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Genres: Drama, Mystery, Seinen, Psychological
Author: Naoki Urasawa
Artist: Naoki Urasawa
Start Date: 1994
End Date: 2001
Number of chapters at review: 162
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 162
Both anime and manga begin with a passage from Revelation chapter 13: Verses 1 & 4
"And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads, the names of blasphemy. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, "Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
The series begins with genius doctor Kenzo Tenma. Being the "Go-to guy" can be very overwhelming as Tenma encounters the wife of a Turkish man who died, because Tenma was ordered to work on an Opera singer instead. Flooded in his own thoughts, Tenma begins to question the value of human beings, and how all are equal. There is no one person that has a greater value than another. Tenma is then faced with the same situation, only this time with a small boy who was shot in the head, and the Mayor of the town. Tenma was ordered to go to the Mayor instead. However Tenma knew he was the only doctor capable of saving the boy's life. He refused to go to the Mayor, and continued with the boy instead. The Mayor dies, and he saves the boy.
Little does Tenma know, the boy he saves is said to be the "Second Hitler" or even the "Antichrist"
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The art of Monster is based on more of a "Realistic" view. The characters do not look like your typical Anime. However, the art is quite good. Even if you don't like it at first, like myself, the story itself is so good that it makes you start to accept it.
This series has the best story I have ever seen. In anything. Naoki is a man who knows the Bible. He executed countless comparison and symbolism in Monster in a manner that is absolutely perfect. No flaws what-so-ever.
Each character in monster is completely dynamic. Not one character is like another. Every single character has their own personality, their own life, their own philosophy. Absolutely astonishing.
The themes of the series are not completely original. However the fact that they are executed perfectly in the series makes it incomparable.
-Humans are Monsters
Same as Theme. The idea of the Antichrist is not original. It is in the Bible. However, it is how it is executed with perfection. It is as if Naoki fully understands Revelation in the Bible. Those who read the Bible know what I'm talking about.
Monster is nothing short of a Masterpiece, with all the Awards it has obtained to prove it. This series is extremely deep and thoughtful, and it will have you guessing even after it has finished. With an ending that will send a chill down your spine, perfection gives this series a 10/10.
Spoiler: Manga's images taken from earlier chapters to avoid spoiler, generally the art improves show
Last edited by Luckas; April 18, 2008 at 08:31 AM.
Fayte, I agree with you on everything exept the art, which I would rate a 7. It's definitely good art, but to me it looks slightly (just slightly) more cartoonish than realtistic. That being said, I wouldn't call the art a deterrent to the wonderful strorytelling.
I'd give Monster a 9.5. I hate to be picky, but it's just the art that keeps it from making it the perfect manga for me.
Also, you need to realize that this Anime was made in the 90's. Society looks much different now. However the drawing is very accurate when it comes to back then.
Last edited by Fayte; March 13, 2008 at 03:10 PM.
@Fayte The review is about the manga not the anime, so you should review the art in the manga not in the anime.
Last edited by Luckas; March 13, 2008 at 07:43 AM.
So what point do you think you've proven? You needn't get so defensive over my opinion. You said in your review you thought it took a realistic approach. I compared it to other mangas that also takes a realistic view. Of course when you throw an image of Monster up nex to a shounen like DBZ, Monster looks 10x more real. But put the same image up next to other 'realistic' seinens like Alive!, Gantz or even Shamo and it falls short.
I remember when reading Monster the art was my one hang up. I thought it would have been better if it was just slightly more realistic, which is possible without actually having a live action cast.
Last edited by idlefingers; March 13, 2008 at 08:10 AM.
Are you serious? I obviously did review the manga. The two pictures are just examples to prove a point. If you don't even understand that, I will change the pictures for you. Not like it matters, that post was meant to be taken as a joke anyway.
I'm sorry, but you have no idea what you're talking about. Alive, and Shamo do not have more realistic art than Monster. To be honest with you, the real reason you don't like the art in Monster is indeed because it is "Too realistic." The characters don't have the usual unrealistic "cool spiky hair" that you are already bias over. In Monster, the Japanese characters look Japanese. The Germans look German.
When it comes to Gantz, look at the time difference between when the two manga's were made. Like I said in my previous post, things are much different 10+ years ago. Yes, the art in Gantz is good. Props to the new age of art. However, that does not change the fact that the Monster art is very realistic for it's time, and still is. Don't criticize me when you are already in the influence of bias. I know what I'm talking about from a view that isn't corrupted by how I feel about other work.
And that is where this silly argument ends. ^_^
Last edited by Fayte; March 13, 2008 at 10:41 AM.
One thing: I NEVER said I don't like the art in Monster. And I won't resort to posting images, because our ideas of realism obviously defer greatly, and unlike you, I won't force my opinion on someone who disagrees with me. You're right on one thing, though, this argument has become moot. It became moot from the moment you asserted that you KNOW the reason I "dislike" the art in Monster is because it's too realistic for me. If that's not the lamest argument I've heard in someone's attempts to prove their point, I don't know what is.
The irony here is that you are the one accusing me of being biased and being critical of you (which, if you consider disagreeing with you "criticisizing", then I'm at a loss).
No biases from you? LOL, your posts say differently. And you started in on being critical of me.
Another thing, if you want to throw in age (which I, personally, think is irrelevant) Alive! is also from 10 years ago.
Last edited by idlefingers; March 13, 2008 at 10:35 AM.
this series is one of the greatest. i cant decide which is better, 20th CB or monster. and the monster anime is imo the best anime adaptation of a manga i've seen ever
and stop bickering and talk about monster
Last edited by yoniekai; March 13, 2008 at 10:45 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
If you have anything to add feel free to PM me, since no one wants to continue reading this silly argument.
As everyone says, moving on.... yes the anime is one of the more superior animes, especially in terms of it being true to the manga.
Last edited by idlefingers; March 13, 2008 at 02:22 PM.
nice review but I disagree with art
There is a realism to Urasawa's art that is just wonderful to behold. Beyond being gorgeous, the art is appropriate for the style and tone of the series. By grounding his characters and European locations in realism, Urasawa's cinematic paneling recalls the classic thrillers and noir films of yesteryear. Although, it does take Monster a few chapters to grown into its style.
Junot Diaz had it right when he said Urasawa was a Japanese national treasure because this man writes like no other. The setup is simple enough. A doctor regrets saving the life of a twin boy who later grew into a monstrous killer and so the doctor sets out to rectify his mistake. Yet on his journey he encounters a number of characters who have their own qualms with this dangerous killer and the manga allows each of them to play detective in a dangerous game of survival. This works because the central mysteries are intriguing and chilling and Urasawa makes a wise decision to keep the central antagonists shrouded in enough mystery so that we want more.
Monster contains Urasawa's signature sprawling casts. Every character is given an interesting conflict and then Urasawa allows his characters to grow naturally and change dynamically as Fayte so aptly put it. Care is put into minor details and the psychological make up of the cast and everyone has his or her own motivations. Likewise, the character interactions feel genuine and Monster makes maximum use of its ensemble.
Some of the character designs are borrowed from/featured in other Urasawa series, but this isn't too much of an issue because the designs are so well done. Tenma, the main protagonist, remains likable and empathetic during his tragic journey. Contrastingly, in the main antagonist, Johan, Urasawa has created a truly magnificent monster that is a wonder to behold.
This series explores popular themes such as the nature of evil, nature vs nuture, terror, human nature, and the value of life. What really makes Monster stand out, not only from other manga but similar films and TV shows, is the depth with which Urasawa explores these themes. Each of the characters in the manga attempts to navigate these issues in his or her own way and the answers Monster arrives at are at times surprising, moving, and enlightening. Urasawa also includes appropriate allusions to religion, literary texts, and other pieces of culture to enhance his arguments. The masterful plotting may keep you reading, but it's the thematic exploration that will keep you thinking about Monster long after you've read it.
Monster isn't composed of exactly the freshest of elements, though it certainly contains a few. However, where it really excels is the seamless blending of different genres. The series blends together historical drama, thriller, police procedural, medical drama, psychological drama, crime drama, and political theatre. Then there's the central setting of Europe, which is unusual for a manga. But Urasawa does his research and the location becomes just as important a character as any member of the manga's cast.
In my opinion, Monster is Urasawa's magnum opus. Or it's at least tied for that title with Pluto, which explores similar themes in a different manner. The masterful storytelling, enchanting locations, deft genre blending, interesting characters, and excellent thematic foodstuffs combine to create a series that is breathtaking in scope. Few other manga series can match Monster in ambition, and of those, you'll find a couple that are also written by Naoki Urasawa.
I want to note that the anime adaptation of Monster is very well done and follows the manga closer, so either would make an excellent way to watch/read the series.
tl;dr In this reviewer's humble opinion, Monster is not only Naoki Urasawa's Magnum Opus, but it's the best manga I have ever read.
Monster is monstrously lovely......art repeating though...just like 20th Boys and 21th boys...and now Billy Bat...no original