WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for "Beyond Destiny," the final chapter of The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu, Satsuki Yamashita and Mark McMurray, available from in English from Viz Media.
After 181 chapters, The Promised Neverland finally reaches its end. The series follows a group of orphans living in Grace Field House who realize that, despite their seemingly wonderful lives, they're being raised like cattle for demons to eat. Written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu, the manga was first serialized in 2016 and three years later, it received an anime adaptation, garnering it a huge increase in popularity. What kind of send-off do the kids get in the original source material?
Emma Makes a New Promise at the Series' End
After escaping the Grace Field House, The Promised Neverland's young heroes find themselves in danger after danger. They realize that there are two worlds: a human and a demon one. In the process of finding a way to get to the human world, Emma and her friends discover that the reason why children are being fed to demons is the result of a "Promise" forged long ago. This Promise prohibited hunting between humans and demons so in order to satiate the demons’ hunger for human meat, farms were built to cultivate children to feed the demons.
But, just as there are good people and bad people, there are good and bad demons. Unfortunately, eating humans is the only way to avoid degeneration and eventual death. From that point on, Emma is determined to find a way for humans and demons to live in peace and decides to reforge a new Promise by the end of The Promised Neverland.
The kids are sent to the human world after bidding farewell to their demon friends, Mujika and Sonju, and land on the shores of America in the year 2047. Everyone’s safe and together; all except Emma. Thrown into a panic, the kids wonder what exactly Emma offered as a reward to secure the Promise. Was she still back in the demon world? Did she sacrifice herself in order to have all the humans, children, Mamas and Sisters in the human world? Seeking answers, the kids set off on a mission to find her, determining that because of the Promise, she has to be somewhere in the human world.
It turns out that Emma is in the human world, lying in a desolate, snowy field with no memories of who she is or everything she went through. Her serial number has also disappeared. In a flashback, we see Emma with the God of the Demon World, in the middle of creating a new Promise.
In exchange for transporting all the humans, children and adults to the other side, the Demon World God asks for a reward, one that, customarily, is the thing that’s most important to the negotiator, which is Emma’s family. However, they reassure her that they won’t kill her family. Instead, they’ll take away her memories and future with them. Emma says that, to her, this isn’t a sacrifice, it’s only a means for settling her selfish desires of having the future she wanted where everyone was free. Therefore, she agrees to the new Promise.
The Search for Emma and The Promised Neverland's Emotional Reunion
With no recollection of the deal she made, Emma is eventually rescued from the snow by an old man. A month passes and the only thing that remains from her past is an eye-shaped necklace. She also can't sleep because of recurring dreams of the shadowy figures of Yugo, Mama, Norman and Ray and although she can’t recognize them, she feels an overwhelming feeling of sadness and warmth.
Two years later, Emma accepts that she won’t ever remember who the people in her dreams are and happily settles into her new life instead. In another part of the world, the Grace Field orphans have been madly searching for her but to no avail. Left with nowhere else to look, a small team consisting of Ray, Gilda and Phil head toward a forbidden zone. Unbeknownst to them, they pass Emma, who’s walking in the opposite direction with the old man. Empty-handed, they plan to head home when Ray feels a familiar young girl carrying a stuffed bunny dressed in Grace Field clothes pulling at his backpack, telling him to turn around.
It’s Conny, with the spirits of Yugo and Mama looking on. Without thinking, Ray runs back to the village. At the same time, Emma dashes back to the streets to search for the necklace she dropped and runs into Ray, Norman and the rest of the Grace Field House orphans.
The reunion is a flood of emotion despite Emma still not knowing who they are. Norman says that he’s thankful that Emma is happy, safe and not alone and updates her on what happened after they arrived in the human world. They’re all going to school, those from Lambda are recovering and Chris has woken up. Their happiness was all thanks to Emma but Norman wants her to be part of that happiness as well.
The callback to Conny in The Promised Neverland's long-awaited finale brings the story to a full circle: it was Conny’s death that revealed the truth about Grace Field House and sparked the desire to create a future that was their own, so it makes sense, during this time of uncertainty and confusion, for Conny to be the one to bring Emma’s family back to her.
Extra Content Is Added in The Promised Neverland's Final Volume
The final volume of The Promised Neverland covers Chapters 172 to 181 with some additional pages. Some add a little more context to the story, such as the reveal that Smee was ordered by Peter Ratri to kill his brother. A few are rejected scenes but most of them are just bonuses, including one where Emma, Norman and Ray play hide and seek as children.
In addition, the ending of The Promised Neverland adds a few extra spreads in the final volume that weren't in the original chapter release, most notably, one of a beaming Emma standing at the ocean. This is a sharp contrast to the opening page of the final chapter where she's smiling sadly as she sacrifices her memories to save her family at the creation of the new Promise.
At the very end of the final chapter, there's also a quick glimpse of what's happening in the demon world: Mujika and Sonju are buried under a frighteningly tall pile of papers as they get settled into governing a kingdom. Although they're far apart, Mujika still thinks about her friends on the other side.
The ending is bittersweet knowing that Emma will never get her memories back. However, The Promised Neverland has always been about the power of family. Emma’s dreams and Conny, Mama and Yugo being the ones to guide Ray to Emma are the manga’s way of saying that your loved ones are never really gone. The love and faith you have in your family can do the unlikeliest of things. They have the power to change people for the better; they give you strength and even, every once in a while, the power to reverse destiny.