Manga Review: THE PROMISED NEVERLAND Vol. 9-11 by Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu

Genre: Dark Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2018-2019
Source: Viz Media Shonen Jump Subscription

Click here to read my review of Volumes 1-3, and click here for my review of Volumes 4-8. Major spoilers for the anime. General spoilers for the manga.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: hunting of children, gun violence

My lord, is the Goldy Pond Arc just ramping up the tension. We think we’re getting to the bottom of the mystery of Mr. Minerva and all we get is…a literal golden pond. It’s so disappointing, and opens up so many questions. But the questions don’t come in a way that obfuscates everything that came before. The thread remains and the kids’ search for Mr. Minerva continues.

I do love the relationship between the older kids and Lucas. The dramatic irony of knowing the fate of “the man,” and Lucas thinking he is the sole survivor tugs at the heart strings.

We also find out what’s going on with Norman. The poor boy has landed himself in yet another farm-like facility, this time without any other children around. He’s being prepared for something, and those questions are left up in the air, but it is nice to get confirmation of his fate. Which only makes Emma’s recollections of him hit differently.

It’s tender in a way that draws a straight line to everyone gathering together to finally take down Leuvis and his team of demons. I blitzed through these chapters because the action leaps off the page, and you’re rooting for everyone to survive. Everyone has their own strengths, but together, you’re desperately hoping they’re unstoppable.


Content warnings: Gun violence, body horror, cannibalism (demonic), impaling

The internal screaming and stress continues as Emma faces off one-on-one against Leuvis, counting down the minutes for the other teams to take down the other demons. These fights are tightly-paced and the action leaps off the page. On one hand, you’re cheering the kids on, but on the other hand, you’re a little concerned how proficient they are with firearms. But the demons fall, and hope rings. Until the fight with Leuvis, who is the strongest demon we have seen so far.

What I greatly enjoyed here is how balanced the battles are. The demons aren’t completely overpowered. While the kids have their weapons and their cleverness, there is still a real sense of danger and tensions are through the roof.

So, I read these pages while my boyfriend showers. It took all my energy to not cheer out loud when two familiar faces show up. The gang is kind of back together, but there’s still the problem of seemingly-unstoppable Leuvis to deal with.


Content warnings: Gun violence, gore, blood

The way my eyes watered during this volume sure was something.

The kids defeat Leuvis, and Lucas reunites with the man, named Yugo. The tenderness between them borders on romantic, but it is cathartic given that they haven’t seen each other for thirteen years. The relief across both their faces and the use of flashback throughout this volume as so evocative.

There is much healing and reunion to be had. One arc closes and another begins. A happy found family lives in the bunker, and there is no way this happiness can last. Peter Ratri and his clan show up at the very end and the stress kicks up once again.

Manga Review: JUJUTSU KAISEN Vol. 0-2 (2019-2021) by Gege Akutami

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2019, 2021
Source: Viz Media Shonen Jump Subscription

Note: Volume 0 came out in 2021, while Volume 1 came out in 2019. I’ll be reviewing them in numerical order.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Body horror, loss of a significant other

I recognize this was published a few years after the first volume, but this is where I started with the story of jujutsu sorcerers and the curses they exorcise.

Keeping true to prequel form, this volume follows the older students when they were first years. A new kid, Yuta Okkotsu, enrolls in the academy with some serious baggage: his girlfriend had been brought back in the form of a powerful Queen of Curses.

The monster fights in this one are fun. The demon designs are inventive, with clearly delineated powers. There’s a sense of horror-type fear, rather than just nerves informed strictly by the world-building.

The characters also leaped off the page. I was particularly endeared to Maki and Yuta, but thoroughly creeped out by Toge. I did enjoy the tenderness that developed between them as Yuta grew to trust his classmates.

The resolution was bittersweet, but it was a great introduction to the tone of the series, and I’m fully onboard with this delightful blend of shonen and horror.


Content warnings: Body horror, consumption of body parts, animal death, gore, death of a relative

Volume 1 kicks off the series with Yuji’s occult club being disbanded, which results in a curse haunting him. Then Yuji’s grandfather dies, leaving him with some inspirational words, leading him to consume a cursed object and become possessed with the King of Curses, Sakuna. We’re introduced to the hierarchy of Jujutsu sorcerers and all their quirks. And the volume ends with Sakuna taking over Yuji’s body.

So much happens, and it’s a fun ride from first chapter to cliffhanger. As with Volume 0, I love the creepy and scary monster designs. Building up the relationship between Yuji and Sakuna also works, in a way that pits them as simultaneously enemies and reluctant allies.

The magic just also speaks to me, and it’s presented in a way that doesn’t require too much exposition. My personal favorite is Megumi’s ability to summon shadow monsters, and oh boy, are they useful in a pinch. Though are mains are not overpowered from the get-go, which I appreciate in terms of tone-setting and pacing. I’m concerned and excited to keep reading.


Content warnings: Heart outside of body, death, body horror

I am completely charmed by this series. In this volume, Yuji has a heart-to-heart with Sakuna that ends with a kind of fae agreement that I’m sure will end great later. Gojo trains him via watching movies to control his emotions. There’s a face off between Gojo and a scrub, and we learn what Gojo’s powers are.

The illustrations are so rad from start to finish. I love how Akutami depicts the cursed techniques without too much explaining or dialogue. Getting to see the actions unfold really tickles my brain. Especially with the domain expansion, for which I’m sure the physics is complete bullshit, but the series is convinced and so am I.

I’m also very much enjoying the dynamics between the students, with my current favorite character being Gojo Satoru (I am weak to white-haired lads). He’s so goofy, but not easy to underestimate. It seems a mistake that the villains are committing to, and I wonder how their plan to “defeat” him will go through.

Manga Review: THE PROMISED NEVERLAND Vol. 4-8 by Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu

Genre: Dark Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2017-2018
Source: Viz Media Shonen Jump Subscription

Click here to read my review of Volumes 1-3. Major spoilers for the anime. General spoilers for the manga.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Child abuse

Correction: this is the chapter that ends with the explosion.

There’s still a bit of a lull as the kids plan their escape. But the mortal chess game they’re playing against Mom tightens its deadline as Norman is the next kid to be sent out for “adoption.”

What I really enjoyed was the way the reveal was handled about the greater structure of the world. Shirai definitely trusts the readers a lot more, much like in the previous volume. It’s also fun as a reader to learn details as the kids discover them.


Content warnings: Attempted self-immolating, arson, corpses

This volume is an absolute delight. From the pacing to the planning to the world-building.

We finally see the world on the other side of the wall around Grace Field House and, ho boy, is it a forest full of terrors. It’s not just demons, but also man-eating carnivorous plants and a brief glimpse into the hierarchy of the demons.

The art in this volume is just so dynamic. And I really liked how the stakes don’t just end at whether or not they will escape. It’s not even as simple the group of older kids who escaped surviving. At some point, they’ll have to go back for the younger kids, and I’m reading more to see how that unfolds.


I am thoroughly enjoying the demons’ complexity. We have our main villain set, but in this volume, the kids are rescued from a feral demon by two pious demons who reveal that the world was actually split in two. It gives me major Tales Of vibes, which was a treat.

This throws another wrench in the plan to rejoin the human world in a twist that couldn’t wholly be predicted. It does work, and it’s great that Emma proves to use her powers of endearment to learn additional secrets.

The volume ends with them arriving at B06-32 which looks like a temporary reprieve.


Content warnings: Attempted murder, guns, body horror

Of course the kids wouldn’t be alone at B06-32. Why would they be? They’re met with a formidable deuteragonist in the form of Mister. He too has a brand like the kids, and he reveals that Mr. Minerva, a figure who left clues in the kids’ books that led them to the shelter, has not been found.

Ray and Emma elect to go out with the man to find the next destination. The reveals here reminded me of certain moments in Attack on Titan where we get glimpses of the human world outside the context of the farms. Emma and Ray discover a cache of weapons and have to do battle against symbiotic demons. The battle is fierce and the body horror is exquisite.


Content warnings: Hunting children, gore, dismemberment, child death

The next destination, Goldy Pond, is nothing what it seems to be. It’s a secret hunting ground for demons called Poachers, who are not affiliated with the farms.

Emma, of course, true to character, wants to save the other kids trapped there. But the dangers are on a whole other level. The Poachers are on the same level of villainy as Mom, with Emma on her own facing off against this new enemy.

She’s not alone, though. There’s another group of escapees and their adult leader, Lucas, knew the man from the bunker. It’s emotional and gives an uncomfortable cyclical nature of the orphans’ plight, and I fear it’s only going to get worse.

Manga Review: THE PROMISED NEVERLAND Vol. 1-3 by Kaiu Shirai

Genre: Dark Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2017-2018
Source: Viz Media Shonen Jump Subscription

As with most things, this blog is a work in progress. I’ve decided that instead of spamming with multiple blog entries if I read a whole bunch of chapters at once, I’m going to do a compilation post instead. The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Child murder, gaslighting

What an idyllic start to a dark fantasy. Kids with serial numbers on their necks live in harmony at an orphanage with a Mom who takes care of them, a daily test, and entire afternoons spent playing. Things are a little strange, with the gate, the smooth wall, and lack of other humans around, but it’s fine (for now).

When one of them is picked to be adopted, the children are elated. Emma and Norman notice that the child left behind her beloved bunny. They go to the gate. Instead of a loving family, there are demons waiting to eat the child. The kids are not to be adopted at all; they are meant for a feast.

The tone shifts with a snap and instills immediate dread. If things seem too good to be true, they likely are, and this manga so far leans into that energy spectacularly. The kids start planning an escape, but it seems futile. I’m very invested in what tricks and secrets are revealed to get these kids out this nightmare.


Content warnings: Child murder, gaslighting, caricature of a Black person

In Volume 2, the children continue planning their escape. This one was a bit of a struggle for me on a few fronts.

The first being the introduction of Sister Krone. Her design and depiction were certainly a choice, in that she is a Black character with exaggerated features reminiscent of caricatures of African-Americans. It is pretty uncomfortable to look, but in terms of her characterization, it was interesting to see someone who’s also interested in taking down Mom, but not for the benefit of the children. This execution of a third party conflict really works, but it’s really difficult to appreciate it with the depiction on-page.

The second point of struggle is the pacing. This volume gets interpersonal between Ray, Emma, and Norman with some fascinating reveals. I just wished that things moved along a little bit more quickly. It feels at times as if Shirai does not trust readers to keep the facts in their heads.


Content warnings: Child murder, gaslighting, caricature of a Black person, death of a Black character

Finally, there is plot movement as the kids get closer and closer to escape they. But Mom knows all and uses her influence to both literally cut the escape plan at the knees and eliminate Sister Krone. The tension amps up, and I am so relieved that it is less dialogue-heavy. It seems that Shirai is finally trusting the reader more, and I hope that momentum continues

The ending ends on an explosive note, but wow do these kids need to get out as soon as possible, for all our sakes.

Manga Review: CHAINSAW MAN Vol. 3 by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Genre: Dark Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2020
Source: Viz Media Shonen Jump Subscription

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Blood, gore, monsters, vomiting

This volume gets a bit gross on several fronts. Tensions are high as the eternity devil goes specifically after Denji. Half the gang wants to feed Denj to it. And he learns the taste of devil’s blood. Fujimoto does a great job introducing new rules and mechanics of this world through action sequences. This segment, however, also features moving flashbacks from Himeno, and dives deeper into possibly Denji’s psyche. It’s direct and moves the plot nicely along.

The drinks scene gets a little uncomfortable, with boundaries all the way down. Himeno comes onto Denji and promptly vomits on him. They go home together and nothing comes of it. Instead, they establish a mutual understanding of romantic goals. It’s quieter and less dire than Denji’s conversations with Makima and Aki. I can’t wait to see this friendship deepens.

And then the assassins show up with what looks like a new villain, and I am appropriately eager for how this unfolds.

Manga Review: CHAINSAW MAN Vol. 2 by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Genre: Dark Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2020
Source: Viz Media Shonen Jump Subscription

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Blood, gore, monsters

In Volume 2, we pick up with the bat devil fight. It’s fast-paced, but when Fujimoto decided to pause, it stayed with me. The way he contrasts Denji as a devil-man against the other devils and against the other devil hunters really works. He seems kinder than both parties, but really Denji’s a beast of his own. He just wants to do whatever will help him comfortable. And you know what, I support it.

Many secondary characters were introduced, and I found myself drawn to Himeno. Her flashbacks add touch of seriousness that felt a little absent. Being a devil hunter is hard, and she has a trail of partners behind her. It really works to show her relationship with Aki, but then also hints towards her interest in Denji.

Everyone seems to be into the young devil-man, and the cliffhanger this volume ends on is a bit stressful, and I’m hype for it.

Manga Review: CHAINSAW MAN Vol. 1 by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Note: Starting in 2021, I’ll be reviewing the manga I’m reading. It takes up a bunch of my reading and totally counts. I definitely want to share my favorites.

Genre: Dark Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2020
Source: Viz Media Shonen Jump Subscription

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Blood, gore, monsters

Monster transformations in anime/manga have got to me my favorite things. This one is something that has come back on my radar with the MAPPA adaptation coming, so I wanted to dive into the source material.

With the hyperviolence and “killing things like yourself” of Toyko Ghoul and a humorous tome reminiscent of Kill la Kill, I am super on board for this journey of a young man who merges with his dog to fight the devils terrorizing the world.

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