Today, I present a detailed character analysis of Ray from The Promised Neverland. Ray’s background, personality, and MBTI type will be discussed. In addition, I might include some of my own speculations about the character. This information is based on season one of the anime plus a few early episodes of season two. I have not read the manga, so there may be much more to know. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Story and Background
Ray is a captive child at Grace Field, a farm for raising human children until they are harvested for demon food. Grace Field is set up like an orphanage with a peaceful, happy environment; nobody but the caretaker is supposed to know the truth. But Ray knew the truth from the start. That’s because he is an exception to infantile amnesia, the phenomenon that makes people forget memories before ages two to four. (The scientific consensus in reality is that these exceptions do not happen, but this is anime.) So Ray grew up conscious of the demons and the true intentions of the caretaker, Isabella. Furthermore, he remembered that Isabella was his biological mother.
Around age five or six, Ray made a huge decision that would decide the direction of his life. He had become friends with two others of his age, Emma and Norman. He loved these two more than anyone, and decided he would keep them alive no matter what. When the time drew close for them to be “harvested,” Ray would help them escape from the farm. A few times, the anime states that Ray spent the next six years in preparation. We know he became a spy for Isabella, keeping tabs on the other children in exchange for rewards in the form of items he desired. Ray experimented, studied hard, watched his playmates sent away to harvest, and even sacrificed someone to learn about tracking devices. It was all for the purpose of saving Norman and Emma.
After those two found out the truth about the farm and the demons, Ray began to assist them in their escape plans. In episode 5, Norman exposed the fact that Ray is a spy for Isabella. Ray then explains that he’s a double-agent and on their side. From then until episode 10, Ray helped Emma and Norman as an integral part of the team. But things changed when Isabella put a halt on the escape plan and announced that Norman was to be shipped out. Though Ray tried to convince him to escape on his own, Norman was still taken away from Grace Field.
Ray was absolutely devastated. His bond with Norman had been so strong. It was a major blow. But Ray didn’t give up on saving Emma. He planned on setting himself on fire to pull off the perfect escape plan. When the time came, he tried putting his plan into action, but was persuaded otherwise by Emma. Cooperating with her, Ray escaped the farm along with most of the children. On the run from demon pursuers, Ray worked with Emma as a leader of the escaped children.
(Note: My thoughts and notes have been disordered lately, so bear with me if the structure of this section isn’t the best.)
An intelligent boy who can be stubborn and unfeeling, Ray actually has the best of intentions and the determination to make them into reality. His single-minded motivation is to keep Emma and Norman alive, helping them escape. Generally, the boy is taciturn and aloof, preferring to spend his time alone or with Emma and Norman. Despite being withdrawn, Ray is usually self-confident. When he talks, he does so directly and matter-of-factly. He is also one of the top three smartest children.
In terms of self-expression and bearing, Ray doesn’t smile as much as the others. He frequently frowns and sometimes looks as though he’s glaring. Ray isn’t very openly affectionate with the young children or with Emma and Norman. No doubt he seems arrogant and unpleasant to some people. Even after Emma and Norman know the truth, Ray is always more cautious, suspicious, and guarded than they are. This goes for practical wariness as well as that which is emotional. Ray is more pessimistic than most of the others in the anime, having a tendency to give up too soon when his tactics fail.
Ray’s intellect is impressive and formidable, as mentioned earlier. He likes to plan ahead, being less effective with quickly changing plans. He uses solid logical reasoning as well as intuition and creativity in his thinking and plans. Though Ray is good at both, he is better at tactics than overall strategy for a given plan or problem. This boy’s mind is one that can focus on a distant goal and work tirelessly to make it come true. He’s constantly thinking about his schemes and how to realize them.
Indeed, Ray would do anything to have his end-goal succeed, even give his life. But this means he would also stoop pretty low. Ray has no problems using lies, tricks and the like for his agenda. He is also willing to sacrifice others who would be in the way (at least early on). Interestingly, even when talking to Norman and Emma, Ray doesn’t care how he is perceived. Even if others see him as villainous, it’s enough for Ray to know he’s right and working toward the goal effectively.
Speaking of being right, Ray is stubborn and hates being wrong. It’s difficult for him to admit his thinking was in error, and even more difficult to be flexible in allowing elements that are not strictly logical. However, Ray always comes around eventually. He agrees to try to save as many children as possible besides just Emma and Norman. Instead of going through with the plan to sacrifice himself, he gives into Emma’s riskier plan. By season 2, Ray sincerely cares about protecting and saving all the kids. He’s not just going along with it to please Emma.
Even the hyper-logical Ray is not above emotional attachments. After all, he loves Emma and Norman more than anything in the world. He shows he cares by continuing to work toward the goals that will help everybody in the big picture. That being said, kindness and good management of emotions are not Ray’s specialty. He isn’t in tune with his emotions, usually ignoring them or on occasion lashing out. On a related note, Ray can be highly impatient with people, especially when they are being illogical. As a general rule, this boy can be inconsiderate, but rarely spiteful.
As a character, Ray’s greatest strength is determination to see his plans through. His greatest challenge is being flexible even when things seem illogical to him.
Going by stereotypes, it’s pretty obvious Ray is an INTJ. He’s an aloof, intelligent boy with a sort of “dark aura” and the determination to do anything to make his plan work. However, let’s do this properly. Using the cognitive functions model, we’ll determine Ray’s MBTI type.
To start with, he’s most definitely an intuitive type. Sensing types are practical and love sensory experiences. They are more action-oriented. They think about the world in facts rather than possiblities. Intuitive types, in contrast, are creative thinkers who process with thoughts and ideas more than senses. They see possibilities, and enjoy thinking things out. Ray considers many clever and sometimes reckless plans outside the bounds of what seems sensible. He reads information books, plays chess, and messes with machines and devices. The only reason he plays tag with the others is to make it a battle of wits with Emma and Norman.
Is Ray’s intuitive thinking focused mainly internally or externally? People with Ni (Introverted intuition) constantly take in information and see possibilities and connections. People with Ne (Extroverted intuition) see the possibilities first and then collect information and data. Ne is more of an active process while Ni is internal and automatic. Ray definitely strikes me as the latter, but I have trouble thinking of a fitting example. It just seems like he is constantly processing information without having to try.
Assuming that Ni is the most dominant function for Ray, then the options for his type are INFJ and INTJ. From this point it’s pretty easy. The functions for INFJ are Ni, Fe, Ti, Se. The functions for INTJ are Ni, Te, Fi, Se. That means all we have to do is figure out if Ray is an extroverted feeler or an extroverted thinker. It should be pretty obvious that Ray is the latter, but I’ll explain the reasoning regardless.
An oversimplified way of looking at it would be to say thinkers are objective in their decisions and feelers are subjective. Of course, it’s impossible for anyone to be completely objective. That’s not how human minds work. Anyway, thinkers are good at making logical choices. Their weakness is overlooking the human element and specific factors that aren’t always logical. Feelers are good at making choices that benefit people, taking into account the feelings of those involved. Their weakness is sometimes getting too emotional and making a poor decision.
Ray is out of touch with emotional understanding, and puts hard logic first most of the time. The best example is that for most of the anime, he was against saving everyone. He wanted to save Norman and Emma; the younger kids would only get in the way. As a thinker type, Ray would have to be INTJ. Compared to the INTP type, the order of functions is different. Also, INTJs are more strategic, future-oriented, and focused in their efforts than INTPs. That reinforces the idea that INTJ is the perfect type to describe Ray.
Before closing, let me offer a few ideas worth considering about Ray. In certain sense, he is older than the others since he remembers when he was an infant. He puts on a tough act, but it’s possible Ray has been suffering acutely for a long time. At the very least, he’s had to battle a sense of hopelessness since ever he was born. He knew that terrifying demons ruled over humans. Depression and internalized anger can have physical effects. Maybe this is why Ray is less expressive than all the other kids. He’s either expressionless or looks like he’s glaring– and to me, he sometimes looks exhausted in spirit.
Another thing that must have been hard on Ray was the knowledge that Isabella was his biological mother. In a flashback, we saw the moment where Isabella realized that this must be her son. The first thing Ray asked her was “Why did you give birth to me?” It wasn’t just a literal question spoken from curiosity. It was also an indirect statement of his sadness and anger. Isabella was giving children to the demons to eat. One day, she would send Ray in the same way. If life is so bleak, Ray wondered, why did she have to give birth to him?
I mentioned in the personality section that Ray doesn’t seem to care if he’s perceived as villainous or unpleasant. He is a liar and a traitor with the cleverness and sneakiness of a rat. I believe this makes perfect sense because he has always had to keep secrets from everyone else. Ray had no choice unless he wanted to die. He’s unable to tell the other kids about the demons, and starting at age six, he kept it secret that he was Isabella’s spy. Nobody should blame Ray for seeming suspicious or untrustworthy; with the way he grew up, there was no helping it.
Finally, consider Ray’s suicidal plan in episode 11. He had, in fact, intended to die from the very beginning, letting Norman and Emma escape on their own. I think there are several reasons. Part of it was the sadness and hopelessness he probably always felt. Part of it was to ease his hidden guilt about being unable to save anyone for 6 years. These elements suggest that Ray is a lot more emotional than is apparently obvious. And there was one other highly powerful factor…
Ray calls his plan “childish retaliation.” He becomes extremely expressive for once as he exclaims the following words. “For twelve years, they have planned to dig into the feast that is me. But I’ll take it away from them right before their anticipated harvest. Don’t think you can eat me! Don’t think you can serve me up! Livestock? Produce? To hell with that. I am a human! Serves them right!” In other words, Ray wants to use his life as a big “fuck you” to the demons.
Death is the only way to rebel. That’s what Ray went on thinking for a long time. It’s actually really amazing that he listened to Emma in the end and followed the plan she and Norman formulated. In episode 12, Ray had a powerful psychological experience where he saw a vision of Norman beside him. Norman comforts Ray and tells him “You don’t have to give up,” which brings a tear to Ray’s eye. “Giving up” in this case probably didn’t mean giving up on the escape plan, per se. It meant that Ray should not give up on his own life.
Now we know Ray’s background, personality, and MBTI type, along with some speculations. The Promised Neverland is a great anime with several highly interesting characters besides Ray. Still, I would say that Ray is my favorite. I’ve always loved characters who are more than they seem; in particular, I like the ones who aren’t evil like they seem at first. Characters with mixed loyalties or double-agents are fascinating to me. I admire intelligence and the ability to faithfully work toward a goal for a long time. Ray is the clear choice for me.
For reading my work, I offer my sincere thanks. Until next time, Sayonara!