Shonen Jump (2016)
Written by Kaiu Shirai; Art by Posuka Demizu
Summary: Emma and her friends have a pretty good life at the orphanage they grew up in. Though the rules may be strict, the caretaker is kind. But why are the children forbidden from ever leaving…? [VIZ Media]
Review: I’m thoroughly impressed. Chapter 2 and our main heroes are already asking some of the most simple questions we as readers were having since chapter 1. Like why is their mental education good for them if it doesn’t actually make the meat of their flesh taste better? What’s really keeping them from leaving the orphanage through the forest and beyond the fence? Plus a few that I didn’t even think to ask after reading the first chapter.
Emma and Norman – 2 of the 3 oldest children – spend most of the chapter attempting to figure out a way out of the orphanage, trying to think of as many routes they could possibly take. All while not tipping off to anyone, especially not their caretaker, of their true intentions.
They go beyond past the fence in order to find out what lays beyond and we find out there’s a wall keeping the kids locked in. Both Emma and Norman could make it over the fence if they really tried, however they’re wanting to take all of the kids with them and most of the younger ones couldn’t make it even if they tried.
What I enjoy most about this series so far is how smart the characters are while still being able to emote their feelings rather than acting as dolls that know everything and there for are emotionally distant from their peers and the reader. As well as telling a compelling mystery that also features beautifully bizarre looking creatures.
All of this iSpy for a way out leads to the kids discovering that the caretaker has a tracking device on her after one of the other kids go missing and the caretaker returns having found her way too quickly for someone who should’ve been hard to find.
I’m very interested to see where the story goes from here because it definitely has its claws hooked into me and I’m simply now along for the ride.
Chapter 3 is where things really pick up as Emma and Norman continue to think of their predicament, attempting to imagine and dissect exactly why their academics mean anything in the grand scheme of being nothing but meat for monsters.
What they conclude has to do what these ghouls have probably heard about brain development and its possible that what they actually eat is the brains, looking to have juicier, more well-developed noggins to munch down on. It’s a solid conclusion but I’m choosing to take it with a grain of salt because of how the chapter ends. But we’ll get there.
Storywise Shirai is doing a great job of keeping the suspense up in the most normal of situations while keeping the reader guessing as to whether or not any of these “answers” the duo are getting are even the full truth or not. Demizu may have a very western, cartoony style but he puts that to great skill when ramping up the tension in scenes of emotional horror. Like in the middle of this chapter when Emma is confronted by the caretaker they call Mom. Emma attempts to play things cooly while Mom secretly tries to read both Emma’s pulse and emotions based around movements she’s always made with the kids.
The chapter ends with Mom revealing to the reader that she too has a serial number on her neck and is allowing the children to die in order to survive herself. What this means so far I have really no idea but I can’t wait to find out. Generally this is where the Jump Start’s would end in American Shonen Jump much like Takuan and Batsu did but thankfully The Promised Neverland has been added to the permanent line-up so we have a lot more story, a lot more questions, and a lot more answers to come.
And that’s really exciting.
Final Score: 4 Serial Numbers Upon the Neck out of 5
Derrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.
You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net