Johan and Tenma finally meet again in the climactic end to Urasawa’s thriller masterpiece!
Writer/Artist: Naoki Urusawa
Translation: Satoki Yamada
Adaptation: Agnes Yoshida
What They Say
A diabolical monster has transformed Ruhenheim, a little village nestled in the German countryside, into hell on earth--and his name is Johan. Tenma, Grimmer and Inspector Lunge try desperately to stem the flow of carnage as Nina steels herself for a final confrontation with her twin brother. Will Johan's madness succeed in snuffing out the lives of everyone who's ever known him? All questions are answered in the thrilling, pulse-pounding conclusion to Naoki Urasawa's Monster, one of the most exciting manga series of all time!
The paths of Tenma, Nina, Lunge, and Grimmer have crossed and recrossed in their pursuit of the monster that is Johan, and now all four converge upon Ruhenheim -- just as the sleepy little village turns into a bloodbath! Tenma, Grimmer, and Lunge desperately strive to get the innocent to safety while keeping Johan's puppets at bay, and in the midst of the mayhem, the darkest of Nina's childhood memories finally surfaces. As Ruhenheim transforms into the scenery for a doomsday, Johan makes his appearance at last. Will Tenma survive long enough to accomplish his quest of killing the monster he once saved?
I had mixed feelings upon reaching the end of this manga. On one hand, it was nice after so much suspense to finally get closure to this story. But on the other hand, Urasawa's story with its memorable characters and intelligently written plot is so good I almost didn't want it to end. There are manga that only manga fans will enjoy, and then there are those so compelling even non-manga and non-anime readers can enjoy them. I strongly feel that Urasawa's Monster falls into the latter category.
The front cover touts this as a manga "from Japan's Master of Suspense," and in my opinion, that's no exaggeration. Urasawa keeps the tension high throughout the entire Ruhenheim massacre, and even in the final two chapters, which are a flash forward into the "happily ever after" lives of those that survive the bloodshed, he manages to sneak in some chilling moments.
By the way, if you're hoping for every single question to be answered in this final volume, you'll be disappointed. Some facts remain unknown even to our characters while other answers are revealed to the characters but not the reader. In particular, a final set of flashbacks fill several key gaps in Johan's and Nina's past but not all, and those last details will just have to remain a mystery to the reader.
Volume 18 extras include a three-page diagram detailing the connections between the different characters and ads for other Viz titles.