The Promised Neverland 060-065 – 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.

Review:

The last time I discussed The Promised Neverland it was October. Ray and Emma were only just getting ready to head out with the older escapee, referred to for as ‘Nameless Geezer’ on a trek to find Mr. Minerva. I was excited to see where the story would go as we abandoned the gangle of kids. I have to say these chapters were some of my favorite since Emma and Co. escaped the farm. I’ve gone at length describing my overall problems since the escape, namely the ability to suspend disbelief that a bunch of extremely young kids could make it through a hellish landscape unscathed, so I won’t beat a dead horse.

Here instead we get a lot of survival elements as Ray and Emma are challenged to learn how to transverse a new, and even more deadly, territory while their guide schemes on how to get rid of them. The scheming sometimes gets a little convoluted, particularly when we flash to the Geezer thinking Ray and Emma are thinking, or vice versa as the kids speculate what he’s thinking. But it’s a minor quibble.

But I know that they know that I know that they know….

We get some awesome, and awe inspiring, new demonic designs here that inject new life into the series’ visual depiction of this horrific world. It goes hand in hand with a refocus on survival mechanics, as Emma and Ray are forced to learn on the go.

One of the stand out moments is the attack by dozens of Man-Eaters. It starts a little confusing, as we flash from the reality of the situation to Emma’s fragmented fear at being devoured before she can react. It’s a great panel, but makes for a slightly confusing series of events. Once the attack gets going however, and more and more Man-Eaters arrive things truly get crazy.

It ultimately takes an entire chapter for Emma and Ray to defeat this horde of monsters, and there’s a lot of back and forth as their tactics don’t immediately work. They’re forced to try and try again as they gradually learn what’s needed to fend off the horrific beasts. There’s a bit of a cop out as, of course, the monsters have an achilles’ heel that allows Ray and Emma to eventually dispose of them with one shot each. It kind of undermines the sheer threat of the beasts, but isn’t too big a detractor to ruin an otherwise solid and gripping chapter.

It’s okay, they all operate like Zelda bosses, you’ll be fine.

Chapter 63 opens with another flashback into the Nameless Geezer’s past. The manga ultimately goes to great lengths to hide his name, later on actively ‘scratching’ it out so the reader doesn’t learn it. I can’t decide if this is a stylistic choice, refusing to allow the audience to know more than Ray and Emma (hence why Ray always seems to correctly speculate what this traitorous guide knows) or because there’s some huge reveal as to who he is. He and Ray do look very similar, time travel anyone? Jokes aside, it is annoying not to have a proper name to refer to, as Shonen Jump calls him, the Nameless Geezer.

After nearly reaching Goldy Pond, where they hope to learn more about the whereabouts of Mr. Minerva, Emma goes to great lengths to express her fear and doubt, and ultimate reasoning for why she then tries to approach the Nameless Geezer and offer to heal his troubled heart.

That’s the majority of Chapter 64. Emma pours her heart out to the Nameless Geezer, causing him to flashback again and again to the deaths of his family and friends. With a bit of shonen writing magic, this pouring out of Emma’s heart causes the Geezer to have a sudden, if late, change of heart. Thankfully, as it’d be far too convenient otherwise, it’s not in time to save Emma from ‘the poachers,’ Who snatch her up from out of sight and transport her to an all too friendly looking town. It’s a great twist, both sudden and shocking.

Bad news, Nameless Geezer, they’re the protagonists, they don’t die.

Chapter 065, the last we’ll be covering today, sees Emma wander the town for answers. Meanwhile Ray and the Geezer escape the poachers and discuss how to perhaps save Emma. The Geezer is ready to give up, sure that it’s curtains for Emma. He feels the best he can do is save Ray, realizing the error of his ways, but Ray isn’t ready to give up so easily. Though the Geezer’s ‘mending of ways’ sounds a lot like what he’d basically planned to do in the first place anyway.

Meanwhile Emma learns two shocking reveals: She’s right where the pen is meant to lead them, calling into question Mr. Minerva’s motives and, as it turns out, Goldy Pond is a hunting ground for the richest of demons to live out their greatest fantasy: the hunt for their food.

No, it clearly says Emoclew.

While I’m sure Mr. Minerva isn’t actually evil, nor would that make sense with the bunker the kid’s previously found, it’s a solid attempt to get the audience to start questioning all we’ve learned thus far. These chapters have really made me start to look forward to the series again and I think mark the first time I’ve felt the manga was perhaps equaling its very first arc in terms of quality.

Let me know your thoughts on The Promised Neverland’s latest chapters in the comments below!

The Promised Neverland is published weekly in Shonen Jump. The first few (001-003) chapters can be read for free via Viz.com

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