Book Review: The Promised Neverland Volume 13

The Promised Neverland Volume 13 cover

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season, and were
able to find the time to relax before the next round of the daily grind.

Things have been going pretty well here, especially now that
I finally took care of something that made it difficult to keep up with things here,
though it will be a few months more before results can come to fruition.

A while back, I took a look around Amazon and noticed that a
few titles were coming out this quarter, and recently, the first of those
titles arrived, so it is time to get down to business.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called The Promised Neverland Volume 13
by Kaiu Shirai.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier
post
, I will not go over it again.

With the shelter being discovered, Emma and the gang are
forced to escape, while two comrades are left behind to distract the enemy,
even if it kills them.

Meanwhile, another group starts making moves of their own,
seeking to unite all the cattle children with the goal of a revolution, but are
they friend or foe?

While this series has not always been the best it could be, it
has not been the most disappointing I have encounter yet, so I have enough
patience to continue on with this series, without being too blinded by bias.

And after reading this, I have to say that I really enjoyed
this, though still not quite as much as the early chapters.

From the moment I opened up this book and started reading
the first few pages, I found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to
stop reading for any reason.

As I have said countless numbers of times already, one of
the most important aspects in a work of fiction is how things begin, as the
beginning is supposed to transport the audience to another world, thereby
giving them the temporary escape from reality that they desire.

While there are many different ways that this hook can be
created, depending on the genre and the medium used to present the work, this
series, like many other manga series, was originally published in a serial
publication, which means that the appropriate way to create the necessary draw
is to pick things up in a way that makes sense, compared to where the last
installment left off.

In the previous
volume
, Yugo, the man Emma met at the shelter, and Lucas, the guy Emma met
at Goldy Pond, helped the children escape the shelter, which had been
discovered, and decide to go back, to by the children time, if not take them
out, and the final panel has them commenting that it will be a good place for
their final resting place, which had me excited to see them start taking
action.

When this volume begins, we see a brief look at what happened
with Emma’s group after they parted ways with Yugo and Lucas, before transitioning
back to the shelter where Yugo and Lucas are, showing them exploring the
shelter, while walking down memory lane, and beginning their attack.

With everything that transpired in the last volume,
including the final panel, which already made it clear that Yugo and Lucas were
going to die, this was the kind of beginning I was both wanting and expecting,
as it helped to remind the audience of what had happened before, making it so
that things are not so confusing, unlike a few other manga volumes I can think
of.

This is how things should start off in a volume and both
Kaiu Shirai and Shueisha, or whoever they had put this volume together, did a
great job in making the best decision possible, though Kaiu probably deserves
more credit for actually making a good opening chapter, unlike Kore Yamazaki in
volume
9
of The Ancient Magus’ Bride.

If Kaiu Shirai or Shueisha, or whoever they had put the
volume together, had started things off any differently, I would likely have
been very disappointed, as I cannot really see any other way that this could have
begun.

However, because things started off in the best possible
manner, I feel like giving both Kaiu Shirai and Shueisha, or whoever they had
put this volume together a good round of applause for a job well done.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to start off just as
well as this one, as that will keep the fans of the series happy enough to keep
reading, and possibly draw in more readers, but because the people working hard
to deliver this series to the mass are only human, like the rest of us, I will
not be surprised if they slip up.

I also liked how exciting the action was.

One thing that I am really irritated about, aside from the
cult-like behavior of the culture of the church I grew up in is, is how society
at large thinks that by putting in a ton of action, explosions, sex, and other
eye candy that men will flock to it and eat it all up, though in this day and
age, the big problem with American entertainment is how creators do not really
get what their audience desires, instead blaming a specific races and genders
for failure, along with appeasing countries who stifle creativity and
expression.

While many men do like to see a lot of action, not all
action is good and exciting, because like me, they can notice moments in which the
audience should be deeply entrenched, not wanting to miss a single moment of
the action.

Here, in this volume, when Yugo and Lucas started their
charge against the enemy, in what was already clearly established to be their
last stand, I found myself heavily invested, like I wanted, and those were the
moments in which I did not really want to put the book down, even if I already
knew what was going to happen, beyond the obvious hints and death flags given.

If Kaiu Shirai had slipped up as badly in this department as
many of the other people they compete with, both in the same magazine this
series is serialized in and other publications, I would not be too surprised,
since this series was at its best when everything was focused out mind games, but
I do not think that I would want to really continue on with this series, seeing
as almost everything after Grace Field House was action heavy.

Fortunately, Kaiu Shirai was able to execute the action well
enough this time to be entertaining, which does make me want to give to him
some applause.

Hopefully, the action in future volumes will be as good as
it was here, as that will both help keep the audience interested and possibly
attract new readers, but considering that this series was a lot better when it
focused on mind games, I would not be surprised if I found out this was nothing
more than a fluke.

Another thing that I liked was what Yugo said to Emma in her
dreams.

After the battle between the duo of Yugo and Lucas and the
people who stormed the shelter concluded, the spotlight shifts back to Emma’s
group, who reached safety, Emma becomes a nervous wreck, out of fear, and she
hears Yugo’s voice, before turning and seeing him, thinking he made it back
from the shelter alive, and they have a conversation.

A little into the conversation, he admits that what he said
to Emma was wrong, going on to say:

It’s important to make the correct decision, or at least try
to.

But that’s not everything. None of us know if our decisions are
right or wrong in the moment. That’s why what’s important is what you do after
a decision. Your effort to make the decision you made correct.

Even if the decision you made brings unfavorable results, what
can you do from there? Continuing to strive anyway is what’s important.

If decisions are everything, life is just one big gamble. Believe
in what you’ve decided, Emma. And no matter what results from it, keep going.

You…and everyone…will be able to change the world.

While these words were not the most powerful I have read in
my life and were the words Emma needed to here, it makes me chuckle, as I
remember how foolish we humans can be, especially now, where we live in a cage
that pretty much gives us everything we will ever need in our lives, blinded to
truths we once knew.

In our society of today, we are caught up in trying to make
the right decisions, as Yugo insinuates, or even trying to make people make the
correct decision, like getting married rather than staying single, finding full
time employment, or joining a church, so your soul can be saved during Christ’s
second coming, and we think that there are wrong decisions, which will differ
depending on a person’s moral values and perspectives.

However, even though we have the means these days to gather
so much data to be able to weigh the options in many aspects of life, there is
no such thing as correct decision, and I really like how Yugo is pointing that
to Emma, as well as giving people something to think about.

If Yugo did not say what he did to Emma and instead continue
to have Emma be as obnoxiously optimistic as every other stereotypical protagonist
in the shonen demographic today, I would have been very disappointed, since
Kaiu Shirai tends to present things in a fairly realistic and believable way,
especially considering that most of the main cast have not reached adulthood, and
by making Emma obnoxiously optimistic, as usual, in these moments, that would really
make it hard for me to be invested in the series.

Thankfully, Kaiu Shirai was able to keep things believable,
with his cast of characters that are just beginning to learn about the real
world, and that, along with providing something good for everyone to think
about from time to time, makes me feel like giving him another good round of
applause.

Hopefully, there will be more things that can truly make
people think, beyond basic questions to keep the reader interested, as that
will give people another reason to check out this series, but seeing as this
was never really a series that made anyone think, nor was it really pitched by
any fans as being deep, unlike Girls’ Last Tour, which I have
encountered at least one fan of that thought it made you think deeply about
things, I highly doubt something like this will occur again in the series.

The thing that I liked the most though was how things ended.

Other than how things begin, another important part of a
work of fiction is how things end, as it is supposed to either leave the
audience satisfied, if it is a standalone work or the final installment in a
series, or give them a reason to continue on, if it is an installment in a
series.

While the ending of this volume is not exactly the best,
when glancing through it, I was left with a feeling that I just had to know
what was going to happen next after actually reading up to the last panel and
made me want to get the next volume right now, though, fortunately, the wait
will not be too long, since the next volume comes out in March, according to
the product page on Amazon.

If Kaiu Shirai did not end things like this, imperfect as it
may be, or Shueisha, or whoever they had put this volume together, ended the
volume elsewhere, I would have been very disappointed, as there have only been a
couple or so volumes in this series that ended badly, and having another volume
end in a terrible way would have given me reason to drop this series, instead
of continue reading it.

Fortunately, both Kaiu Shirai and Shueisha, or whoever they
had put this volume together, decided to end this volume in an adequate enough
manner, which makes me feel like giving them a passing grade.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to end as well as
this one, though I wish for better, as that will keep the eyes coming, but
considering that there have been some slip ups before, I am ready to pounce if
need be.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as what I already
talked about.

Because my was captured quickly, by starting the volume off
flawlessly, the action to be found was actually exciting, Yugo’s words to Emma
were ones that could be a good to actually think about, even if they were not
the most powerful out there, and the ending did its job, this was a great read.

Although there were things that I liked, there are some
issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, only one thing really bother bothered, which was how Kaiu Shirai
and Posuka Demizu, the artist, created to create an air of mystery around the
group that is starting to take action.

Now, some of you guys might be screaming, saying that I have
made it a point that an element of mystery is important when trying to give
readers a certain feeling, which is expected in certain genres, but there are
also times when people do not feel like beating around the bush, which is a big
problem I have when I watch live action television or movies instead of
watching something animated or actually reading.

In case of the series, that has come to fruition in this
volume.

In this volume, after Emma and the gang dealt with their
newest threat, which was removed by the appearance of a wild demon, things
temporary shift over to somebody wishing that Emma’s group got their message
with a person calling them James and saying that it should have, before going
to see them raid a farm, all while not allowing me to see the identity of this
new person.

Even though this works great in the weekly releases, where
hints of Norman’s return to the series were not so obvious, making me wonder
who this person is, even though William Minerva, otherwise called James Ratri,
is supposed to be dead, the volumes put out by Viz Media give clear hints that
Norman is alive and that he is taking action, as well as hints clearly that he
will be reunited with Emma and Ray, which hurts the mystery surrounding this
individual that Kaiu Shirai likely intended and Posuka is trying to pull off
with the artwork.

By doing this in this volume, I found myself screaming in my
head why Kaiu Shirai was trying to hide the obvious fact that Norman is the one
we are seeing wondering if Emma got his message and even the one who destroyed
that farm, rather than wondering who this person is and if William Minerva were
really dead.

Now, I can kind of overlook this, because this series is
published a weekly publication and many of the manga I follow do not have drastic
changes made in the volumes that get release over here, in comparison to the
scans found out or the official releases made on Crunchyroll and Viz Media’s
apps, but it still irritates me when I see this because there is a lot more
information given at once in volumes, in comparison to weekly or monthly
chapters.

Seriously guys! This is not a mystery, since both those that
are reading the latest chapters translated and those only reading the volumes
put out by Viz Media already know the identity of William Minerva.

If Shueisha, or whoever they had put this volume together,
had made Posuka Demizu and Kaiu Shirai give up on making Minerva’s identity in
the volume releases, instead showing his face, I could have enjoyed this more,
as it would have created a different kind of mystery to get me excited, but
this just does not do it, unless it were in prose format, where there are no
images to ruin any potential mystery.

Unfortunately, Shueisha, or whoever they had put this volume
together, decided to just run with the idea of trying to make people wonder who
this person called Minerva is, and that really killed my excitement for one of
the biggest reveals made when these chapters were actually new.

Hopefully, the future volumes will do a better job at maintaining
the questions that readers should be having, but considering how different
experiencing a series via volumes rather than at nearly the same time as the
Japanese audience, I highly doubt that any mystery present in the latest
chapter, which is chapter 163, as of the time of this review, would still be
present once it gets compiled into a graphic novel volume.

Thankfully, I cannot think of anything else that bothered me
too much, at least as much as the thing that did bother me.

While there was only one thing that really bothered, it was
bad enough to hurt my overall enjoyment of the volume a bit.

Despite the fact that the only thing wrong was something
that is more likely to happen in volume releases, the good outweighed things
enough to make this worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of The Promised Neverland,
as they will like this the most, though it is highly likely that they will be
just as annoyed with the mystery that the creator tried to create as I was.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
I strongly recommend reading the previous volumes first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, or if you would
like a copy of the reviewed title, please purchase
a copy of The Promised Neverland Volume 13
from Book Depository, who
offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so I can try to find
more worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.

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