Huge manga fan William Shakespeare once pondered "To re-read or not to re-read? That is the question. Whether it’s better just to read it once in Weekly Shonen Jump when it first comes out, or to buy the graphic novel and read it again?" It’s a complex question and one that has been boggling mankind for eons.
If you’re a huge fan of a series, the answer’s obvious—of course! But there are some manga that warrant re-reading regardless. One of them is The Promised Neverland. This series is special. It already has a tremendous buzz and has showed up on numerous top ten manga lists. It’s got everything going for it: strong characters, a dark and intriguing world, insane cliffhangers, stylish and unique art and more. But don’t take my word for it, here’s a review of volume one from shonenjump.com's top writer.
But back to my original question, for this series, I would say you definitely want to get the graphic novels and read it again even if you read it in Weekly Shonen Jump as it came out. And not just because it totally kicks ass, there are a few specific reasons which I’ll elaborate on.
For one, the manga is full of little Easter eggs and hints about future things to come that re-reading it, knowing the stuff that’s going to happen in the future, makes you see it in a whole new light. There's no doubt that the mangaka who create this series are geniuses, but you’ll really come to respect them more when you see all the numerous subtle hints they peppered into the chapters. If you even catch them all. It's clear that the manga writer, Kaiu Shirai, has planned the manga far ahead and delights in leaving little clues about the future that astute readers (or re-readers) will pick up on.
And the second volume has exceptional cover art. Mangaka Posuka Demizu is a true artist and one that seems to enjoy warping perspectives to create surreal and striking images. The fish eye lense perspective certainly isn’t new to manga, but this cover takes it to the extreme. It’s so warped, it’s hard to understand what is actually happening. I’d call it, “impossibly warped,” but delightfully so. It’s a very effective cover in that it’s a total eye grabber. Not many manga covers look like this or are this cool. And the cover has little doodads lying around on the books that directly tie into what happens in this volume. A nice touch.
And you don’t just get to see it once. On the inside flap, you can see it again, but the kids are gone except Phil and there’s a big number scrawled across the art with a very strange-looking pen. What does it mean?! If you read the manga weekly, you’ll probably have some better guesses than if you didn't. And we get another look at the art on the back cover flap, but this time it’s pure line work, which will make you appreciate it even more. I don't normally go on about covers in reviews, but this is a special case.
The book also has a few bonus pages of fun side stories of the kids' antics while one of them is sick and the others are trying to console them. Oh, and this volume has one of the best characters in the series so far, the devious, and totally terrifying Sister Krone! She’s Mom’s assistant but has her own schemes and plans for both the kids and Mom. A very memorable villain, to say the least.
Even if you’ve already read the chapters in Weekly Shonen Jump, it’s totally worth buying the graphic novels and reading them again. And maybe again. And a few more times. With a giant magnifying glass. Looking for clues.
The Promised Neverland, story by Kaiu Shirai, art by Posuka Demizu, is available here.
And you can read the first three chapters for free right here.
by Urian Brown
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