The Promised Neverland created a wide variety of compelling protagonists and antagonists with incredible depth in its 12-episode first season. Initially focusing on the three top children of the Grace Field House orphanage, The Promised Neverland eventually began spotlighting the rest of the orphans and the people taking care of them.
Even for children who remained in the periphery, recognizable designs and brief but distinct moments helped them stand out. Furthermore, the villainous characters handling the puppet strings from behind the scenes get their own minutes of fame, leaving viewers eager to learn more about them in future seasons. Ultimately, Honey’s Anime didn’t struggle too much with figuring out the top five characters but placing them in order was definitely more of a struggle.
Norman comes in at the bottom end of our Top 5 The Promised Neverland Character list, but you could argue for a higher placement here. Norman is a brilliant child and the oldest one in Grace Field House. Although intelligent, he’s physically the weakest of the older children but constantly outdoes the physical superiority of Ray and Emma with his wit.
Norman’s greatest characteristic is his willingness to look past obvious logic to understand other people’s feelings. It certainly helps that Norman’s own feelings for Emma allow him to see that logic isn’t always the right way to go. Thanks to that, Norman concocts a plan that the rest of the orphans can use to escape Grace Field House. Norman is selfless and caring, and while he may not top our list, he’s certainly the character who deserves the most love and appreciation in the cast.
4. Sister Krone
Sister Krone is the only character to become a regular despite not debuting in the first episode. She joins Grace Field House to help Isabella due to her inability to keep an eye on every orphan since she knows that one (or more) know the truth behind the orphanage. Sister Krone has her own plans, she wants to one day be a Mom and ascertain her future.
Krone is a deeply tragic character (as are most characters in this series) because she must constantly weigh her desire to survive with the morals she’s had to bury to stay around into adulthood. The trauma she’s suffered in struggling to survive for so long has had a huge impact on her mental health, and it’s obvious that she’s not thinking straight. You can only feel bad for Krone whose ambitions could not circumvent the societal system she was living in.
Ray may be the most tragic character in all of The Promised Neverland and that’s saying something. Combining the intelligence of Norman with the physical aptitude of Emma, we ultimately find out that Ray’s skills are a result of a stubborn plan to turn his back on the society that brought him up to simply become food for monsters. Ray’s ability to remember his infancy led him to discover the truth behind the orphanage early in his life.
As a result of this, Ray watched countless brothers and sisters led off to their death and did nothing because his sole goal was to keep Emma and Norman alive, and no one else. Ray couldn’t live with his guilt and has his own plans to kill himself in valiant defiance of the orphanage. Ray survives, but he now must live with the guilt of his youth, the trauma he’s endured, and the struggles that will await him beyond the orphanage.
By the end of The Promised Neverland, we wouldn’t blame you if you also began to feel sympathy for the mother who raised children for slaughter. Isabella is presented as a terror for the children initially, a serial killer hiding in plain sight. Her past was ambiguous and her feelings, thoughts, and motivations a mystery to viewers.
Thanks to Krone’s flashbacks, we were able to get a greater glimpse of what led Isabella to her position, but it’s Isabella’s own flashbacks in the final episode that gave us a complete understanding of her past. Isabella suffered through everything her children went through, but the significant difference is that while she chose to become a mom over death, her children took the third choice: escaping over dying or allowing the suffering of future children.
The Promised Neverland’s chief protagonist sits happily at our number one slot. The brawn of the main trio, it’s Emma’s ethics and morality that guide the plot. Her stubborn desire to save everyone, her love for her siblings, and her immovable goals all kept the story going.
The brightest moments in the series come when we see Emma assure Ray there’s no way they’re escaping without everyone else, forgiving but threatening to hurt Ray if he lets someone else die, eagerly proposing brutal means to ensure Norman’s survival, and brilliantly revealing her ploys to allow the orphans to escape in the final episode. Emma was rarely at the head of the ideas to escape, but she was the glue that held everything together, and her personality shone through enough to make clear who is the star of The Promised Neverland.
The Promised Neverland’s Top 5 Characters are all full of incredible depth and all stood out whenever they got the spotlight on them. For a few of them, they had limited moments of the spotlight but made the most of it while it was there, for others, they took full advantage of the attention to really add layers to their personalities. We really appreciated that they were all deeply flawed characters struggling with what’s right and what allows them to live another day. Would you change up the order? Is there another character who belongs here? Let us know in the comments!