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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-12-14 13:05
Naoki Urasawa's Monster (manga, vol. 18) translated by Satoki Yamada
Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Vol. 18 - Naoki Urasawa,Satoki Yamada

It's almost ridiculous how many characters turn up for the final showdown with Johan. So much happens in this volume, and I'm not sure what to think. I'm a little mad about

Grimmer's fate. I wanted that guy to get another chance at a decent life. I think Tenma would have helped him.

(spoiler show)


I'm glad I made it all the way to the end, but it's a little unsatisfying. It's not terribly important, but I'd have liked to learn what Johan and Nina's mom named them. Will Johan ever heal? And who are we supposed to see as the “monster” in this series? For Tenma, for most of the series, it was Johan. Now, though, it seems like Johan's mother is being named as the root of all of it, for naming her children as executors of her vengeance and for choosing between her children when it came time to send one to the recital at the mansion. Johan spent his whole life wondering if Anna/Nina was sent because his mother preferred him, or if she had simply mixed up which child was which (since Johan dressed like his sister) and had intended to send him, the less favored child, instead.

I'm still not sure what to think about this ending, although it's one that will probably stick with me.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-12-14 13:00
Naoki Urasawa's Monster (manga, vol. 17) translated by Reina Maruyama
Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Vol. 17 - Naoki Urasawa,Reina Maruyama

Neat, I actually managed to correctly guess this volume's twist in advance. I still have no idea why Johan dressed as Nina. Maybe because he thought she was more important than himself? Anyway, even if Nina was the one at the mansion, it was still Johan at 511 Kinderheim, right? So they both had horrific childhoods, but Johan was the only one who took all that and turned it into years of murders. I still feel kind of sorry for him, though. Had their circumstances been different, would he have turned out differently?

I'm happy to see more of Lunge and Grimmer. The massacre at Ruhenheim happens fast – this town must have been a powder keg from the start, for Johan's people to stir them up so quickly.

A warning (although, if you made it this far, you're probably going to be reading this volume anyway): this volume contains the killing of a dog, a cat, and several kids. I don't recall any of it being on-page, although several of the bodies are shown.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2014-12-13 13:05
Naoki Urasawa's Monster (manga, vol. 16) translated by Satch Watanabe (Sigma Six)
Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Vol. 16 - Naoki Urasawa,Satch Watanabe

Now we have another person who accidentally helped a monster and feels guilty about the results. Milan

helped Capek, his friend at the time, go to East Germany from Czechoslovakia and feels responsible for the terrible things he then did.

(spoiler show)


This, all of this, is so complex, widespread, and deeply embedded that I don't know if even killing Johan could stop any of it. It's not that the whole world is evil – Tenma keeps coming across good people, too – it's just that this isn't something killing one person could solve. Tenma's efforts seem futile.

So, now we know that Johan and Nina

were intentionally bred as part of some kind of program. That last scene seems like an indicator that it was Nina who came home to find Johan dressed as her, which would fit with my theory that it was Nina at the mansion. I guess Johan was dressing as Nina even back when they were children.

(spoiler show)

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2014-12-13 13:00
Naoki Urasawa's Monster (manga, vol. 15) translated by Satch Watanabe and Hiroki Shirota
Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Vol. 15: The Door to Memories - Naoki Urasawa,Satch Watanabe,Hiroki Shirota

I still enjoyed this, although it had some “OMG really?” moments: 

the hypnosis, which worked perfectly right away, and Eva, completely inexperienced with guns, deciding to kill Johan. Yes, I know Eva liked Martin and still likes Tenma, even though she won't admit it, but still. Completely inexperienced with guns. Even Tenma had the sense to get training first.

I'm still hooked. I really want to know more about Nina's memories. I have a feeling she experienced all the bad stuff at the mansion and developed amnesia about the whole thing, and Johan decided to protect her by taking it all upon himself.

(spoiler show)

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2014-12-12 13:05
Naoki Urasawa's Monster (manga, vol. 14) translated by Nobu Yamada and Masaru Noma
Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 14: That Night - Naoki Urasawa,浦沢 直樹,Nobu Yamada,Masaru Noma

I'm really confused about Johan and Anna/Nina's timeline. When did the Red Rose Mansion stuff happen, 511 Kinderheim, Nina and Johan's mother, etc.? There are a lot of parts here, and while the connections are still interesting, it can be a bit much.

I've started to question whether Johan's death would really be the end of this series. I spent so much of the series thinking that Johan was the series' titular monster, but he didn't just spring into the universe fully formed. He was molded, and we're seeing more of that now.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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