As you know, I haven’t read the Yakusoku no Neverland manga, but I do know from your comments that one of the big differences between the manga and the anime is that here we aren’t privy to the character’s internal monologue. This week’s episode serves as a good example, I think, of why they might be doing it.
In many novels you might read, there would be a narrator. The narrator is the guy who tells you what’s going on. The narrator is basically in charge of telling us what’s going on. And a curious thing happens when there’s a narrator: we trust it by default. An omniscient third-person narrator is of course inherently trustworthy because it knows everything and has no reason to lie because it’s not even a character, but even a second-person has our implicit faith. That’s how it must be; in a text-based medium we are utterly reliant on the narrator to describe the setting, action, and even motivations of characters (unless the story is told entirely with dialogue or something, but that’s weird). It’s the unspoken pact between storyteller and storytellee, suspension of disbelief: we do our best to believe what they say, and in return they spin us a good yarn. The implicit trust is part of the territory.
On the flip side, when there’s no narrator, that means that there’s nobody we can always trust.
When we get to hear internal monologue that implies a narrator. After all, we aren’t usually privy to what’s inside other people’s heads. Therefore it must be the hand of the storyteller that is revealing it to us. We also don’t assume internal monologue lie because we’re essentially spying on a character’s most personal thoughts, unless it’s some crazy Batman gambit where the character has brainwashed themselves for some ridiculous reason. So basically, Neverland omits all the internal monologue, or at least moves some of that internal monologue external, all the better to lie to us.
The effect is multi-fold, there’s the show-don’t-tell thing. By eschewing narration and focusing on showing us emotive characters (i.e. exaggerated crazy-faces) the action feels more intimate. Also, by hiding the minds of the characters it maintains an air of mystery. You know how the camera in Neverland would often shift for no reason, for example to just follow a character behind their shoulder as they walk? These are the moments when Neverland doesn’t want to give us a broader third-person angle. Lastly, it also feels less like cheating when Neverland does lie to us. Imagine if we routinely did hear the inner dialogue of characters. How would the anime have done the scenes where our protagonists seemingly lose their funk? it certainly wouldn’t be able to give us their internal monologue without giving the game away, so either we’d end up suspicious because the ‘narrator’ has suddenly gone quiet, or we’ll feel like it cheated because it’s been happily giving us the internal thoughts of characters thus far and not doing so in this case would be a sin of omission. Instead, in this adaptation, we’re used to no internal monologue and have to read the characters like everybody else at the House, making their performance feel more genuine.
Speaking of lying, I’m not at all convinced that Norman is actually dead. I mean, are any of you? You’re all savvy anime watchers, of course not. Krone got a dramatic death scene and we saw her body and everything. Norman not getting similar treatment is highly suspicious.