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.
This week’s chapter is all about the time that Emma and Ray’s group spends in Cuvitidala. They come in search of answers to Minerva’s riddle about the Seven Walls, and they find more than they ever bargained for. Emma has a vision that includes dragons, scenes from the ancient past, and a mysterious young humanoid who may or may not be the demon king. Potential connections between Cuvitidala and Mujika are also hinted at, and the shape of the city’s ruins are revealed to form a gigantic eye. After Emma tells the rest of the group about what she saw, they decide to head back to the shelter to reconvene with their allies.
Holy hell, this series’s pacing has sped up drastically as of late. I keep expecting certain events to take several chapters or whole volumes’ worth of page-time, but then Shirai and Demizu cut right to the chase. All in all, this isn’t a bad thing. After the long, drawn out final battle against Leuvis, it’s nice to see plot events actually get resolved with due haste. The quick pacing is especially appreciated in a chapter like this one, which is just jam-packed with content.
With that said, I keep being disappointed by the lack of development afforded to characters who aren’t Emma and Ray. Having Don, Gilda, Violet, and Zach join the search party seemed like a great opportunity for them to take on a bigger role in the plot. Unfortunately, it’s beginning to seem like that just won’t happen. It’s understandable that the main kids are going to continue driving the story forward, so that in an of itself is fine. But when so few of the other kids actually get to do anything, they start to feel more like story props than actual supporting characters.
The most striking portion of this chapter is easily Emma’s vision. It begins with a stunning two-page-spread that features the series’s first dragon, and Demizu renders it beautifully. The dragon’s singular eye at the top of its head is eerie, and its long wingspan makes it look all the more menacing. Add in the ripple effect on the water and its reflection in this spread and you get an image that’s as technically sound as it is foreboding and just plain cool.
Perhaps the biggest mystery this week is the identity of the demon Emma speaks with. If it is indeed the demon king then he surprisingly doesn’t seem all that hostile to her cause. This intriguing lack of obvious contempt couples well with another question: just what does it take to make a promise with the demon king, and what are his goals for the relationship between humans and demons? At this point too little has been revealed for that question to even be addressed theoretically, but I look forward to finding out the answer.
Also of note is this new demon’s youth. He appears to be a child (or at most a young adult), whereas most other demons in the series thus far have seemed to be of age. If this demon is indeed both young and the king, how did he rise to such a post so quickly? What does it even mean to be king of the demons anyway? Having this (probable) villain be so young sets up a potential parallel between him and Emma as children who nonetheless take the lead in their respective species’ fight for survival. The demon’s use of the word “play” further enhances the sense that he is childlike, and hints at a potentially juvenile approach to the human-demon conflict.
Mujika’s role is also called into question here, and the more she gets mentioned as of late the more she seems like a villain. Present at the time of the ancient demons and humans’ promise of separation (along with a figure who is presumably Sonju), Mujika might know more about the state of the world than any almost other character. We’re reminded in this chapter that she gave Emma a mysterious pendant, but what is it for? Is it truly a gift, or something more subtly insidious? It’s especially crucial that the pendant seems to partially guide Emma forward–but to what? There’s plenty left to be seen about the nature of the Seven Walls, and at the rate the manga is progressing we might not be far from some answers.
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 on last week’s chapter, as well as our review of the latest collected volume.