Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 4 by Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki (A J!-ENT Manga Review)
November 21, 2015 by J!-ENT
It’s absolutely wonderful that Viz Media has released the “Master Keaton” omnibus in North America. It’s one of the most intriguing, smartly written manga series to come out in the United States. “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!
© 1989 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts, Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 4
STORY AND ART BY: Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ SIGNATURE/Viz Media, LLC
RATED: OT for Older Teen
RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2015
Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, the son of a Japanese zoologist and an English noblewoman, is an insurance investigator known for his successful and unorthodox methods of investigation. Educated in archaeology and a former member of the SAS, Master Keaton uses his knowledge and combat training to uncover buried secrets, thwart would-be villains, and pursue the truth…
Taichi Hiraga Keaton’s dream is to devote his time to further studying archaeology. In reality, however, he is an ace investigator for the insurance organization Lloyd’s. A kindhearted man, Keaton has a life filled with danger and setbacks due to his job and calling.
Keaton investigates the deaths of two Romani and it leads him to a man named Mihael Farkas, who was sent four antique books about the “Pied Piper of Hamelin”. But what is the significance of the books and why did they want it in Mihael’s possession?
Meanwhile, during a taxi ride, Keaton talks to the taxi driver from South Africa. As they drive, they notice an accident with an African man who takes off running. Why is he so intent of helping the man?
In another case, Keaton helps a woman who’s child has gone missing. While in another, someone has been killing I.R.A. members, who is responsible?
All this and more in “Master Keaton – Omnibus vol. 4”.
What is “Master Keaton” all about?
In 1998, “Master Keaton” was a manga series serialized in “Big Comic Original”.
Created by Hokusei Katshika and Naoki Urasawa, the series was released through 1994 and ran for 144 chapters. In Japan, a total of 18 tankobon volumes were released and in 1998-1999, a 24-episode animate adaptation was aired on Nippon Television plus an additional 15 OVA episodes were created and were once released in the United States.
In 2012, Urasawa would create the sequel to the series titled “Master Keaton Remaster” with writer Takashi Nagasaki and the series was serialized in “Big Comic Original” and was set 20 years after the original series ended.
And now, Viz Media is releasing an omnibus of the manga series which includes 12 chapters and part of the Viz Signature imprint.
The story of “Master Keaton” revolves around a man named Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, the son of Japanese Zoologist Taihei Hiraga and Englishwoman Patricia Keaton. Because his parents separated when he was young, Taichi was raised in England by his mother.
He studied archaeology at Oxford University under Professor Yuri Scott. While married, like his father, he also divorced and has a daughter named Yuriko who was raised by her mother but recently has been visiting her father now that she is a high school student.
While Master Keaton teaches archaeology at Kotozawa University and is often taking jobs as an insurance investigator with Lloyd’s of London that require his expertise. Sometimes the job can be very dangerous. But the other side of Keaton is that he was also a member of the British Army, and its SAS (Special Air Service) division…special forces. Keaton was a survival instructor and saw combat in the Falklands War and one of the team members who responded to the Iranian Embassy incident.
He skills of survival but also combat is remarkable but his knowledge of archaeology and antiques are also uncanny. And now, he must take on various jobs around the world that puts him and his clients at risk.
“Master Keaton” is an entertaining and smartly written manga series.
On the outside, you think Keaton is just a normal man but not only is he able to outwit anyone who tries to hurt him, his survival skills are uncanny. But yet, he is a man with faults and that lies more in his life as a father (he’s so busy that he hasn’t really been there for his daughter) and his concern for his ex-wife (he no doubt loves her but also too busy to be a married man).
While I won’t go so far as calling him a James Bond-ish type of character, as he isn’t actually suave, he is a survivalist and an knowledgeable about ancient history and antiques.
Not many know of his special forces training, they just know of his knowledge of antiques, and thus he goes into areas that are a bit dangerous.
In omnibus volume 4, you will find deeper, well-written stories. The first multi-chapter deals with the illustrations of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” and the death of 30,000 Romani by the Nazis. Someone became a traitor and worked against their own people but someone is responsible for the deaths of the Romani and tried to use their deaths in order to gain profit. Keaton and the one person who can find out the truth who killed his brother and the many Romani, but someone else wants them dead.
In one of the more touch stories in this fourth omnibus actually involves Keaton’s daughter Yuriko, as we learn about her teacher and his deceased son. And the regrets he has as a father.
Another story is more about mental health and a psychological storyline involving a young woman who claims her daughter has been kidnapped.
Another storyline deals with faith in God, after a man had lost his faith.
One of the deeper storylines revolves around the I.R.A. and the death of its members. Who is responsible for the murders?
For the most part, I was very impressed with each of these stories as they were well-researched, well-written and really go into the historical details of an item, of a culture and more.
The art and the ancient history portion of various chapters are well-researched and Hokusei Katsuhika did a wonderful job, while the artwork by Urasawa is wonderful as always.
It’s absolutely wonderful that Viz Media has released the “Master Keaton” omnibus in North America. It’s one of the most intriguing, smartly written manga series to come out in the United States.
“Master Keaton” is highly recommended!
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