It’s time again to review Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu’s The Promised Neverland. The series is up to Vol. 11 now and the Goldy Pond arc is drawing to a close. Is the action as thrilling as it’s been thus far? How does the series move forward from here? Most importantly, is this volume good?
This is an action-heavy volume, and the combat is very well-written. Both physical ability and strategy are at play as Leuvis and the protagonists try to take advantage of opportunities and hold out long enough for tides to turn. Different stages of the battle take place indoors or out in the open, allowing the characters’ surroundings to play a pivotal role as well.
The pacing is very well-done, and neither side comes out of this volume looking weaker. Leuvis is still a walking natural disaster, but the heroes’ strategies make sense and there’s never any danger of Deus ex machina or plot armor coming into play. The sheer amount of personality on the page makes the action even more enjoyable; there’s a great sense of who each character is and what’s driving them forward.
Of course, the violence also owes much of its charm to Demizu’s visuals. This volume is jam-packed with some of the most memorable pages and panels in the series’s history. Take, for example, a two-page spread of indoor action with Leuvis on one side of a hallway and the kids on the other. Leuvis is simply walking forward while our heroes unload a plethora of guns, sending dozens of bullets flying across the middle of the page. This moment caught in time, with ammunition zooming toward its target but not yet having hit, perfectly conveys the power gulf between the two sides. Even when there’s enough artillery present to kill virtually anything in real life, you’re still never sure who’s going to come out on top.
With all that said, the character work here is also fantastic. The most notable relationships are those Yugo has with Lucas and Emma. Yugo and Emma hit a major turning point in this volume and the changes in how they interact feel earned. I don’t want to spoil any details about Yugo and Lucas’s reunion, but it’s heartfelt and well worth the wait. The other Goldy Pond kids get some brief but poignant moments as well; Oliver in particular has a nice scene with Lucas.
Leuvis also continues to be incredibly charming even as he strives to murder the protagonists. His devotion to the hunt and his overall indulgence of hedonistic desires really set him apart from the other, less memorable demons in the manga thus far. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the cool factor in this volume’s visuals comes from how Demizu depicts him with sadistic smiles, bestial leaps, and his long cloak flowing in the wind. His pet Palvus also remains as adorable as ever, and a shot of him wearing his owner’s hat is perhaps the book’s cutest moment.
This volume also does a great job building up anticipation for future installments and foreshadowing events to come. There’s a page depicting shots of about a dozen different memories from Leuvis’s past and they have some major implications. Near the volume’s end we also get quick glimpses at Norman, Sonju, Mujika, Phil, and the current head of the Ratri clan. By bringing all the series’s unresolved plot threads back to the forefront, Demizu and Shirai effectively generate excitement for the next volume.
All in all, The Promised Neverland Vol. 11 is fantastic. The Goldy Pond arc is one of the best in the series’s history, and it ends on a very high note. The art, action, suspense, and character development are all excellent. I have no grievances whatsoever.