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The Promised Neverland Recap – Chapter 96

Our heroes venture back toward the underground shelter.

Welcome to AiPT’s weekly The Promised Neverland recap column. As new chapters are released, I’ll be sharing my reactions to the series’s 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.

This week’s chapter is appropriately titled “Welcome Home.” Emma, Ray, Lucas, the Nameless Geezer, and all the Goldy Pond kids make their way through the demon-infested woods back to the Geezer’s underground shelter. Their journeys through the woods and back to the sanctuary are breezed through in a matter of pages, which I have mixed feelings on. On downside, rushing these events makes the woods seem less perilous. If all the characters (several of whom are injured) made it through without any problems worthy of page-time, then how dangerous could they be? I’d be less bothered by all this if the characters were in better health or at least shared the Geezer’s high level of combat expertise, but they don’t. As is, their uneventful travels seem convenient and like they’re dictated by the creators wanting to hurry the plot along. This is particularly disappointing because the journey back to the bunker could have provided a good opportunity to flesh out some of the newer cast members who have yet to firmly establish their personalities.

With that said, hurrying the plot along is sort of a good thing. The pacing may feel a bit questionable, but it’s nice to feel like we’re actually moving beyond the last arc. With all the protagonists regrouped in a safe location, they can turn their attention toward recovery and planning. Emma tells the other heroes all the latest information she’s discovered about William Minerva, and she also announces that she has a plan for where to go moving forward. The chapter cuts off at this point, and I’m eager to find out what exactly Emma’s plan is next week.

With all their new allies, Emma and Ray should be able to carry out plans they never would have dreamed of previously.

Prior to the discussion of Minerva and plans, Emma and the Nameless Geezer have a pivotal moment together. Specifically, the Geezer is no longer nameless. He reveals that his name is Yugo, and it’s a charming sign of trust from someone who was previously out to murder the main characters. Yugo and Lucas are both sure to be important allies for Emma’s crew going forward, and I hope new and interesting dynamics will arise as the two of them meld with the main characters. There are already some heartwarming moments with the expanded cast here, such as when Emma wakes up after spending weeks unconscious while healing. She opens her eyes to see all her friends and allies smiling widely at her. This is very touching and needed after the constant danger and trauma in the Goldy Pond arc.

Art-wise, Demizu delivers decent work here. Some pages look a bit rougher and less polished than usual, but they’re still fundamentally solid. As per usual, there are a lot of great facial expressions, especially from Yugo and Lucas. We don’t get many action shots since the journey through the forest is rushed through, but that’s okay. It’s nice to get a large helping of characters just sitting around and looking happy. As previously mentioned, the sequence of Emma waking up to see all her family and friends watching over her is a standout. Other visual highlights of this chapter include lovely starlit skies and impeccable shading of cloth folds.

Meanwhile…

Lastly, I have to mention a detail that’s shown so briefly one could potentially miss it on a quick read. On the chapter’s opening page there are numerous shot of the now desecrated Goldy Pond, complete with various demon corpses. Leuvis’s body, however, is missing. We see his hat next to a puddle of blood, but the human-hunter himself is nowhere to be seen. Did Emma and co. fail to defeat him after all? If Leuvis is in fact alive, then confirmation of such risks coming across as a cop-out. With that said, I’m amenable to the idea if Shirai and Demizu execute it well. Leuvis is easily the series’s most memorable villain, so it would be a shame to see him bow out so soon after his introduction.

That’s all for this chapter! Stay tuned for more recaps as The Promised Neverland updates every week. If you’re interested in reading more of our thoughts about the series, check out our column from last week, as well as our review of the latest collected volume.

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