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Monster, Vol. 9: The Perfect Edition Paperback – July 19, 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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In this volume, Johan goes after an entire town, as Tenma, Nina, and select other characters from Monster's past come out to stop him once and for all. Overall, the pacing and artwork improve dramatically in this volume, as is appropriate for a climax. The ending, however, is likely to leave a bad taste in several readers mouths.
For the series as a whole, I would give some serious criticism for having too many subplots that kill the narrative momentum. Still, I love the scale of this story, and the depth and complexity of it's characters. This is easily a 4.5 star series.