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.
Well, last time I said that Lucas and Yugo probably were not long for this world, but would go out in a blaze of glory, and I turned out to be 100% right there. This is the fate of ‘mentor’ characters in a lot of series, not just manga, and it makes sense in a story way – their work here is done, they’ve saved Emma and the others, and now they can get the classic ‘yes, they’re really dead this time’ moment (unlike, say, Norman, who didn’t get this and isn’t dead) when they see all their dead friends in the afterlife welcoming them. It really is a cool death, though, and will likely look fantastic animated. Sadly, they did have the main bad guy get away so that he can threaten our heroes once more, and also let them know that they need a new safe space – as Emma cheerfully says at the end of the volume, nowhere is safe for them right now – that’s why they’re doing this.
This is not to say that Emma does not suffer quite a bit in this book. Yugo’s death in particular – which plays out as his coming to visit and give her new advice, then point out that he’s just a dream she’s having – is heartbreaking, and it hits all the kids, including the Goldy Pond ones, really hard. So hard that they’re about to go off half-cocked and try to find Lucas and Yugo. Fortunately, the villain of this arc is so wretchedly horrible that he manages to drive the point home that they have to move on. That said, Andrew’s fate is nasty, as befits someone who is hell bent on murdering about 60 kids. It does feel a bit of a copout that he’s taken out by a demon, though – you get the sense the author is trying to keep Emma’s hands clean. This is even lampshaded by Andrew, who says Emma won’t be able to shoot him dead.
We’re getting more of a sense that the kids here are not the only force fighting back. We’ve heard about William Minerva, even though it seems doubtful he’s still alive. We also see another group of humans trying to save farms… or at least give those within them mercy killings. Given the attitude and personality of some of these people we meet, I suspect that Emma and Ray’s pile of idealistic children may be running into a pragmatic brick wall soon. We also see “William Minerva” from the back, and he looks vaguely familiar… in a way I think the reader is supposed to be able to guess. That said, before they meet Mr. Minerva, they need to save the dying Chris, so there may be another action sequence to go.
This is the sort of manga that cries out to be animated as well, so we’re fortunate that more is coming. Till then, enjoy another solid volume, which promises many changes still to come.