The Promised Neverland is a dark shōnen manga, by Kaiu Shirai, revolving around children being used as cattle for demons. The manga is ending soon, having run in Weekly Shōnen Jump since December 2016. However, the franchise is far from over with the anime just in the first season. While the manga is great, the anime made the series widely popularized. This is especially true in North America, where a live-action series is in the works. You heard correct; Amazon has announced the development of a live-action series based on the popular manga.
The Promised Neverland is being adapted by Masi Oka (Heroes, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Rodney Rothman (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), and Vertigo Entertainment. This is a joint venture between Fox 21 and Amazon Studios with Rothman directing the series. Meghan Malloy (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) will write the pilot.
Audiences will likely enjoy this series as the production staff is largely revolved around the best film in 2018. However, Oka was also behind 2017’s Death Note which was a disappointing mess. It will be interesting who they cast for the main characters Norma, Ray, and Emma. With the show handling dark plot points, I will be looking forward to how child actors will adapt to the roles.
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The live-action series will likely follow the events of the first season of the anime. That is to say, the children will begin learning about their grim fate and executing an escape mission. The manga gets much deeper with dashes of philosophy and politics. The full extent of the plot will likely not be incorporated early in the series. Certainly, a slow build-up to the main story points is needed for the live-action series to be a success.
As a fan of Shirai’s series, I am eagerly awaiting the live-action series. In my opinion, it will need to retell the first season of the anime beat by beat in order to be a success. The casting decision of child actors will be crucial to handle the dark material — which feels like Stephen King made an anime. The design of the demons will be interesting since they play a crucial part in the series. On the other hand, the first season does not have many moments where they are featured directly. I can see the demons being sparsely used like how Ryuk was in 2017’s Death Note. If Fox 21 and Amazon Studios are able to execute this correctly, it will be worth a watch.
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