Monster (Manga) add (All reviews)
Mar 22, 2012
"Look at me! Look at me! The monster inside of me has grown this big!".

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.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9
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