REVIEW: ‘The Promised Neverland’ Volume 18

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The Promised Neverland Volume 18

The Promised Neverland, Volume 18 is a fantasy thriller manga illustrated by Posuka Demizu and written by Kaiu Shirai. VIZ Media publishes the English-language release as a part of the SHONEN JUMP imprint. The Promised Neverland centers on the Grace Field House orphanage children who discover a dark and twisted truth. Their loving Mama has been raising them to be fed to demons. The children work together to escape their fate while they desperately try to find a place in the world where they can exist and be free from the threat of the demons.

Volume 18 covers chapters 153 through 161. Emma and Ray rush to the demon queen’s chamber in hopes of stopping Norman’s plan. Unfortunately, it seems that they might be too late. As they reach their friend, they learn what propelled Norman to take such a brutal path instead of choosing a more peaceful option. Norman’s decision might result in a forever changing relationship with his closest friends.

I absolutely loved the dialogue in this volume. Specifically, the dialogue that Emma and Norman share when she finally confronts him about his plan. Norman has solidified himself as the deuteragonist for quite some time, so much so that I didn’t think there was any turning back for him if he continued down the dark path he was on. In this volume, we learn that Norman’s motivation to kill the demons stems from fear and his desire to protect everyone, regardless of the cost. However, this has resulted in him carrying an immeasurable amount of guilt and pressure at such a young age.

I like how the dialogue between Emma and Norman reminds the readers that Norman is still a child, and he is carrying all of this pressure and fear within him. So while he puts on a brave facade and acts like he knows what he is doing, the truth is that he still a scared child who wants to save his friends and family.

I also felt like the dialogue in this chapter highlighted an important message about weakness, fear, and finding strength in others.  Much of Norman’s motivations to kill the demons stemmed from him feeling scared, helpless, and weak to protect the people he loved. And he tried to hide that weakness and fear to carry the burden for others.

However, the mangkas, Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu, get the message that it is okay to feel weak and afraid. These things make us humans, but it is also important to ask for help and share those burdens and fears with others. Because no one has to share the brunt of the burden themselves, they can rely on their friends to help.

While I enjoyed most of this volume, it also felt like some parts were rushed to a resolution instead of taking the time to build it out. For example, in this volume, Norman reveals that he and the other Lamda children were experimented on, suffering from lethal side effects resulting in many deaths. Luckily, the children can find a solution fairly quickly that will save Norman and their friends.  

It’s not that I wanted this issue to be dragged out further in more chapters. It just felt like the resolution for the threat came about very quickly. I’m not sure if this is because the mangaka felt it wasn’t necessary to dedicate more time. Regardless, I would have liked it if they had spent a little more time on that part instead of feeling like it resolved haphazardly. Or it might have been better not to have created the threat at all if it was just going to be resolved that quickly. 

I loved this volume because some of the most gruesome and horrific art I have seen in this series up to this point. I can never get enough of the artist Posuka Demizu’s art style. They know how to push the boundaries of horrors with their illustrations while also balancing them with beautiful, striking elements too. I don’t want to give any major spoilers away, but I will say it’s the details in the Queen’s final transformation that impressed me the most.

Lastly, The Promised Neverland Volume 18 concludes one arc and ushers in a new and a slightly more challenging one as Emma and her friends return to their family home, Grace Field. The previous arc primarily focused on defeating the demon queen and stopping Norman’s genocidal plan to eradicate all demons. I initially thought that his arc would be the biggest challenge for the protagonist; however, while the threat of the demon queen and the other power-hungry aristocrats seem to be resolved and that there is hope for the demon and humans to coexist peacefully.

Volume 18 also hints that the danger is not over yet as Emma and her friends have to return home to face a new obstacle and the true main antagonist of the series, Peter Ratri. I am very eager to see where this next arc takes our protagonists and how they overcome it. For a long time, most of their adversaries have been the demons or themselves, but now they are about to have a face-off with another human, presumably from the human world. It will be fascinating to see how things play out in the next volume.

The Promised Neverland, Volume 18, might be my favorite installation of the series to date. This volume has so many things that first intrigued me about the series. The dark and macabre art style, the amazing writing that highlights various themes, tells a captivating story. I can not recommend checking out this volume enough. As it concludes one arc, it also ushers in a new and slightly more challenging one that will leave you eager to pick up the next volume.

The Promised Neverland, Volume 18 is available now wherever books are sold.


The Promised Neverland Volume 18
4.5

TL;DR

The Promised Neverland, Volume 18, might be my favorite installation of the series to date. This volume has so many things that first intrigued me about the series. The dark and macabre art style, the amazing writing that highlights various themes, tells a captivating story. I can not recommend checking out this volume enough. As it concludes one arc, it also ushers in a new and slightly more challenging one that will leave you eager to pick up the next volume.