Published: Dec 5, 1994 to Dec 20, 2001
Authors: Urasawa, Naoki (Story & Art)
Serialization: Big Comic Original
Score: 9.021 (scored by 9751 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsdrama mystery seinen suspense
Mar 22, 2012
Is the righteous path always the right path to take? Is it possible to regret doing the right thing and standing for justice? Is a righteous choice with a bad effect a good choice or a bad choice? How far is anyone prepared to go to correct what wasn't wrong in the first place? In these questions we find the basic premise of Monster.
Monster is a brilliant piece. A thriller with a story so unified, steady, complex and without plot holes that puts 99% of all thrillers (be them books, movies or TV shows) to shame easily. It is very well thought out by its creator and manages to keep you interested even in its most calm scenes. I do have to say I haven't watched the anime, so I won't be making any comparisons, nor will I tell you which one you should watch. I decided to review this after seeing that it had just a few reviews, which surprised me since it ranks 4th.
[Story] - 10 - The best thing of this manga, in my opinion. First of all let's talk about the style of the narration and story-telling in general. For those familiar with Naoki Urasawa, you are probably aware of his particular style of story-telling, which isn't anything short of amazing. He moves the story along at his own pace, slowly introducing more and more characters, more plot points, which answer some previous questions by providing additional questions and mysteries. He also makes a great use of the manipulation of time, adding a lot of flashbacks and time leaps all the way through the story. Those flashbacks are like small puzzle pieces that slowly build a bigger picture that enable you to understand certain situations and certain actions of the main antagonist. This author’s style meets its peak in Monster, in my opinion. The flashbacks complement each other wonderfully in a way that leaves nothing unexplained. A lot of complex stories fail when they try to set up more mysteries than what they can handle, thus not giving a satisfying solution to some or even most of those mysteries, that is highly frustrating. But Monster doesn't have any of that. Even though it feels like the story takes epic proportions with more and more stuff being thrown together, slowly but surely everything comes to make sense. The perfect metaphor for Monster is definitely a puzzle. A very complex puzzle with a big number pieces to use. In the beginning you can't really tell anything of the picture, you merely see the outlines and get a general idea of it by looking at the scattered pieces. But slowly, as you piece one upon the other, everything seems to fall into place. There are no pieces missing and in the end you look over the picture as a whole and see that you have an extremely concise, completed puzzle. But I have to say there are a few extra pieces. Monster has some arcs that aren't completely vital to the main storyline and end up being used merely to build up the characters and their experiences. That is good and bad. It's good because it makes for a more complete and filled story, but bad since it takes a bit of a toll on the overall pace of the series.
Another thing that is very good about the story is the way the author managed to wonderfully present the story in several different angles. Even though Tenma is the main character, we don't always see things through his point of view. This helps us envision the situation as a whole by understanding the several sides and forces colliding here. Some of the most interesting scenes for me were the scenes with Lunge as he pursues Tenma. Those really gave us an overlook of Tenma's situation in a whole different perspective.
To sum it up, the story is great and manages to be complex without plot holes, also presenting us several characters’ points of view which only build up the reach of the story itself.
[Art] - 8 - The art is good. It's not amazing, but still good. Not much to say here. It portrayed the emotions of the characters in a subtle but clear enough way which was nice. Also, the characters actually aged and changed throughout the years, which was a nice touch.
[Characters] - 9 - Like I said before, the story isn't limited to Tenma's POV, but actually shows several other characters' too. This actually helped the character development of those characters significantly. The characters change a bit throughout the story and their goals and actions are constantly changing with the new information they're uncovering. Johan, the main antagonist, is a very interesting and quite intriguing character. In fact he's one of the best villains I've seen, managing not to fall in any of the villain stereotypes, creating a unique character that expresses so much. As we get to know him better our idea of him slightly changes, but it also becomes more and more intriguing and by the end I think that out of five different people you'd get five different descriptions of him. That just goes to show how complex he is and how well he was developed throughout the story.
[Enjoyment] - 9 - Before I started reading I honestly thought it'd be a boring manga. You know the type. Those mangas that are very well done, they have lots of details, but all in all, you just can't have fun reading them, they're just not alluring enough. Well thankfully Monster isn't one of those. As I read in a review before I started, Monster's a real page-turner. As the mysteries start getting deeper and the plot develops and gets larger and larger, you can't help but get sucked into the story. You have to keep reading because you have to understand what's going on, what lead to this situation and what's going to happen next. Though there are some parts where the pace tones down a bit, most of the manga is a great ride that'll make you want to keep reading all the way until the end.
[Overall] - 9 - Overall it's a great read that I can safely recommend to anyone. It's a bit long, but trust me it's worth your time and after a couple of volumes you'll stop worrying about how long it is since you'll start getting into the story for real. read more
Jan 24, 2009
Monster isn't a tradional manga. It isn't about fighting. I even dare to say it is a 'Love it or hate it'-manga. If you are the type of Naruto and Bleach and looking for that kind of manga, this isn't the manga for you. If you are looking for an intense, well-written manga, I would recommend this certainly for you.
The story is complex and long. Altough it's long, there isn't one single filler. It is all part of the same story. The story is about several characters, whom all have their own background and story. All the characters, you could just find them in real-life. And that is awesome. It all feels real and the flow of the story is... perfect.
The art was fine, although it isn't traditional drawn. Sometimes I thought the art was too unrealistic for the story. Some of the guys had way too big noses and stuff, but it wasn't really bothering though.
I think it is hard to explain what is so perfect about this manga. The story is excellent, I think that is the main thing why I just like it so much. It is complex and intense, just like I said before. You will like the characters and follow their lives troughout the story. Tenma, the main character, goes from place to place and you get a peek into lives of other people. That is done so fantastic and real that you'll just start loving all those good people.
The story is so complex, it left me with quite some questions. It is a manga in which not everything will be explained. You will have to live with that and make conclusion for your own. I didn't like that first, but now I realise it perhaps is just fine. The actions of humans aren't always explained in real-life either....
My conclusion: This manga is perfect for everyone who loves thrillers and tension! The 10 it has gotten from me, well, it just deserves it! read more
Dec 25, 2007
The story is completely different then any other series I have ever read and leaves me wondering what will happen next to our hero. After every volume, I feel I learned something new, but I'm still no closer to the mystery behind the villian.
This artist has some great skills. Every character and every location is amazingly detailed and drawn so well that any other manga after you seen this one doesn't compare at all. My only complaint is that almost all the female characters are ugly looking in my view.
Yes, this story provides a lot of good characters that you'll come to either love or hate. I like a lot of them and some of them I just plain wish they die. This story is also loaded with side characters that only appear in a very few chapters and then pop up farther in the future making you look through past volumes to remember who they were again. This isn't a problem for me, but I think a few people might find this annoying.
I often read through my manga volumes over and over again, but often very quickly. This series I take my time on. I read over it carefully and try to take in as much as I can because it is so good. Trust me, you'll still want to be reading this series over and over even after it is finished. Though a few chapters were kind of filler and boring that kind of takes the enjoyment away.
Overall, this is a great series with a few minor flaws in my view, but not enough to stop me from buying the next volume. This is a must grab have for any manga fan. Also, this series contains realistic and graphic violence along with brief nudity and some adult situations, so if this kind of stuff bugs you, you might want to skip this series. read more
Dec 14, 2010
This manga takes place in Germany and follows the main character, Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a brilliant brain surgeon. His fiance' is the director of the hospital's daughter. Tenma is torn between following orders from his boss and doing what he thinks is right. Basically he is told to opperate on the mayor of the town, but because a little boy came in first, he decides to go against orders and save the young boy's life. The mayor dies, and he gets demoted, but is finally feeling good about his life, until he realizes he just made the biggest mistake of his life.
The story and art is done by Naoki Urasawa, who has won numerous awards for his manga. Which are much deserved.
I enjoyed every minute of this manga series.
Monster is a thrill ride the whole way. I couldn't stop reading this series, there was never a dull moment.
The characters are all very realistic and have their own unique personalities. There wasn't one character that annoyed me or that I disliked. I cared about what happened to every single one of them.
Dr. Tenma is my favorite character. You can really feel the emotional struggle this character feels. I really feel for him and wish I could help him in his struggle. I look up to him for his bravery, itelligence, and morals. He's one of those characters that makes you realize what it means to be human.
The art in this series is unlike any I've ever seen. It's a very unique art style. To me, it's got more of a realistic look to it than most manga. I can instantly identify Naoki's artwork. Much like a lot of people can recognize Akira Toriyama's art.
These are all the reasons why Monster gets a perfect score from me. I hope you enjoyed my first review and more importantly, pick up Monster. You will not be disappointed.
Apr 26, 2012
Basically about the genius neurosurgeon Tenma who choose duty over hospital politics and decides to save a young child shot in the head over the famous celebrity. Tenma loses his job because of this and worse... the boy he saves grows up to be a crazed serial killer! WHAT.
Lots of twists and turns and increeeedibly addictive. Read all of it in about 2 days. Ending leaves a lot to interpretation, which was a nice touch for a manga that was so morally ambiguous throughout. Writing is very tight; sometimes some threads of the story seem unconnected and you forget about them until they come together so perfectly and you find yourself going back to reread stuff. Masterful.
One of the things I kept thinking about while reading was: Monsters are strong and they'll kill and kill, but a monster cannot kill a monster. Only a human can kill a monster. So the human cannot lose himself to his emotions and descend into his beastly/monstrous side if he wants to right the situation. It was fascinating watching Tenma struggle with this; he's such an awesome character.
Intense, psychological, deep-thinking manga. read more
Jan 9, 2013
Story : 9/10
Easily Monster's strong suit, the storyline is extremely, be it plot , dialogue, and even the translated text holds some literary value in parts. Naoki Urasawa here, as he does with Pluto later, sets his story mostly in Germany , something unusual for a manga but I reckon even more close to the affections and experiences of most Western readers. He masterfully weaves long, seemingly totally disconnected threads , of different characters in different cities , countries, and decades, and then proceeds to masterfully weave them into an ever more closely knit patchwork of vastly different expressions of the human condition. Maybe the best part of the story is the multitude of well thought-out characters with all sort of different motives , backgrounds and modus operandi starting to arrive to the same place through totally different leads, although this starts to wear itself thin by the last 4 volumes . As for the characters , surely some of them exhibit different tropes and stereotypes, but they're for the most part some of the most multi-faceted I've come across in this medium. Another element that sees strong use here is the non-linearity ,both in storytelling and character presentation, done in such a matter that different tidbits of action or reflection from mostly unaware characters , and flashbacks and retellings of the same encounters or memories from many different angles , serve to masterfully reduce and delineate a seemingly chaotic plot into a lucid raconte.
Art : 8/10
The art plays second fiddle in this work, and while it is certainly way above average, its most striking characteristic is how accurately it manages to portray a different setting from what we're used to in manga, the very realistic and grotesque in their humanity characters, and the alteration of light and shadow that fits the story's frantic bursts of action and long reflections and searches, as well as the overall work's gritty feel.
Character : 9/10
The main characters make a very interesting cast , with the extremely smart do-gooder who presses ahead regardless of difficutlies, and the twins , given an extra tinge of ambiguity by their frequent change of roles, the different approaches they chose to follow after being exposed to a traumatic experience, and the way their past is uncovered to each of them through themselves or others help give the story its edge. The supporting cast is very well chosen from across a spectrum of society , given varying roles, and seeing the various things inside man that can turn everyman into a monster.
Overall , this is the best slice of life shoujo manga I've ever read. Be it desensetized violence, edgy and improbable plot twists, a misunderstood and enigmatic prodigy, brutally cruel or heart-rendingly humane , played out in different portions and themes across the cast, dark pseudo-slavic, communist exploitation , and truly insane bishies, this manga is a perfect match for the teen getting bored with the industrial scale repetition of standardized tropes. Nah, just kidding, it's awesome, one of the best I've read in a long time.
Oct 22, 2008
Action scenes are superb and perfectly paced, and the cliffhangers are as ever relentless and exciting – I am just plain enthralled by Urasawa’s skills as an entertainer. In these days of hearing fans complain about “decompression,” a reading of MONSTER makes it clear how few of them really are aware of what a considerable pleasure it can be in the right hands: in MONSTER, Urasawa can spend chapters allowing an atmosphere of evil to slowly accumulate. Nail-biting cliffhangers can arise from the suggestion of evil instead of evil leaping out frothing onto the page screaming naked. Tension can accumulate. A page can be spent with a character outside of a murder scene, a page spent on nothing more than slowly regarding the doorknob that leads to some horrifying scene or another. I appreciate the “decompression” backlash – MONSTER came out over seven years, probably twice a month (if my math is right), while American comics come out more rarely – once a month if you’re LUCKY—and are far more expensive. American comics do not have either the business model or, perhaps, dedicated enough creators to allow for the pleasures that I feel “decompression” has to offer. And American style pacing of the kind fans long for has its own pleasure which can be considerable. But let’s at least acknowledge the loss.
After those thousands of well-timed pages, I’d like to say MONSTER was a success. But, I’m sorry, no: a mess. The book chases after a bad guy so miraculously evil, so much in the shadows that we hardly ever get to know him on-page. Urasawa’s early attempts at writing for an ensemble are occasionally exciting, as the book zig-zags into unexpected character introductions and disappearances, but the end result is that the lead characters all go missing for significant chunks of time without adequate cause. And ultimately by the end, I wasn’t sure if it all added up to anything worth the pages – the ending is exciting but after the thousands of pages building to it, hopelessly anti-climactic (Urasawa seems to realize this and intercuts a ridiculously sentimental lottery subplot that I can’t imagine any reader could possibly caring about with his grande’ finale).
Page-turners are fun, but after a few thousand pages of comics, its simply too hard not to expect more. And I must admit, after those thousands of pages, I felt lost as to what I had read, in seeing the big picture of what had happened. MONSTER is crazy pleasurable in the moment, action-packed, constantly engaging and bringing all the energy comics can bring into a slick piece of entertainment… but for me, I found it ultimately empty – not an experience I regret, in that I imagine I’d feel that way about any suspense thriller. Suspense thrillers are not really my genre. read more
Dec 21, 2010
When the MAL user oOoOoOo wrote this in his MW review:
"While an interesting character sketch, I cannot say much for the story itself. Machinations and dramatic events often seem forced and unrealistic, compared to the more carefully plotted mysteries of "Monster"."
I have to admit I couldn't remove my bias even before I completed the first arc/chapter/plot event. (The way the story is told is via one huge epic. This could just have easily been a Resident Evil type of game, a film directed by Kubrick or a crime thriller novel and thus normal manga reviewing aren't as relevant to grasping the quality of this series)
In that initial bias, I so wanted to shout "overrated" and how this was another fake Hollywood made serial killer story and I dearly wanted to write a counter rebuttal to the above reviewer stating scene for scene why Monster's plots are more unrealistic, unlikely and forget forced - the characters literally are supermen who don't die and how reviewer keasty was right.
Truth of the matter is though, it does hold a certain charm. A certain finesse. It's probably even a better researched or recreated world than your average quality manga. The artist or the writer isn't very shy in creating the type of epics that would sell well towards those seeking a more defined taste of entertainment in their medium. In that sense it's very high quality work in the sense that the locations and the places are all different and the characters literally move everywhere in the world and they were able to avoid the repetitiveness of focusing on only one or two generic characters. In that sense, keasty might have undersold the idea of a mature Ash Ketchum hovering around the world. This is not your typical rpg or battle manga setting, every new location contains detailed minor characters.
I do however disagree with his review when he says this is more mature. No, the good doctor doesn't help solve anything. Your typical dark Batman strip or even Pokemon attempts to solve more mature problems than the main character in this series. Where it's able to disguise itself as a mature manga is by utilizing many of the same caricatures Award-winning Hollywood films utilize when creating a dark tortured character. Maybe slightly more original but not too much. Think Rambo + Jason Bourne + a doctor that's on par with Black Jack or House but dealing with less mature medical events and mostly involving him using his skills to win over common friends (who happen to be not so common)
It's this element that makes Monster a disappointing manga for those who are looking for a mature themed manga. The Emperor's New Clothes are there but in the end the main protagonist could just have easily disguised himself as the antagonist and the only difference in their heroics is his medical ability. (Which believe it or not is his trump card even at the end. You could even consider this manga a how to guide on how to conquer the world via reciprocity. It's all very Hollywood propaganda-ish like that - although I'm not claiming this manga is maliciously made - it's just cheap like that. The type of pseudo-intellectual inducing scenario that makes it sound original until you realize the lack of depth/strategy or actual background behind any of the events)
What makes this "un-overrated" though is that despite my complaints above, the middle point of this manga is mostly revolving around a conspiracy theory and in that aspect it's very good at playing with the whole Hollywood scenario. Think of it like a dual paradox. What I just wrote above complaining about is at the same time what the plot is addressing on the mystery side of the issue. It's very "plot within a plot/complaint within a complaint" like that and for that it is able to paint an epic semi-realistic dark fantasy that is only broken by the overall merging of all the elements.
In the end, read this manga only if you are planning to complete it. Regardless whether you hate the beginning or the middle or found this to be too long - you've just wasted your time if you don't do this. Treat this like a movie - if you're not willing to watch it till the end - you'll miss out on why you truly hate or love this and all you get is just one whole filler manga. Not because the ending ties things all up but because like a movie the first two stages are worthless unless you reach that 3rd stage of the plot. If you're not able to do this, well I'm not saying the manga couldn't be better in your eyes as the final product does take away many charming elements but suffice to say you won't really be able to fully understand the "canon" of this manga. (although honestly I was bored to tears by the whole series that I didn't bother to check out the novel with the epilogue interviews)
For those still unsure, my hint for why the latter parts of Monster are necessary revolves around a certain dark fairy tale artwork. If you like puppet master types of conspiracy - Monster doesn't have the detailed bite but it does possess one of the better barks. A bark that's good enough to judge this as a whole regardless of how silly/immature/disappointed you are with the series so far. Think of it as finally witnessing the "Monster" although not in a scary but interesting manner.
All the rest? Well, here's a summary of what makes Monster fake and Hollywood only:
-bad psychologists (not even if you don't know anything about psychology)
-super doctor (with little to no medical drama scenes to justify this)
-unrealistic mystery (literally it's one whole chase scene - the mystery revolves around the antagonist already being established in the seedy underground even though it's very unlikely that he should have gotten that far already even by fantasy standards)
-Hollywood minor characters (if you thought Hollywood protagonists were bad enough, the minor characters often edge them via doing some of the most ludicrous ways of surviving and I'm not even referring to those who get lots of return cameo scenes. Even those who died, you can't help but feel after the first couple murder scene every death becomes more and more stupid)
-It could have been way way better and more and more mature if only... (Again going back to MW, part of why it seemed realistic in MW despite it being fantasy was the viciousness and unpredictability of the deaths. Anyone who knows anything about serial killing knows it's the unlikely candidates that make the killings that much hard to locate. Even in terms of fantasy morality, Light Yagami of Death Note fame for example had more caution and strategy than the antagonist of this series even though there's barely any fictional super-weapon in this series and yet the antagonist is able to survive this far and this long. Finally characters are too sensitive despite their hardened background. If MW was preachy because of Tezuka trying to hone in on the severity of the events happening on the characters, Monster is preachy in the opposite manner. Guys have life changing moments despite the scenes being generic and yet they shit on their own revolutions one arc later once the plot doesn't call them to be relevant towards that previous scene anymore. It's like three dimensional fictional characters becoming two dimensional because instead of fully continuing character development - it's all this arc - growth - stop - next arc - growth and then stop and there's no rinse or repeat. It's all intended canon ending up being fillers not because it took too long but because it kept resetting the character's development.) read more
Sep 4, 2009
The story for monster is what lets it down. The story basically follows a fugitive doctor that is chasing a serial killer. While this is happening the doctor is being chased by the police, who think he has committed the murders. Along the way the doctor meets a lot of families/individuals, makes friends and teaches people. He is helping them to grow and mature in their own right, simultaneously proving his own innocence. This occurs in a similar way that Ash helps people in pokemon but on a much more mature scale. The good doctor helps to eradicate racism, violence etc.
So far I haven't really given any reason for why the storyline is so bad. This is the thing, the story goes on for way too long in the same manner (the Ash - pokemon manner), it is extremely predictable and there is a huge anticlimax at the end. If I hear that a manga is a 10/10 or 9/10 I expect the end to stay in my mind for a good week at least, I expect it to be somewhat epic in how it captivates and causes me to constantly think back to it, each time thinking to myself 'wow' that manga was sweet. Monster severely let me down in this department the anticlimax left me constantly thinking back to the manga 'how could the artist leave it in such a shit way'.
The art for this manga starts off pretty poorly and at times the reader isn't too sure what’s going on, it quickly improves into a well drawn, well spaced manga. At times I found myself simply looking at the buildings or the scenes thinking 'how did the artist draw this, it would've taken him weeks'. The art is at times top notch but then a lot of the german characters look identical/generic and only the main characters seem to differ in appearance. One thing I really liked about the manga is that the female characters were drawn very well, even provocative and sexy, at times.
The characters. Ok the characters kind of made this manga. While the doctor heads all around the countryside helping people you, as the reader, meet numerous characters that have feeling, that carry emotions, that you can relate to real people and real mannerisms! This is a bonus. Without giving too much of the storyline away I would like to say that the doctor kind of adopts a child along the way and this is where you really start to feel the characters. I kept wondering 'what's going to happen to little *****' or 'how can they do that to children'. You really feel and relate to the characters, so in that way this manga is tops.
The enjoyment? Meh. For a lot of this manga I was honestly thinking 'why are people on myanimelist so in love with manga?' This manga was the first manga I’ve read off reviews from this site. All the other mangas I’ve read have been because of a friends review or a forum review. I trudged through this manga constantly hoping it would get better. So in that way the enjoyment was seriously lacking. It's really not an enjoyable manga to read, reading it seemed like a chore for a long time.
Overall if you have a long holiday break coming up and you want to read a generic storyline with a pokemon-like 'I’m going to aid people along the way’ feel to it, go nuts. This manga is for you, be warned though, there is an anti-climax at the end, you'll think to yourself more than once 'this main character needs to take a concrete pill harden the fuck up and kill the bastard' and you'll probably think at the end of it 'where did all the time go, I’ve gained nothing from this'.
To the folks that monitor the reviews I apologise in advance if this contains too much spoiler info and for mentioning the other reviews but in my defence the other reviews were my reason for reading it and in the context of my review I felt they needed to be mentioned
Jan 30, 2011
I loved the characters, The back story of the characters and the mystery.
The only things that I didn't like about it that it had a really slow start. I even skipped a few pages to be honest. Sometimes the plot got a little bit unrealistic but it still was an interesting read.
I'd recommend this though but with fair warning. read more