The Girl from the Other Side Volume 3 Review

The day Shiva’s been waiting for has come… but not without questions to be asked.

From the second volume’s subtly ominous ending The Girl from the Other Side continues full force and a complicated overarching narrative is forming with events moving rapidly out of Teacher’s control and Inside forces taking actions that will have significant effects.  

As will no doubt become a running theme in my reviews for this manga, it does a particularly incredible job of balancing the multitude of contrasts aspects it contains.

It still retains its deliberate pacing and the “slice of life feel,” but main story elements are escalating and major developments starting to be sprinkled in. The way everyday life intersects with the more dire aspects is quite masterfully done, and the line of providing enough new information to keep readers engaged while continuing to have intriguing underlying mysteries is being walked perfectly.

This volume ends with another significant revelation, and it’s impressive how well the atmosphere and tension is being maintained without losing the relatable engaging nature of the characters amid this strange world. Both Shiva and Teacher will no doubt come away from the events of this volume significantly affected, and as usual I can’t wait to see what’s next.

The Promised Neverland Volume 5 Review

“This is what we thought could never happen.”

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

Here we go. In several ways this volume is the payoff to everything that’s come thus far. The buildup has been excellent and the developments and twists feel earned and natural.

There’s been real, noticeable growth of a main character, with another slowly learning about limits and different points of view. The layering and way different story threads are interwoven is really masterfully done. Story progression continues to be surprising and clever while still arising logically.

This is another fantastic volume, and sets up significant new story threads going forward to boot. It’ll be interesting to see if it can keep up the level of quality and suspense with the shift in focus, but the signs are certainly good thus far.

The Promised Neverland Volume 4 Review

“I’ll destroy… the plan mom has in mind.”

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

Mom’s not playing around anymore, and the big cliffhanger from last volume has major consequences as the core group of children are faced with decisions and threats they don’t agree on how to deal with.

There’s a lot in this volume that’s been built to since the beginning, with the start of payoffs to long running threads and a number of big twists. Incredible use of flashbacks gives new meaning to old scenes, and the all out battle of wits between the children and mom has real consequences. This volume is simply fantastic, and ends with another intriguing cliffhanger as the first major arc of the manga seems to be reaching its climax.

The Promised Neverland Volume 3 Review

“Do you think what they told us is the truth?”

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

Emma and her compatriots continue slowly building their escape plan, hampered at every turn by their “mother” and Sister Krone, who each have their own goals and agendas. There’s a real sense of moving forward while maximizing the slowly escalating tension. There’s significant time spent with “secondary” characters, and Krone’s maneuvering in particular becomes a main focus. As I’ve mentioned previously I’m extremely impressed with the way the characters are all extremely intelligent without being infallible, and the constant efforts of them all to outthink each other is one of the manga’s best points.

It all adds even more layers to everything that’s happening and begins to show real consequences for the choices being made, including various levels of palpable threat. The gradual world building and major gambits and moves in this volume heighten the impact of the unfolding mysteries and lead to a huge cliffhanger. Strong third volume with a ton of important developments and even more intriguing plot lines set up for the future.

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.

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.

Girl’s Last Tour Manga Review

” Even if it’s meaningless… sometimes, nice things happen.”

Tales of two girls and a small tank climbing what’s left of civilization, and there isn’t much…

I’ll be sharing thoughts on the entire series (volumes 1-6) as a whole here, but it will be kept as spoiler free as possible.

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Girls’ Last Tour is a dystopian slice of life story, following a gradual journey through the remains of a futuristic world gone to ruin. I found it atmospheric and engaging, being drawn in bit by bit as our protagonists make their way.

It could have been something very different, and while I enjoyed this for what it was I certainly understand if some readers wanted something different. This is rather light for a post-apocalyptic tale in many respects, and more about Chito and Yuuri’s wandering and the occasional philosophical question than their survival in a harsh landscape or other natural directions the story easily could have veered into.

There are a lot of questions left unanswered, particularly about the world before it collapsed and the particulars of the collapse itself. To be honest not much of anything is explained, and I’m not sure the sparse tantalizing clues presented add up to much of a whole. But while they would have been nice to have those details are in some sense beyond the point of the story, and I found the slowly unfolding themes, ruminations, and details that were present interesting enough.

Girl’s Last Tour admittedly had more potential lurking beneath it than what was realized, but for me it was a compelling, great little read overall regardless.