Review

urasawa naoki’s monster

Uh-kaaay..so I finished reading the manga almost 5 years ago. Totally completely forgot about it until yesterday Papadino brought it up. Then all the flashback & bitter feelings hit me back. It was a very good manga if not genius. I know Urasawa Naoki always produce such strong story. What hit me most is the way he created each and every aspect of it. Everything was carved real. Every timing, every artifacts were made perfect. All its characters bear the same strong and bold personality. No one is just a simple scratch, they all have certain background that adds to the story well. This “Monster” is my first in-depth-touch with his work before I set a look at “Master Keaton,” “20th Century Boys” & “Pluto,” his three other masterpiece.

“Monster” was set in around 1997 while its first case was happened in early 1986. The story revolves around Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a Japanese genius surgeon who lived in Dusseldorf, Germany. His life turns when he choose to save a young boy’s life of Johan. Only days after the operation, 3 of their Drs and some of their staffs were poisoned to death, with Tenma’s name on the suspect. Although he was not jailed because of the lack of proof, what happen 9 years after cause him to lose even more of his life. He’s being a suspect of middle-aged couples serial-murder within Europe. While on the run, Tenma’s suspicion later point to one name: Johan, whom he saved  9 years ago. Dwelling with guilt for rescuing the boy and eager to find the truth, Tenma attemp to track Johan’s whereabout to kill him. What he found next is more than shocking & fearful. What lies behind Johan & his twin (Anna/Nina) is darker than anyone could possibly experience.

As a seinen manga, ‘Monster’ gave a thrilling adventure, garnished with beautiful scenes of Europe’s treasury places such as Prague & Heidelberg, its atmosphere bear the mystery of European folktale & dark aftertaste. Start from what seems to be mere murder case to a larger, darker plot behind it; from a simply brilliant young man to a government’s scandal..Urasawa slowly untie the knot that bond all the plots together. Going even farther than just using German & Czech language in some of its features, Urasawa also did an excellent research about those country where he based his story from. Something quite common for Japanese Mangaka actually. But in “Monster” he cultured it into a made reality. We can almost assure that all events were really happened. Reading “Monster” always give me the curious thrill, even after 5 years. So when Papadino showed me one of its chapter days ago, I just simply rush to re-read it once more.

From “Monster” we learned that all the mess starts from a storybook read to kids in Red Rose Mansion. The storybook is indeed the key plot to all events happened in “Monster” series. What amuse me is that this storybook said written by a Czech author Emil Scherbe felt so real it almost hard to believe such book was only a property of the series. Only after the series was done that the book made it into real-world as a solo. The book can be found here. And more amazing (or disturbing? ^^) is what story lies within the book. After reading it over I had this glimpse that the kids in Red Rose Mansion who received such story over and over will develop certain feeling about themselves and others. Psychologically evil.. I posted stories written by the author Emil Scherbe a.k.a Klaus Poppe/Jakub Faroubek/Helmuth VOSS/Franz Bonaparta one by one in different posts, because they are all interesting and give certain feelings to read. starts from Obluda, Která Nemá Své Jméno(The Monster Without A Name);Bůh Míru (The God of Peace); Velkooký, Velkoústý (The Man With Big Eyes and the Man With the Big Mouth);Obluda, Se Probouzi (The Awakening Monster); so long with many other stories ever appeared in “Monster” universe.

Anyway, back to the manga. Many things kept unrevealed after it finished. Although it seems not necessary, I secretly hope they will make more story about “Monster,” whether make it into trilogy or simply a case explanation. Lately I know my request wasn’t too much because I found that they released a supplement novel titled “Another Monster” sometimes after the manga finished. “Another Monster” is a gathered information based on interviews and scrap of facts by an Austrian Journalist Werner Weber with the help of Naoki Urasawa & Takashi Nagasaki. I am not sure whether Werner Weber is a real person or just another character built for the story.

“Another Monster” reveals many facts and insight stories that has never been told in the manga before. So it helps getting clearer  image of what happened in whole “Monster” universe. From “Another Monster” we know what happen to the twin’s parents and what trigger the event at Red Rose Mansion, even deeper knowledge about many character’s personality and what their connection to Johan case. I was extremely happy to find there is even more supplement to the series. A picture book called “The Awakening Monster” (sometimes it is also called “The Sleeping Monster”) fill in the already-bold background of  “Monster.”

Now I’ve just finished reading “Another Monster”: Chapter 19 & “The Awakening Monster” which Urasawa recommend to read only after we finished read the whole “Another Monster” chapters. I really wish there would be someone who will offer me a translation of “Another Monster” Chapter: 20-final. Been curious to death! At least after reading all “Monster” series & half of the supplements, I still think it is a magnificent story. Even all side story is oddly beautiful. A story that wont get too old to read. Complex but entertaining in certain ways. I wouldn’t dare compare it to “Silence of The Lambs” but they actually bear the same aftertaste. Dark and bitter all the same. A little shake & fear was dragging me when I read “Another Monster” in solitaire silence. Maybe what Urasawa Naoki’s recite that “the most powerful weapon is words” is indeed true afterall…

I heard “Monster” will come up to Live Action Hero by New Line Cinema, one of Hollywood major studio. Said to be written by Josh Olson (A History of Violence), an Academy Award nominee screenwriter, was actually hoped to be released by the end of 2009. Now after we reach 2011, hope the project was not left behind although I strongly feel it’s going to be just another crap remake by hollywood industry. I can’t even imagine how they intend to picture all “Monster” events. But again, seeing from successful adaptation of “20th Century Boys” I really hope this one won’t fail me either. As long as Urasawa involved I think there will be a good production perhaps.

View another masterpiece from Urasawa Naoki’s twisted world of conspiracy & mind control:

Master Keaton: wikipedia, mangascans (1-4)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

20th Century Boys: wikipedia, mangascans, imdb part 1 & part 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Pluto (Urasawa Naoki’s complexion inside Tezuka Osamu’s world of Astro/Atom Boy): wikipedia, mangascans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

..and a decent review on 91.8 The Fan of his works including “Yawara!” & “Billy Bat”, his first booming & recent manga series.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

*There’s Widyarani who traveled to Heidelberg, Germany & captured photos of places that Urasawa use in Monster. Her pics makes me wanna go there too~. Visit her travel report (in Bahasa) or her personal blog here 🙂

23 thoughts on “urasawa naoki’s monster

      1. iya kirain emang bner2 ada tuh buku, pnasaran seh di ending anime kan pasti ada potongan2 gambarnya..kliatannya sakit bgt tuh buku ~_~”
        oiya pnya FB gak nih ?

      2. haha iya sakit…beneran cocok deh buat cuci otak ya :p
        emaang tadinya aku pikir juga emil schrebe itu ada beneran & urasawa terinspirasi buku karangannya. eh ternyata dia dia juga yang bikin hehe. sama2 kecele..

        Fb ada kok, skrg lg buat sharing sama temen2 deket aja tapinya🙂

    1. hello…i’m sorry but i dont really know if the book is available in english, but you can read the english version here . It’s a translation made by a great man who fond for Urasawa’s work🙂

    1. Thank you for stopping by, really nice to hear you like it too🙂
      Urasawa is a great mangaka. I hope there would be another translation for Another Monster🙂

      1. just read it! very amusing, i wish i could go there too (and countless more place in monster) hihi. She even took photos with similar angle to the manga. love it❤
        thank you so much for sharing \(^o^)/

      2. How about the rest of chapters? I can’t find it on any website. Anyone knows so could send me chapters 20 – 31? I really appreciate if you guys help me.

  1. Halo mbak… kebetulan saya juga pecinta serial ini dan kemarin2 sempat contact translator “Another Monster”. Ternyata dia punya translation Chapter 20 onwards yang jarang banget bisa saya temukan di Internet. Kalo masih tertarik, saya bisa sharingkan filenya. Ngomong2 permintaan untuk mensharingkan ke mbak Rena (I assume?) juga dari si Translator. Contact saya ya🙂

    1. waah, mau banget🙂
      Senangnyaa, saya cari2 translationnya emang susah banget dan penasaran setengah mati hehe. Pasti saya hubungi ASAP, Makasih banget udah mampir dan sharing2 ya Mas Hendry. Dan untuk Translatornya Another Monster juga terima kasih banyak🙂

      1. mbak Rena bisa email saya ke hendrykohan at gmail dot com ya, ntar saya reply linknya by email aja. Ga saya email filenya karena sizenya sekitar 27MB-an. Filenya agak gede karena ada beberapa image yang kalo baca di mangascreener hanya tertulis (picture) plus komentar2 saja. Ga saya share di postingan ini karena untuk menghormati termnya si translator juga :p I swear I’m not going to do spamming or other annoying/harmful things

    2. Bro Hendry, dapet file yang dari Gina ya?? Saya juga kmrn ngobrol via email dgn beliau..hehe..
      She said that we Indonesians should make a “Monster Convention” or something, trus sama Gina saya di arahin ke blog ini😀
      Salam kenal semua, mbak Rena juga🙂

      1. Halo Andre,
        Salam kenal juga yaa…maafin baru bales, baru lihat komennya🙂
        Soal Urasawa-sensei fanclub ngga tau ada apa ngga ya, tapi kalo ada seneng banget! Pengen juga ngobrol2 ttg karya2 dan pemikirannya beliau yang woo~w banget hehe. Oiya, Gina ramah banget ya…saya juga seneng banget ngobrol sama beliau🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s