Been so exhausted the last month that I didn't have time to comment. Well, here I am now.
Chapter 102 - 107
Time Skip and Pacing
Let's address the elephant in the room first, the time skip.
I have nothing against time skips in themselves, but their execution and their actual usage play big factors in how they come across to me personally.
Now, I don't know if it's because the authors didn't want to risk boring readers with the 1.5 years of trial and error, or maybe it's because my matured tastes are talking right now, but I personally would've liked the 1.5 years to have taken longer amounts of time to detail.
Really, all I would've wanted was just 2 or 3 chapters to lay out the progression. Unlike most Shonen Jump time skips whose purpose were mostly for "training/getting stronger", Neverland's purpose was "exploration". For such a purpose, I would not have minded a couple more chapters.
After all, one of the appeals for me back in the Grace Field arc was seeing how the kids conceived of their plans, the trial and errors in-between, then their execution. For a manga that's about super smart kids working their way to their ideal outcome, I really would've appreciated seeing the trial and error of finding the Seven Walls.
Moving on, it's cool that the Grand Valley kids managed to engineer Demon disguises, or that the kids had the guts to infiltrate Demon settlements. Truly impressive.
About the Raid on the Shelter
It's truly a pity that the Shelter finally came under attack. Well, it was inevitable with this story, and 1.5+ years has been a considerable blessing for all the kids.
I've seen complaints about how the kids seemed so weak against Andrew's team, in comparison to their performance at Goldy Pond.
Personally, I find no inconsistency in their behaviour, for the following reasons:
- The decisive battle at Goldy Pond was something in the works for years, and after much preparation and observation of their targets, almost like an assassination plan. This time it's different, they were ambushed instead
- With all their siblings so close by, the more able fighters of the group cannot risk dragging them into the cross fire against Andrew's team
- Lewis, Bayon and the other Demons stuck to close range combat and were fought in a wide area, which gave the kids more space to work with. The conditions this time are the opposite, long range enemies in narrow spaces.
- Let's not forget, Neverland is on a tightrope as it is.
That is, we have had a child harvested in the very first chapter, a child who attempted self-immolation, and a group of children who are using firearms and taking head shots, justified only because they were out to slay monsters, among other mature content. By now, it must be considered controversial in some circles.
So if we actually have the human kids kill human adults, the outrage will skyrocket. It's the same reason why in Assassination Classroom, the kids aren't trained to kill anyone besides Korosensei.
Which is why it's not surprising that combating Andrew's team is left to the adults of the group, Yuugo and Lucas.
A Fitting Grave
With the ending of Chapter 106, I had a feeling that we'd finally get a glimpse into the younger years of Yuugo and Lucas, back when the rest of their Glory Bell family were still with them.
Would've been nice to see how their own escape plan had worked, but alas
Man, when you know that their chances of death are high but you still want them to live, that's when you know that the authors have crafted their characters well.
Like, after all their years of dealing with grief and painful losses, you badly want them to make it to the human world like Emma's group too.
But narratively speaking, dying close to the memories of their old and new families does indeed sound like a fitting grave.
I am half-expecting them to (instant?) self-destruct the Shelter to ensure all their pursuers are dead.