If there’s one thing anime knows how to do quite well, it’s scare us. Urasawa does a fine job at that with his hard-hitting, hard-to-watch/read manga and anime series, Monster. Monster is a sadly underrated mystery thriller about a young man named Kenzo Tenma, who is just an ordinary doctor operating on patients in his hospital. Life is good for him; he’s engaged to a young woman named Eva Heinemann who just so happens to be the daughter of the director he admires so much (hello big bucks) and he’s well-liked by everyone in the hospital.

Then one day, his fate spins wildly out of his control before his own eyes. A German couple who fled from East Germany get murdered and the only witnesses are their children, a young boy who was shot in the head and a young girl who suffered amnesia from the trauma. He operates on the young boy, instead of following the director’s orders like he’s always done and in return, he ends up losing everything dear to him-Eva breaks it off with him simply because he didn’t follow “Daddy’s” orders and Heinemann throws away his status.

Furious, he confesses to the young boy and tells him he’d rather they wind up dead. The next day, he learns THEY ARE DEAD and the patients are gone from the hospital. Nine years pass and his life returns to normal-then his destiny goes out of whack again. What can I say about this masterpiece of a series? First off, the characters-dear lord, the characters are so wonderful-even if the side characters have a bad habit of dying, Urasawa just has that magic touch to make you love them and care about them so wonderfully. Then there’s Anna, the poor little girl who grows up to have quite an interesting life, then there’s the curious detective, Inspector Lunge, who prefers work to spending time with his wife and daughter (who don’t take very kindly to that, thank you.)

It spans eighteen volumes-eighteen volumes of magic, madness, and a never-ending sense of regret-why oh why isn’t this series longer? I have not finished the anime but I am working on watching it all again, just to get wrapped up in that brilliant gem of a storyline. Not many manga are written like this nowadays, and for him to get it all so faithful and make it so realistic it hurts, Urasawa is a genius writer.

Story: 10/10 Very few stories manage to conclude themselves as wonderfully as this one does without leaving a few loose ends.

Art:10/10 Very good….the characters all look quite human….no big eyes here. You can actually tell for once who’s an American or who’s Japanese.

Action:10/10 The dialogue keeps you on the edge of your seat.

A wonderful series that everyone should read.