The Promised Neverland 049-051 – Manga Review
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 plot an escape. But Mom closes in on them and thwarts their plans. Norman gets shipped out, but not before giving Emma and Ray the means and plans to escape with. Emma and Ray manage to escape with many of the children, leaving only the youngest behind. Now as they make their way from the Demon’s farm they find themselves in a whole new, and dangerous world.
Chapters 49-51 predominately focus on Emma, Ray and the rest learning much needed survival skills. It’s basically a mini training arc. While everyone learns the most basic of skills, Emma insist that Sonju teach her how to hunt and kill prey. This leads to an excellent scene that provides context to the manga’s most memorable imagery: We learn what the flower stuck in a child’s corpse is all about. It’s some nice world building and helps to make The Promised Neverland continue to feel unique and deep.
Chapter 50 continues the prep work for the children parting ways with Sonju and Mujika. We also delve into the question of there perhaps being other escapees from the farms. We get some fantastic and creepy imagery for what the mass production farms look like. The introduction of the idea of Mass Production farms is a more natural concept of breeding cattle, or humans in this case, and helps to tangentially flesh out the Top-Class Farm concept. Previously it seemed, perhaps, a tad foolish to educate the kids so thoroughly for consumption. But knowing there’s only about four of these farms makes a lot more sense. Doesn’t entirely explain why mere children could outwit and out run demons, but suspension of disbelief and all that.
The manga thankfully holds back from trying to subvert our expectations on the way Emma and Ray react to this news. It plays it much more straight and by doing so feels like it’s actually respecting its audience. It feels more natural too and far less exaggerated here than previously.
The chapter does briefly get bogged down again in Emma’s resolve and her motivation for trying to save everyone as she reminisces with Mujika. This happens far too often and sometimes feels like The Promised Neverland is continually afraid its audience won’t be able to follow without revisiting the past constantly.
Chapter 50 ends on Mujika praying that Ray, Emma and the rest will find mercy and hope awaiting them as they continue their journey without the two demons. It’s a good moment to go out on considering what we were learn about Sonju in the next chapter.
With Chapter 51 the kids manage to escape the underground tunnel, move through the last of the forest, and make it out to a wasteland where no demons roam. They bid goodbye to Sonju and Mujika, with Mujika giving Emma some amulet and whispering to her that she needs to seek the Seven Walls and that their salvation lies beyond that.
As soon as the kids leave we get a conversation/flashback between Sonju and Mujika revealing that Sonju seeks personal gain from helping the kids: Despite what he told us in the last set of chapters, Sonju wants to eat humans. But apparently he despises the current breeding system and would rather they return to the days of old and hunt their prey. He hopes the kids can break the current system and give him his chance to eat loads and loads of humans after hunting them down.
Mujika seems unconcerned for Emma and the others, which I think undermines the threat Sonju poses. Mujika seemingly unconcerned about Sonju’s motives and actions makes this reveal fizzle out. Moving on Emma and the others, very quickly, find the coordinates for where Mr. Minerva should be– and yet there’s nothing there.
It’s likely, with how fast The Promised Neverland can move, we’ll get our answer as to what’s wrong in the very next chapter (My guess is what they’re looking for is just underground.) Overall these chapters help to smooth over the disappointment I’d been feeling of late. A little world building and character growth went a long way to making me feel more attached to the series. That said, I don’t think these chapters helped to address Neverland’s lack of fangs, and I still don’t think death feels like a credible threat for any of these children right now.
Let me know your thoughts on The Promised Neverland’s latest chapters in the comments below!