Monster Vol. #08 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 216
  • ISBN: 1421505010
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Monster

Monster Vol. #08

By Greg Hackmann     June 20, 2007
Release Date: April 17, 2007

Monster Vol.#08
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Naoki Urasawa
Translated by:Juri Nozaki
Adapted by:Agnes Yoshida

What They Say
Tenma is hot on Johan's trail and he's more determined than ever. Now in top physical condition and armed with a high-performance sniper rifle, has Tenma acquired the keen hunter's edge necessary to bag his prey? Or will his physician's instincts prevent him from carrying out his dreaded task?

The Review
Tenma, having tracked down Johan to the Munich estate of wealthy businessman Hans Schuwald, is preparing to finally end Johan's reign of terror. Tenma undergoes sniper rifle training, with the intent of assassinating Johan during one of his frequent trips to the forest with Schuwald. Though Tenma is initially forced into a change of plans, the opportunity presents itself again when Schuwald announces a rare public appearance at a library dedication ceremony.

Meanwhile, Gillen lets Tenma's whereabouts slip in a conversation with Lunge, leading Lunge to pick up Tenma's trail in Munich. Johan has begun an investigation of his own, into Schuwald's association with the prostitute Margot Langer. Lunge's and Johan's research cross paths briefly when both are led to copies of the infamous Czech picture book. As Lunge begins looking into Johan's apparent infatuation with the book, we see the first signs that he may be wavering in his convictions of Tenma's guilt.

Once again, Urasawa's complexly layered plot and meticulous psychological depth make reading Monster a rare treat. This volume's only real failing is that the sheer quantity of plot threads tackled here can be a bit overwhelming. Apart from the three major subplots tracking Tenma, Lunge, and Johan, there are smaller ongoing subplots involving Gillen, Dieter, Nina, and Lotte -- not to mention the introduction of new minor characters with corresponding backstories. When combined with the series's trademark pacing, some of these threads move forward at a frustratingly slow rate. But this is a minor complaint, and one that doesn't really affect my enjoyment of the overall story.

But really, what can I say here that hasn't already been said? Fans of psychological thrillers owe it to themselves to pick this series up, and to cross their fingers that Urasawa maintains his high standards through to the end. Even readers who aren't so fond of the genre should at least go back and give the first volume a spin.


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