I may not have the biggest manga shelf in the world, but what I have read of Monster makes me want to sing its praises from the rooftops. Usually with manga you get one bum volume every now and again, with a story arc that goes nowhere or just silly one-shot gag settings that may have seemed hilarious to the creator at the time, but are lost in translation. Monster tells the story of Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a brilliant Japanese neurosurgeon working in West Germany in the 1980s. So when the hospital try to force him to operate on the town mayor, suffering from a stroke, rather than a little boy who's been shot in the head, he follows his heart and saves the life of little Johan Liebert, leaving the mayor to die at the hands of less-skilled doctors. His fiancée breaks off their engagement, he loses his position as chief of neurosurgery, and the hospital director now refuses to back him at all, following this 'irresponsible' act. Tenma follows Junkers to a construction site, where he meets with the real serial killer who's been terrorising Germany: Johan Liebert. He followed his heart to move to Germany after reading a medical paper written by the current director of the hospital, and while he's a very kind and wise doctor, he's polite enough to say he's still got a long way to go. If I could afford upwards of 50 every time I wanted to buy a manga volume, well...
However, Urasawa tells a story in a much more complex and rich method than many other fiction writers do, and this work is no exception.
One of the most tense and frightening manga series of all time is also filled with unexpected heart, warmth, and optimism. He's friendly, popular with his peers, and is even engaged to the hospital director's daughter, Eva. That all changes one night when two patients are brought into emergency simultaneously; one the city mayor, and the other a young boy dying from a gunshot wound to the head, apparently sustained when his entire family, except for his twin sister, was murdered in front of him. Defying the director, who wants him to save the more important mayor, Tenma instead chooses to operate on the boy and manages to save him... Even though his fiancé leaves him, and his position at the hospital is destroyed, Tenma believes he's done the right thing, and carries that in his heart. When Tenma suddenly finds himself implicated in a string of murders and realises what his decision brought about all those years ago, he goes on the run across Germany trying to track the killer down. An incredible piece of fiction, Monster should be worth a read by anyone; not just fans of mysteries or thrillers, but anyone with an interest in an understanding of the complexities of the human heart and soul.
While the books at the beginning and end are easy to buy cheaply, starting around volume 7 they are very hard to get, even second hand. I managed to get the missing volumes for around $30 each second-hand, but it took a few months of searching, and their condition wasn't great.
No. It's on an entirely different world of it's own in which I have no experience writing about, but I will try. Can one thing really make us decide against our human nature and completely change our world?
Serasa tidak cukup dengan komiknya, saya sampai melahap pula versi adaptasi anime-nya yang tidak kalah menakutkan batin. Rumit dan menakutkan seperti karya Urasawa sensei pada umumnya (ah, tapi saat itu saya cuma membaca Monster dan 20 Century Boy). Pokoknya karya Urasawa sensei yang ini benar-benar jempolan, salah satu komik dengan plot hebat dan tak lekang oleh waktu.
Urasawa has won the Shogakukan Manga Award, the Japan Media Arts Festival excellence award, the Kodansha Manga Award and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.