If you’re looking for some quick reads to add to your TBR, manga are always a great choice. They’re easy to read and have beautiful illustrations! Fans of horror and science fiction should check out The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai. This story goes from zero to 100 very quickly, and will have you rushing to get your hands on the next volume.
The Promised Neverland is also an anime series, and I watched the entire first season before picking up the manga. Both mediums tell the same story, but I found that the manga allowed me to focus more on the internal thoughts of characters.
In this series, we meet a cast of child characters who are living in an orphanage. They have one adult caretaker, who they refer to as their mother, and spend their days learning in the classroom, playing outside, and taking turns completing chores and helping out with the infants and toddlers. It’s a pretty care-free life, with the only hard and fast rule being that they can’t go past the fence in the forest. Seems fair, right? What could possibly go wrong?
One day, it’s announced that one of the younger children, Connie, has been adopted. Two of the older children, Emma and Norman, realize that Connie forgot her stuffed animal before leaving, so they chase after her and their mother to make sure that Connie brings her favourite toy to her new home. Without thinking, they go past the house’s limits, and find themselves in front of a strange gate. What happens next is absolutely horrifying, and changes the entire atmosphere of the story.
I can’t say what happens without giving too much away, but it was not at all what I expecting. Emma and Norman quickly realize that they need to leave the orphanage, and put their trust in some of the other older children for help. The rest of the story focuses on them, gathering information and laying low. However, they face more roadblocks, and their stress levels only increase from there.
As I mentioned above, The Promised Neverland is a horror manga, but it’s more psychological horror than anything else. There’s also a lot of “the fear of the unknown” and knowing who they can and can’t trust, which keeps readers (and viewers, if you decide to watch the anime), on their toes. I’m really excited to see how this series progresses, and can’t wait for more.
Thank you to the publisher, VIZ Media, for an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley. The Promised Neverland was first published in 2018, and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.