Anyone else reading this manga? I’ve been buying a lot more translated Japanese comics lately– and MONSTER, published by VIZ, is one of them. MONSTER is about a brilliant young Japanese surgeon, named Kenzo Tenma, living in Germany. He gets caught up in a search for a serial killer years after a horrific event in which a surviving pair of siblings– one boy and one girl– are brought to his hospital in the wake of a terrible murder of their parents. The sister is in shock– and the brother has been shot in the head. Tenma operates on the boy, and saves his life. This begins a dark mystery that entangles the doctor in a hunt for a cold serial killer that Kenzo feels compelled to hunt down. I’m not going to go into the hows and whys of this, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who might not have read this great manga but might be interested in doing so.

I have really been enjoying MONSTER. There have been 3 volumes released so far, and it’s supposed to be 18 volumes long… so I’m looking forward to a lot of creepy intrigue and murder over the length of this story. There’s some odd quirks that come with most manga– such as the length of some scenes and the tendency for manga stories to read a bit odd as far as dialogue goes. I don’t think it’s the translation– I think it’s the cultural difference in the way manga is written. But that’s a small thing. The thing that strikes me most odd about MONSTER is that the main character, Kenzo Tenma, looks about as Japanese as I do. I’ve drawn him looking much more Japanese in my sketch here than he looks in this book. That’s also something I became quickly used to… but it’s still kind of odd. I’d love to hear Naoki Urasawa’s (the author/artist) reasons for this. Perhaps this is something culturally unique to manga as well.

Bottom line, though– MONSTER is a dark and fascinating story. Check it out if you’re into stuff like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

This is 257.


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