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Naoki Urasawa's Monster Box Set 1

4.4 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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(Dec 08, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Box Set 1

What would you do if a child you saved grew up to be a monster? An ice-cold killer is on the loose, and Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Tenma, a brilliant neurosurgeon with a promising future, risks his career to save the life of a critically wounded young boy named Johan. When the boy, now a coldhearted and charismatic young man, reappears nine years later in the midst of a string of unusual serial murders, Tenma must go on the run from the police, who suspect him to be the killer, to find Johan and stop the monster he set loose upon the world. Conspiracies, serial murders, and secret government experiments set against the grim backdrop of the formerly communist Eastern Europe are masterfully woven together in this compelling work of suspense.


The experiences of Dr. Kenzo Tenma, the hero of the mystery-adventure Monster (2004), prove the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished. A brilliant young Japanese surgeon working in Germany, Tenma defies his superiors to save the life of Johan, a boy with a bullet lodged in his brain. But he soon learns that the boy possesses both the power to bend others to his will and an icy disregard for human life. Tenma follows Johan's murderous career back to an orphanage in the former East Germany, where psychological experiments were performed on the children. The reptilian inspector Lunge believes Tenma is responsible for the murders and pursues him relentlessly, essentially playing Javert to Tenma's Jean Valjean. Countless anime series have focused on murderers created by misguided scientific experiments, but Monster plays like a prolonged soap opera. Everywhere Tenma goes, he meets traumatized children, unhappy adults, and strangers in need of emergency medical care. Although he stops to help everyone, he somehow stays one step ahead of Lunge. Director Masayuki Kojima's leaden pacing robs the story of the suspense it should generate. The flow of the narrative is further impeded by the endless nattering and unnecessary flashbacks. More skillful filmmakers could present the same material in half as many episodes and make it compelling. It's not clear why Monster bears a "parental advisory: explicit content" sticker. Although its suggestions of child abuse and neo-Nazi imagery reflect a regrettable lack of taste, it's far less violent than Elfen Lied, Gunslinger Girl, and other titles. (Rated M: Mature: violence, violence against children, alcohol and tobacco use, Nazi imagery) --Charles Solomon

(1. Herr Doctor Tenma, 2. Downfall, 3. A Murder, 4. Night of the Execution, 5. The Girl of Heidelberg, 6. The Missing, 7. House of Tragedy, 8. Pursued, 9. The Girl and the Seasoned Soldier, 10. A Past Erased, 11. 511 Kinderheim, 12. A Little Experiment, 13. Petra and Schumann, 14. Left Behind, 15. Be My Baby)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Animated, Box set, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Viz Media
  • DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 325 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002N1AEY6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,660 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca Anne Mahoney on December 21, 2009
Charles Solomon, I think the regrettably bad taste here is your own. To anyone who reads the product description, do not be put off by the negative review. He couldn't be more mistaken about this fantastic show.

To say Monster is a great anime is completely correct, but the show is more than that, too. It is simply an amazing story, with a fascinating and twisty plot and a huge cast of well-drawn characters - the original artist, Naoki Urasawa, is well-known for his complex mysteries, and this is considered by many to be his best work. The story is so well-crafted, and the way the seemingly unrelated plotlines come together is amazing to watch.

In these first fifteen episodes, these plotlines are only just being introduced, but it is hardly the "prolonged soap opera" that Mr. Solomon refers to. The story begins with the tension between Johan and Dr. Tenma, and the question of whether Tenma will give up his ideals in order to stop the "monster" he created. But Urasawa has a much more ambitious theme in mind. When Tenma leaves the hospital to search for Johan, he encounters both the best of humanity and the worst, and both he and the audience witness the latter's capacity for change. Urasawa's story is an exploration of what creates a monster, and in doing that, he presents Tenma and the audience with a complex morality play.

Monster has a huge cast of characters, and by the end, I loved them all. There are characters that are likable from the start, like Dr. Tenma, Nina, and Dieter. But even more impressive are the characters that you despise from the beginning, but change drastically but believably over the course of the series.
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Naoki Urasawa's psychological crime drama MONSTER is, as the other reviewers have said, undeniably one of the most accomplished anime series of all time. It is a near shot-for-shot adaptation of Urasawa's manga, and it is a testament to the strength of the story that almost nothing was changed. It seems almost too good to be true that this series is finally seeing a release in the United States.

Speaking of that, you can currently catch two episodes every Monday night on SyFy's Ani-Monday block. They are airing the English dub.

The story takes place in 1986 Germany. True to the times, the plot is rife with political drama; true to Urasawa, though, you will find a slowly arching, psychological thriller emerge in this gem of a story. Tenma, a Japanese doctor working in Dusseldorf, decides to go against the orders of his hospital's director by operating on an injured child instead of the rich Mayor. Demoted, he loses his fiance and his position in the hospital. In one of the best twists to come out of any fiction recently, the child he saved ends up being a manipulative psychopath, bred by others to be a successor to Hitler. The series begs the question, what do you do when your altruistic intent turns into something wholly horrible? Tenma sets out on a quest to fix his mistake, and the plot slowly unravels along with the mysterious past of Johan Leibert, the monster he brought back to life.

Now, the pros versus the cons. Anything good that can be said about this release is said about the show itself. Before I watched the show, the premise itself was enough to make me sit back for a few minutes and wonder what I might be getting myself into. There was no question in my mind that I would have to watch. And it excels in areas where few anime excel.
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When news spread about Monster being released and dubbed here in America..many fans were excited and ready to sink there teeth into it..Well Monster started airing on Chiller Tv last year..things looked very bright for this anime until it quickly started getting poor ratings on Tv and dvd sales of the first Box Set of Monster sold very poor..this was brought to Viz's attention and they are cutting there tides with yet ANOTHER canceled anime project..damn bastards won't even release the remaining box sets for us fans..its complete nonsense on so many different levels..Viz has to be one of the worst companies in America when it comes to this ugly trend of picking up a title and the second the sales are weak they toss it to the side like a dead animal..what a damn shame!I REALLY wish they would release the remaining box sets!This anime deserves it and the fans of this story deserve to have it in there collection!At this point sadly the series will finish its run on Chiller in a few months and then it will be completely forgotten by I would advise of you..if your a fan of the dub watch it on Chiller while you will be your last chance to do so..if Funimation had picked up Monster then it would of been a completely different story..they would of at least released the remaining box sets for the fans of this animated series.Viz the only thing keeping you a float at this point is Bleach and the damn right thing and release Box set two already!
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Monster is simply one of the best psychological dramas around, in any visual format. Forget merely being one of the best animes, this would more than hold its own as an HBO series. The storyline is deep and involving, with flawed, wonderful characters, and twists you will never see coming. Sometimes the plot seems to veer off in odd directions, but hang on tight, it's coming back to tie itself together in endlessly surprising ways. Throughout, it keeps subverting the expectations, and in the end, the question is not so easy to answer - who really is the Monster?

I've heard some people say the start feels a little slow (though it didn't seem that way to me), but it's well worth sticking with it.
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