It’s been a little over a year since I started collecting manga (fall of 2021 was when I initially fell down the rabbit hole). What a wild journey and year it’s been! The Promised Neverland, written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu, was the first manga series I read from beginning to end. I devoured all 20 volumes over the summer of 2022. In particular, I blew through the first 9 or so volumes in as many days. This article will give you a general overview of the series with no spoilers. I hope to post more series overviews as time goes on. Let us, then, visit the year 2045 and a little orphanage…
Our story opens up with a large group of children living at an orphanage. Emma is one of the main characters and all of the little kids adore her. We also meet Emma’s friends, Norman and Ray. The three of them are the oldest kids at the orphanage. At first glance, it appears as though all is swell and there is a lot of love. Of course, that doesn’t last for very long.
Occasionally, a child will be plucked from the orphanage to go live with their new adopted family. Such was the fate of little Conny. But before she can be shipped off, Norma and Emma notice that Conny has left behind her prized stuffed bunny. With the little fella in tow, they set off to meet Connie to make the return.
And with this startling realization, our characters are thrust into a spiraling descent of pure horror and madness. Who — or what — killed Conny, and why?!
It’s immediately revealed that some sort of demonic alien creatures are at the helm. The intrigue jumps off the pages as readers are thrown right into the frying pan with no warning. It’s an amazing opener that really hooks you in.
We also meet Mother, the adult in charge of the children at the orphanage. She is clearly in cahoots with the demons. It quickly becomes a cat and mouse tale of probabilities and deduction.
As they discuss the various possibilities and dissect the situation, the story quickly evolves and shifts with each beat. I love when a story takes you on a wild ride with many possible outcomes.
We get to know our protagonists better with each passing chapter and volume. Emma has a pure heart of gold, and she loves her family more than anything in the world. She would rather die than to escape while leaving even just one person behind. Emma is the personification of nobility and compassion.
The artwork by Posuka Demizu is pretty solid. The creatures are truly fearsome and the kids have the best expressions.
As the series progresses, we meet more characters such as the bizarre (and creepy) Sister Krone. She gave me the heebie-jeebies.
We’re treated to thrilling action panels such as this. I love the sense of ferocity and how it’s rather cinematic at times.
The series is far from perfect, however. While the first 9 or so volumes were thrilling and incredible, I felt the middle portion of the story hits a bit of a lull. Let’s just say the mystery of the demons is detailed a little too much for my liking, which reduced the sense of danger or intrigue for me personally. The story kind of went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and certain parts did drag a bit. The last handful of volumes does improve but for me it never hit the height of the first half of the story. I would still recommend The Promised Neverland, however. I’m glad to have read it and you know what they say — you never forget your first!