Anti-Blackness & Racism in Promised Neverland


Krone (a.k.a. "Sister") is a 26-year-old woman in the anime Promised Neverland. I thought her name was odd, so I looked it up and found this…

Naming/referring to a Black person based off their physical appearance???


Right.


I also found that “Krone” is the name of Scandinavian money.

Interesting.

 

But here's what really got me about Krone: her character design.



You know what???



It was a violation indeed!

 

When we are introduced to Krone in this dystopian anime, Promised Neverland, we meet a woman who steals what she wants and cheats when she can. She is dark-skinned with big, thick lips, a large nose, and "pickaninny" hair. In fact, her hairstyle mildly resembles the character Farina's from the racist 1920s show The Little Rascals. .


Krone reeks of infantilism, which appears even more grotesque due to her full-figured, yet curiously unfeminine frame. She seems huge, at least in comparison to everyone else. When she moves, she stomps around like a bull, even though she is clearly capable of moving quietly.


Unlike Isabella (a.k.a. "Mama"), she has a number on her neck. This is odd because Isabella was also raised in the human farm system. One has to wonder where her number went, or if she ever had one to begin with.


Krone was also described as a “tomboy”. The Oxford Languages site describes a tomboy as: "a girl who enjoys rough noisy activity normally associated with boys." In other words, as a character, Krone's maturity (she is made to be childish) and her sex (she is masculinized) are both degraded. This degradation is used as a subliminal rationale for her ludicrous domination by the little, white-skinned Isabella. In the Japanese culture, a woman who is large, dark, or loud is considered "unladylike". An unladylike woman is considered unattractive. How typical of anime to depict Black female characters as unattractive by these means. Each of these troupes or Black women are rooted in the East Asian culture of anti-blackness, which evolved out of their cultural aversion to dark/darkened skin (rather than Africans/Black people themselves). However, even though these troupes are arguably less potent than their Western racism-derived doppelgangers such as The Sapphire, they still hurt the Black people that experience them.)


Anyway, let's finish describing Krone:

She has a little Black doll (shown left) that she pulverizes in fury from time to time. It is painful to see her displacement (a psychological defense mechanism) be displayed this way because it manifests as self-hate.


Next, although literally EVERYONE on the show is a genius (because the demons tend to eat the dumb kids first while waiting for the geniuses to be ripe for harvest), they belittle Krone's intelligence. They even use one of the little raggedy-ass, rat-bastard children to do it (Ray). After an antagonistic interaction with Krone, Ray says the following about Krone: “So, she’s not stupid.”


Well, DUH, lay-away Sasuke.

Why the hell would she be stupid when she was literally brought in to keep misbehaving geniuses in check???


Honestly. I can't with these script writers.

 

But now we turn to the big picture: What was the point of Krone's character? Because it's looking like the point was racism and anti-blackness.


I saw three "reasons" why she was there:

  1. She Was An Expendable Guard Dog (Isabella called her both "Insurance" & "Pawn"): She was supposed to intimidate children into back into their respective places as cattle in a demon-run world. She failed at that mission, and she failed in her attempt to take over the farm.

  2. She Was The Anti-black Appetizer/There For Shock Value: Big, black, and scaryyyy!!!! Ooga-booga!!!! We needed her because we just hAvE to kill-a-Black-in-gruesome-way-to-prove-that-danger-is-not-existential-but-very-real-because-(expendable)-people-die. And of course, gratuitous violence is par for the course when a character is Black. We had to witness Krone's uniquely gory death. Nobody else died in as ugly a way as she did that on the show.

  3. She Was A Clue-Giver: Before being forced to kick the bucket, she was forced to give up the resources that she had to help the children potentially make it out. Makes sense, doesn't it? Because if Black people ain't providing free-labor, then then how else can they be valuable???

FOH.

How many racist microaggressions and stereotypes are these mangaka trying to honor??? Why did they choose to pay homage to them at all?


Krone didn't have to be Black. Black people didn't have to be collateral damage to bolster this fantasy.


The mangaka could have kept kowtowing to themselves and the Europeans that they envy so much: She could have been Japawhite or Whitanese like most of the other damned characters and done the same thing. As a matter of fact, I'd go as far as to say that the plot could have progressed without her character all together--so why tErRoRiZe (non-Black) and victimize (Black) viewers with her problematic insertion into the story? I mean, the manga for this anime is in black and white. Check out the damage:


If you want to present any groups of people or things in a show, do it for GOOD reasons and with good intentions. Do it well. Whatever it entails, I'm sure that "doing it well" in anime includes doing some research. It also entails affording brown-skinned characters the same amount of effort/creativity/respect that you give the white-skinned ones. IF you choose to include brown-skinned/Black characters at all. (And hey, it's cool if mangaka don't include Black people in their work. In my opinion, it would be better to leave Black people out then to include them in manners that debase them.)


 

Finally,


Don't go out of your way to force us to sympathize with white-skinned villains (ex. Isabella) if we aren't equally directed to be sympathetic towards the brown-skinned ones (ex. Krone) too. After all, in anime, the "greater of the two evils" (among white and black people) is normally white anyway. That's true here as well.


Isabella raised these children (including her own biological son, Ray) for slaughter!


Yes, Krone was nuts.


But Isabella was truly bat-shit crazy.

It doesn't matter if she appeared to be genteel in the meantime.


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