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The Promised Neverland: Suspense & Altruistic Heroes

Ghouls are joined by another Beyond the Bot host to talk about one of their all-time favorite horror animes, The Promised Neverland. Cristal Marie is notoriously known for being anti-horror but in her appreciation for The Promised Neverland found that she might actually be a horror fan! What makes The Promised Neverland so good at suspense? Why are many fans disappointed with the second season?

Joined by guest, Cristal Marie. Follow Cristal on social: @CristalMarie or visit her websites:

Sources in episode:


The Promised Neverland: Suspense & Altruistic Heroes Kat Kushin

RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

Promised Neverland does an amazing job at using colors, light and darkness, and music to build tension and stress for the audience watching.

The way shots are presented creates this idea that someone is always watching or spying on the children, and gives this uneasy feeling similar to what we saw with Invisible man. The camera is often in the shadows watching the kids unpack their plans for escape. It creates this feeling of being hunted and never safe.

The way emotion is portrayed through the eyes is also extremely effective. Using the Kubrick stare, or showing the pupils eerily small in giant eyes, or just looking very blank. These views are used throughout the show and are really effective at showing the anguish the characters are going through. `

The children and Isabella, in a way represent the different kinds of human nature that exist. There’s the altruistic Emma, always thinking of others before herself, and filled with this unwavering hope and charisma that inspires change. Then there’s the calculated and calm Norman, who is willing to sacrifice himself for the people he loves, but also has the capacity to be kind of self righteous, intention vs impact. Then we have Ray, someone who is in so much pain from carrying the weight of reality for as long as he has, who doesn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but wants to carry his darkness alone if that means protecting his friends. Isabella, an inherently selfish survivor, having lost her own “Norman” as a child, just wants to survive and make the best of this awful situation.

The predicament that Isabella, Sister Krone and other “Mothers” are forced to reckon with is this reflection, between self preservation and doing “what is right”. The “what is right” has been kind of lost to this hopelessness they feel, that this contract between humans and demons, is not something they could possibly win against. Having survived this long in a world so awful, it’s reasonable that they could feel hopeless to change it, and honestly humans are resilient in this way, that adapting to a situation is often what humans will do to survive it. To stand up and fight is for many a guaranteed death that ultimately in the grand scheme of things, could be meaningless. They kind of get bogged down in the day to day survival and can no longer see the big picture.

Whereas with Emma, who is much younger, who is less worried about her survival than the survival of her family is very different. There’s an innocence and hope that comes from the minds of children, that adults can’t always see. Where Isabella has given up creative thinking and lives each day accommodating her trauma and abusers' wills, Emma still has hope that a different way of living can happen. It made me think of how intelligence often leads to depression because of being more aware of the awfulness of the world, it seems fitting that the smartest, high scoring children would be the ones offered up as the new mothers, soldiers, and science experiments. They’re smart enough to see the full gravity of the situation, and honestly, the very real hopelessness of it. After seeing Isabella’s backstory it really humanizes her, and gives you a sympathy that I think a lot of viewers weren’t expecting to feel, since she was so effectively monsterized throughout the first season. I think it’s an internal battle all humans have to make choices about throughout their lives, on whether or not they’ll act altruistically or in self preservation when it comes down to it. I think a large portion of the population would act like Isabella, otherwise we wouldn’t have systems that systematically oppress and hurt people. It’s why in zombie movies, the people who survive usually aren’t like Emma, and that the real monsters are the humans that can do the really messed up things to stay alive.

Season one focuses on humanity and how they’re dealing with the reality of this specific dystopian world, and the second season focuses more on the demons and their nature. It shows that both parties are flawed, have capacity for love, cruelty and hunger. You can also really see the ties with capitalism, the meat industry and what it might be like if humans weren’t at the top of the food chain.


Media from this week's episode:

The Promised Neverland (2019 - )

Summary by IMDB: When three gifted kids at an isolated idyllic orphanage discover the secret and sinister purpose they were raised for, they look for a way to escape from their evil caretaker and lead the other children in a risky escape plan.


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