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Naoki Urasawa's Monster


Cover artwork for Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Volume 1

© Naoki Urasawa / Shogakukan Inc.


Naoki Urasawa’s Monster (English)
Monster (Japanese)


Author and Artist: Naoki Urasawa



18 volumes

Manga Genres:

Content Rating:

OT – Older Teens Age 16+, for bloody and violent crime scenes, mature story themes
More about content ratings

About the Manga:

Monster was originally serialized in the pages of Big Comic from 1995 through 2001. It is one of Urasawa’s most popular series, and was awarded the Media Arts Festival Award for Excellence in 1997 and the Osamu Tezuka Award in 1999. Spanning 18 volumes, the series is published in the U.S. by Viz Media, and has been twice-nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award for 2007.

About the Author / Artist:

Born in Tokyo in 1960, Naoki Urasawa is one of Japan’s most popular and successful comics artists. A versatile and talented storyteller, his comics series includes sports manga, suspense, science fiction and action stories, often geared for adult audiences. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Shogakukan New Manga Artist Award in 1982, and is a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Award.

Story Summary:

Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a brilliant Japanese neurosurgeon based in Düsseldorf, Germany has the skills to save lives. His life turns upside down on the day he finds out that a boy he operated on nine years ago has grown up to be a murderer.

Dedicated to the healing arts, Tenma finds out early on that his idealism leaves him ill-equipped to deal with the vicious backbiting of hospital politics. After operating on and saving the life of a famous opera singer instead of a poor immigrant laborer who arrived at the hospital first, Dr. Tenma finds himself haunted by his supervisor’s and his fiancé’s contention that 'not all lives are created equal.'

So when Tenma must next choose whether to operate on a highly-placed political official versus a young boy with a bullet wound to the head, his decision to work on the boy sets in motion a series of events with repercussions that will ripple across his life almost 10 years later.

As the many mysteries of Monster reveal themselves, Tenma finds that the little life he saved nine years ago is at the center of a vast conspiracy of Eastern European espionage, mind control and murder. Can he solve this dangerous puzzle before it kills him?

Main Characters:

Dr. Kenzo Tenma
The youngest son from a family of doctors, Dr. Tenma left Japan in search of opportunities for medical advancement in Germany. Respected for his outstanding skills as a neurosurgeon, Tenma finds that his idealism often comes into conflict with the self-serving politics of his hospital and its administrators.

Johan Liebert
As a child, Johan and his twin sister Anna emigrated from East Germany with their parents. Shortly thereafter, both of his parents are found dead in their home, his sister is in a state of catatonic shock, and he’s near death with a bullet wound to the head. Tenma’s skills saved him then, but nine years later, Johan has turned into a cold-blooded serial killer, making him the "monster" of this series.

Anna Liebert / Nina Fortner
After the shocking murder of her parents, Anna has no memory of her childhood. Whisked away from her past life, Anna is living a normal life as Nina Fortner, a brilliant law student at the University of Heidelberg. Upon her 20th birthday, her past comes back to haunt her, as her brother is seeking her out for reasons unknown.

Inspector Lunge
Armed with a photographic memory and unusually perceptive detective skills, Inspector Lunge first encounters Dr. Tenma after the mysterious deaths of three hospital officials and the accompanying disappearance of young Anna and Johan Liebert. Nine years later, another series of murders reunites the two, as Lunge sets his crosshairs on Dr. Tenma as his prime suspect.

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