Monster Vol. #05 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 234
  • ISBN: 978-1-4215-0498-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Monster Vol. #05

By Sakura Eries     October 11, 2006
Release Date: October 17, 2006

Monster Vol.#05
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Naoki Urasawa
Translated by:Hirotaka Kakiya
Adapted by:Agnes Yoshida

What They Say
Suspecting that Johan suffers from a multiple-personality disorder, Dr. Tenma calls upon expert criminal psychologist Rudy Gillen to help him in his campaign to stop Johan. But will Dr. Gillen come to the same conclusion as the authorities: that Tenma is the killer with the split personality?

The Review
The plot thickens as Tenma somehow keeps one step ahead of the police while unraveling the enigma that is Johan. In an attempt to garner clues from the cryptic messages left by Johan, Tenma seeks the aid of Rudi Gillen, a former college classmate who is now a noted criminal psychologist. But will this not-quite-friend with a monster-sized chip on his shoulder aid Tenma or betray him to the authorities?

As Tenma searches in Germany, Nina tracks down one of the men who killed her foster parents in France. Will she simply force him to give her clues to the answers she seeks or will her desire to avenge her parents get the better of her?

Meanwhile, Lunge, obsessed with Tenma and what he believes to be Tenma's alternate personality, lays the groundwork for a trap. The indefatigable inspector is so determined he has no qualms manipulating people and distorting the truth to lure in his prey.

I would like to preface my comments by saying that I am not usually a connoisseur of psychological thrillers or thrillers of any sort for that matter. However, I have made a special exception for Monster. I happened to watch the first episode of the anime based on this manga by chance and was instantly hooked. To give an idea of how riveting Urasawa's work is, when I finally managed to get the final 12 episodes of the anime, I watched all of them that very night. It's_that_good. As such, I'm extremely delighted Viz is translating this manga to English.

For those familiar with the anime, this volume corresponds to Episodes 19 through 22 and jibes so well with the anime that I felt like I was reading storyboard for the TV series. I have a lot of respect for Urasawa. When I think about all the effort he must've put into researching psychology, neurology, German geography and society, and Cold War history, my head just spins. And he's managed to combine all those elements to create a masterfully compelling story with unforgettable characters. The interesting thing is that he keeps on introducing new ones. His cast just keeps growing, yet he somehow keeps each character distinct, even those who show up only for single chapter. Urasawa also has a marvelous sense of pacing. When I reached the conclusion of this volume, even though I knew from the anime how the scene would end, his drawings still had me on the edge of my seat -- and this is without the freaky background music. Okay, enough gushing.

Considering what a wonderfully written and drawn (and addictive) series Monster is, I would have thought Viz would have been more careful with its production. The print quality could show improvement. My copy is muddy in spots and has tiny ink speckles in another, and the corner of one panel frame did not print through. The alignment is also slightly off. And there's not much by the way of extras except for a single paragraph biography on Urasawa and Viz ads.


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