“It was for survival. Longer than anyone.”
-Mom Isabella, The Promised Neverland, Episode 12
“Those three are different, hunh? Norman is a genius who has the best brains. And Ray, an intellect who can compete against Norman’s genius. Emma has amazing athletic skills, and her learning ability allows her to stay close to the other two.”
–The Promised Neverland, Episode 1
The ninth episode of The Promised Neverland opens with the shot above — reminiscent of a triptych painting that can be folded in three. With this frame, episode director and storyboarder Hiroki Itai immediately grounds the episode and all events that follow. After a surreal eighth episode that set us off-balance with dutch angles, a spinning camera, and cuts that chop up two concurrent scenes, presenting them as a unit, paneling and more straightforward direction centers Episode 9. This episode stands alone with it’s visual strength, but also builds on what came before it with an ever-evolving in-universe camera.
Since the series’ second episode, The Promised Neverland had settled into a pattern. Episode 8 broke that pattern, visually, aurally, and narratively.