Tag Archives: Naoki Urasawa

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 18: Everybody’s Song by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 18: Everybody’s Song     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 27, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Otcho and the others are searching for Sanae, who went to warn the Ice Queen to call off the plans for August 20th, panicking when they can’t find her. But when she does turn up, Otcho is amazed that she did make contact, and that the Ice Queen is none other than Kanna, although that is really no surprise to him. But Sanae was unable to dissuade her from her ill-advised plans. Sanae further reveals that a guy she likes at work was singing a song that Kanna played for her on a cassette tape, but that his version went beyond what was on the tape. There is a refrain at the end: Gutarara, sudarara. Otcho perks up at that, eyes wide with wonder. Could it be…. Dare he hope…

Meanwhile at the border, there is a report of an alien invader attempting to gain entrance… and apparently he was admitted. Although it is his day off, Chono is called to action to help find the alien in their midst. They say he is carrying a guitar-shaped weapon. Huh?

Otcho catches up with Kanna, who reveals why she chose August 20th for her plans, and why she won’t change her mind. Otcho tells her what her friends did for her, and how she has to do the right thing now. And how he thinks maybe Kenji is really alive. A DJ in the middle of nowhere continues to play a particular song, even though he receives no comments, no calls regarding it. But still he plays it, hoping someone is listening. And the so-called alien begins to sing. He tells the guards, “When somebody’s singing a song, you can’t shoot them.” Suddenly they are being attacked… by a group of hippies?

Otcho and Kanna find themselves apprehended by the Confidential Guard and taken to a secure location. There, waiting for them, is none other than Manjome. And what he has to say is shocking on more than one level.

Everything is moving now with lightning swift speed, and threads are weaving together more and more, as details we’ve been missing come to light. For one thing, we see more of what Manjome did to propel Friend to where he’s at, which makes what he told Otcho and Kanna actually not as surprising as it might seem. Kanna is undergoing a crisis of faith. Can the hope and belief that her beloved Uncle Kenji is actually alive spur her to do what is right? There can be no doubt of that now, too much evidence not to believe, and I am beyond excited to have been proven right in this regard.

We are barreling toward the end. To be honest, I really don’t know how this will go. I mean, the good guys have to win, right? Right? But at the same time, what is Friend and how has he done what he did? Or did we just get a clue to that question after all?

Great volume, anxiously waiting for more!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 17: Cross-counter by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 17: Cross-counter      

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 11, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The unthinkable has happened… the world as they knew it has been destroyed. Three years later, Friend is the President of the World, ruling from inside the walled fortress that is Tokyo. The Global Defense Force ever keeps watch for the alien invaders that are predicted to be coming. But of course they are watching for humans as well, those deemed unworthy to be a part of society. What will they do to them?

Kamisama sits in a deserted bowling alley, waiting for bowling to become a thing again. The same bowling alley he built years ago that ruined the secret hideout of Kenji and his friends. With him are Otcho and the two young people who secretly helped him when he was injured, siblings Sanae and Katsuo. Kamisama recommends Otcho go to the Catholic Church for help with the Friend. He shows them a secret way to get there, but the passage is too small for Otcho, so they send the kids instead, as the passage is well marked, and he will meet them there. However, Katsuo becomes distracted by an old subway car, as he’s never seen one in his lifetime, and this small detour leads them to a member of the Genji faction. They try to help him but he begs them to take a message to the Ice Queen to warn her against going through with her plans, as there is a spy among them. The brother and sister have to split up. Sanae goes to deliver the message to the Ice Queen and Katsuo heads to the church.

Everyone who went to see the Expo was sent a vial of the vaccine. Those who didn’t go died of the virus. So vaccine is at a premium, and people are willing to take desperate measures to obtain it. Sanae finds the Ice Queen in a small ramen shop, and is surprised at how young she is. Turns out, she already had her suspicions concerning a spy in their midst and confronts him about it. Of course, it was all about the vaccine.

During Year 1 of the Friendship Era, Otcho is traveling with a group of men through the countryside, when a rider on a motorbike stops to deliver a package to one of the men. Turns out to be a vial of the vaccine, and what a can of worms that opens! Wounded in the scuffle, Otcho is helped by a man who lives in a nearby village. But things take a turn for the worst, and they aren’t what they seem. He remembers something Kenji told them when they were kids: “Justice never dies!” He also said, “…I’m saving this world from evil, no matter what happens!”

Back to Year 3. Kanna’s former associate, Officer Chono, is assigned to guard duty at a remote outpost where nothing ever happens, watching for aliens that may never come. He sees injustice all around him and he is incensed by it. By accident, he stumbles on a group of people who are illegally assembled in the quiet of the night, listening to a radio that should not exist… and he hears a song from long ago…

Gosh dang, this is so good. Every volume leaves me in great suspense to know what will happen next. I have my suspicions about the music, because it goes along with what I’ve been saying all along. Hopefully I will be able to crow about it in the next review.  The identity of the Ice Queen is no real surprise. I like the new kids, very brave and very strong characters. There is a brief mention of the Holy Mother, but no appearance. Also no Friend sighting in this volume, which works for me. He is beyond creepy, and the more I learn about him, the creepier I find him to be. I can’t help but wonder what’s with the Friend and aliens? A diversionary tactic or something more?

Great volume, can’t wait to read the next one!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 16: Beyond the Looking Glass by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 16: Beyond the Looking Glass     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 16, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Fukube has always wanted to be a part of Kenji and his group, but has always been passed over and overlooked. In an attempt to get an in with them, he collects a great deal of manga. When Kenji’s new issue of Shonen Sunday turns up ruined, Fukube invites the guys over to his house to read his collection. Things seem to go well, but even so, he is devastated when they leave him to work on their secret clubhouse, and never invite him. Waiting for a time when the guys aren’t there, Fukube breaks into their clubhouse, where he is discovered by Sadakiyo, the creepy kid in the mask who has nothing to say. Finding Kenji’s Book of Prophecy, Fukube boasts that he can make better prophecies, and his are all going to come true. Fukube offers to be Sadakiyo’s friend, but on one condition. The other boy is not to call him by his given name at all… just call him his Friend.

The boys are all excited about the Expo in Osaka, Fukube boasting that he would be there all summer and would go to the Expo every day. But things don’t work out, and he not only can’t go, he doesn’t dare show himself around town, since that would mark him as being a liar. It’s a long hot summer for him, until he borrows Sadakiyo’s mask so he can get out of the house for a little bit. When Sadakiyo suggests they play at the haunted house on the hill, where no one will see them, Fukube gets an idea of how to frighten Kenji and the other boys.

Yamane approaches Fukube, trying to get back in his good graces, wondering if he is still rejected. The two boys run across a street vendor, who really has nothing to offer them that they are interested in. But they discuss Fukube’s idea of a man with a briefcase who travels around spreading a virus, to the shock of the salesman. It’s not until the strange kid bends one of his spoons, using just his mind, that the man becomes interested and gives the kid his card, telling him to look him up. And this man turns out to be none other than Manjome.

Meanwhile, in year 3 of the Friendship Era, Otcho is being hidden and taken care of by a young boy, whose sister quickly learns his secret. Funny thing, but everyone who owns a TV is ordered, by law, to turn the TV set off at the end of the broadcast day. When Otcho and the kids don’t do that, they hear a lady’s voice with an important message.

This volume differs from the others in that now, finally, we are inside the mind of Fukube, otherwise known as Friend, watching the development of the Friend persona. While it’s very easy to say that Kenji and the boys are at fault for being mean and not befriending him, I think it’s not that simple. There is something seriously not right about that boy, and when he lets his guard down, you can see glimpses of something evil. After all, how normal is it for someone to wish to destroy an entire world, and how egotistical to even think he can do so?

What I was excited about in the last volume hasn’t come to pass yet, but that’s because we shifted gears in this volume. I still believe it’s going to happen, so I’ll be patient. I can’t tell if we’re getting closer to the truth or not, but it seems that way. I’m waiting to see Kanna’s mother make her anticipated entrance. At least we know now she is one of the good guys, rather than the flake we assumed she was after dumping baby Kanna on Kenji’s doorstep. Another great volume, can’t wait for more.

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 15: Expo Hurray by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 15: Expo Hurray     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 21, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Despite warnings advising against it, the Pope’s visit to Japan is moving forward as planned, including the opening ceremony of Expo 2015. Brother Luciano has returned to his home of Italy, after spending some time in Argentina, arriving too late to attend the funeral of his friend and mentor, Father Perrin. He finds the priest’s desk in the same disorganized disarray he remembered. Searching through the mess, he discovers a particular book with a receipt, which he tracks down to a bookseller of antiquities. However Brother Luciano knows this is not an old book and traces it to its forger. He is confused as to why Perrin would trouble with such a book, which is jumbled and confused, containing prophecies such as history will end in 2015. Brother Luciano realizes Father Perrin believed in this book, and did not believe they would ever see 2016 because history would end in 2015.He takes his concerns to his Cardinal, who tells him he is very wrong, and hints that he should return to Argentina. When Luciano returns to his room to find it stripped of everything, he knows what he has to do.

Back in Japan, Detective Chono goes to work, only to be given the task of interrogating someone who doesn’t speak Japanese. But Chono doesn’t speak Italian. How is he going to get through to him? And why does this man sound so urgent… maybe even desperate? Meanwhile, the virus is spreading at an alarming rate and cautionary travel measures are being taken.

Chono gets in touch with Kanna, takes the strange man to her, although she isn’t sure why, but they go to the church and the man confesses to the priest. The priest believes his story and tells Kanna and Chono that the plot to assassinate the Pope is still on. And there is worse… someone thought to be dead has been seen alive by multiple people, including Otcho and Yukiji. Friend alive? How? Now it’s more imperative than ever that Kanna remind the gangs of their promise to stand behind her and protect the Pope. They know the assassin is #13, but can they track him down and stop him before he carries out his mission? And is it possible that Friend has prophesied everything… including his own resurrection?

This volume is intense, so much going on, and omg, Friend alive? What’s up with that? Why? It can’t bode well for anyone. The virus is spreading, the Pope is due to die, can this get any worse? Especially if Friend gets back in the saddle again, what can stop him? I loved this book, and can’t wait for the next one. Especially as… dare I hope it… something I’ve wanted, longed for, and yearned for… is about to come true!

*crosses fingers*

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Monster, Perfect Edition, Vol 4 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 4   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 21, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/438 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

A PI named Richard, who was thrown off the police force for shooting a kid, is in therapy to deal with that, as well as the addiction to alcohol that almost killed him and cost him his wife and his daughter. Even now, his daughter won’t see him, although he’s on a better footing with his ex. Richard asks his therapist, Dr. Reichwein, to look at a photo and see if he can tell anything about the man in the picture. Turns out, things are starting to work out for him and his daughter has agreed to see him the next day. When that doesn’t happen, though, he contemplates turning back to drink.

Neuman, who still hasn’t revealed his true identity to the billionaire Schuwald, has introduced Johan to him, and Johan has become indispensable. Neuman’s foster parents reveal that they wish to adopt him. Without giving them an answer, he calls his employer and says he is leaving his employ, but the old man wants him to read to him one last time. Richard, the PI, tries to report to Schuwald what he has learned, but the man is no longer interested and insists the matter is settled.

Dr. Reichwein remembers a former student of his who has done very well, Dr. Gillen. He’s recently read an interview Gillen did with a serial killer named Jürgens who claimed a “friend” ordered him to commit the murders. He also asks him about a former classmate of his who did well, a doctor named Tenma.

As Richard continues to investigate the people who surround Herr Schuwald, he is starting to uncover a disturbing pattern… plus he finds himself the object of some near-misses that could have hurt or killed him. He ends up at the home of Johan’s current adoptive parents, the Lieberts.

When Dr. Reichwein  receives some devastating news, as he tries to figure out what happened and he is almost killed! He chases down his would-be killer and confronts him, demanding to know who is paying him to do this. Later, his life is saved by Dr. Tenma, and meanwhile Dr. Gillen is visited by BKA Inspector Lunge. Nina Fortner is hot on Johan’s trail, while Johan is teaching children a terrible game, and Tenma lies in wait to rid the world of a monster…

Not as much of Tenma or Nina in this volume, but the other characters and their stories are definitely riveting. The PI who is trying to redeem himself for his daughter’s sake, the therapist who has ties with two former students, including Tenma, and who is determined to unravel the mystery he’s begun to see. The obsessed Lunge, whom I suspect no longer cares if Tenma is innocent or guilty, he’s just going to bring him down no matter what. I can’t help but compare the so-called “friend” of Jürgens, who forced him to kill, with the sinister Friend of Urasawa’s Twentieth Century Boys. Both Johan and Friend are definitely evil men. I really hope Tenma doesn’t go through with his plans.

Another great volume, can’t wait for the next one.

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 13: Beginning of the End by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 13: Beginning of the End     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 15, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Yoshitsune thinks back to that fateful New Year’s Eve, and the man who snapped the picture of them as they faced down the Friend’s menace, none other than Fukube. Why doesn’t he have any childhood memories of Fukube as a boy? Where did he come from and when exactly did he become part of their group? As Yoshitsune and the others try to fathom this, all hell has broken out at the elementary school where rumor has it that Friend has been shot! Kanna recognizes Maruo at the scene, and he tells her he knows a secret way to get into the school, so they can find out what has happened. Meanwhile, Manjome is wakened from a fitful sleep with the news.

Kanna is amazed to find that so many people she believed to be dead are very much alive, working to rid the world of Friend. But not only is Friend dead, his identity has been revealed. Who would have thought it?

Friend’s group assemble, but they are one short – Yamane, who betrayed them. What are they going to do now? Will a successor to Friend be appointed? If so, who? Everyone accuses Manjome of wishing to take over, but he assures them he has no such aspirations. A new member arrives, whom they refer to as Number 13, claiming there is now room for him at the table, and counseling that they continue with Friend’s plans to end the world. Not everyone agrees with this course of action… and suddenly some of the high ranking members wind up dead!

While the others seem content to rest on their laurels now that Friend is dead, Otcho is far from convinced that the threat he represented is over. Kanna says she wants to go with him, since what is happening is her mother’s fault. But Otcho has a story to tell her, one that Yamane told him, about what happened in 2003.

Meanwhile, in 2015, people are starting to die…

Wow, now we know who Friend is… or was. Not at all what I expected. Him? Seriously? How the heck did he become Kanna’s father? What could Kenji’s sister ever see in him? There must be more to this story than we know.

Friend’s followers are divided on whether to continue with his plan or not, but there are fanatics among them, determined to set a dangerous course. I loved finding out the truth about Kanna’s mother, who has been a shadowy figure up until now but who has finally stepped into the spotlight. And in the far-off United States, a player long since forgotten has taken the stage once more.

So much going on, and so many threads to follow. I keep hoping at the end of one of them that Kenji will emerge. Guess we just have to wait and see. Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 14: A Boy and a Dream by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 14: A Boy and a Dream

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 19, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The mourners of Friend are many. Griefstricken people wait in line for hours to sign the register and file past his masked body. It seems as if all Friend’s predictions are coming to pass. Manjome is dispirited himself, and confused, and decides to take a trip into Friend Land to find answers to his questions, such as why is this happening.

At the same time, Kanna wants to send Koizumi with Yoshitsune  into Friend Land to find their own answers. Kanna would rather go herself, but he tells her she is too emotionally involved, since Friend is her father and all.  On their arrival, Yoshitsune shows Koizumi around to all the familiar places he remembers from 1971. But when they come to the location that was once their secret headquarters, they find a bowling alley there… one which Koizumi insists wasn’t there when she visited. What’s going on? She’s sure she’s right, but Yoshitsune remembers the place that destroyed their secret clubhouse. How can that be? Yoshitsune is having a difficult time remembering what he was doing that summer. While they are in the bowling alley, he comes face to face with the owner, the man he refers to as the King of Evil. Koizumi is shocked to discover that the man is actually Kamisama!

As they monitor Yoshitsune and Koizumi in the game, Kanna realizes they have been joined by another player, who is quickly headed toward them. They are unaware that it is Manjome, and he wonders if he is going to learn the real truth about 1971. As Manjome “sleeps”, his lover takes control, and she is ruthless.

Yoshitsune thinks the key to what happened lies in what happened at the science lab one particular night, and hinges on what Donkey saw, so he and Koizumi head there. And a fourth player has entered the game, and this person is swiftly descending upon Yoshitsune and Koizumi! Kanna asks to be placed into the game in the spot where they are, but winds up in Kenji’s room instead. She gives him some words of wisdom and heads to the school. And now they are all there…

The more I learn, the less I know. Nothing is what it appears to be, including 1971. Why the deception? Why hide the fact that a bowling alley was built where the boys had their secret headquarters? What is real and what isn’t? As for what Donkey saw that night… how does that even work? And why?

And the fourth player… could it be….

So many questions. Can’t wait to keep going on this crazy rollercoaster ride. Love it!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 12: Friend’s Face by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 12: Friend’s Face     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 21, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

2014 is drawing to a close. Fourteen years since Bloody New Years Eve. A new year, new beginnings. But what will 2015 hold?

A large gathering is being held for the occasion in Friendship Plaza, with Haru Namio singing the “Hello, Hello Expo Song”. Watching the events on television, Yoshitsune and his group are celebrating in a much quieter way. Kanna has gone to where her uncle used to sing, and is listening to a street singer. Finishing his performance, Haru leaves for home, accompanied by his right-hand man…. Maruo!

The next day, Haru goes to make a New Year’s visit to Friend, Maruo by his side, although Maruo has to wait in the outer office. Admission to Friend’s presence is strictly limited. Maruo tells Haru that he has explosives strapped to his body, but that isn’t entirely true. As he sits in the outer office and waits, Kenji’s words keep going through Maruo’s mind: “Try to make sure ordinary people don’t get caught in the crossfire.” And “If you ever feel your own life is in danger, turn and run like Hell.” Can Maruo do what he feels needs to be done to rid the world of Friend?

Acting on an old tip, Otcho and Kakuta go to the last known address of Dr Yamane. It’s a long shot, sure, but what else can do they? They believe he holds the key to what is going on. The house is deserted but a neighbor is able to give them useful information. Otcho is startled to realize the address she gives them is in the neighborhood where he grew up. Suddenly Otcho remembers a conversation he had with a classmate many years ago, and says it’s imperative he go to his old school. The conversation included the New Book of Prophecy and germ warfare!

Otcho and Kakuta find Dr Yamane at the old Science Lab. As he waits for what he feels is Friend’s imminent arrival, he tells them a little about Kanna’s mother and her involvement with the group. Yoshitsune and his group are studying the infamous Bloody New Year’s Eve photo. Koizumi claims it’s photostopped, clearly, but Yoshitsune says it isn’t, that is actually them facing the monster. But then, who took the picture from behind them?

The moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived… or has it? Now I’m not sure that what we think happened happened, but I have to wait for the next volume to know for sure. The face of the Friend has been revealed. Maybe. So much going on, like threads being woven together to form a complete picture. This series just keeps on getting better. Can’t wait for the next book to find out what’s really going on.

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 11: List of Ingredients by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 11: List of Ingredients     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 19, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Kanna is shocked to learn that her father is none other than the Friend himself, leader of the Friend Society which her Uncle Kenji tried to protect the world from.  As if that weren’t bad enough, her Walkman is broken, leaving her unable to hear Kenji’s voice when she needs to hear it the most. Taking her frustration out by playing video games, she afterward accepts a ride with three other gamers who are impressed with her skills. During the drive, a news bulletin tells of the escape of the Friend Museum director, along with student Koizumi Kyoko, in a Toyota 2000GT. Now the guys are on the watch for the old car.

Manjome is Friend’s right-hand man. Apparently, he is thought to have a harem, including one lady in particular, Takasu, director of the Dream Navigators, whom one of his underlings mistakes for a man. She has a meeting with Manjone, in which he reminds her that the upcoming Expo is what is important. That and making their Friend the president of the world. Manjome isn’t surprised to hear about Sadakiyo, and he knows he has a certain memo in his possession. The one left by the man known by his friends as Mon-chan. Takasu fears that with Otcho escaped from prison, Kanna’s powers awakening, and the memo being held in hostile hands, the Kenji faction may just learn about the lie of 1970! Manjome doesn’t seem concerned, and reminds her that she has agreed to carry the Friend’s child!

Meanwhile, at the nursing home, Koizumi and Sadakiyo learn that the home has been surrounded. Sadakiyo surmises that they are there to reject him. Surely that can’t be good? He remembers a meeting he had with Mon-chan years ago, and tells Koizumi how he ended up with the Mon-chan memo. He gives it to Koizumi to hold on to. Kanna’s arrival at the same nursing home can’t be a coincidence, can it? In evacuating the residents to safety, Kanna is mistaken for her mother by a former teacher, and is shocked to learn things about her that she didn’t know. Such as her mother once dreamed of being a famous bacteriologist. The teacher tells Kanna her mother was good, to believe in her.

Kanna ends up at an old cinema, which has old film footage that includes her mother. She won’t give up on looking for her, even though it seems like she may be involved in what is going on now. Koizumi is being pressured to pick out which face in the yearbook belongs to Friend, since she caught a glimpse of him as a child, but she can’t tell one face from another.

I can’t even begin to describe how exciting this is all getting. So much going on, so much new information, and yet so much needs to be learned. Maybe we’ll even find out where Kanna’s mother, Kiriko, has been all these years and what she’s been doing. Is she the good girl her former teacher claims, or is she on the side of the Friends? Only time will tell.

Book Review: Monster Perfect Edition, Vol 2 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 2

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 21, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horrorl/402 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

A burglar named Heckel breaks into the home of the late councilman, intending to loot it, when he runs into Tenma. At the sound of sirens, however, they both make a hasty exit, Tenma following the burglar, to his dismay. When he learns that Tenma is a doctor, Heckel has a brilliant idea of how they can make easy money. Tenma isn’t interested until he finds out Heckel saw the councilman’s murderer, and makes him tell where he is. It turns out that the guy isn’t Johan, but Johan has left a message for Tenma. How did he know Tenma would be there?

With Heckel’s help, Tenma is kidnapped and led to a wounded man and ordered to help him. But the conditions are so primitive, Tenma doesn’t believe he can do it safely. Tenma has a decision to make. Afterward, he goes to East Germany and visits the home of the late Lieberts in the company of a real estate agent as he attempts to glean information about the current owner. The realtor has none to give but points him to a neighbor who does remember the Lieberts and the twins they adopted. This was news to Tenma. The orphanage was located at 511 Kinderheim, but it’s abandoned and very spooky now. A nearby woman guides Tenma to a man who once worked in the welfare ministry, who is fostering a little boy. Tenma bonds with the boy and promises to bring him a soccer ball. Things get ugly fast and Tenma turns to the system for help.

Tenma takes the child, Dieter, with him and gives him directions on how to find the good orphanage. But Dieter refuses to go and insists on following Tenma, so he has little choice but to look after him. He runs across a drunken man who has injured himself and takes him to the doctor’s house but the doctor is away so Tenma treats him himself and leaves. When the doctor returns, he is furious and tracks Tenma down. When the police arrive, he covers up for Tenma and tells the officer to have his mother come in soon, because she’s ill. Concerned about her, he takes Tenma to the woman’s house and Tenma talks her into letting them in. But she soon collapses and Tenma has no choice but to operate, or she’ll die. Will her son, the policeman, see it that way, or will he just see a man who is wanted for murder?

Detective Lunge is obsessed with finding a connection between a murdered prostitute and the late councilman. He is so obsessed that he neglects his wife and daughter. Tenma’s ex calls on him, demanding to know when he will arrest Tenma. And when he informs her that it wasn’t Tenma, it was Johan, she tells Lunge that Johan is just one of Tenma’s personalities!

Tenma runs into an ex-cop, one of the men who killed Herr Maurer and the journalist, who finally admits the truth about the murders, and about the Baby. Apparently Nina Fortner/Anna Liebert has been looking for Johan, and the Baby intends to use her as bait, for his own reasons. Meanwhile Heckel and Dieter uncover a plot that could potentially kill a lot of people.

There is nothing boring about this volume of Monster. Edge-of-your-seat action all the way through. Nina wants to finish the job she started years ago, and Tenma wants to right the wrong he committed by saving the monster’s life as a child.  Maybe he sees Dieter as a form of redemption, which is why he can’t just leave him. Also, I think he realizes that Dieter is wise beyond his years and has seen much that he should never have seen.

This book has some memorable characters, a great plot, and the artwork is awesome! Some of the people remind me of those in Twentieth Century Boys, but is that surprising? Same artist. I look forward to reading the next volume.