Title: The Promised Neverland Vol. 16
Author: Kaiu Shirai (Story), Posuka Demizu (Art)
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Horror, Drama
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Volume sixteen of The Promised Neverland showed Emma and Ray in the twisted reality version of Grace Field House as they continue to search for the Seven Walls. Meanwhile, Norman is charging Don and Gilda with tracking down Mujika and Sonju with a promise to bring them back to protect them. They are assigned Hayato as well as a new girl named Ayshe to escort them. Due to the escorts, Don and Gilda suspect that Norman is looking to double-cross them and decide to formulate a plan to keep Sonju and Mujika safe.
Inside of the warped reality, things keep changing. Emma becomes a small child while Ray grows old. Their clothes and gear keep changing along with everything else. As they go around and around in the maze, things start becoming clear to them… at least that’s what they thought. Suddenly, they begin to feels the effects of the dimension ripping away at their minds. Ray almost succumbs to it when small child Emma grabs his attention, claiming to have figured out the secret. Once Emma discovers it, the “Seven Walls” appears but Ray is transported back to Norman’s base while Emma is brought before squiggly symbols (that’s how his name is represented. Even I don’t know what to call him so squiggly symbols it is!)
Meanwhile, Don and Gilda are confronted by Ayshe. We get some great backstory on her and we find out that Ayshe is not there to kill Mujika and Sonju which brings great relief to Don and Gilda. In fact, Ayshe has other plans but I’ll leave those for you to read and discover on your own. Back inside the dimension, Emma and ol’ squiggles have a discussion about making a new promise. We are then taken back 1,000 years to when the promise was first made by Julius Ratri which lead to how the world came to be. Of course, Julius had a to pay a price for his wish as does Emma. What Squiggles wants is something of Emma’s that is precious to her but it’s never revealed what that is… for now.
Meanwhile, They track down Mujika and Sonju and it’s a happy reunion for all of thirty seconds. Somehow (well, it’s not a mystery as it’s explained in the volume) Norman’s flunkies find them with the goal of eliminating the two of them. However, Sonju and Mujika are not going down without a fight and that is where our volume ends.
Wow. This was a really odd yet interesting volume of The Promised Neverland. The whole space-time thing is a bit out there as it suggests that there’s one demon that has the powers of a god… which doesn’t make much sense given the fact that the demons are just shapeshifted beings that require human flesh to keep their shape. This one demon, who is above all others, kind of breaks all of the backstory that has been told about them so far so I would like to know just how they’re going to explain this one properly. I would have thought that this higher demon was just some normal demon that was respected heavily by all others and not a god-like being. Just seems a bit far-fetched if you ask me.
Of course, Norman’s betrayal could have been seen from a mile away. The way he had been acting every since we reunited with him had seemed a bit off and I made mention of that in my reviews since then. Norman is a schemer and it makes you truly wonder what his goals are. Sure, he laid out his plans and his intentions but is there something else underneath all of that? Knowing Norman, there might be or maybe he really did tell us all of his plans and he’s just unmoving on the idea of changing them. Whatever the case may be, the whole Norman situation is rather interesting and it makes me wonder how Emma and Ray are going to react to all of it once they return (or in this case when/if Emma returns).
The newest character that received the most attention here was Ayshe. There was a demon that worked on the farms who had a disfigured face. No matter how much he ate, he couldn’t revert his face back to normal. He became depressed and when he saw a defective child come off the assembly line, he saw a bit of that child in himself. He broke the rules and stole the child (which would have been disposed of anyway) and left the farm. He decided to raise this child by himself until Norman’s group found him and killed him. Ayshe was that child and she was taken in by Norman. She claimed that she couldn’t speak human language and was always accompanied by her pet dogs. Ayshe has a secret motive and decides to help Don and Gilda during their search for Mujika and Sonju.
I really like Ayshe as a character. As someone that came from out of nowhere, getting to know the true Ayshe was kind of cool. I like the backstory even though it is very simplistic and something we’ve seen before but there’s just something about her that makes you feel connected to her. I just wish we could have gotten a character like her from the very beginning.
The other character we were introduced to was Julius Ratri. During the flashback, we saw just how peace was made between the humans and the demons. Julius simply succumbed to pressure and ended up betraying his own men just for the sake of peace. In a way, I actually agree with Julius. When you see thousands of your men slaughtered, you get tired of the bloodshed. If it would take just one more sacrifice to end the suffering of countless others, as morally bankrupt as the decision is, it’s worth the heavy price. How can you weigh the lives of a few people versus the entire human population? Again, as immoral as it sounds, it’s the best choice. Julius’ mind had nearly broken but he still made the right decision. As odd as it sounds, I can respect that nutball for what he did.
Lastly, we have Mr. Squiggly Symbols. Did anyone else get Fullmetal Alchemist vibes here? The door? A small child-like god being? All that was missing was a naked boy who misses his body and it would have been perfect! Still, despite its looks, Mr. Squiggly Symbols knows what he wants. How he came to be so powerful hasn’t really been explained but we now understand that the Tifari ceremony is all about offering food to him. Part of the promise made 1,000 years ago was that he wanted meat of the highest quality. If the nobles ate the best of the best, he wanted better than that. That’s why there was all of this talk about preparing the best meal for a certain someone at the Tifari. It’s an offering to this being to fulfill the demon’s part of the promise made 1,000 years ago. Maybe this Grade SSSS+ Level Skull ?? meat is what gives him his power? I’m not entirely sure about that but it is a theory.
This was definitely a great volume of The Promised Neverland. Between the last volume and this one, the manga had ended in Japan. We now know that there are only four volumes left to go which means that this is, truly, the final arc. Norman’s plan, the New Promise from Emma, the fate of Emma, and everything is all shaping up nicely. There’s still a bit of conflict to go but I would suspect that we’re going to wrap this up in the next two volumes and the final two will be the aftermath of everything. At least, that’s how I’m picturing it because I can’t seem them cramming everything into the final volume to write this series off without making the ending feel rushed. For a series that has done so much, I think a two-volume winddown would be the best way to go… but then again, how often do we really get that? I guess we will see.
In any event, I really enjoyed this volume and with the end in sight, it’ll be interesting to see how everything wraps up! Bring on Volume 17!
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This item was provided for review by VIZ Media.