Naoki Urasawa's career as a manga artist spans more than twenty years and has firmly established him as one of the true manga masters of Japan. Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with BETA! in 1983 and hasn't stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa's oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple ARMY; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (Monster), a sci-fi adventure manga (20th Century Boys), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka (Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka; co-authored with Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka, and with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions). Many of his books have spawned popular animated and live-action TV programs and films, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three live-action Japanese films based on 20th Century Boys. No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and has received the Kodansha Manga Award. Similarly, Monster has been nominated three times for the Eisner Award in America. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.
A gifted neurosurgeon saves a boy's life, later to learn that the child has become a serial killer. Worse, the surgeon is accused of the murders. What now? He decides to turn rogue: quits the hospital, buys a gun, and searches for the monster while evading the police. But who is the monster? Through 18 volumes, we meet the monster countless times: not just in the beautiful young man whose seductive cocktail of nihilism wins him recruits and keeps him just out of Dr. Tenma's reach but in honchos in the shadowy Czech movement plotting to create bermenschen, "upstanding citizen" characters, the marginally deranged author of some peculiar children's books, and the doctor's selfish ex-financee. Verdict Urasawa's brilliant thriller pits character against character in nasty and complex cascades of violence, yet we understand and sympathize with every individual. The quadruple twist ending defies anticipation, holding up a challenge: What should we all do? Highly recommended for adults.-M.C. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.