Title: The Promised Neverland Vol. 15 Author: Kaiu Shirai (Story), Posuka Demizu (Art) Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 191 Genre: Horror, Drama Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Volume fifteen of The Promised Neverland unveils what Norman’s plan was which was eluded to in the previous volume’s cliffhanger. After carrying out his plan, he knew deep down it was all a façade on the surface as he is well aware of a certain someone’s true intentions. Being the mastermind that he is, Norman is looking to come out on top regardless of knowing the situation.
When Norman returns, he is confronted by Emma and Ray who want to talk to him about Mujika and Sonju. News of their existence seemed to rattle Norman to his very core. It was a factor in his plan that he didn’t consider and now that he knows that factor, he comes to a decision where he wants to kill the two of them. Of course, with Emma being the girl who wants to save everyone, she rejects Norman’s plan and says that she and Ray will go to the Seven Doors and make a new promise. Norman says he is not changing his plans and that if she wants to do that, then she can but she has to do it and come back before Norman carries his plans out.
While Emma and Ray head off to the Seven Doors, we switch gears and are taken within the five houses of the Aristocrats as well as get introduced to the Queen. The Tifari is coming up and the Queen is notified of the destruction of Lambda House. Because as such, she deems that she will not allow thieves and poachers of that caliber to run rampant and orders their extermination before the Tifari begins. This, of course, is all part of Norman’s plan which means Emma and Ray are on an eight-day timer to accomplish their goals.
When Emma and Ray enter the entrance to the Seven Doors, they are brought to a very familiar place… although it is nothing more than a mere illusion. The question of whether or not they can overcome the illusion and find the doors is where our volume comes to an end.
Whew! This was one heck of a ride from a story perspective! I like how we explored the hierarchy of the demons and that there is a new possibility involving Mujika’s blood. I won’t go too much into it but there are new several possible paths for the story to conclude on but no real clear-cut answer. The fact that there are options and the story makes you guess adds more and more to the alluring nature of this series.
Norman and the demons receive the biggest bulk of the development here.
In Norman’s case, we finally understand his true nature and it is one where you will either love him or hate him for. On the inside, Norman’s true core really hasn’t changed all that much. His wants and desires to free all of the children are still there; however, what is wrapped around that core has changed very much. Norman is still calculating and basing all of his decisions on tried and true hard facts but the methods he is willing to employ based on that data are not like the Norman we knew from Grace Field. As Emma pointed out, Norman is killing his own heart slowly but surely for the goals that he once dreamed of as an orphan. Emma doesn’t want to see that happen which is why she and Ray are trying to find the Seven Doors in order to make a new promise.
Still, it’s hard to argue with Norman’s logic because as ruthless as it may seem, Norman is, technically, correct in his actions. That’s what makes it rather difficult to tell whether Norman is in the right or the wrong here. You want to believe that Emma is right but Emma is just WAY too optimistic about the realities of life in the real world. It’s like Emma just can’t accept that in order to change, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty, and sometimes that dirt is in the form of blood. I mean, I commend Emma for her way of thinking and all that but I think she is WAY too optimistic to a fault and that’s why I can’t see Norman’s methods as being incorrect. I really like how his character makes you question things as it’s not all just black and white with him. The term “Morally Gray” has been tossed around a lot when talking about characters as of late and I think Norman really fits into the archetype and does so really well.
The demons, on the other hand, are just vicious beings as you would expect them to be; however, as we saw in the beginning, they are just as clever and crafty as humans… in some cases. Obviously, demons out in the wild are the outliers here in that way of thinking. Still, humans love to deceive and demons are no different. Lord Geelan only appears smart but, in the end, he was portrayed as a fool. He plans to deceive but it was already seen through and countered. The question of whether or not he is aware that his deception has been discovered remains to be seen, though. I don’t think it has due to the way the volume has ended. With Queen Legravalima mobilizing her troops, I don’t think Lord Geelan will even have time to even realize it.
The Aristocrats of the Five Houses are aware that Bayon, Leuvus, and the others at Goldy Pond may have perished though it’s not confirmed among them. They simply are assuming that based on the fact that none of them have been in contact with them for a lengthy period of time. Couple that with the destruction of Lambda House and they reveal their nature to the reader as just greedy wealthy demons who are afraid that their precious meat supply is in danger… especially with the Tifari coming up. In that sense, they are no different than wealthy and greedy humans. They wish to protect their posh way of life at any cost. It’s a very common character archetype but it shows that they are no different than humans and that really builds off of the established lore that they received over the past couple of volumes!
Another great volume of The Promised Neverland! I know that there has been some criticism over the series’ drastic departure from its original story, though. Many felt that the endgame would be the children escaping from Grace Field House but the fact that they did so early on answers a question that a series like this rarely does… and that’s the question of what is the outside world truly like? This is the harsh reality of that outside world and how it must change so that the original goal… having all of the children escape… can be met.
So, in that essence, the goal hasn’t changed for this series. Escape is still the endgame but this is merely showing that there is a lot of preparation to be had before that goal can be met. I think the fact that the series is exploring the world and putting emphasis on survival caused some people to scoff at it. Maybe it’s the whole introduction of the Seven Doors and some of the more “mystical” aspects of the story that make it feel different.
Still, the series may have changed direction but it never misleads you. I’ve read series that built up a story for seven volumes and then completely switched genres and expected you to just accept it. At least here, everything makes sense. You get lore about the world, the demons, and you get to see the characters grow in that world in order to make a change all with the same end goal of escaping remaining intact.
Just imagine The Promised Neverland where escaping from Grace Field House was the true endgame and when they escaped, we learned nothing about the demons, the Ratri Clan, or any of that. How empty would you feel then? I, for one, enjoy this series immensely and I just wanted to address those criticisms from my own point of view. Sure, there are a few hard pills to swallow when it comes to the plot points but it still does make for a great read!