Title: The Promised Neverland Vol. 4
Author: Kaiu Shirai (Story), Posuka Demizu (Art)
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Horror, Drama
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Volume four of The Promised Neverland sees their plan shattered before their eyes. Norman’s ship date is scheduled to be the following evening so a new plan was concocted that would allow only Norman to escape. Ray was either going to injure himself or catch a cold to prevent himself from becoming Norman’s replacement. Norman succeeds in climbing the wall but things took a grim turn when he realized the true layout of Grace Field House. There are multiple walls forming a hexagon with the surrounding plants all adjacent to each other. There is only one route of escape: a bridge on the north side which is connected to headquarters. Surrounding the entirety of the hexagon is a giant cliff, meaning that escape over the wall is impossible.
Norman reports back and feels that the only objective is to sacrifice himself and become food so that everyone can escape. Ray mentions that he still has his trump card up his sleeve. Obviously, Emma is against Norman’s thinking but Norman cannot be swayed.
We take a two-month time skip and arrive the night before Ray’s 12th birthday. It is revealed that Ray was the special feast being prepared for the demons but his trump card is to burn himself alive, causing a distraction to allow everyone to escape; however, before Norman got shipped out, he had other plans to put into motion. Thanks to getting information out of Sister Krone, Norman found out how to disable the tracking devices and how to get everyone out of the house. He discovered Ray’s plan to start a fire and left very specific instructions for Emma to carry out.
The night of Ray’s 12th birthday, everything was revealed. Norman had secretly informed all of the children of the plan through various methods all while not alerting Isabella. The escape went off without a hitch… except for one little problem. Phil stayed behind. Dammit, Phil!
The story of this manga keeps getting better and better. The fact that Norman planned everything to happen post-mortem was pretty insane. All of his planning reminded me a lot of Itachi Uchiha from the Naruto series; however, something is bugging me about the entire ordeal which I’ll touch upon in my Final Thoughts. Still, I can’t believe the escape happened and in my last review, I predicted that someone was going to die. I can’t believe I called it but I also didn’t think it was going to be Norman. Sometimes I hate being right… even if I was half right.
Once again, character development here is really hard because the children don’t ever really change. This is a manga where the story itself is the one that evolves and changes over time. Emma, Ray, Norman, Don, Gilda… the whole lot of them are the same people they were from volume one. Sure, they are learning to think for themselves more and more but that’s all we can really learn about them. It was already either heavily implied or confirmed that each and every one of them grew up in Grace Field House. We don’t really know any of their parents or backstories because there really are none.
There is one BIG theory that I have and it has to do with Isabella and Emma. Isabella did approach Emma and offered the mother position to her. This means that she was never really intended to be shipped out as part of the premium feast. Second, Isabella said that in order to become a mom, she must become an adult and bear a child. This means Isabella did the same exact thing. With the way Isabella keeps talking to Emma about loving her and caring about her… it makes me think it goes beyond sarcasm and false love.
It’s making me wonder if Isabella is Emma’s real mother. The only thing that’s stopping me from believing that is the difference in their hair colors. If I were to go by that, I’d say there’s also a chance that Isabella is Ray’s mother as well. She has to be SOMEONE’S mother. There’s no way after explaining that detail she doesn’t end up being someone’s mother. It has to be a main character as well because if it’s not, then the impact will be lost. A plot twist like that would be wasted on someone like Don or Gilda. It has to be either Emma or Ray. Then again, I could be overthinking it!
Earlier, I mentioned that there was something bugging me about Norman’s death. I did peek ahead into volume five because they have the cast of characters at the beginning of each volume of manga. In volume four, Sister Krone’s picture had an X through it which confirms her death. Volume five had an X through Norman’s picture but, so far, two people have died in this manga and both of them were confirmed dead with a flower growing out of their chests. Those people being Conny and Krone. Norman was never shown that way outside of a dream Emma had the night before Norman was shipped.
I’m calling it right now. This is all a misdirection and Norman is still, somehow, alive. I’d like to see just how in the hell they are going to pull something like that off or explain it but I truly believe that Norman is waiting for them on the other side of the wall somehow. Either that, or he’s been taken captive by the demons and is being held until he is fully matured.
That’s what I love about this series. Thanks to the “detective work” by the characters, it forces you to think outside the box. It makes you take notice of every little detail and then makes you question if everything you are reading is simple and straightforward or if there is more to it than what meets the eye. While some of the things are kind of obvious, it still manages to throw curveballs at you. This isn’t a series you can just read from page to page. You really have to think about what is being said and what is being shown to you. If I took it all at face value, I wouldn’t have felt the need to speculate about Isabella being someone’s mom or Norman still being alive somehow.
Maybe I’ll keep reading and find out I was right… or I’ll be coming back here and offering up a delicious plate of my own foot because I was completely and totally wrong. I love manga that make you think! Promised Neverland is shaping up to be one of the best manga series I have read!
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This item was purchased for review.