‘The Promised Neverland’ Writer Kaiu Shirai On The Origins Of The Hit Manga

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‘The Promised Neverland’ is a Japanese fantasy horror manga that follows a group of children who have grown up in an orphanage with the promise of a better life only to discover that a demonic purpose exists for the kids. It gained popularity during its run from 2016 to 2019 in Jump Comics, spinning off an anime, live-action film, and building a strong fan base.

Viz Media gained the distribution rights to an English translation of the series and released an interview with creator Kaiu Shirai about the inspiration behind the story.

“We wanted a create a big difference between the “gentleness” that the title may imply and the actual hell that happens in the story,” Shirai explained. “The word ‘promise’ is from Sir James Matthew Barrie’s Peter Pan, who makes a promise with Wendy, and I already knew that our story would eventually involve a promise between humans and demons. This resulted in the English title having a connection to the phrase ‘promised land,’ so it was good to have ‘promise’ in the title.”

When asked if he is a fan of horror, he replied, “I like suspense-thrillers more than horror movies. I’m not sure if this counts as horror (maybe it’s more of a thriller than a horror), but off the top of my head I like, ‘The Others’ (with Nicole Kidman) and ‘Identity’ (with John Cusack).”

Shirai also praised the fans and expressed his enthusiasm that ‘The Promised Neverland’ has gained popularity not just in Japan, but also in the West.

“Thank you so much to the fans of The Promised Neverland who have read, enjoyed and supported us,” he said. “In Japan, the series has concluded and the final volume has come out, but thankfully, the world of The Promised Neverland continues to grow through the anime, live-action film in Japan, and plans for a drama series in the U.S.”

While the first season of the anime was praised for its adaption, fans expressed their disappointment that the second season skipped a major arc in the manga and abbreviated several key points in the plot.


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