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Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 10 by Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki (A J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

masterkeaton-10

If you love mystery, action and well-written, smart stories, “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

© 1989 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts, Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 10

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: March 21, 2017


Taichi Hiraga Keaton is a busy insurance investigator who yearns to make a living as an archaeologist. Just how long does he have to continue working as an investigator? Keaton is uncertain of his future, but he does know that a string of difficult cases awaits him!


A bar keeper’s son is killed.  Who is responsible?

A woman gets close to Keaton and wants him to pretend that he is her husband.  But why?

Someone is murdering people in a smuggling ring.  But what relationship do they have with the Nazis?

A young girl’s mother is getting married, but the mother thinks her daughter Alice is defective and not a proper young lady.  She hires Keaton to teach tutor her, but can Keaton get through to Alice?

What happens when Oliver Woodworth returns, wanting to become Keaton’s assistant?

And something sinister is going on in the mysterious Landberry Village in Wales.  Can Keaton and Detective Neville find out what is going on in the village?

All this and more in “Master Keaton – Omnibus vol. 10”.

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 10, you get a good number of diverse stories. From Keaton helping out the bar owner who’s estranged son was murdered.  Who was responsible?

Another story revolves around Oliver Woodworth coming back and leaving his father’s wealthy business to become Keaton’s assistant.  But Keaton tries to prevent Woodworth from being his assistant due to the danger of the job.

There is also an intriguing story that involves a smuggling ring with each of its members being killed.  With a link to the Nazi’s, Keaton must find out who is murdering members of the smuggling ring.

And another fascinating chapter involves Dr. Neville going to Landbery Village in Wales to find an escaped convict.  Neville finds Keaton also on the scene but something sinister is happening around the village.

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 cultures 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 available in the United States. And the good thing is you can pick up any volume and not really miss out on continuity because each chapter is a different case for series protagonist, Keaton.

If you love mystery, action and well-written, smart stories, “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

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Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 5 by Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki (A J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

masterkeaton-7

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 and the seventh volume is absolutely riveting. “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

© 1989 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts, Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 7

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: June 21, 2016


Master Keaton volume 7 features art by Naoki Urasawa with story by Hokusei Katsushika and Naoki Urasawa.

When the wall that separated the East and West falls, the 20th century comes to an end and brings radical change to the world. During this turbulent time, Taichi Hiraga Keaton has difficulty finding a job in archaeology even though his long line of cases as an insurance investigator doesn’t seem to end. As he navigates through dangerous adventures, Keaton encounters some bittersweet lives…


Keaton investigates a man who disappeared.  Meanwhile, in Czechoslovakia, Keaton is carjacked by a man who is being followed by thugs including a Soviet soldier.

Meanwhile, why are people who touches the golden statue of the goddess Isis ending up dead?

Keaton investigates a case of British soldiers who have been murdered and their noses removed.  Also, Keaton gives a man a lesson about tapestries and learns from the man as well.

Also, a story in the perspective of a cat and dog from the canine unite.

All this and more in “Master Keaton – Omnibus vol. 7”.

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 7, you get a good number of diverse stories.  Some that are very deep, as British soldiers have been murdered and their noses removed.  All soldiers are part of a regiment, but can Keaton prevent any bloodshed?

Another story revolves around Keaton’s friends, one who falls for a woman, who may be more than meets the eye.  And another friend who has fallen for a woman in an area where he is working on an archaeological dig.

There is also action as Keaton finds a man who is on the run inside his car.  Keaton decides to help the man who has a group of thugs and a Soviet assassin after him.  Another storyline featuring a deadly member of the Camorra mafia going after another Detective, responsible for the death of the Detective’s wife and child.  Can Keaton help the detective before he is killed by the mafia?

You also have stories that are not necessarily about Keaton, involving a cat, another with a former police dog and also a boy who is trying to protect a friend who is under investigation for murder.

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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Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 4 by Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki (A J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

masterkeaton-4

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.

 /></b></a></p> <p style=


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!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki (A J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

masterkeaton-1

An exciting, smartly written manga series…”Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

© 1989 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts, Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki. All Rights Reserved.

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

MANGA TITLE: Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 1

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: December 16, 2014

Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, the son of a Japanese zoologist and a noble English woman, 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…

When a life insurance policy worth one million pounds takes Master Keaton to the Dodecanese islands of Greece, what will he discover amidst his scuffles with bloodthirsty thieves and assassins?

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.

What is “Master Keaton” all about?

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 one chapter, Keaton is sent to Greece as an insurance investigator and he is to help a widow who’s husband has mysteriously died.  But why are other men trying to pursue her?

Another chapter features Keaton working with ethnic cavalrymen in Far west China, but when a group of archaeologist desecrate tribal land, Keaton and the men are left in the desert to die.  How will Keaton save the day?

While another chapter features Keaton trying to help an elderly woman he meets on the train.  But the woman turns out to be someone who has been wanted by German authorities for her underground activism during the separation of Germany.

And we get a riveting chapter which helps explain why Taichi Hiraga-Keaton is known as “Master Keaton”.

Often there are lighthearted chapters that feature Keaton’s daughter and his father.  In one chapter with his father, Keaton is sent by his father to help a woman, who may be his father’s illegitimate daughter?  In another chapter, his daughter is trying to get both her father and her grandfather to admit they are similar and are still in love with the women they divorced.

The art and the ancient history portion of various chapters are well-researched and Hkokusei 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 and I can’t wait to read volume 2!

“Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Monster – Perfect Edition Vol. 2 by Naoki Urasawa (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

MonsterThePerfectEdition-01

The truth about Johan revealed?  Dr. Tenma on the run!  Nina does her own investigative work?  Another riveting volume of “Monster – Perfect Edition”!   Highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2008 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Monster – Perfect Edition Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Naoki Urasawa (浦沢 直樹)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Signature

RATED: OT for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2014

 

Dr. Tenma has fallen into a trap set by Johan and is now wanted by the police as a serial killer. While narrowly evading the police dragnet, Tenma pursues Johan in an attempt to prove his own innocence and prevent another murder, edging closer to the Monster by tracing his secret past.

As the only person who knows what Johan is, Tenma searches for Nina, who has been captured by neo-Nazis. His investigation leads him to uncover a horrific fact: the ultra-rightists are conspiring to set Johan up as a second Adolf Hitler!

With “Monster – Perfect Edition Vol. 2” (graphic novels 3-4).  As Dr. Tenma starts to do his own investigation on the Springer murders, he starts working with a criminal named Otto.  While Tenma investigates Johan’s past, he learns about the atrocities created on the children of 511 Kinderheim.  Tenma goes to learn more about 511 Kinderheim and meets an abused boy named Dieter.

Meanwhile, we learn more about what has happened to Eva Heinemann since Dr. Tenma has been on the run.  And Nina goes undercover as a prostitute in order to find Johan, what will she discover?

What is Urasawa’s “Monster” all about?

In 1994, mangaka Naoki Urasawa (known for his works “Pineapple Army”, “Master Keaton”, “Yawara” and later for “Pluto” and “20th Century Boys”) began the series “Monster” which would be featured in Shogakukan’s “Big Comic Original” from 1994 through 2001 (later reprinted in 18 tankobon volumes). The series has won several awards including the “Excellence Prize” at the 1997 Japan Media Arts Festival and the “Shogakukan Manga Award” in 2001.

And in 2004, the manga series received an anime adaptation courtesy of Madhouse Studios (“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, “Summer Wars”, “Death Note”, etc.) and was 74-episodes long and lasted until Sept. 2005.

And with a release in the U.S. years ago, the perfect edition featuring a new translation, re-mastered pages, and a generous amount of full-color content will be released in July 2014.

Future volumes will be released four times a year in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand for a total of nine volumes covering the entire series.

The story of “Monster” is about a talented neurosurgeon from Japan named Kenzou Tenma. Dr. Tenma works at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Dusseldorf, Germany and he was given that chance to work in the country by Director Heinemann. Kenzou happens to be engaged to Heinemann’s daughter Eva and with Tenma doing so well at the hospital, he has a chance to become the department director which makes Eva happy.

But Dr. Tenma is shocked when one emergency patient who came in to the hospital, a patient he would have worked on, until he was called in by the Director to work on a more important patient. We learn that the Director Heinemann values Dr. Tenma’s work but the priority is the hospital and its business. So, saving those that are beneficial to the hospital comes first. This shocks Dr. Tenma because he looks at all patients and values them all the same, he wants to help them.

One day while working, two young twins are rushed into the hospital. Their parents have been murdered and the girl is in shock, while the boy has a bullet lodged into his head. Dr. Tenma is prepared to work on the boy but immediately, the director gives him an order to not work on him but on the mayor. Dr. Tenma is angered by this and talks to the director and learns that the Mayor is very helpful to the hospital and its the hospital’s best interest to have him alive, so Dr. Tenma is the best surgeon and he must do it. But Dr. Tenma doesn’t.

Tenma let’s other doctors work on the mayor while he works on the child, disobeying the director’s orders. Afterwards, he manages to save the boy but the mayor dies and there are repercussions. Tenma is no longer considered for director of the department and Eva dumps him for the man who does become director. For Dr. Tenma, he doesn’t understand why these band things are happening and all he wanted to do is save lives and while sitting next to the boy he saved (who is sleeping), out of anger, Dr. Tenma screams that he wishes they were dead.

The following day, the director is found dead by his daughter. As well as a few others. And the twins that were rushed into the hospital, have disappeared.

Fast forward nine years later and Dr. Tenma is the director of the hospital, investigators are working hard on a case as more people are being found dead. For Inspector Runge, he suspects Dr. Tenma maybe involved. As for Dr. Tenma, he has no idea what’s going on until he meets a patient who reveals to him that he and his partners have killed people but they were instructed to and now the person who has hired them is out to kill them. Dr. Tenma is shocked and confused and then he learns the truth.

The boy he saved nine years ago, Johan Liebert is not only the mastermind of the deaths that are happening around the area. Johan is a cold, intelligent, methodica, manipulative individual and is responsible for so many deaths.

This includes the deaths of Tenma’s director and colleagues. Johan tells Tenma that he made his wish come true on the day he was complaining about his colleagues and said “they were better off dead”, he made it happen. Shocked about his reunion with the boy, now a man, Tenma realizes that the boy who inspired him as a doctor has turned out to be a monster.

Now Dr. Tenma leaves his job and his life in order to find this monster and also to find out what has happened to his twin sister Anna. Anna is now living with the name Nina Fortner, a teenage college student living with her step-parents and has forgotten everything about her past including her brother. Thinking that she has been living this normal life but for some reason, has memories of something dark from her past which she can’t yet figure out and is seeing a psychiatrist to help her understand what is going on in her head.

Dr. Tenma now knows that she may be in danger and must do what he can to find her and try to stop Johan.

Monster” is a fantastic anime series that is thrilling, suspenseful and very addicting!

Naoki Urasawa has literally become one my top mangaka’s in Japan. His stories and his character designs are so captivating, thrilling and he literally knows how to capture your attention through the storyline’s pacing and makes you want even more after its done.

The character Tenma is a good-hearted individual and his top priority as a doctor is saving lives. So, it’s very interesting to see his character being put through so much and having to harbor this guilt that the decision to save a boy’s life has ended with so many people being killed. The boy that he saved was and is a monster and now with so much weight on his shoulders, Tenma feels he must kill the monster he helped revive.

What Urasawa is exceptional at is developing his characters (definitely give his other manga series such as “Master Keaton”, “20th Century Boys” and “Pluto” a chance) and in this case, although the series focuses on Dr. Tenma, we get to see these other characters coming to play in the storyline. May it be the twins Johan and Anna, Inspector Runge, the boy Dieter or his ex-fiance Eva, he knows when to utilize the other characters so well that you wonder how these characters will fare in the end. Will they survive? Will they die?

For graphic novel 3, we see Dr. Tenma doing his research on 511 Kinderheim but also wanting to help an abused boy named Dieter.  Meanwhile, Eva has changed for the worse since the death of her father and that Dr. Tenma is accused of the murder, she has spiraled out of control.

For graphic novel 4, Nina searches for Johan and discovers a major revelation.  Meanwhile, Dr. Tenma and Dieter continue their investigation of 511 Kinderheim.  What will these two individuals discover?

Suffice to say, the story is picking up and as always, Urasawa continues to floor me with his writing and his artwork.  I can’t wait for the third installment of “Monster – Perfect Edition”. Urasawa Naoki may be known for “20th Century Boys” but “Monster” is the series that led to Urasawa receiving critical acclaim. The writing is top-notch and also Urasawa’s artwork is magnificent!

And with the release of “Monster – Perfect Edition”, hopefully no one contemplates paying the high price of the out-of-stock graphic novels. Because you will no doubt save money by purchasing these thicker graphic novels of “Monster – Perfect Edition”

Urasawa Naoki’s “Monster – Perfect Edition” vol. 2 is highly recommended!

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Monster – Perfect Edition Vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

July 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

MonsterThePerfectEdition-01

Urasawa Naoki may be known for “20th Century Boys” but “Monster” is the series that led to Urasawa receiving critical acclaim.  The writing is top-notch and also Urasawa’s artwork is magnificent!  Highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2008 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE:  Monster – Perfect Edition Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Naoki Urasawa (浦沢 直樹)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Signature

RATED: OT for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 17, 2014

 

In Naoki Urasawa’s MONSTER, Johan is a cold and calculating killer with a mysterious past, and brilliant Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Conspiracy and serial murder open the door to a compelling, intricately woven plot in this masterwork of suspense. In the first volume of the new PERFECT EDITION, everyone faces uncertainty at some point in their lives. Even a brilliant surgeon like Kenzo Tenma is no exception. But there’s no way he could have known that his decision to stop chasing professional success and instead concentrate on his oath to save peoples’ lives would result in the birth of an abomination. The questions of good and evil now take on a terrifyingly real dimension. Years later, in Germany during the tumultuous post-reunification period, middle-aged childless couples are being killed one after another. The serial killer’s identity is known. The reasons why he kills are not. Dr. Tenma sets out on a journey to find the killer’s twin sister, who may hold some clues to solving the enigma of the “Monster.”

In 1994, mangaka Naoki Urasawa (known for his works “Pineapple Army”, “Master Keaton”, “Yawara” and later for “Pluto” and “20th Century Boys”) began the series “Monster” which would be featured in Shogakukan’s “Big Comic Original” from 1994 through 2001 (later reprinted in 18 tankobon volumes).  The series has won several awards including the “Excellence Prize” at the 1997 Japan Media Arts Festival and the “Shogakukan Manga Award” in 2001.

And in 2004, the manga series received an anime adaptation courtesy of Madhouse Studios (“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, “Summer Wars”, “Death Note”, etc.) and was 74-episodes long and lasted until Sept. 2005.

And with a release in the U.S. years ago, the perfect edition featuring a new translation, re-mastered pages, and a generous amount of full-color content will be released in July 2014.

Future volumes will be released four times a year in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand for a total of nine volumes covering the entire series.

The story of “Monster” is about a talented neurosurgeon from Japan named Kenzou Tenma.  Dr. Tenma works at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Dusseldorf, Germany and he was given that chance to work in the country by Director Heinemann.  Kenzou happens to be engaged to Heinemann’s daughter Eva and with Tenma doing so well at the hospital, he has a chance to become the department director which makes Eva happy.

But Dr. Tenma is shocked when one emergency patient who came in to the hospital, a patient he would have worked on, until he was called in by the Director to work on a more important patient.  We learn that the Director Heinemann values Dr. Tenma’s work but the priority is the hospital and its business.  So, saving those that are beneficial to the hospital comes first.  This shocks Dr. Tenma because he looks at all patients and values them all the same, he wants to help them.

One day while working, two young twins are rushed into the hospital.  Their parents have been murdered and the girl is in shock, while the boy has a bullet lodged into his head.  Dr. Tenma is prepared to work on the boy but immediately, the director gives him an order to not work on him but on the mayor.  Dr. Tenma is angered by this and talks to the director and learns that the Mayor is very helpful to the hospital and its the hospital’s best interest to have him alive, so Dr. Tenma is the best surgeon and he must do it.  But Dr. Tenma doesn’t.

Tenma let’s other doctors work on the mayor while he works on the child, disobeying the director’s orders.  Afterwards, he manages to save the boy but the mayor dies and there are repercussions.  Tenma is no longer considered for director of the department and Eva dumps him for the man who does become director.  For Dr. Tenma, he doesn’t understand why these band things are happening and all he wanted to do is save lives and while sitting next to the boy he saved (who is sleeping), out of anger, Dr. Tenma screams that he wishes they were dead.

The following day, the director is found dead by his daughter.  As well as a few others.  And the twins that were rushed into the hospital, have disappeared.

Fast forward nine years later and Dr. Tenma is the director of the hospital, investigators are working hard on a case as more people are being found dead.  For Inspector Runge, he suspects Dr. Tenma maybe involved.  As for Dr. Tenma, he has no idea what’s going on until he meets a patient who reveals to him that he and his partners have killed people but they were instructed to and now the person who has hired them is out to kill them.  Dr. Tenma is shocked and confused and then he learns the truth.

The boy he saved nine years ago, Johan Liebert is not only the mastermind of the deaths that are happening around the area.  Johan is a cold, intelligent, methodica,  manipulative individual and is responsible for so many deaths.

This includes the deaths of Tenma’s director and colleagues.  Johan tells Tenma that he made his wish come true on the day he was complaining about his colleagues and said “they were better off dead”, he made it happen.  Shocked about his reunion with the boy, now a man, Tenma realizes that the boy who inspired him as a doctor has turned out to be a monster.

Now Dr. Tenma leaves his job and his life in order to find this monster and also to find out what has happened to his twin sister Anna.  Anna is now living with the name Nina Fortner, a teenage college student living with her step-parents and has forgotten everything about her past including her brother.  Thinking that she has been living this normal life but for some reason, has  memories of something dark from her past which she can’t yet figure out and is seeing a psychiatrist to help her understand what is going on in her head.

Dr. Tenma now knows that she may be in danger and must do what he can to find her and try to stop Johan.

Monster” is a fantastic anime series that is thrilling, suspenseful and very addicting!

Naoki Urasawa has literally become one my top mangaka’s in Japan.  His stories and his character designs are so captivating, thrilling and he literally knows how to capture your attention through the storyline’s pacing and makes you want even more after its done.

The character Tenma is a good-hearted individual and his top priority as a doctor is saving lives.  So, it’s very interesting to see his character being put through so much and having to harbor this guilt that the decision to save a boy’s life has ended with so many people being killed.  The boy that he saved was and is a monster and now with so much weight on his shoulders, Tenma feels he must kill the monster he helped revive.

What Urasawa is exceptional at is developing his characters (definitely give his other manga series such as “Master Keaton”, “20th Century Boys” and “Pluto” a chance) and in this case, although the series focuses on Dr. Tenma, we get to see these other characters coming to play in the storyline.  May it be the twins Johan and Anna, Inspector Runge, the boy Dieter or his ex-fiance Eva, he knows when to utilize the other characters so well that you wonder how these characters will fare in the end.  Will they survive?  Will they die?

I can’t wait for the second installment of “Monster – Perfect Edition”.  Urasawa Naoki may be known for “20th Century Boys” but “Monster” is the series that led to Urasawa receiving critical acclaim.  The writing is top-notch and also Urasawa’s artwork is magnificent!

And with the release of “Monster – Perfect Edition”, hopefully no one contemplates paying the high price of the out-of-stock graphic novels.  Because you will no doubt save money by purchasing these thicker graphic novels of “Monster – Perfect Edition”

Urasawa Naoki’s “Monster – Perfect Edition” vol. 1 is highly recommended!

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VIZ MEDIA ACQUIRES NAOKI URASAWA’S THRILLING SUSPENSE SERIES MASTER KEATON

March 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Manga Series About An Investigator With An Unorthodox Set Of Skills From The Award-Winning Creator Of MONSTER And 20th CENTURY BOYS Debuts In English In December

San Francisco, CA, March 4, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced it has acquired the North American publishing rights for Naoki Urasawa’s post–Cold War suspense thriller, MASTER KEATON. The 12-volume manga (graphic novel) series has never before been available in English and is scheduled to launch in print in December under the VIZ Signature imprint.

MASTER KEATON was created and drawn by the award-winning manga artist Naoki Urasawa, story coproduced with Hokusei Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki. MASTER KEATON will be rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN. Each paperback volume will receive a deluxe treatment, including 18 pages of full-color artwork. In addition to publishing MASTER KEATON in North America, VIZ Media will also release it in print in the United Kingdom and Australia.

The riveting detective drama introduces Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, an archeology professor and part-time insurance investigator known for his successful and unorthodox methods of investigation. The son of a Japanese zoologist and an English noblewoman, educated in archaeology at Oxford 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. The manga series was originally published in Japan between 1988 and 1994 in Big Comic Original magazine and also inspired a popular 39-episode anime adaptation.

“We’re thrilled to debut a deluxe edition of the Eisner Award-winning Naoki Urasawa’s MASTER KEATON series this December,” says Amy Yu, Editor. “Tales of intrigue and espionage are presented with the highly detailed artwork and masterful attention to plot development for which Urasawa is internationally renowned. Fans current and new won’t want to miss the tense action and the heady chase for truth in MASTER KEATON!”

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. The acclaimed creator won a 2011 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia for his series, 20th CENTURY BOYS (also published by VIZ Media). 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 Farm; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER), a sci-fi adventure manga (NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka in PLUTO: URASAWA × TEZUKA. Many of his books have also spawned popular animated and live-action TV movies, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three live-action Japanese films based on NAOKI URASAWA’S 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. 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.

For more information on MASTER KEATON, or other award-winning manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.
 
About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

Naoki Urasawa’s 21st CENTURY BOYS vol. 2 (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Naoki Urasawa’s manga masterpiece “20th Century Boys” now concludes with the second volume of “21st Century Boys”. And now, once again Kenji finds himself in a predicament to stop the end of humanity by confronting a deadly robot.    Exciting, captivating and brilliant, Naoki Urasawa’s long storyline of “20th Century Boys” has now come to a close with volume 2 of “21st Century Boys”.  The entire series is highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2003 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: 21st CENTURY BOYS vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Naoki Urasawa (浦沢直樹)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: March 19, 2013

The climax of our story is finally at hand! Mankind faces a crisis, and Kenji is hustling to save the world and the people he loves. But he also must solve the mystery of the Friend. Who is he and why did he become evil? The answer is tied to a memory Kenji has from when he was a twentieth century boy.

Just when the threat of the Friend was thought to be over, a new Book of Prophecy is found by the UN Forces and one of the final orders given to the supporters of the Friend was to launch an anti-proton bomb to destroy humanity.

As the UN Forces suspect that Kenji’s friends especially Kanna are working for the Friend, Kanna tells them that she knows where the detonator for the anti-proton bomb is.  But as the UN Forces are not willing to listen, Kenji’s friends take things into their own hands and go against the UN Forces, allowing Maruo and Kanna to escape to find the detonator.

And now, the story returns in Naoki Urasawa’s “21st Century Boys” vol. 1, a two-part volume that concludes the series.

Can Kenji save the world?

What is “20th Century Boys”?

Before “21st Century Boys”, there was the 22-volume manga series “20th Century Boys”.

The masterpiece manga series created by Naoki Urasawa. Having created excellent titles such as “Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl”, “Pineapple ARMY”, “Master Keaton” and “Monster”, his manga series “20th CENTURY BOYS” was the winner of the 2001 Kodansha Manga Award, Winner of the 2003 Shogakukan Manga Award and Urasawa was the recipient of the “Excellence Price at the 2002 Japan Media Arts Festival”.

The manga has been made into a live film, with the first film having been released as a part of a trilogy with a budget of 6 billion yen and will feature a cast of 300 people, it’s natural to say that the manga series “20th CENTURY BOYS” will definitely be a manga classic. And now the 22nd volume of the popular manga series has been released by Viz Media.

Naoki Urasawa’s “20th CENTURY BOYS” follows a group of friends when they were as children and the present time as adults. When these friends were children, they played a group of super heroes who would take down evildoers. But first, they needed to come up with their own storyline and scenarios of the bad things the evil side would do and how they, as superheroes would have to conquer the evil bad guys.

This plot of what the evil group would do was written down in a little guide which they called “The Prophecy”. As for the group, they devised a symbol of their group. But now many years later, this symbol has re-emerged as the symbol of a religious cult who may be behind terrorist activities.

Kenji and friends tried their best to stop the Friends but something happened on December 31, 2000 and fourteen years later, Kenji and friends are seen as the terrorists and the Friends have now further permeated into society worldwide.

What we know of December 31, 2000… Many lives were lost and although Kenji and his friends did what they can to stop the Friend’s giant robot from killing people in the city. They were blamed for it and since then have been reviled as the terrorists who massacred innocent people (when it was actually “the Friends” who were responsible).

And over 15 years later, the Friends have used the massacre to grow their cult and to take control of society, politics, law enforcement and have their foot in the door worldwide.

But for friends of Kenji who survived that fatal day, they will continue to do what they can to defeat their friends in the honor of their friend Kenji and save the world.

We learned that Kenji’s young niece Kanna, who is now a teenager who will never forget her uncle and is investigating any details or leads to her uncle Kenji but also her mother and possible father.

As Kanna and Otcho have pretty much decided that they are going to go to war and try to kill the Friend, they reunite with their old friends. Who will fight with them and who won’t? Meanwhile, Maruo goes to visit one of the gang’s old friends and in the process, to find out if Kiriko Endo is alive and what she has been doing all this time.

Meanwhile, there appears to be a shift of allegiance in the FDP and Manjome, Takasu, Yanbo & Mabo are up to something devious and much more worse than what took place on Dec 31, 2000.

It had been hinted that the Friend will try to kill humanity, but no one knew how.

We have seen him gain control through fear by spreading the virus and killing people, but of course, the blame going against terrorism. But now, the Friend is causing mass hysteria when UFO’s fly over the city and pretending they will be attacking civilization.

Under the guise of sending people to Mars, mass hysteria breaks out as everyone who wants to survive is hoping to get on the list. But Kanna and Kenji’s friends no better. This is a plot to annihilate humanity and the only way to save them is to get them to a safe point. But what massive structure can hold a lot of people and protect them from the UFO’s?

And here we are now with volume 22 as mass hysteria has broken out after the Friend has announced that he was responsible for the massacre back in 2000 and that he was responsible for the virus attacks all over the world.

While many are living in pain and desperation in Japan, the song of Kenji is being played all over Tokyo. And with Kanna and friends doing all they can to bring everyone to safety, they try to tell everyone that Kenji will be performing live in front of everyone, in order to get them to safety.

Meanwhile, the Friend has launched three UFO’s to drop the virus on people at the Expo. As the Maruo Twins now trying to assist by stopping the the UFO’s, some from Kenji’s past decide to make the fatal decision of trying to stop the UFO’s themselves before anyone else is killed.

Meanwhile Dr. Endo Kiriko tries to prepare a vaccination, the hitman known as Number 13 makes his return and The Friend offers his challenge to Kenji, setting up the battle between these two men, that many have been waiting for.

Which leads us to “21st Century Boys”

In the first volume of “21st Century Boys”, one of the UFO’s with poison crashes down near the EXPO site and among the casualties are Number 13, the man with the mask revealed to be Sadakiyo and dressed as the Friend was Fukube. But Fukube was killed earlier, which means the man posing as a Friend had plastic surgery.

With the threat of the Friend now over, many feel they can now relax and that Japan and the world can gain some normalcy.

The UN forces arrive in Japan and Kenji reunites with his old friends, but when he meets with the general headquarters of the UN Forces, a copy of the new “Book of Prophecy” has been found and it is revealed that the Friend had access to an anti-proton bomb and a big chance is that his supporters will follow his instructions and destroy the world.

With a new threat that may destroy the world, the race is on to find the detonator for the bomb. But to do that, Kenji must use the virtual reality system created by the Friend and go back to the past and find out to find the bomb.

And while inside the virtual reality, Kenji runs into a man who is deceased in the real world, but is alive in the virtual world… Manjome Inshu, the Friend’s longtime right-hand man.

Meanwhile, we get a glimpse to how a person like the Friend came to be like he was.

But there is one thing that is happening in the virtual world that can’t be explained…Kanna is able to communicate with younger Kenji in the virtual world and that Sadakiyo informed her that the remote device is in the old clubhouse of where younger Kenji and friends used to hang out.

As Kanna and Yukiji go to find the device in the real world, in truth, the device is wired to detonate if pressed.

And now a giant robot has returned to Tokyo out of nowhere, to press the detonation device.  Almost like a replay of 2000, can Kenji and friends stop this robot before it’s too late?

“21st CENTURY BOYS” features the following characters:

Kenji: The leader of the group as children and the protagonist who fought against the Friend who tried to kill everyone back in 2000. But because Kenji was thought to have died, he was branded as a terrorist responsible for the deaths. Having been gone for over 15-years, his music is being played on the radio but with a slight change. It was revealed that Kenji is alive and now is planning to end things with the Friend.

Kanna Endo: The daughter of Kenji’s missing sister. She is now a 17-year-old teenager who tries to keep her missing uncle Kenji in her memories. In the Friend Era, she is known as the “White Queen”.

Chono Shohei – A freshman detective following his grandfather’s footsteps of being a great detective and to have the name “Cho-san”. In the Friend Era, he has abandoned his job to join forces with Kenji Endo and now is a wanted man.

Kamisama – The homeless man who had visions of what Kenji should be doing and would relay it to him but 14 years later, he has become millionaire and now tries to keep some of Kenji’s friends safe through his bowling building.

Kyoko Koizumi – A high school student who has helped the Kenji faction and is now working for a music company searching for talent during the Friend Era.

Otcho – One of Kenji’s friends who escaped from prison to reunite and help Kanna. He and Kanna want to stop the Friend immediately.

Yukiji – The only female member from the original Kenji faction, Yukiji raised Kanna after Kenji disappeared and looks at Kanna like her own daughter and will do all she can to protect her, as she had promised to Kenji.

Yoshitsune – The young and shy Yoshitsune has grown up to become the leader of the underground dissident organization.

Maruo – A friend of Kenji who now works at a music company and has used his position to help the Kenji faction.

The final conclusion and everything comes back full circle as we see Kenji trying to save the world, once again.

But also major revelations are revealed that perhaps Kenji probably has some connection to the Friend (or the one who became the Friend #2) in some way.

Without getting into the storyline of what happens or why nor get into debates of why the story concluded the way it did, my feeling is that the year that Urasawa had after suffering two dislocated shoulders, taking the year break and then coming back, there probably was a lot of things in his mind and things that probably were left unresolved.

In some ways, “21st Century Boys” reminds me a lot of the American drama series “Lost”.  Many theories, many flashbacks, many twists and turns but eventually while answering one question or several lingering questions, there are some out there that have yet to be answered and it makes you wonder if they were never answered because Urasawa wanted to leave it to the readers or perhaps, he knew he had to end things and not drag the story out any longer.

I do feel that prior to his injury, “20th Century Boys” was a title that was fascinating, exciting and absolutely captivating.  The two volumes of “21st Century Boys” are also intriguing and well-capture your attention but make you wonder, what happened to this person or that person and somehow, you feel the final pages concludes the story but makes you feel it could have been better.  But it still makes you feel content, but I suppose I was hoping for a bit of better closure.

But this was an eight year run for Naoki Urasawa and I feel the ending became more philosophical about negative actions towards an individual during their younger years can really affect them in the worst possible way, especially once they get older.

And unfortunately, without spoiling the conclusion, it’s all I can even mention.

Naoki Urasawa’s “21st Century Boys” was a very good conclusion but I can’t help but feel that things were rushed in terms of the story.  Unfortunately, when you are in a groove of working on something and then there is a disruption in your work flow, it makes me wonder if the one year of recuperating effected the storyline, especially since he was working on another fantastic series titled “Pluto” (based on Osamu Tezuka’s “Astro Boy”).

As usual, volume 2 of “21st Century Boys” featured wonderful illustration and even after a year break and working on another series, there is no decrease in quality of his artwork.  The series still looks incredible.  Naoki Urasawa knows how to grab the attention of the reader. His artwork and how he is able to capture the sense of action and emotion through the pages is magnificent and so far, this series has been engrossing and highly enjoyable thus far.

If you stuck with the entire run of “20th Century Boys” and also began reading volume 1 of “21st Century Boys”, the conclusion is worth reading and worth owning.  But almost like an exciting roller coaster ride, once you approach the end for your coaster to slow down and get to the exit area, you have a sense that you want that excitement once again, but you know the ride is over and it’s time to move on or take on another Urasawa manga series.

Overall, Naoki Urasawa has captivated readers for eight long years.  Many characters, many twists and turns but also a lot of heartbreak.  But for both “20th Century Boys” and “21st Century Boys”, no matter how difficult things got, you have to hold on to hope and it’s what made this manga series so fascinating from beginning to end.  Seeing so much bad, but eventually hoping for that light at the end of the tunnel and for that, Urasawa did deliver.

Exciting, captivating and brilliant, Naoki Urasawa’s long storyline of “20th Century Boys” has now come to a close with volume 2 of “21st Century Boys”.

The entire series is highly recommended!

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Naoki Urasawa’s 21st CENTURY BOYS vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Naoki Urasawa’s manga masterpiece…”20th Century Boys” now concludes with “21st Century Boys” with a two volume finale.  The Friend may not be around but his supporters are willing to continue with destroying humanity by unleashing an anti-proton bomb.  Can Kenji and friends stop them!  Find out in volume 1 of Naoki Urasawa’s “21st Century Boys”!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 2003 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: 21st CENTURY BOYS vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Naoki Urasawa (浦沢直樹)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE:  January 15, 2013

War is over. The Friend is dead. Mankind no longer faces the threat of extinction. Peace has finally come to Tokyo… or has it? The mystery still remains. Nobody knows who the Friend was and where he came from. The only clue is hidden deep within the memories – the memories of the hero Kenji. It is time to open Pandora’s Box to discover what is left at the bottom.

At the conclusion of “20th Century Boys” Vol. 22, we watched as Kenji confronted The Friend.  Leaving a cliffhanger of someone to live or die.

And now, the story returns in Naoki Urasawa’s “21st Century Boys” vol. 1, a two-part volume that concludes the series.

Can Kenji save the world?

What is “20th Century Boys”?

Before “21st Century Boys”, there was the 22-volume manga series “20th Century Boys”.

The masterpiece manga series created by Naoki Urasawa. Having created excellent titles such as “Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl”, “Pineapple ARMY”, “Master Keaton” and “Monster”, his manga series “20th CENTURY BOYS” was the winner of the 2001 Kodansha Manga Award, Winner of the 2003 Shogakukan Manga Award and Urasawa was the recipient of the “Excellence Price at the 2002 Japan Media Arts Festival”.

The manga has been made into a live film, with the first film having been released as a part of a trilogy with a budget of 6 billion yen and will feature a cast of 300 people, it’s natural to say that the manga series “20th CENTURY BOYS” will definitely be a manga classic. And now the 22nd volume of the popular manga series has been released by Viz Media.

Naoki Urasawa’s “20th CENTURY BOYS” follows a group of friends when they were as children and the present time as adults. When these friends were children, they played a group of super heroes who would take down evildoers. But first, they needed to come up with their own storyline and scenarios of the bad things the evil side would do and how they, as superheroes would have to conquer the evil bad guys.

This plot of what the evil group would do was written down in a little guide which they called “The Prophecy”. As for the group, they devised a symbol of their group. But now many years later, this symbol has re-emerged as the symbol of a religious cult who may be behind terrorist activities.

Kenji and friends tried their best to stop the Friends but something happened on December 31, 2000 and fourteen years later, Kenji and friends are seen as the terrorists and the Friends have now further permeated into society worldwide.

What we know of December 31, 2000… Many lives were lost and although Kenji and his friends did what they can to stop the Friend’s giant robot from killing people in the city. They were blamed for it and since then have been reviled as the terrorists who massacred innocent people (when it was actually “the Friends” who were responsible).

And over 15 years later, the Friends have used the massacre to grow their cult and to take control of society, politics, law enforcement and have their foot in the door worldwide.

But for friends of Kenji who survived that fatal day, they will continue to do what they can to defeat their friends in the honor of their friend Kenji and save the world.

We learned that Kenji’s young niece Kanna, who is now a teenager who will never forget her uncle and is investigating any details or leads to her uncle Kenji but also her mother and possible father.

As Kanna and Otcho have pretty much decided that they are going to go to war and try to kill the Friend, they reunite with their old friends. Who will fight with them and who won’t? Meanwhile, Maruo goes to visit one of the gang’s old friends and in the process, to find out if Kiriko Endo is alive and what she has been doing all this time.

Meanwhile, there appears to be a shift of allegiance in the FDP and Manjome, Takasu, Yanbo & Mabo are up to something devious and much more worse than what took place on Dec 31, 2000.

It had been hinted that the Friend will try to kill humanity, but no one knew how.

We have seen him gain control through fear by spreading the virus and killing people, but of course, the blame going against terrorism. But now, the Friend is causing mass hysteria when UFO’s fly over the city and pretending they will be attacking civilization.

Under the guise of sending people to Mars, mass hysteria breaks out as everyone who wants to survive is hoping to get on the list. But Kanna and Kenji’s friends no better. This is a plot to annihilate humanity and the only way to save them is to get them to a safe point. But what massive structure can hold a lot of people and protect them from the UFO’s?

And here we are now with volume 22 as mass hysteria has broken out after the Friend has announced that he was responsible for the massacre back in 2000 and that he was responsible for the virus attacks all over the world.

While many are living in pain and desperation in Japan, the song of Kenji is being played all over Tokyo. And with Kanna and friends doing all they can to bring everyone to safety, they try to tell everyone that Kenji will be performing live in front of everyone, in order to get them to safety.

Meanwhile, the Friend has launched three UFO’s to drop the virus on people at the Expo. As the Maruo Twins now trying to assist by stopping the the UFO’s, some from Kenji’s past decide to make the fatal decision of trying to stop the UFO’s themselves before anyone else is killed.

Meanwhile Dr. Endo Kiriko tries to prepare a vaccination, the hitman known as Number 13 makes his return and The Friend offers his challenge to Kenji, setting up the battle between these two men, that many have been waiting for.

Which leads us to “21st Century Boys”

In the first volume of “21st Century Boys”, one of the UFO’s with poison crashes down near the EXPO site and among the casualties are Number 13, the man with the mask revealed to be Sadakiyo and dressed as the Friend was Fukube.    But Fukube was killed earlier, which means the man posing as a Friend had plastic surgery.

With the threat of the Friend now over, many feel they can now relax and that Japan and the world can gain some normalcy.

The UN forces arrive in Japan and Kenji reunites with his old friends, but when he meets with the general headquarters of the UN Forces, a copy of the new “Book of Prophecy” has been found and it is revealed that the Friend had access to an anti-proton bomb and a big chance is that his supporters will follow his instructions and destroy the world.

With a new threat that may destroy the world, the race is on to find the detonator for the bomb.  But to do that, Kenji must use the virtual reality system created by the Friend and go back to the past and find out to find the bomb.

And while inside the virtual reality, Kenji runs into a man who is deceased in the real world, but is alive in the virtual world… Manjome Inshu, the Friend’s longtime right-hand man.

Meanwhile, we get a glimpse to how a person like the Friend came to be like he was and somehow Kenji is connected to it.

“21st CENTURY BOYS” features the following characters:

Kenji:  The leader of the group as children and the protagonist who fought against the Friend who tried to kill everyone back in 2000.  But because Kenji was thought to have died, he was branded as a terrorist responsible for the deaths.  Having been gone for over 15-years, his music is being played on the radio but with a slight change.  It was revealed that Kenji is alive and now is planning to end things with the Friend.

Kanna Endo: The daughter of Kenji’s missing sister. She is now a 17-year-old teenager who tries to keep her missing uncle Kenji in her memories. In the Friend Era, she is known as the “White Queen”.

Chono Shohei – A freshman detective following his grandfather’s footsteps of being a great detective and to have the name “Cho-san”. In the Friend Era, he has abandoned his job to join forces with Kenji Endo and now is a wanted man.

Kamisama – The homeless man who had visions of what Kenji should be doing and would relay it to him but 14 years later, he has become millionaire and now tries to keep some of Kenji’s friends safe through his bowling building.

Kyoko Koizumi – A high school student who has helped the Kenji faction and is now working for a music company searching for talent during the Friend Era.

Otcho – One of Kenji’s friends who escaped from prison to reunite and help Kanna. He and Kanna want to stop the Friend immediately.

Yukiji – The only female member from the original Kenji faction, Yukiji raised Kanna after Kenji disappeared and looks at Kanna like her own daughter and will do all she can to protect her, as she had promised to Kenji.

Yoshitsune – The young and shy Yoshitsune has grown up to become the leader of the underground dissident organization.

Maruo – A friend of Kenji who now works at a music company and has used his position to help the Kenji faction.

I have to admit that I was surprised that there was a “21st Century Boys”, last year I was expecting a final volume 23 of “20th Century Boys” but instead we get a new title and conclusion that is to last two volumes.

According to what I have read in Japanese blogs, Urasawa suffered from two dislocated shoulders and had to take a year off from the manga series.  But I’m quite grateful that after a year of recuperating, he was able to come back to finishing the series.

For this first volume, I think it’s a given that Kenji would return and there would be this finale confrontation between Kenji and the Friend.  There was no real battle per se, but with the Friend dead and his people apprehended, everything was thought to be safe until it was revealed that his supporters were going to unleash a anti-proton bomb on the world.

So, once again Kenji and friends try to save the world. But there is one problem.

While the UN Forces have arrived to bring stability to the area, the UN Forces still don’t trust the Genji Faction because Kanna is the daughter of the Friend and because her mother (Kenji’s sister) is responsible for creating the virus and the antidote.

But to find this remote detonating device, Kenji has to go back to the past and confront the person that can help him, his younger self from the early ’70s.

Meanwhile, Kanna deals with guilt of putting people into harms way, while Chono finds out who killed his uncle.

Naoki Urasawa’s “20th CENTURY BOYS” just gets better and better and part one of “21st Century Boys” was an interesting followup after Urasawa’s time of recuperation.  This interesting conclusion tries to come full circle as the storylines involving Kenji and his friends as children in the virtual world and Kenji and his friends as adults are now are trying to achieve the greater good.

But it’s also showing how a person who has experienced intense bullying can have a hatred towards humanity.  But if one can be friends and accept the other as an equal, perhaps these individuals can be saved.  Possibly.

Featuring wonderful illustration and awesome storytelling, which Naoki Ursawa is known for, “Naoki Urasawa’s 21st CENTURY BOYS” Vol. 1 is another excellent volume for the series and an important volume, as it shows us how Kenji and friends must do all they can to stop this robot from destroying the world.

As always, Naoki Urasawa knows how to grab the attention of the reader. His artwork and how he is able to capture the sense of action and emotion through the pages is magnificent and so far, this series has been engrossing and highly enjoyable thus far.

If you have been following this series this long, it’s really a no-brainer, “Naoki Urasawa’s 21st CENTURY BOYS” vol. 1 is highly recommended.

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Naoki Urasawa’s 20th CENTURY BOYS vol. 22 (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Naoki Urasawa’s manga masterpiece…”20th Century Boys” and it’s 22nd volume features the chaos in Japan after the Friend has announced that he was responsible for the attacks and now he plans to destroy Japan.  With a possibly looming war against the FDP as other countries are set to attack, Kenji’s friends also plan to go on the offensive and defeat the Friend once and for all.  But what it comes down to is the final confrontation between Kenji vs. the Friend.  An important volume for fans of “20th Century Boys”, vol. 22 is one you do not want to miss!

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Image courtesy of © 2003 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: 20th CENTURY BOYS vol. 21

STORY AND ART BY: Naoki Urasawa (浦沢直樹)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on September 18, 2012

The time has come. The Friend reveals all about his conspiracy and declares that he shall destroy the world within seven days. Kanna plans a music festival to evacuate people to the Expo venue, which is the only place the dictator holds sacred and the only place safe from destruction. While the 20th Century Boys race toward the final battle, Kenji is coming back to Tokyo!

The Friend has made his announcement and revealing that he was responsible for the bloody massacre years ago and that he is responsible for the virus outbreak killing many people.

With all that has been revealed, he intends to carry out destroying Japan with UFO’s dropping the virus on innocents.  And while the U.S. and other nations are preparing to launch an attack, Kana and friends make one last ditch effort to get everyone to safety by moving everyone to the Expo center.

Meanwhile, the Friend has been awaiting for his showdown with one man…and that man is Kenji

Can Kenji save the world?

What is “20th Century Boys”?

“20th Century Boys” is simply the masterpiece manga series created by Naoki Urasawa. Having created excellent titles such as “Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl”, “Pineapple ARMY”, “Master Keaton” and “Monster”, his manga series “20th CENTURY BOYS” was the winner of the 2001 Kodansha Manga Award, Winner of the 2003 Shogakukan Manga Award and Urasawa was the recipient of the “Excellence Price at the 2002 Japan Media Arts Festival”.

The manga has been made into a live film, with the first film having been released as a part of a trilogy with a budget of 6 billion yen and will feature a cast of 300 people, it’s natural to say that the manga series “20th CENTURY BOYS” will definitely be a manga classic. And now the 22nd volume of the popular manga series has been released by Viz Media.

Naoki Urasawa’s “20th CENTURY BOYS” follows a group of friends when they were as children and the present time as adults. When these friends were children, they played a group of super heroes who would take down evildoers. But first, they needed to come up with their own storyline and scenarios of the bad things the evil side would do and how they, as superheroes would have to conquer the evil bad guys.

This plot of what the evil group would do was written down in a little guide which they called “The Prophecy”. As for the group, they devised a symbol of their group. But now many years later, this symbol has re-emerged as the symbol of a religious cult who may be behind terrorist activities.

Kenji and friends tried their best to stop the Friends but something happened on December 31, 2000 and fourteen years later, Kenji and friends are seen as the terrorists and the Friends have now further permeated into society worldwide.

What we know of December 31, 2000… Many lives were lost and although Kenji and his friends did what they can to stop the Friend’s giant robot from killing people in the city. They were blamed for it and since then have been reviled as the terrorists who massacred innocent people (when it was actually “the Friends” who were responsible).

And over 15 years later, the Friends have used the massacre to grow their cult and to take control of society, politics, law enforcement and have their foot in the door worldwide.

But for friends of Kenji who survived that fatal day, they will continue to do what they can to defeat their friends in the honor of their friend Kenji and save the world. The last volume featured Kanna, who is now a teenager who will never forget her uncle and is investigating any details or leads to her uncle Kenji but also her mother and possible father.

In volume 20, as Kanna and Otcho have pretty much decided that they are going to go to war and try to kill the Friend, they reunite with their old friends. Who will fight with them and who won’t? Meanwhile, Maruo goes to visit one of the gang’s old friends and in the process, to find out if Kiriko Endo is alive and what she has been doing all this time.

Meanwhile, there appears to be a shift of allegiance in the FDP and Manjome, Takasu, Yanbo & Mabo are up to something devious and much more worse than what took place on Dec 31, 2000.

In volume 21, it has been hinted that the Friend will try to kill humanity, but no one knew how.

We have seen him gain control through fear by spreading the virus and killing people, but of course, the blame going against terrorism. But now, the Friend is causing mass hysteria when UFO’s fly over the city and pretending they will be attacking civilization.

Under the guise of sending people to Mars, mass hysteria breaks out as everyone who wants to survive is hoping to get on the list. But Kanna and Kenji’s friends no better. This is a plot to annihilate humanity and the only way to save them is to get them to a safe point. But what massive structure can hold a lot of people and protect them from the UFO’s?

And here we are now with volume 22 as mass hysteria has broken out after the Friend has announced that he was responsible for the massacre back in 2000 and that he was responsible for the virus attacks all over the world.

While many are living in pain and desperation in Japan, the song of Kenji is being played all over Tokyo.  And with Kanna and friends doing all they can to bring everyone to safety, they try to tell everyone that Kenji will be performing live in front of everyone, in order to get them to safety.

Meanwhile, the Friend has launched three UFO’s to drop the virus on people at the Expo.  As the Maruo Twins now trying to assist by stopping the the UFO’s, some  from Kenji’s past decide to make the fatal decision of trying to stop the UFO’s themselves before anyone else is killed.

Meanwhile Dr. Endo Kiriko tries to prepare a vaccination, the hitman known as Number 13 makes his return and The Friend offers his challenge to Kenji, setting up the battle between these two men, that many have been waiting for.

“20th CENTURY BOYS” features the following characters:

Kanna Endo: The daughter of Kenji’s missing sister. She is now a 17-year-old teenager who tries to keep her missing uncle Kenji in her memories. In the Friend Era, she is known as the “White Queen”.

Chono Shohei – A freshman detective following his grandfather’s footsteps of being a great detective and to have the name “Cho-san”. In the Friend Era, he has abandoned his job to join forces with Kenji Endo and now is a wanted man.

Kamisama – The homeless man who had visions of what Kenji should be doing and would relay it to him but 14 years later, he has become millionaire and now tries to keep some of Kenji’s friends safe through his bowling building.

Kyoko Koizumi – A high school student who has helped the Kenji faction and is now working for a music company searching for talent during the Friend Era.

Otcho – One of Kenji’s friends who escaped from prison to reunite and help Kanna. He and Kanna want to stop the Friend immediately.

Yukiji – The only female member from the original Kenji faction, Yukiji raised Kanna after Kenji disappeared and looks at Kanna like her own daughter and will do all she can to protect her, as she had promised to Kenji.

Yoshitsune – The young and shy Yoshitsune has grown up to become the leader of the underground dissident organization.

Maruo – A friend of Kenji who now works at a music company and has used his position to help the Kenji faction.

With the latest volume of “20th Century Boys” vol. 22, the word that I can easily describe this release is “epic”.  With everyone making their return for this one volume, everyone must decide what their role is going to be in this final battle.  Are they going to fight or are they going to stand around?  Kenji’s friends faced this once before, now much older, they know that they must stay persistent in order to keep humanity alive and safe while the Friend and his people attack Tokyo.

This 22nd volume also appears slightly larger than previous volumes and is filled with so much story incorporating so many characters, there is no doubt that Urasawa had wanted to get everyone involved as we near the end of the series.

In this volume, Kanna finally learns about her Uncle Kenji as she and many friends have thought he was dead for so many years.  Chono finally finds out the truth of how his grandfather, the legendary detective Cho-san was killed, we also get to find out who the real identity of the DJ playing Kenji’s music is and also, learning how Takasu is pregnant with the Friend’s child and has replaced Manjome as the leader of the FDP.  So, where previous volumes focused on the action, this volume focuses on character development and bringing everyone, including past side characters together.

Naoki Urasawa’s “20th CENTURY BOYS” just gets better and better and the series will continue in vol. 1 of “21st CENTURY BOYS”.  And with so many twists and turns, one can only wonder what Naoki Urasawa has planned.   But for this volume alone, this is the big set-up for the final confrontation between Kenji and the Friend.

Featuring wonderful illustration and awesome storytelling, which Naoki Ursawa is known for, “Naoki Urasawa’s 20th CENTURY BOYS” Vol. 22 is another excellent volume for the series and an important volume, as it shows us how the people of Japan have now gone into chaos after finding out that the man they once believed as their leader, is in fact a murderer and psychopath.  And there is unfinished business between the Friend and Kenji, so everything culminates to volume 22 before the grand finale.

As always, Naoki Urasawa knows how to grab the attention of the reader. His artwork and how he is able to capture the sense of action and emotion through the pages is magnificent and so far, this series has been engrossing and highly enjoyable thus far.

If you have been following this series this long, you’re probably as addicted as I am and with this latest volume, “Naoki Urasawa’s 20th CENTURY BOYS” vol. 22 is highly recommended.

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