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The Promised Neverland Volume 1: 05/10/22

The Promised Neverland Volume 1

The Promised Neverland Volume 1 by Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu (Illustrator), and Luise Steggewentz (Translator) is the first volume in a twenty volume manga series. I've seen the anime and I'm aware of the changes made, especially in the second season. I wasn't expecting to read the manga but my husband brought home the first two volumes from Zurich, translated into German, of course.

The manga opens with an idyllic looking farm house with children playing and doing chores and being doted on by Mama. A few more scenes reveals that this is an orphanage and everyone is excited for one of the young girls who has been adopted.

When she leaves behind her favorite bunny the truth is revealed. It's not an orphanage; it's a farm. Although frankly, anyone who knows something about barn architecture will recognize that the house's roofline is similar to a dairy barn.

The remainder of the first book is the three geniuses: Emma, Ray, and Norman planning the grand escape. First question is, can it be done? What route? And then the larger question: how can the smallest children be included?

Except for the monster that Emma sees when trying to return the bunny — the inciting incident if you will — the anime takes its time establishing the nature of the world in which the children are being raised. The pacing here is faster and the glimpses behind the metaphorical curtain come sooner and more frequently. While I wasn't sure I'd enjoy the manga (having felt only lukewarm about the anime, even before the weird second season), I did. Some of the entertainment is in how the translator used different German tenses to render personalities.

Of course the youngest of the children speak simplistic German. Mama speaks in a doting, straightforward, almost baby talk way until she's quietly letting the three geniuses know she's on to them. Meanwhile, Ray, Norman, and Emma each have their favorite tenses. Ray tends to be declarative: he's all action. Norman goes for longwinded, complex sentences that are at the advanced end of German grammar. Emma tends to be short and to the point but will fall into the subjunctive when she's in denial about the situation. She also, more than the boys, falls into a childish way of speaking. Some of that though is reflected in her time caring for the younger children.

I currently have volumes 2 through 4 on hand, also in German. I don't know yet if I will read all twenty volumes in either German or English.

Four stars

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