When new Shonen Jump chapters come out every week, I usually save The Promised Neverland for last or near-last. Not because I’m unenthusiastic about it, but rather the opposite: I save my main course until after the appetizers. Cue my excitement at the recent release of Vol. 10, which I anticipated even more than usual because it contains pivotal moments from the Goldy Pond arc. I fondly remember how riveting of a read that story line was back when I was keeping up with it from week to week. So, how’s it hold up? Is The Promised Neverland Vol. 10 as excellent as I expected?
I’m happy to report that these chapters are every bit as good the second time around. This arc is easily the most action-heavy in the series, and Kaiu Shirai does a great job writing it. Given the drastic power difference between the children and their demon tormentors, strategy naturally plays a huge role in determining how events play out. The subterfuge throughout is exciting, unpredictable, and reflects the various characters’ quirks and personalities. Ray and Leuvis’s analytical abilities get a lot of great page-time, for instance. These often play into some fantastic cliffhangers, to include the volume’s ending just as a new phase in the battle is about to begin.
It’s also worth noting how stellar this arc’s villains are. Leuvis is my favorite in the entire manga, if not my favorite manga antagonist of all time. He’s the type of foe who has his own twisted code and desires that result in him acting in his own self-interests instead of strictly following along with what his teammates would want. Bayon also has some terrifying moments, to include a very disturbing panel of him salivating at the thought of eating freshly killed humans. Then you have the the bond between Nous and Nouma, which takes some shocking and unsettling turns here.
The success of this volume’s action also owes a lot to Posuka Demizu’s fantastic line-work. The variety of textures throughout is great, as is all the variety to characters’ body language. There’s a consistently excellent sense of depth and perspective, and the fight scenes fully capture the brutality of the demons’ actions. There’s a sense of well-constructed fluidity that even extends to the sound effects, which perfectly match the battles’ rhythms. Last but not least I need to point out how cute the bonus pages in-between chapters are. We get an ongoing narrative about the characters’ bonding at the beach which provides great comedic relief. There’s also an adorable spotlight on Palvus.
All in all, The Promised Neverland Vol. 10 was everything I expected and more. The Goldy Pond arc impresses with its fluid line-work, amazing villains, and great depictions of characters’ analytical combat. Besides the excellent main story, we also get some new bonus pages that manage to add comedy to the mix without inducing tonal whiplash. This is probably the series’ best installment to date, and that’s saying something given how high the bar is.