The Promised Neverland Fact Check – Sheets

The Promised Neverland post title image

Hi all! Are you surprised to see me here? For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Irina and I like anime. I like it so much that I have a little blog on the subject that I have been posting on for a bit over a year now, during which time I have had the privilege to not only get to know Karandi but to collab with her on a few posts.

Both experiences have been a pleasure.

The Promised Neverland Episode 1 Emma and friends
and just plain fun!

As such, I took a leap a little while ago and asked Karandi whether she would be interested in a more structured collaboration between our two blogs. She doesn’t know this yet, but I was super nervous about it. I like to faith nonchalance, but it was a bit like confessing. I half expected her to politely turn me down. I mean you guys know how much work Karandi puts into this blog. It’s her baby. So, I understand just how much of an honored it is to be allowed to intrude like this. I hope to live up to the opportunity. Please take care of me.

(Since Karandi is going to read this she’ll find out I’m not as cool and composed as I pretend to be and am actually a huge dork. I hope this post will make up for that. Here we go!)

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warning! spoilers ahead!

EPISODE 12 OF THE PROMISED NEVERLAND SPOILERS AHEAD

The Promised Neverland was one of the biggest anime to come out of the winter season. It was generally well liked by fans and critics alike and a lot of people actually watched it as it was airing. It’s no surprise that it got quickly greenlit for a second season and I know I’m not the only one looking forward to it.

One small point of contention about the show, at least among my readers, was the kids’ triumphant escape at the end of the season. I don’t know about you guys, but my readers were very dubious about it. It started with a twitter comment questioning Don’s amazing throwing abilities which I addressed here. I had a lot of fun with that article and I think my readers enjoyed it as well.

However, secondary questions arose. It seems viewers weren’t ready to let it go at just that. The most frequent comment on that post was that although they were happy to accept that Don would have been able to throw that initial rope over the chasm, they were still unconvinced that the sheets would have been viable as ziplines.

Now, using makeshift sheet ropes to escape imprisonment is one of the best known and widely used tropes so we might need to re-evaluate a lot of fiction depending on what we find out today. But it’s a risk I’m willing to take. So, let’s do science to it (*and by science I mean wild assumptions and suspicious guesswork. You know, the usual)

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haven’t even started yet!

Ok so let’s start by figuring out how much weight was applied on those sheets. Here’s a little fact that will never be useful to you in any way. I weight the same thing as the average Canadian 12-year-old. I looked it up for the post. Actual numbers do vary depending on the sources, but they range between 91 and 98 lbs.

The oldest children being twelve, we can assume no one is much higher than that. Moreover, although the children weren’t malnourished in any way, they are also very active and food was in limited supply, as such no one was overweight by any means. I think we can safely assume that 100lbs in the maximum those sheets had to take at once.

I know that to do this correctly, I have to account for the fact that the eight was distributed across those hangers and concentrated back on the hook. I should also try to calculate the wear caused by friction but that may be s midge above my capacities. At least for this post. So for now, let’s just see if the sheets would have survived at all.

The Promised Neverland Episode 12 - Climbing the wall
kid, I got some bad news

Finding the amount of weight an average bed sheet can hold without ripping was surprisingly difficult. I wasn’t able to find exact numbers (although I’m sure they exist) as manufacturers tend to measure friction over time rather than the capacity of having their sheets used in a great escape. What I did find however, was quite a bit of anecdotal evidence.

This is the relevant excerpt from that last article:

>Driving up Boulder Canyon in the time before cell phone cameras, I nearly drove into the creek upon seeing this. A”toprope” was being ascended by a corpulent man and his partner, both dressed in jeans and sneakers. They had set it up using several lengths of a bed sheet twisted into a rope, knotted every dozen feet or so, and passing through a large pulley that was draped over the top of the route. We observed nothing of note on our return from Animal World, so the two must have at least escaped with their bodies intact.—Submitted by Richard Wright, via climbing.com

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to be fair, the rest of the article said you shouldn’t use sheets for rock climbing…

Fact is, bed sheets are not just a well worn trope. They have been used in real life escapes on repeated occasion and have often worked. From what I learned, you can braid the sheets to boost their strength however, it is possible for a bedsheet to support a full-grown adult. Braided sheets can hold over 200lbs with no problem. Moreover, a lot of the examples mentioned that the sheets were cut or torn into strips which would have reduced their internal integrity somewhat making them more fragile than if used as a whole.

Unfortunately, most of the stories do not mention the men’s weights but I think it’s safe to assume most of them were at least 100 lbs if not considerably more. So, based on this I think the sheets could have taken the weight. But those sheets weren’t used as ropes exactly, they were more akin to a zip line. Does that make any difference?

Actually it does. Climbing up would in fact put the most stress on your sheet. The combined pulling and slight jerking motion with putting all of your weight on specific spots is what’s likely to put the most stress on the material. Climbing down is a bit better as you are letting gravity do part of the work and not transferring that on to the sheet, but you still have all the tension focused in specific places. Theoretically at least, zipping down the sheet will have your weight move down the sheet very quickly remaining for only split seconds at any single spot. This is a motion that is less likely to tear the sheet out right but will subject it to a bit more wear.

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ehh – close enough

None of this is as conclusive as Isabellas but there is reasonable evidence to believe the sheets *could* have supported the kids.

But you know what is more dubious. Whether those cloth hangers could hold up. Most modern hangers aren’t meant to hold up much more than 20lbs. I suppose heavy duty wooden ones for winter coats may go a bit above, however that’s still not 100lbs.

Admittedly, in the olden days when fancy garments where a lot more elaborate and heavier, you could conceivably have an outfit weight 100bs although it would be exceptional. That is a huge amount of weight to carry for an entire day. But it would have been possible that some industrial strength hangers meant for special outfits like that were made and those could carry the weight. If we are generous and assume that’s what the kids were using, I guess they could have pulled it off, seeing as they were only hanging for very brief periods.

However, if you ask me, the weak point in the plan was there.

So, what did you think? Did I convince you that bedsheets are practical replacement ropes in a pinch? On a different note, do you enjoy these types of posts? I’m open to try more if you have any ideas.

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still my greatest accomplishment!!!

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Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

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18 thoughts on “The Promised Neverland Fact Check – Sheets

  1. Well I have negative 2 upper body strenght and I’ve had to hang on to horizontal bars for years (roughly 5 minutes at most) while deperatly trying to finish that second pull up in gym class. I think a normal human could manage it. Each trip couldn’t have been much more than 20 seconds or so…. I mean the hangers would have snapped but otherwise…

    Like

  2. You know, I never considered the hangers. What I worried about was my grip strength: could I hold on all the way over?

    Also, I notice in the anecdote, the sheets were twisted into a rope; these sheets weren’t (might have been a more bumpy ride). Not sure what sort of a difference it makes, considering the different weight distribution.

    All I know is that if you ever wish to cross a ravine with bedsheets, don’t ask me to do the planning.

    Liked by 1 person

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