Welcome to AiPT’s weekly The Promised Neverland recap column. As new chapters are released, I’ll be sharing my reactions to the series’s latest twists and turns. From bloodthirsty demons to elaborate battle strategies, writer Kaiu Shirai and artist Posuka Demizu always have something compelling up their sleeves. Be warned, though, that in order to elaborate on my thoughts I will be including SPOILERS.
Plot-wise, a lot happens in this chapter. It opens up with a flashback to the Ratri clan executing humans (presumably allies of William Minerva) who betrayed their promise to the demons. The story then shifts to the present, with armed humans preparing to barge into one of Minerva’s underground shelters. They believe it to be the base that Emma and her friends are residing in, but it turns out to be an empty decoy shelter.
Meanwhile, back at the actual shelter, Emma and co. debate if it’s safe to use Minvera’s hidden telephone to contact potential allies in the human world. They don’t know if any of Minerva’s old allies are actually still alive and reachable, or if the phone system has been hijacked by Ratri’s forces. Lastly, the telephone rings, and the protagonists get their first message from a supposed ally. It’s unclear, however, if the caller is actually a friend, a demon, or one of Ratri’s subordinates.
The manga’s recent shift from demon to human antagonists has been very interesting, largely because it paves the way for different sorts of intellectual warfare. The protagonists haven’t struggled against a major human villain since they escaped from Mom and Grace Field House. As a result, they’ve recently found themselves up against threats that are much stronger than them physically, thus creating an emphasis on types of weaponry and evasion. Now, though, Emma and co. are up against a threat that’s at least theoretically similar to themselves. With that said, Ritri and his followers have significantly more resources and political power than the kids do. They’re a terrifying force to be reckoned with, especially because they’re more than willing to murder the escapee children who they literally refer to as cattle.
The most intriguing mystery in this week’s chapter is the identity of the person calling Emma and co. on Minerva’s secret phone. We never get to see the person from the front, although there is a shot of them from behind. This limited view, combined with the character’s humanoid shape and long clothing, makes it difficult to tell if they’re a human or a demon. If it’s a demon then one possible suspect is Sonju, who’s overdue for a major return. If it’s not him then it could still be another follower of his religion, whose members don’t eat humans (unlike most other demons). Regardless of if the caller is a human or demon, there’s sure to be a memorable twist coming up.
Art-wise, Demizu does a great job this week. This is the most visually impressive chapter of the last month or two. The line-work is remarkably clean for a weekly comic, and the shading throughout is divine. Demizu does a fantastic job balancing light and dark tones to keep everything pleasing to look at. The panel and page compositions are also fantastic. Every aspect of this installment feels polished, from characters’ facial expressions to background details to fluidity of movement.
That’s all for this chapter! Stay tuned for more recaps as The Promised Neverland updates every week. If you’re interested in reading more of our thoughts about the series, check out our column from last week, as well as our review of the latest collected volume.