Vicki's Reviews > Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1: Herr Dr. Tenma

Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa
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Dec 31, 09

bookshelves: comics-and-manga, own
Read in December, 2009

Monster is an 18 volume manga series by Naoki Urasawa, who is also famous for the series 20th Century Boys and Pluto.

These notes cover volumes 1-2.

The series follows a Japanese doctor called Tenma who is living and working in Germany. He is an extremely skilled surgeon, likely to go far in his career, and also engaged to the hospital Director's daughter. However, when his morals are shaken by saving the life of a famous opera singer over a labourer who was admitted first, he decides that he must consider all lives equal. When the situation arises, he thus saves the life of an orphan boy over the life of the mayor, who was admitted second, not knowing in how many terrible ways this will effect his life...

The story so far is gripping and kept me on the edge of my seat. I could guess at what might happen next but events were certainly not transparent, which kept it very interesting. No character seems to be safe so there are some pretty shocking and emotional moments, but these are portrayed well - with heart, but not so much pathos as to be annoying.

The art and pacing suit the type of story very well, with some fantastically realistic backgrounds, and a good use of dramatic effects such as speed lines where needed.

Seeing as I'm not as huge a fan of medical/cop dramas as I am of sci-fi or futuristic books, I do prefer 20th Century Boys and Pluto to Monster. However, both of those series look to be considered masterworks of Urasawa's in the future, and Monster is certainly no slouch either - I will be on the lookout for more volumes as soon as I can afford them!
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