Story: Kaiu Shirai
Art: Posuka Demizu
Translation/Adaptation: Satsuki Yamashita
What They Say
Life at Grace Field House is good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious food and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…
After learning the truth of the world they find themselves in, the orphans finally make their way out of the forest. With their improved survival skills, Emma, Ray, and the other children arrive at the location laid out in Minerva’s hidden message. But awaiting them there is a new kind of challenge…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
More often than not, Promised Neverland will fixate on a single new revelation and figure out just how long it can pick at it until it knows it’s exhausted the subject. With this volume, it’s the revelation that the underground bunker they’ve reached already has someone living in it—the nameless “old” (he’s gotta be in his 30s at the oldest) man. He makes a point to say that he’s not the mysterious Minerva, who’s been leaving clues on how to reach the bunker for the kids to follow. Rather, he’s an escaped child from another orphanage.
What’s frustrating about this is we don’t know much else about the man besides this. At least with Mujika and Sonju last volume, they were able to provide a decent chunk of exposition to chew on. But in the nameless man’s case, what he has to offer isn’t nearly as substantial to maintain the flow of the whole volume. We know he’s another orphan that’s been able to survive in the bunker alone for 13 years and that he used to be among other escaped orphans. But the volume never digs any deeper than this. Rather than using the man’s backstory to better contrast himself with the Grace Field kids, we’re met with the series’ tried and true route of having the kids obsess with what their next move should be.
We get a lot of scenes of the Grace Field kids reacting to their immediate danger, rather than focusing on the bigger picture. This in itself is fine, but when the kids’ actions begin to bleed into the author’s own writing decisions, it really takes you out of the story. Seeing the kids establish themselves at the bunker as a regrouping of sorts is fine for a few pages at a time, but when so much of the volume revolves around temporarily solving a problem when a new character filled with potential for more story is literally in the next room over, it can get exhausting.
This isn’t to say that the volume itself is a drag. What Shirai is able to do with the nameless man is interesting, but it doesn’t feel like a solid fix to the lack of story going on. He’s interesting for a time, but is quickly shelved while the rest of the cast gather’s their bearings. His current role is essentially the same as Mujika and Sonju in that he’s the reluctant source of information, who clearly knows a lot more than he’s letting on. He acts as a semi-villain, with intentions we’re never 100% in the know on. The fact that we had characters fill this role a mere one volume ago makes him feel like a repeated template more than a source of intrigue.
The Promised Neverland volume 7 feels like a lot of setup to what’s hopefully a more interesting next volume. While the nameless man’s introduction serves as a good source of intrigue for a time, he isn’t utilized to his full potential and is used more sparingly than he ought to, leading to more lulls in the narrative than there should have been.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: December 4, 2018