The Promised Neverland 023-025 – Review
The Promised Neverland:
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Emma is an 11-year old girl living at an orphanage along with thirty-seven other children. They spend their days playing in the yard, the nearby forest, and taking test over their headsets in the house’s school room. When they turn twelve the children leave the orphanage, going beyond the gate they’ve been warned to never venture near. However, despite how quaint and comfortable this life has been for Emma and the other children, there’s a much darker truth awaiting them beyond that gate.
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow)
While exploring the gate one night, in hopes of delivering a forgotten stuffed toy to a departing friend, Emma and Norman, one of the smartest boys within the Orphanage, discover the horrible truth: The orphans are being raised as mere meat for horrific demonic creatures.
Joining forces with the other top kids, Ray, Gilda and Don they begin to plot an escape. Ray is/was secretly working with Mother and the group decides to use that against her. However Mother calls in additional help, Sister Krone, another caretaker. As the kids work to form a plan of escape before the day they’re scheduled to be shipped out arrives, Mother and Sister begin to close in around them.
We open with a brief reminder that the deadline for escape is fast approaching before jumping back to Sister Krone and Mother. Honestly? Felt kinda like a waste of color pages. Anyway, The letter, as we discover, reads that Sister Krone appointed as Mother of Plant 4. Mother congratulates Krone, but Krone knows this is little more than a trap, one she can’t avoid as she has to respond to the order no matter what. Krone’s involvement seems to all over the place. It’s easily the most wishy washy part of the story, but thankfully our mangaka manage to bring it around, end it, and tie its conclusion in to make a larger point to the story as a whole.
Unable to fight this sudden turn of events, Krone refuses to give up and decides to make a direct appeal to Grandmother over what’s going on. However, as she heads for the gate and meets with Grandmother, Krone learns that Mother has Grandmother’s full support and Krone has been played. She never had a chance to succeed in the first place.
Krone thinks back on her journey to become a Mother and the day she stumbled upon a Doctor conversing equally with one of the Demons. He dropped a pen, one labeled W.M. (which presumably stands for William Minerva.) We learn, in Krone’s final moments, that she ultimately snuck the pen into Emma and Co.’s possession. And she wishes, upon her dying moments, that the kids escape as there really is no way to live within this system. It’s this point that, I feel, almost makes the muddy realization of Krone’s narrative worthwhile. There’s a lot of back and forth within this series, people constantly playing and outplaying each other, but Krone’s was near irritating in how often she had a leg up only to immediately lose it. But I feel like this ending forgives some of those flaws as it adds in a nice sense of futility. That, indeed, there’s no way for anyone to survive within this horrid farm system, solidifying the need to escape now more than ever.
But another interesting component is this pen. For all we know it could be a red-herring, but it also makes me wonder if perhaps William Minerva may, in fact, not be aid to the children, but an enemy. If W.M. stands for William Minerva, the same name for the man leaving messages within the books, it’s possible this is all some elaborate game to develop even better, more intelligent food for the demons. It’ll be interesting to see how this pen, and that scientist, plays into the plot going forward.
But another thing the pen does here is, unfortunately, give the game away to more savvy readers. Indeed, one need only think hard enough to realize that the pen can’t possibly play into the children’s escape plan: meaning it’s more than likely something is about to go wrong. Otherwise the pen would be pointless.
And with that Krone is dead, stuck with a flower and killed in the same way as Conny. Later, Emma and Co. begin the inspection, the first part of their plan to escape.
As Emma and Norman rush to complete the inspection Ray learns that Krone has been sent away. In fact, that’s just the half of it. Mother is prepared to end her alliance with Ray as well. He tries to convince her he’s still useful, but she’s decided she’ll control Emma and the rest on her own.This chapter has a lot of back and forth, people pointing out pros and cons of their alliance all in Ray’s effort to salvage things. It can get a little confusing, and perhaps a bit convoluted.
Mother then locks Ray in the room and heads out to find Emma and Norman. Ray tries to break free to warn the others, but it takes him a long time to knock the door down. Don arrives just as Ray finally gets it down and the two, along with Gilda, rush to warn the others that Mom is after them and they need to push through with the inspection.
However, Mother comes upon both Norman and Emma, who attempt to play innocent, confused as to why Mother is there and Ray isn’t distracting her.
Mother ends the charade and speaks to them without all the pretense. She speaks the truth that everyone knows at this point, concerning the children bred to be food, and urges them to stop resisting. She claims she doesn’t want them to suffer and it would be easier if they accepted their fate.
There’s a lot of analyzing and over analyzing Mother’s words and actions, but Norman and Emma realize that this is their last chance to complete their escape. They decide to go ahead with their plan and Emma launches at Mother, in an attempt to steal her tracker and buy Norman the time he needs to complete the inspection and get the plan underway.
Unfortunately Mother is more than a match for Emma, and breaks her leg without a second thought. It’s an amazingly shocking moment. The series mostly relies on intrigue and mystery to drive the story, so when we finally get our first big splash of violence, even if it is just a broken leg, it’s downright shocking and bound to be a highly memorable moment. As Mother cradles a screaming Emma, she explains that they’re special food and she needs to protect them no matter what. She tells them to relax and celebrate till tomorrow. As Ray and the others arrive, Mother reveals that headquarters contacted her– Norman is being shipped out the very next day.
Chapter 24 is a little weak, acting more so as build up to the big escape, but Chapter 25 more than makes up for it. Overall I continue to be thrilled with The Promised Neverland as it provides a narrative far and away distant and distinct compared to the rest Shonen Jump has to offer. We’re supposedly nearing up on the series conclusion of its first arc and I’m dying to see how things will evolve.
Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts on The Promised Neverland 023-025 in the comments section below!