You know what I love about Weekly Shonen Jump? The “weekly” part. As a longtime American comic fan, I’m used to having to wait a full month between installments of my favorite series. With manga featured in Jump, though, I get to catch back up with some of my favorite characters every seven days. Without a doubt, the series that most excites me with each new update is The Promised Neverland.
Welcome to AiPT’s weekly The Promised Neverland recap column. As new chapters are released, I’ll be sharing my reactions to the series’ latest twists and turns. From bloodthirsty demons to elaborate battle strategies, writer Kaiu Shirai and artist Posuka Demizu always have something compelling up their sleeves. Be warned, though, that in order to elaborate on my thoughts, I will be including SPOILERS.
Before I talk about this week’s actual chapter, I have to compliment Demizu’s opening illustration for it. The shot of Emma, Ray, and company carrying lanterns as they wade through roll film depicting their memories is fantastic. The inclusion of currently absent characters like Norman and Isabella is a nice callback to the series’ past, linking the current arc back to the early chapters that first made me fall in love with The Promised Neverland. The image of Ray, Emma, and Norman on Jump’s cover this week is also delightful, as we get to see the lead trio looking happy and carefree for once.
Without any further adieu, onto the chapter itself. Chapter 88 is easily my favorite installment of the Goldy Pond arc thus far. The final showdown with Leuvis has begun, and he’s not going down easily. Shots of smoke and descending bullets, followed by Leuvis standing unharmed, start the chapter off strong. This demon is among the most intimidating our heroes have ever faced, and I love him for it.
After these great opening pages, the chapter quickly shifts into a tale of psychological warfare. Emma and company have to predict Leuvis’s next movements, and then he has to predict their decisions, followed by them anticipating the choices he makes in reaction to their own. It’s a game of mental chess that harkens back to the early chapters’ focus on hidden strategies and deception. Shirai and Demizu even include a flashback to a literal game of chess played by Emma and Ray. All the talk of predicting opponents’ moves is exhilarating, as the reader knows that whoever guesses wrong at Goldy Pond is sure to die. Every decision is do-or-die, and the characters have to decide on their next moves several steps ahead of time.
The decision Emma and her allies make is ultimately an impressive one. By using their knowledge of Goldy Pond’s electrical and water lines to their advantage, they are able to electrocute Leuvis. This alone doesn’t defeat him, however, and pulling off a kill shot is still difficult. As Leuvis notes early on, his adversaries are low on supplies:
After surviving a terrifying amount of bodily harm, Leuvis goes in for the kill against Emma. Before he can claim victory, however, more players appears in the chapter’s final two-page spread. The Nameless Geezer has arrived with Ray in tow, and the battle can only get more intense from here. Shirai and Demizu have delivered a lot of strong cliffhangers in this series, and this is easily among the best yet.
Before I wrap things up, I need to gush over Demizu’s artwork some more. Her line-work is stunningly detailed, and the shading on elements such as Leuvis’s cloak is always lovely. The action scenes also owe much of their success to the excellent page compositions and flow of movement across panels. Virtually all of the pages’ final panels render their subject matter with a sense of vital importance, making this chapter one hell of a page-turner.
That’s all for this chapter! Stay tuned for more recaps as The Promised Neverland updates every week. If you’re interested in more of our thoughts about the series, check out our review of the latest collected volume. Also, feel free to share your own thoughts about this chapter in the comment space below!