Monster (vols. 6-10) by Naoki Urasawa, English adaptation by Agnes Yoshida, translated by Noriko Watanabe (vol. 6), Masataka Kakiya (vol. 7), Juri Nozaki (vol. 8), Satch Watanabe (vol. 9), and Sumiko Katsura (vol. 10)
Just like addictive junk food (not that I would know, ahem!), you can’t read just one volume of Monster. You start one, you have to immediately finish all the ones you can get your hands on. Too bad I ordered only five at a time and I’m still waiting for the rest … the patience, the patience! It’s excruciating!
Volume 6 begins with an injured Inspector Lunge, shot while trying to get Tenma (again). Even after Tenma saves his life, Lunge remains convinced Tenma’s the serial killer. Tenma’s ex-fiancée Eva hits ends up in jail after another drunken spree, but remains determined to wreak revenge on Tenma for having dumped her sorry, spoiled self. Switch to another new story brewing: In Munich, a blind wealthy corporate icon, Hans Schuwald, doesn’t realize his long lost illegitimate son, local university student Karl Neumann (literally “new man”), just wants to get close to him. Meanwhile, evil Johan befriends both still-unknowing father and son.
Father and son reunite in volume 7, thanks to Johan’s manipulations, while Richard Brown, a fallen-cop-turned-private-detective originally hired by Schuwald to locate Karl, finds out too much for Johan’s comfort. Before Brown becomes another of Johan’s victims, he reveals all to his shrink, Dr. Reichwein, who then alerts Tenma’s cheating classmate-turned-staunch-supporter Dr. Gillen. Together, the docs manage to let Tenma know that Johan’s struck again.
Gillen tries to convince Lunge that Tenma is innocent in volume 8, even offering proof, although Lunge just won’t budge. Tenma, now trained to be an expert shot, plans to finally confront Johan, bullet first. When Schuwald decides to donate his priceless book collection to the local library, Tenma has the perfect clear shot. Can he? Will he?
Volume 9 opens with Lunge still on Tenma’s trail. Johan’s twin, Nina, reappears, determined to prevent Tenma from becoming a murderer by killing her brother herself. She comes across the mysterious Czech book that made Johan literally faint, about a nameless monster with a split personality. The library donation ceremony ends in deathly flames and again Johan disappears. Schuwald sends his son Karl to Dresden with a message for the waiting Tenma: only the blind man can see into the past … Nina’s and Johan’s mother is living in Prague!
Volume 10 (the last volume before my next shipment … alas, alas!) introduces Grimmer, a former East German spy-now-journalist with a soft heart, who’s investigating the notorious orphanage, Kinderheim 511, where Johan began his evil rampage. Grimmer runs into Tenma on a train headed for Prague, helps him escape the local authorities, before the two go their separate ways. Grimmer chases down Kinderheim 511’s former director, now living under a false name, but Grimmer is unprepared for what he finds. The Prague police want to know what Grimmer knows, but only the conflicted young detective Jan Suk seems to be an honest cop.
So how long must we wait to find out what happens? Supposedly that next batch it coming priority mail … can’t come soon enough, huh?
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2006-2007 (United States)
MONSTER © Naoki Urasawa
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.