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Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Vol. 1 Paperback – February 21, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
Book 1 of 18 in the Monster Series

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Editorial Reviews


"...Forget Professor Moriarty or Hannibal Lecter; Johan could crumble them both for breakfast. Good Dr. Tenma's epic quest to bring Johan to justice involves bodies galore, assassins, cross-dressing, Nazi experiments, the Czech secret service, Johan's beautiful twin sister, a vindictive ex-fiancee with a drinking problem, a Javert-like inspector who cannot forget anything and one of the creepiest children's books you'll ever read. Urasawa is a national treasure in Japan, and if you ain't afraid of picture books, you'll see why. For those of you who like your suspense red-hot but with a beautiful beating heart, Monster is for you. 'At last [the Monster] had found a name, but there was no longer anyone around to call him by it.'" -- Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner

From the Publisher

• An 18-volume manga series—over 20MM copies sold to date in Japan!
• Individual volume releases consistently ranked in the Top Ten sales charts for 2-3 weeks.
• Awarded the 3rd Osamu Tezuka Culture Awards' Manga Grand Prix, the 1st Japan Media Arts Festival Manga Award of Excellence, and the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award.
• Inspired anime, music, and trade book spin-offs.
• To mark the end of the series, an 18-volume box set was released in Japan in June 2002.
• From the creator of 20TH CENTURY BOYS and YAWARA.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; 1 edition (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591166411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591166412
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Monster is not your typical manga story. Japanese manga rarely conveys a more Western backdrop for a story theme this well. The series takes place in Europe, mostly in Germany or it's sister countries. It has some historical references, but it's not really a historical tale either. It is really about the close relationship between good and evil, how difficult it can be to see the line drawn between them.

Dr. Tenma is a young doctor who appears to have it all. He is engaged to the hospital administrators daughter, in line for the job of head surgeon, and gifted with great talent. He is however, a master surgeon with a conscience. When his rich benefactors attempt to use him twice in as many days, to abandon a needy patient, only to treat someone of wealth and power, he balks. He cannot stomach having his skills used to save only who can pay the most. He believes a doctor is more than that. as might be expected, the administrator of the hospital, and his pampered, bitchy daughter, no longer support him when the person he fails to treat dies. Even the boy he just saved from the gunshot wound to the head, has his treatment handed over to another inferior doctor.

Tenma's professional career is nearly over before it begins. Something happens to change that, and it casts a cloud of suspicion over the doctor. The administrator, plus some other powerful doctors die suddenly, and Temna is given the post as head surgeon anyway. Nine years later while attempting another kind act he finds out why.

I won't throw in any spoilers here, and many may have guessed what happened at this point reading the story, but you won't have guessed all the detail. You will ask questions that come behind all this, and in the asking is the essence of the story.
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Format: Paperback
I've read both volume 1 and 2 of Urasawa's Monster and find it excellent. Even if you are not a fan of manga, and you find a little odd reading "backwards", these books worth it.

Urasawa's art is (and is not, at the same time) the typical japanese manga art. Is good, clear and well paced. The story is interesting, intriguing and, even if you have the main elements of the story known from almost the beginning of volume 2, your "need" to go on and read the story, and to see how it develops until the end (and what will be the end) is great. An the "need" turns on to be more important while you turn the pages.

I don't know exactly how many volumes it will take to get to the end, but you can count on me to faithfully be there to read it. And I think if you give it a try you will surely be there too.
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By bookworm on December 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unbelievable! You will be engrossed in the world created by Naoki Urasawa. The story is superb and the character development couldn't be more detailed. The pychoanalysis of each player is unmatched in other manga. You can't get better than this. The content is intelligent and accurate. The author did his homework on psychology, neurology, surgical procedures and the history of Germany around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's impressive. Not much on Japanese culture but that's also interesting. You have a Japanese protagonist and you have German culture. Morality and how far you can push someone until they loose their humanity is explored. The antagonist is facinating. In some novels he doesn't even make an appearance yet you feel his presence throght the elaborate descriptions of his character from the mouth of others. Nicely done. The action is non-stop, especially in volume four. The violence is very real and it will get to you. But you won't loose hope because the main character is so amazing.
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Format: Paperback
"Monster" is a great achievement and a fantastic endeavor in manga. The story is great, sprawling through many years and full of small contained side stories within a investigative tale into the soul of a serial killer. The characters are well rounded, as deep as in novels, their personalities distinct and the narrative keeps secrets within secrets, that makes you keep on reading until the last page of its many volumes. It's a fantastic tale, full of philosophical insights of what is this thing we call "human nature" and the role of memories and emotions in giving one's life some kind of meaning in an indifferent universe. Fantastic!
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Format: Paperback
For Dr. Tenma, a Japanese surgeon who's moved to Germany to work in a Dusseldorf hospital, work is all about saving people's lives. He's frustrated by the politics of the hospital, and how the lives of "important" people are put ahead of the lives of everyone else. When a boy with a bullet in his head is brought in, Dr. Tenma works on him instead of the mayor who's brought in shortly afterward. Dr. Tenma knows he's the only chance the boy has for living.

And the boy does live. But the mayor does not. Dr. Tenma is blamed and his career is virtually over. But then some of the hospital staff is murdered, including the director who was so opposed to Dr. Tenma's decision to save the boy over the mayor. Soon afterward, the little boy disappears and we learn that his parents have also been murdered. The only one left untouched in the bloodbath is the boy's twin sister, but she too has gone missing.

Years pass. Dr. Tenma is again a well-respected physician. The murders have yet to be solved and a serial killer (or killers?) is on the loose. And now well-to-do families with no children are being killed.

The lead suspect for all these murders? Dr. Tenma.

But who is the real culprit? Well, it appears to be the little boy Tenma saved, who's now grown into a man with blood on his hands. Yes, Dr. Tenma put his principles before his career, and it backfired, because he let the mayor die and saved the life of a monster.

All the same, how could a boy kill people? Let alone a boy who was wounded when the killings happened? There is more to this than meets the eye, so Dr. Tenma, needing to clear his name, investigates the background of the monster he helped unleash on Germany.
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