By Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu. Released in Japan as “Yakusoku no Neverland” by Shueisha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Satsuki Yamashita.
The cover of this volume, which shows Emma defeating Leuvis by his metaphorically shattering into glass shards, sort of makes her look like a witch given that his hat is right above her. Certainly I’d argue her determination has reached almost supernatural levels, even for a Jump hero. The kids and Lucas are faced with the fact that their plans worked but Leuvis is JUST THAT TOUGH so is coming after them anyway. Clearly time to punt and retreat. But no, Emma knows that this is the best time to try harder. He’s partly blinded and has shown his regeneration is imperfect, they need to bring the hammer down. And it works. Keuvis was a sadistic asshole, but he also made one of the more thrilling villains of the series, and his death gets a nice montage and him praising humans as “the best” before he goes. Oh yes, and he also slices Emma through the stomach with his Freddy Kreuger hands, leaving her too at death’s door.
Now, I think the average reader knows that The Promised Neverland is not going to kill off its heroine like this. But the book is titled “The End”, and the chapter with that title has Emma having a near-death experience as she tries to force herself to get back up despite life-threatening wounds. We see the kids of Grace Fields encouraging her, Krone talking about how weak she is, and finally Norman and Isabella reaching out to help her stand once more. That said, she does spend much of the latter half of the book unconscious, and the others have to take up her ideals for her, as they argue whether it’s safer to try to escape with everyone or to leave behind those who are so injured the journey might kill them. Again, the idealistic choice wins but it is debated, and I like how this series wears its heart on its sleeve but also shows why it chooses to do so every step of the way.
Meanwhile, that geezer has a name! It’s Yugo, and the reunion he has with Lucas is touching. In addition, while events in this book means there is next to no humor, I did crack a smile at Yugo returning to the rest of the Grace Fields children with Emma’s body and immediately being thought of as her killer. See, this is what happens when your plan to kill someone goes awry! But things work out, and Emma is now awake, and Goldy Pond is destroyed. More importantly, we have a new goal for the second half of the series – make a new pact with the demons that does not involve the children farms. That’s a tough row to hoe, especially given that the villains are also going to be gunning for them harder. Can they escape and find the supporters? More importantly, can they find Norman?
This continues to be one of the best Jump series I’ve read in years. A must-buy.