Last week, in the comments, there was a bit of a discussion about Sister Krone, her anime behaviour, and what that did to her character. Let’s talk about her a bit more this week.
As a reminder: I haven’t read the Yakusoku no Neverland manga. I kind of like it that way; stories are best experienced fresh, and I also enjoy sharing that fresh experience with you, gentle readers. It also means that I’m judging the anime purely on its own merits. This is usually a good thing, as adaptations should be able to stand on their own, but it also means that I can only imagine how Krone was in the manga. From what I gather from your comments, though, she was apparently not this psycho in the manga, meaning that her characterisation has changed in the process of adaptation.
Is this necessarily a bad thing?
Obvious, the anime wanted an excuse for Krone to monologue and decided that filching a few of her mental marbles was the best way to do it. Now, I know that some have argued that plenty of shows freely dip into characters’ heads, simply letting us hear their internal thoughts rather than having the character shout into the void like a loon. For better or worse, Neverland has chosen not to do this. At all. It makes for a more organic style, where information about characters and their feelings and motivations are more obscured, revealed either through inter-cast chatter or through the highly expressive faces. On my part, I’m from the ‘anime should speak as little as possible’ school. Unlike in manga (and other paper formats), where dialogue can all be shoved into text boxes, talking in anime takes a lot of time. And we only have 20-odd minutes an episode. Therefore, every word in your script needs to carry weight. To that end, Krone’s monologues are multi-purpose. They, of course, tell us a lot about her: she really wants to be a ‘Mum’ and she has anger management issues. But they also turn her into a foil for Isabella. The art of characterisation is all about contrast, partly because it helps each character stand out against each other and partly because a bunch of clones would be boring and redundant (aka the Jango Fett principle). Krone wears her heart on her sleeve while Isabella is largely inscrutable, and the contrast between the two adults highlights the qualities of both.
The protagonists are arranged like this too, with Ray being the obvious foil for both the idealistic Emma and the aloof Norman. In a story called Yakusoku no Neverland I guess the metaphor is that Emma doesn’t doesn’t want to grow up, while Ray probably grew up a bit too quickly. I’m actually sort of glad that Ray has been fingered as the snitch rather than one of the other kids (I’m guessing Norman actually only told Ray where the rope was hidden). For one, I honestly don’t care about the other kids on any personal level; I can hardly remember the names of the main three, let alone the greater cast. More importantly, it’s simply more interesting that way; rather than the snitch just being some plot device, if it’s Ray it will make for pertinent character development. Ray is a character defined by his cynicism (alas, Norman seems to taken the role of ‘the smart one’) and he manages to keep it pragmatic rather than nihilistic. Cynicism has a bad reputation in shounen anime and is often dismissed out of hand as some vaguely villainous flaw — the power of friendship is just too darn strong — so I would appreciate some exploration here. I’m willing to wager that if Ray really did turn traitor he wouldn’t have done so if the perfect score trio had decided to just escape by themselves instead of dragging the entire Brady bunch along with them.
Or maybe it’s just a deceptive cliffhanger, but that won’t be any fun at all.