Last year there were a few standout shounen anime that got the anime world a-buzz. One of these titles was Demon Slayer, whose manga just ended last month. Another big name? Our #1 anime of winter 2019–The Promised Neverland. And just like Demon Slayer, The Promised Neverland manga has come to a close. With a mere 181 chapters and a four year run, this ever popular series chose to wrap itself up. I find it super interesting that these new age shounen (minus MHA) are choosing such short run times when I’m sure they could very easily continue for hundreds of chapters. It’s also notable that both of these hit series only received their first seasons of anime last year. But regardless of how short it was, let’s tip our hats and jump into spoiler territory. Today, I want to talk about that Promised Neverland ending.
So. First off. I’m going to say that I really liked Promised Neverland from the beginning. It was always a delightful thriller. The main cast was always to die for and it felt like every arc was impactful for the overall story and also wonderfully brutal for the world. It was, without a doubt, truly a unique and great shonen. Plot twists were always on point–and that is something it carried with throughout its entire run. Even down to the last (perhaps ill decided) plot twist. All of them made sense, gave shock value, and held emotional weight. Overall, the writing of Promised Neverland was always surprisingly good. But it was because the writing was so good…that to be honest? I felt the ending to be a bit disappointing.
Now, the final arc was actually amazing–though perhaps more fast paced than I would’ve liked, but really good for the final showdown between all of the main players really. I very much enjoyed that the final battle did not end with the demons, but rather with the humanity side having to fight themselves. It was a nice touch. And it was an even nicer touch to see all of the Mother’s, whom we know were once cattle children themselves, turn against the system and opt in for freedom and Emma’s side. Now, when I deeply appreciated this plot twist. I also wish there was more time with it. ESPECIALLY since we saw the return of mother—sorry—grandmother, Isabella. The beloved antagonist of the first arc came in clutch at the end of the series to help her children. In doing so, she gave a great sacrifice that was absolutely commendable. But I to be honest, I kind of wished that we had more backstory on Isabella and when she began to decide to take her children’s side. Her death to me, while heartbreaking and touching, felt like it needed more build up to truly be impactful instead of feeling rushed.
If there is anything I’d fault the ending of Promised Neverland for, it’d be how rushed it felt. There wasn’t nearly enough hang time for the conclusion, and because of this, the last few chapters felt…unsatisfying. That’s not to say I think it ended badly, just not well for such a good manga. After the dust settled in Promised Neverland, the cattle children are finally able to go to the human world where they no longer have to worried about being raised and eaten for food. At this point, when I learned this, I honestly expected there to be one final arc about the human world–perhaps even that the human world wasn’t as expected. Then when it was clear Emma was not with them, I figured perhaps the next arc would be a “finding what happened to Emma” arc. Maybe even return to demon world for her. But then Promised Neverland announced it’d be ending and I was like WHAT? There was no way they could wrap it up in a satisfying manner…and that thought held true.
In the final chapters, we learn that Emma gave up her memory of her family for them all to go to the human world. This was a plot line I wholeheartedly accepted and was on board with. While perhaps not as extreme a plot twist as I would’ve assumed from this manga, it still hit you right in the kokoro (also damn my NorEmma ship!!!! So sad to see it sink with the loss of her memory). However, the fact that the others looked for her and then found her in the final chapter, asking her to live with them, to which she agreed despite not knowing them….fell flat. It was cute. But it didn’t feel right if I’m being honest. It felt like a forced happy ending. I would’ve much rather seen them wish her well in her life and let her go. To me, this kind of ending would’ve had so much more impact on her true sacrifice. But y’know, it’s alright. We love a happy ending too.
But the more I sat on the ending after reading it…the more I felt a little disappointed. When I finished Demon Slayer, I felt alright it ended because I couldn’t think of other plot lines I still wanted to see. But Promised Neverland? I still love the series….but I couldn’t help but think about the unexplored disease that was plaguing Norman and the Lambda kids. I couldn’t help but think of the girl who wanted to kill Norman. Or when Isabella chose to believe in the kids. Or even what life looked like on earth for the cattle children aside from finding Emma. It felt like there were threads that were left only half sewn and that I would’ve loved to see more of. But we can’t all get what we want. So now I have to suck it up and just be grateful that there are more seasons of the anime to come. Because overall? I really like Promised Neverland. I really, really do. It’s been a wild ride and I’ve genuinely enjoyed it. While I think it could’ve done with another 20-30 chapters, I do think it was good they didn’t drag it out to Dragon Ball or Naruto lengths. I’ve noticed some of these newer shounen know their place of not making these long epic stories that go on forever and instead keep it strictly to ending their story in a reasonable time. I see this as both a positive and negative. But in the end, I’m just grateful for having these awesome shounen.
So, who all read the ending of Promised Neverland? Did you like it, hate it, or feel pretty in-between about it? I’m super curious what others thought about it! Let me know in the comments or send a message on any of our socials and I’ll respond!
Til next time