists. Some of the kids see Andrew after the injuries Yugo left on him and show him mercy. This proves a big mistake as he kills most of them.
  • When Trees Attack: The first major threat to the kids after escaping from the orphanage is a tree that traps animals in its root system, then envelops them to sap nutrients from them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Would hurt, hunt, farm, traumatize, maim, eat, experiment on, imprison, orphan, kill, and/or bomb a child. Inevitable, considering the story's themes.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess:
    • The first arc is this, as implied in the summary. Need to investigate the top of the wall? Distract Isabella with Ray. Isabella leaves Ray locked in a room and catches the investigation in progress? Push ahead, it's the last chance. Isabella puts the kids in checkmate? Well...
    • The final arc becomes this between the heroes and Peter Ratri. Before the death of the Demon Queen, Ratri told her of the escaped children, and requested the use of the Royal Army to capture the children at their hideout, then take them to Grace Field House. Norman, Ray, and Emma determine that's where their friends are being taken and head there, while Musica and Sonju work to bring back the old priests to lead the Demons. Once Peter learns that the Queen is dead, he realizes this is a chance for his clan to take power, and creates a false story that the Queen was murdered by Musica and Sonju, turning the demon populace against them.
  • 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.