I also want to make a boat out of mud.
- Episodes: 7
- Genre: Psychological, Thriller, Shounen
- Airing Date: January 2019 – Ongoing
- Studio: CloverWorks
Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland) Preview (No Spoilers)
Emma, Norman, and Ray have grown up together at the Grace Field House orphanage with a carefree upbringing. They’re both the oldest and smartest at the orphanage but they still care deeply for every other child there. Unfortunately, when the children of Grace Field House are adopted, they never send back letters despite the close bond they once had with the other children. Conny, the next girl to be adopted, may not be as intelligent or athletic as the trio, but she’s still sweet and promises to send them letters. After finding Conny’s cherished stuffed bunny forgotten, Emma and Norman race to get it to her before she departs. When they arrive to find her transportation hasn’t left yet, they discover the tragic reality of why they never receive letters.
Norman Highlights (Spoilers Beyond This Point)
1. He’s the Tactical One
Norman and Ray may appear to have overlapping roles but there are differences in their intelligence. Norman is tactical and that’s highlighted from the very first episode when we see him playing tag. For example, we see Norman purposely trip and fall to sucker Emma out of her tree and tag her. During the meetings between the trio (and later Gilda and Don), we see him coming up with the immediate tactics they’ll be using next such as how they’ll deal with Sister Krone in a meeting to figure out what she knows about their situation.
2. He Cares Deeply for Emma
Norman cares as much for Emma as Emma cares for the children, which means he’ll do anything to protect her and see her happy. In the past, that was irrelevant because they lived a happy life, but we see that really put to the test now that they know the tragic fate that awaits them. Norman seems to care a great deal more for Emma than he does his very own safety. We see him at his most anxious when he sees Emma being confronted by Isabella but aside from that, he’s generally able to keep his cool.
3. He’s Observant and Aware
This is somewhat piggybacking on his tactical ingenuity, but we often see Norman display a keen sense of observance and awareness both of himself and others. He’s able to keep his cool much better than Emma after they find out the fate of Conny. Furthermore, he’s the one who manages to outsmart Ray and discover that he’s been the spy all along. We even see him outsmart Sister Krone in a game of tag that proves that while he may seem fragile, he can be deceptively physically skilled.
4. He Puts the Weight of Everyone Else on His Shoulders
Although Ray may have been the one holding the burden of the truth behind Grace Field House for so many years, now that the escape plan is on, we see Norman playing a deeper game than either of his closest friends. He’s the one who must handle dealing with Ray’s desire to only help the three of them escape and who must take on the task of helping Emma get all the children to escape. He’s often taking on tasks on his own because he must handle both Ray and Emma’s opposed desires for how they’ll leave Grace Field House.
5. He’s Willing to Make a Deal
Not to take away from Ray’s identity as the strategic one, but Norman also has an eye for the bigger picture. He’s often willing to make a deal for the betterment of their chances to escape. We see this highlighted when he immediately decides to have Ray be their own spy after exposing his identity as the traitor. We get another glimpse at his willingness to make deals when he’s the first to offer his hand to Sister Krone after she offers a pact between herself and the kids who know the truth about Grace Field House. He’s willing to cut a deal if it means helping their chances of escaping.
At first glance, Norman seems to be the fragile and sensitive one of the main trio, but he quickly dismisses those rigid expectations. He’s willing to do what his more capable friends aren’t because they’re hindered by their naivety and cowardice (as Sister Krone points out) and that means he has to take on more emotional and mental responsibility to ensure that all the orphans are able to escape. Norman isn’t the main character but he’s certainly the one driving the plans to escape forward, largely because he’s motivated by his desire to ensure Emma’s safety. If they do escape, we’re confident that it’ll be thanks to Norman’s efforts.