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Manga Reviews

The Promised Neverland Volume 2 Review

“And Emma… your weakness is being naive.”

The Promised Neverland features an overarching story with a terrible, previously revealed underlying secret. Best to start reading with volume 1.

This volume builds off the revelations of the first as the children start to formulate plans and decide how best to proceed. Themes of appearances vs reality and the ongoing impacts of choices each character needs to make are escalating and nicely interwoven. Krone provides a good third “side” and adds interesting new context and complications to everyone’s maneuvering. To complicate things further, Emma and her compatriots must deal with the possibility of a traitor in their midst in the wake of bringing others into the fold.

One of the things I like most about this manga is how smart everyone is without being infallible. And on the flip side, how they can be wrong or make small missteps without acting foolish. It’s a hard aspect to balance properly, and so far author Shirai is doing an excellent job of it.

Good followup volume overall continues to build a complex web of characters and agendas while keep a real sense of dread and tension pervasive.

Categories
Manga Reviews

The Promised Neverland Volume 1 Review

“The true colors of reality…”

Eleven year old Emma lives a happy and idyllic life as one of the oldest orphans at Grace Field House under the supervision of a loving caretaker… paying no mind to the rigorous daily tests, identification numbers on everyone’s necks, or surrounding wall with a locked entrance gate they are forbidden to venture beyond.

I only had the barest inkling of what to expect from this going in, and certainly wasn’t quite prepared for what awaited me. The first chapter sets the stage in excellent fashion, both feeling like it spends enough time introducing the status quo and getting into the gruesome details of what the story is really about fast.

I won’t get into specific spoilers, but fair warning: this is a dark, tense read. Grace Field House becomes the scene of a cat and mouse game, wonderfully engaged in by smart, differing agents acting with a variety of goals and agendas. It already stands out among its genre (something awful lurking underneath a seemingly perfect life), as the layers and levels at play even throughout just this first volume are impressive and intriguing.

The art is intentionally exaggerated often, which works sometimes to increase the impact and eeriness of certain situations but feels extremely odd and jarring at others. Hopefully it’ll even out a bit in future volumes.

There are moments of info dumping, but given the nature of the story it’s somewhat unavoidable and done well enough. Several characters are trying to plan several steps ahead and outthink each other covertly, and the author does a great job of balancing this and the ways in which they interact with / run afoul of each other.

Strong start overall for this creepy, layered manga.