We’ve discussed this topic before, but why bother teaching the livestock kids about the world at all? Sure, I understand that they want these kids smart so that their brain-meats are nice and juicy, but why does their education need to be about anything resembling reality? It seems like this entire operation would be a lot easier with some good ol’ fashioned brainwashing. If the children were taught from birth that it’s perfectly natural to be eaten by some toothy demon-beast, that it’s part of the ♪Ciiiiircle of Life♪ and it’s their duty to give up their tasy grey matter for the greater good, then perhaps they’ll be more compliant. People have given their lives for less.
Perhaps it’s part of some arrangement between humanity and their demon overlords. Considering we basically have humans farming themselves, this unpleasant exercise seems to be at least partially voluntary, overseen by a ‘Grandma’ who was casually namedropped exactly once. We, of course, still have seen nothing of the world outside the orphanage and know little about it but, assuming Krone’s information is reliable there are humans who yet live, perhaps in something resembling civilisation. Perhaps these farms are some kind of tithe paid to the demons. And, hey, the children still get an old-world education and even have career prospects, with the potential to be promoted from livestock to farmer. Humans are good at these sort of sordid compromises. Pay the Danegeld and maybe the invaders will leave you alone.
Of course, if you pay the Danegeld you’ll never be rid of the Danes.
Perhaps Yakusoku no Neverland is asking us to judge humanity, and consider what it means to have a people so broken. In this vein, perhaps we are invited to contrast Krone and Isabella. This was very much a Krone-centric episode, in that she reveals a good deal of her character while also serving as our main source of crazy faces. Despite being a former orphan, once on the chopping block herself, she’s rather enthusiastic about her current work. In any other job perhaps we would applaud her occupational zeal. She’s certainly adapted to her circumstances, but Neverland asks us: can we actually call her well adjusted?
Neverland is certainly not shy about the answer it gives. I know the manga readers out there have found issue with the way Krone has been portrayed in the anime, but I think I understand why they did it. Krone is crazy. She has to be. Her job is to raise children with love for a decade and then send them off to die horribly. Sure, she really has little other choice but to do what she does, but something inside Krone must be very broken for her to embrace her position with such relish. Contrast Isabella, who is always professional and perhaps even regrets her own inhumanity.
What happens to Krone now, though? It’s implied, nothing good. I would hate for her to be written out of the story so quickly. The other members of the cast approach their situations so rationally and so sanely, and it’s only Krone who understands that it’s complete madness. And she can do naught but laugh.