- Series: Master Keaton (Book 8)
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (September 20, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1421575973
- ISBN-13: 978-1421575971
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,115,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Master Keaton, Vol. 8 Paperback – September 20, 2016
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About the Author
Naoki Urasawa's career as a manga artist spans more than twenty years and has firmly established him as one of the true manga masters of Japan. Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with BETA! in 1983 and hasn't stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa's oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple ARMY; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (Monster), a sci-fi adventure manga (20th Century Boys), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka (Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka; co-authored with Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka, and with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions). Many of his books have spawned popular animated and live-action TV programs and films, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three live-action Japanese films based on 20th Century Boys.
No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa received the 2011 and 2013 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia, and is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and also received the Kodansha Manga Award. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.
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It’s not the strongest, in terms of story or deductions, since they basically stumble into the solution, but I like Keaton’s partner, the English O’Connell. Back in 1982, he was investigating the death of an archaeology professor. The dead man was found in a river at a dig site where Keaton was assisting. Was it an accident or the death intentional? While researching for his report, O’Connell meets Keaton and gets him involved in his first insurance case.
The book starts with another high point, because “Special Menu” revolves around food. Keaton has taken his partner to the “Golden Lotus”, the “best restaurant in Chinatown” (in London). There, they meet the owner, his daughter, and an English worker who gets yelled at by the boss. It turns out that the Brit loves Hong Kong cuisine and has a talent for cooking it (plus he’s in love with the daughter), but the boss is convinced English taste buds don’t appreciate the fine details of his culture.
With some help from his dad, Keaton finds the secret ingredient for a dish good enough to impress the father. There’s an unbelievable tie-in to an historical event, just to remind us that that’s Keaton’s speciality, but the real appeal here is pulling together the right details to reunite a family. Naoki Urasawa’s detailed art is just as beautiful when drawing glistening plates of fried pork as it is when delineating the emotional undercurrents of his characters. The underlying message, that everyone has potential value to contribute, reminds us of how Keaton approaches everyone with equality, gaining information wherever he can.
The next story is nicely seasonal, and Keaton barely appears in it, and even then, as a child. Two former schoolmates are meeting for a Christmas Eve dinner. One is the agent for the other, a novelist with a successful new book. Over their meal, the author tells the other man the plot for his next book, a tale of revenge based on two boys’ private school days together. One pretends to protect the other, but it’s just self-gratifying egotism. It winds up a story of the knowledge of history putting our petty disputes into enough context that we can forgive.
Another chapter features three aggressive company officials in competition for a promotion going camping together as a test from their boss. This one, with the hard-charging business types and especially the comments about the single woman working hard to be accepted, felt very 80s to me. (These stories originally appeared in 1989.)
Other chapters are more timeless, or maybe just still relevant, as when a washed-up Olympic medalist is inspired by the caring of the immigrant community he winds up protecting. In the most emotional, Keaton’s daughter keeps a classmate from committing suicide by skipping school with him and taking his father’s hawk out of the city to freedom. (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)