I know that infantile amnesia is a thing. I hardly remember what I ate for breakfast, let alone thing from back when I was four. I also know that it’s not a uniform phenomenon, and some remember more of their early childhood than others. But, memories from when one was a foetus? Seriously, Ray? I disbelieve. Memories from back before you were fully developed? Is this supposed to be a demonstration of Ray’s superior intellect because he somehow had a fully functional cerebral cortex back when he was still a glorified parasite? Is this what weird shounen superpowers have come to? ‘World’s smartest foetus’?.

Also, take that, pro-choicers. I guess.

Nevertheless, the mystery of how Ray discovered The Secret is finally solved, and I must say that it felt… anticlimactic. I suppose this is on me, because I was expecting a story of careful sleuthing and dramatic reveals, in which a young but precocious Ray follows a trail of clues leading to a truth almost too terrible to conceive. That is, something more along the lines of Lovecraftian horror, but with kids! I know that’s not really what Neverland set out to be, but I think it’s reasonable that, considering that we already know that there are clues hidden in the library books, there might be other such hints and signs around that Ray could have put together. I feel that would have made for a rather engaging story in and of itself. This is especially because Emma and Norman basically stumbled into the secret (thanks to Ray’s manipulations) and it would have been interesting seeing how Ray managed to deal come to terms with the terrible reality and live with it alone for so many years. Instead, Ray basically knew all along and there’s no narrative to be had from that. It’s the difference between solving a problem yourself and just flipping to the back of the book for the answer. I know, I know, Neverland doesn’t have that much episode time left and it needs to tie off all the loose ends, but doing so in a perfunctory manner actually actively makes Ray a less interesting character (by removing his mystery) without much to show for it.

Actually, a lot of this episode felt a bit unambitious, or perhaps simply predictable. Sure, I appreciated the drama of the moment, as our protagonists desperately tried to save Norman. Truely, the bond between the main three has been their greatest asset. And of course, the twist at the end got the tension high again with a obstacle and gave us a new crazy-face. But of course there’d be another obstacle. This is not just because walls are easily circumvented defensive measures (hi there, Americans. No letters.) and have historically needed supporting defences like guards and, in this case, a moat (though historically moats were more useful for keeping the enemy from digging under your wall). So, in such a tight operation like these plants it’d be daft if they truly relied on no security other than a plain wall. But more importantly, we know there’s no way that Norman was getting out himself. There’s only three episodes left and we’re not going to have time to tell the story of Emma dealing with her crippled state over months while trying to stall Isabella and looking after Norman in secret like Anne Frank. There simply isn’t the anime time.

But that’d be a pretty interesting story, no?

Alas, we’ll probably have to fall back on Krone’s parting gift in some way or another after all. Chekhov’s gun had been hung over the mantle and it must be fired before we’re done. It’d be too easy if the kids were able to just make more rope and sling themselves to freedom so simply. It’d be much more exciting if they were forced to leave through the front door, and perhaps Krone can aid them there posthumously.

Personally, though, I’m betting on air balloon.


  1. The reason they went with infantile amnesia for Ray hasn’t been fully fleshed out yet, they dropped a hint here but you don’t get the final piece until a bit later. It’s not a big payoff or anything, but it is a nice bit of additional back story.

  2. “Why not break Norman’s leg”

    At this, I have nothing to say. XD I am curious to know what Isabella would have done had Norman decided to break his own leg. But that would have been reckless and counter-intuitive if they were planning on eventual escape.

    Also, regarding Ray’s reveal, I have to say I preferred the manga’s method of reveal. The anime once again makes alterations in the way information is presented, but this time the anime cut out the visuals instead of adding them in. Ray in the anime merely tells “I remember dark liquid this and that” with a dramatic close-up on his face, but in the manga we had visuals and flashbacks to go with his words. It was a little more interesting because we got to see the world behind the orphanage. I feel the studio was a little lazy here, especially since they’ve been going with the “show, don’t tell” style. So it’s mystifying that they decided to go solely with telling here.

    Then again, this anime has thus far abstained from flashbacks with the exception of Krone.

  3. Agree with the lazy narrative. This story could be more compelling, could be a top series, if only it didn’t dip into the mediocre narration style all too common for average-rank shonen.

    This ep was double lazy. Sure, we can wave away “hey, maybe the kids just didn’t think about injuring Norman” but …. they suggested it for Ray. This is a great example of writers writing to fill the needs of the story: we need to create drama! or we need to remove this character! or we need to move this character over here! Writing to meet the needs of the audience would mean telling us why breaking an arm is fine for Ray but not Norman, or better yet, plan events so this question doesn’t need to get asked if it isn’t possible to write a good answer.

    Also: fetus memory? Yeah, that’s pushing it. I could accept infantile memory. But fetal memory is the sort of thing lying liars say because they are so far from the truth, they have no idea what a reasonable, believable lie is.
    I know the manga spoiler, and no, it doesn’t change my view on this cheap concept. A mix of infantile memory and youthful sleuthing would have been far superior AND demonstrated both Ray’s intelligence and privacy of mind. The manga-spoiler just results in cheap, sloppy, easily-discarded emotions and it’s totally possible to get to the effect w/o fetal memory.

    1. What’s the point of injuring Norman…? They already specified that one of the three will most likely be used as a replacement. If they injured Norman, then by default, they’d still have to injure Ray… The amount of people I see trying to criticize the show without thinking lol.

      The anime portrayed the infantile amnesia that Ray went through wrongly. It made it seem like he had memories from when he was an undeveloped fetus. It was implied in the manga his memories started more or less when he was near full development.

      Every anime or story or book will have something that you can nitpick at. You can nitpick at how on earth does Norman run up a 5 meter wall using a rope? You can nitpick about tons of other things. I dunno, of all the things that “ruined” the series for you, it was infantile amnesia?

  4. I am absolutely glued to my screen when it comes to this series. As an anime-first fan I find the decision to exclude all inner monologues is a fascinating one, and while it is far from perfect, I have fallen so hard for the visual-reliant storytelling the anime has employed.

    That cliffhanger and Norman’s reaction just broke my heart.

  5. I feel like if all three of them break a bone that’s the end of it. The assumption could be made that they’ll just injure themselves whenever at risk of shipping to try to delay it and so the options would be to physically restrain them until they recover then send them out, or to just ship them off as lower quality goods. They won’t be free to move and act anymore if it becomes obvious that they see injury as a delaying tactic they can use whenever they feel like.


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