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The Promised Neverland Recap – Chapter 97

Emma reveals her master plan.

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.

Last week’s chapter ended with Emma declaring that she has a plan, and boy does she. This week’s installment consists almost entirely of Emma and her friends evaluating their current predicament and weighing the pros and cons of different potential strategies. Emma still wants to accomplish all of the group’s goals within two years, which means that they are going to be very busy for the foreseeable future. The heroes have five major tasks to complete in order to succeed. They must contact allies in the human world, locate the Seven Walls, meet with the demon king, negotiate a new promise with him, and lead everyone they’re rescuing over to the human world.

The heroes’ goals become more difficult to achieve each chapter.

Each major task mentioned in this chapter has the potential to be spun into an excellent story arc, and I’m looking forward to seeing them all play out. The tasks are also sure to be very difficult, and there’s no doubt that the protagonists will hit several snags on their journey. Even if Emma’s plan isn’t an exact outline of the series’s structure to come, it still provides neat hints about what to expect. This manga may be nearing its one hundredth chapter, but it still has plenty of mysteries left to unravel. Shirai and Demizu are nowhere near out of material, which feels especially important now that an anime adaptation has been announced.

As far as the specific goals go, I’m most intrigued by the protagonists’ decision to try and negotiate a new promise with the demon king. The current political divisions between the human and demon worlds are the result of the last promise made between demons and humankind, and any new promises would significantly change the structure of both societies. It seems improbable that a demon king would agree to a promise that would deprive demons of their favorite food source (humans). With that said, it’s revealed in this chapter that a previously unknown promise is in effect. The details have yet to be revealed to readers; we just get to see panels of characters looking shocked. Here’s hoping the suspense generated by withholding this information ends up paying off.

This chapter also features brief appearances by Sonju and Mujika. It’s always great to see those two again, even when it’s not for long. It’s a given that they are going to be significant figures going forward, but it’s not entirely clear how antagonistic their roles will be. Sonju will almost definitely become a villain by the series’s end, but Mujika could potentially go either way. These characters occupy a unique position in the demon world’s society, and they’re sure to twist the drama in intriguing ways regardless of whose side they ultimately fall on.

These two may be the biggest wildcards going forward.

Art-wise, Demizu delivers strong work this week. The affection all the characters feel for one another is obvious thanks to heartwarming panels of everyone smiling together. There’s also a strong sense of efficiency to Demizu’s choices regarding which specific moments to draw. Each shot carries weight and serves a narrative purpose; nothing here feels like it’s only been included to pad the pages out. There’s an extremely eerie shot toward the chapter’s end that I won’t spoil, but it drives home just how disturbingly evil the Ratri clan is. Seeing those humans join the ranks of the series’s antagonists in future chapters is going to be fascinating.

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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