Tag Archives: Naoki Urasawa

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 3 by Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 3      

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: May 19, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Sci-Fi Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Uran is a robot who looks like a little girl. She has the unique ability of being able to sense emotions, even from great distances. As she and Atom leave the police station, Atom notices an odd man heading into the station, but he can’t tell whether he is robot or human. Turns out he is Professor Abdullah. From Persia, he is considered to be Central Asia’s greatest intellect. The police requested he come in to discuss some of the people he met with on a recent visit, some of whom are now dead. As the Professor leaves the station, he requests directions to Central Park where something just happens to be emerging, something dark and sinister-looking.

In Dusseldorf, a family are enjoying their breakfast. The wife reminds her husband, Adolf, that it is the three year anniversary of his brother’s death, and he needs to claim the body. When he does, he requests to see the body and is shocked by what he sees.  Later he attends a clandestine meeting of people wearing hoods who all espouse the cause of death to machines, and seek to eradicate all robots. It appears his brother was practically pulverized by a particular type of weapon which few robots can wield. He is determined to find out which robots are capable. He researches reported incidents involving such a weapon and learns the only one within the last few years since the war was reported just the previous night, and that one involved Inspector Gesicht.

With the help of a friend, Hercules has “borrowed” a military battle suit, knowing this is a serious offense, one that could end his career. As he is testing it out, suddenly a second sun appears in the sky. It turns out to be a robot named Epsilon, who says he had to stop Hercules before he got himself killed, like Brando and Mount Blanc. Back in Germany, Adolf takes his findings to his group, to request their help in locating and destroying Gesicht. They tell him not to take any action as this could reveal the awful things Adolf’s brother did, but let them handle the matter. Epsilon approaches Gesicht and tells him of the children he cares for since the war. One particular little boy, the sole survivor of his village, saw something terrible, and the only word he will utter now is the name Bora.

In Tokyo, Uran oddly wakes to find what seems to be a tear on her pillow. Since when do robots cry? Leaving her building, she says she senses someone in emotional distress, perhaps an animal, and goes off to find it.  Going into a closed park which is forbidden for anyone to enter, she finds a man inside an abandoned building who is in apparent distress. Except he isn’t a man, he’s a robot. When she asks what sort of nutrient he requires, she tells him she can’t get that one but gets the closest thing to that she can find. She helps nurse him back to health and begins to piece together his story. In the meantime, Professor Abdullah has sent out a robot on a mission… and who is Pluto?

Maybe I’m late to realize this and am only stating the obvious, but it seems to me that Pluto can be seen as an allegory about the human condition, even though it involves robots. It has themes of prejudice and hate, which of course are reflected in our everyday lives with people who hate others based solely on the basis of their skin color, sexual identification, religions, etc. People fear what they don’t understand. They also fear people who know more than they do (whether they are willing to admit to it or not) So robots are a double threat in that regard. And these robots are eerily human as well, some of them. That hooded hate group looks remarkably like the KKK – imagine that. Now it seems that Gesicht has a target on his back, assuming he didn’t already just because of who he is. How many more robots have to die before this menace is stopped? Who or what is Pluto?

Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 2 by Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 2     

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 17, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Sci-Fi Manga//208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Investigators called to the scene of a collapsed old-style Japanese house find a dead man has been strung up there, two horns affixed to his head.  The victim is a professor of law, the same man who came up with the National Robot Laws. Superintendent Tawashi recalls there have been other recent cases involving horns, and decides they need to talk to the lead investigators on those cases. But, as it turns out, there is only one, Detective Gesicht.

Gesicht has gone to Japan to talk to Atom, a robot who looks like a little boy. The detective tells him that someone is targeting the strongest robots in the world, thus placing him in danger. Atom offers to swap memory sticks. At first, Gesicht is reluctant, then decides to trust Atom. Having seen Gesicht’s memories, Atom excuses himself to go the bathroom, to pretend to be more human, but once there he cries because of what he saw in Gesicht’s mind. On his return, he encourages Gesicht to take the trip to Japan he’s been planning with his wife, and he will gladly show them the sights. Gesicht says he might just do that.

Atom shows up at the police station, where Tawashi and Inspector Nakamura are examining the 3-D image of the ruined house. Atom offers to sift through the rubble and discovers something the others missed – two tea cups. Tawashi admits that traces of tea leaves and yokan were found in the stomach of the victim. Atom explains why he thinks there were two people, and at least one of them was human. Witnesses  reported seeing a huge tornado that seemed to target just that one house. Atom speculates on various gods of death and ends with Pluto. Finding a trace of ink on the victim’s hand, Atom investigates until he ends up with Professor Ochanomizu. He knew of Tasaki, the legal expert, and he had met Lanke when they were both part of the Survey Group! Atom warns the professor that he is in danger.

During the war, a group was formed to search Persia for weapons of mass destruction, but none were ever found. What they did find was thousands of discarded robot bodies buried beneath an old mosque. What did this mean? Meanwhile, in Istanbul, Brando manages to get ahold of his pankration suit, even though it’s not allowed for him to do so, but he gives the man a story of why he needs that and the truck and off he goes. Gesicht is in Greece, speaking with Hercules, when the latter realizes something is happening with Brando and urges Gesicht to quickly patch in, and also Atom. Brando! A monstrous tornado is attacking! They rush to help him.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Gesicht decides to go ahead and book his travel to Japan. But something the travel agent says bothers him and he begins to doubt his own memories.  He goes to see Brau 1859, even as Hercules vows to find out what happened to Brando and to avenge his friend.

This is such a great story already! I know it has its origins in Astro Boy, but I’m unfamiliar with that so I can’t tell you in what way it was influenced. I might have to find that too and read it. But I do know Urasawa is a genius in the depth and complexity of his plots and characterizations. Only two volumes and I feel as if I know his characters, and I mourn the ones who have been lost. I hope there is justice in store and retribution against the perpetrator of these crimes.

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 1 by Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 1   

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 17, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

A wildfire in Switzerland leads to a horrific discovery – the body of beloved robot Mont Blanc! People are in shock. How could this have happened? Robots are commonplace in the future, and some resemble humans while others are more mechanical in nature. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which are humans and which are robots. Detective Gesicht of Europol is disturbed by what he saw at the crime scene. When his wife tells him he works too hard, he suggests they take a vacation, just the two of them.

Gesicht is sent to the scene of another murder, this one a human. Bernard Lanke was a key member in the movement to preserve robot laws. He tells the local police that robbery was not the motive, but they are skeptical. Then he asks them to explain why there are two horn-like objects that were shoved into the victim’s head… and strangely enough the same thing had been perpetrated on Mont Blanc. Are the two cases related somehow?

As he’s investigating, there is a disturbance in the street outside, one of the police robots having been attacked. Gesicht chases down the suspect and then goes to see the wife of the dead robot. He offers to wipe some of her memories, to relieve her pain, but she says she would rather have them. When Gesicht happens to run into a maintenance man about to throw out what is left of the robot cop, he is horrified to hear him refer to the parts as just junk. He retrieves the memory chip and takes it to the robot’s widow. She seems disturbed and he wonders if he did the right thing, but she tells him no, it’s what is in the video that is disturbing—what distracted her husband for just a moment, enough time to get him killed. The video shows something apparently leaping between two high rise buildings, and that something is… human? How can that be?

After making travel plans to go to Japan,  Gesicht goes to an AI Correction Facility to interview a dangerous robot, Brau 1589. He wants Brau’s take on the murders. The robot keeps suggesting they trade memory sticks, but Gesicht tells him that isn’t happening. Brau tells him his theory, and says there will be six more murders.

In Scotland, a blind film composer lives alone, except for his robot servant. The man has been through a number of robots from the agency already and expects no more from the new one, whose name is North No 2. North was once in the military and served in the 39th Central Asian War. The composer gives whole meaning to the world surly. He is very difficult and bitter. Frustrated with his apparent inability to compose, he takes it out on North, who refuses to be shaken. He also rejects North’s offers of assistance, when he says he thinks he knows what the problem is. North tells him he wants to learn to play the piano, and he wants to never go to war again. When North detects an approaching anomaly, he goes to investigate.

This is the first volume in this series, and I am already hooked! So good! Urasawa, of course, is the genius behind Monster and Twentieth Century Boys, both of which series I have reviewed. I can already tell I am going to greatly enjoy this one too. Obviously, the man likes robots, but this goes beyond the giant robot in Twentieth Century Boys, envisioning a future in which they are commonplace, and some can’t be distinguished from humans. This implies great leaps in AI research. Also I imagine laws would have to be changed to allow for such intelligent beings. So much to think about. And of course there’s the downside – what to do when something or someone goes horribly wrong. Does intelligence/consciousness equate to responsibility and culpability? What if someone manipulated AI to the point where they could take over the world? So many questions.

Another observation – I couldn’t help but compare the scene with Gesicht and Brau to that of Clarice and Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs. Like the old saying goes, it takes a thief to know a thief. In this case, it’s a robot murderer.

Looking forward to the next volume!

Book Review: Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 9 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 9

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 19, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/482 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nina comes face to face with Johan, and yet she can’t bring herself to kill her twin. When Tenma finds her, she is about to shoot herself, blaming herself for what happened. The memories that Johan spoke of are hers, not his. Everything is her fault. Tenma stops her from pulling the trigger. Suddenly she realizes what Johan intends to do – he plans to kill himself but also to eliminate everyone who has any memory of him!

Detective Lunge arrives in the quiet town of Ruhenheim and begins to investigate, ending up in a small book store. Herr Grimmer also arrives in Ruhenheim. He hears what he thinks is a gunshot. Is that possible? Grimmer and Lunge run into each other, and Grimmer tells the detective that a terrible massacre is about to take place here.

After speaking with Nina, whom he has taken to the hospital, Tenma seeks out the son of Franz Bonaparta. He’s figured out what Bonaparta’s real name is and, with the son’s help, he learns how to find him.

And now it’s begun. All roads seem to lead to Ruhenheim, and everyone is gathering there, while the town finds itself in the throes of some terrible madness. People are scared, because people are dying but they don’t know why. Will Johan achieve his insane desire to kill himself and take everyone who ever knew him with him?

It’s been one wild ride but this story has finally reached an end. So many twists and turns. Such an incredible mind this Urasawa possesses! He’s kept us guessing about what’s going on all this time, and now it’s done. The final volume of Monster does not disappoint. And though most everything is explained, I still have questions. Even so, I do like the ending.  I am sorry to say good-bye to Tenma and Nina and Dieter. Even Detective Junge. Thank you for taking me along on such a wonderful journey. I must find the anime and watch that now.

Book Review: Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 8 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 8   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 19, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/432 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tenma has been asking questions about Eva’s bodyguard, trying to learn her whereabouts. The man roughs him up and refuses to tell him, but he lets Eva know he’s seen her ex. Tenma persists, returning the next night, with a gun. He tells the bodyguard he knows the Baby hired him, and he wants to know why. Martin explains that all she does is go to parties, and all she did for the Baby was point out a blond man with a pretty face. Of course, Tenma knows who that is.

Martin rushes back to the hotel. His instructions are to kill Eva, but he can’t bring himself to do that, so he asks her to run away with him. She says has no interest in that, so he gives her the address of Tenma’s hotel, trusting the doctor will keep her safe. When the men come for her, she isn’t there, and now he has to face the music. Martin is shot but lives, and manages to reach Tenma’s hotel, only to discover that Eva never arrived. Martin tells Tenma that the experiments at Red Rose Mansion are still going on, and now the devil has an apprentice in the form of Peter Capek. Tenma finds Eva at the train station and tells her what has happened.

Nina is trying to jog her memory by returning over and over to the Three Frogs. She tells Dieter he needs to go back to Munich, back to school, but he refuses and insists on accompanying her. She remembers being taken to the Red Rose Mansion, and something terrible happened, but what?

We’re finally at the beginning of the end. Everything is becoming clearer, and more and more people are becoming aware of what is going on. But can they stop it? Can they catch the devil before his final grand plan is set in motion? How is Franz Bonaparta at the center of everything? What exactly happened at 511 Kinderheim? And why?

One more volume to go, can’t wait!

Book Review: Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 7 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 7   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 19, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/416 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As the news spreads that the serial killer long sought by the police, Kenzo Tenma, has been taken into custody, certain people listen with disbelief. Detective Suk is determined to go to Prague to speak with Tenma before he is extradited back to Germany, but runs into two other detectives, who inform him that his name has been cleared thanks to a journalist named Grimmer. Meanwhile, Detective Lunge, who is supposedly on vacation, is also in Prague, following various leads. He learns certain things which point away from Tenma’s guilt. Will he believe them? Or is he too obsessed with the idea that Johan is Tenma’s alter ego?

In the jail, Tenma is called upon to treat a fellow prisoner, due to the doctor being otherwise occupied. The prisoner knows who Tenma is and asks if he wants to escape with him, but Tenma declines. An attorney, son of an accused spy, is enlisted to aid in Tenma’s defense at the request of a number of people, including a group of his former patients who all believe in his innocence. He goes to see Tenma, who tells him everything, and decides to take his case.

After his own meeting with the attorney, Dr. Reichwein goes back to Eva and tells her she needs to cooperate with the lawyer in order to help Tenma. But she isn’t interested in helping him. She wants to see him suffer for the rest of his life for breaking up with her. She blames him for the way her life turned out, rather than blaming herself. Tenma receives a surprise visitor – Roberto, the assassin he shot the night of the fire. Roberto tells him he might kill Eva. Now Tenma has no choice but to escape in order to save her.

There is so much going on in this volume. The tension is rising, and it feels like we are close to the end, to the truth. So many burning questions. Will Eva change her mind and testify for Tenma, now that she realizes she actually saw Johan that night? How are we supposed to tell the difference between Johan and Nina, when he looks just like her when he’s in disguise? The secrets of the Rose Red Mansion are coming out.  The story with Eva and the detective was pretty interesting, I’ll have to admit, although I can’t stand the woman. Will Tenma’s escape lead to anything? What will Nina do? Guess we have to wait for the next volume to find out.

Book Review: 21st Century Boys, Vol 2: 20th Century Boy by Naoki Urasawa

21st Century Boys, Vol 2: 20th Century Boy     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 19, 2013

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Mystery/Sci-fi/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Time is ticking away! If they don’t figure out where the remote control for the giant robot is, it will press the button that detonates the anti-proton bomb, and all of mankind will die! Kanna tries to force her way in to see Kenji, saying she knows the remote is in the secret headquarters. But the guards won’t let her pass, since Kenji has gone into the game and is not to be disturbed. Will he find the answers he seeks in the past and will Kanna find him in time to stop the bomb?

And now we reach the climax of our story. Twenty-four volumes have brought us to this point. So much going on as the threads come together and complete the picture, and Kenji finds his answers. It just goes to show that even one small act can have dire consequences. Kenji isn’t the only one who learns this. Manjome too wishes he could undo what he did before, but alas, he cannot. However he can try to help Kenji as best he can.  Watching Kenji interact with his younger self was fun.  Watching the drama unfold as everyone tries to save the world was great. And at the end, balance is restored, and life goes on.

This was an amazing series, and I enjoyed the journey. Hope you enjoyed it as well. See you in the next series when I start to review Pluto.

Book Review: 21st Century Boys, Vol 1: Death of the Friend by Naoki Urasawa

21st Century Boys, Vol 1: Death of the Friend   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 15, 2013

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Mystery/Sci-fi/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Kenji’s arrived at the Expo Center and the crowd goes wild. They want to hear him play their song… but he refuses, tells the band to play instead. A helicopter explodes above them and crash lands inside the arena. Not everyone makes it, including Sadakiyo and Friend. When Kenji removes the Friend’s mask at last, he sees… Fukube!  How can that be? He died a long time ago. Nothing is making any sense.

Back in the past, an old woman in a convenience mart broods over which of the children has stolen a badge from her store and angrily scans every child who walks by, seeking the thief. A boy in a mask reveals his strange dream to a few of his friends, who aren’t particularly interested until he tells them they were in it, and one of them killed the other. They are not amused and walk away. The boy debates telling them the ending… about the final bomb. The one that will really kill all of mankind. Or at least those who remain on the planet.

Maruo and Yoshitsune tell Kenji they saw a ghost at a Shinto shrine, but Kenji doesn’t believe them and decides to find out for himself… only to come face to face with himself!

In the present, the UN forces have assumed control of Tokyo after the destruction of the Friend regime. A profiler interviews Kenji, to learn what he knows about the Friend. Most particularly he is interested in learning what Kenji knows about the last page of the New Book of Prophecy, the one that speaks of an anti-proton bomb that will destroy the world. The UN is taking this threat very seriously. They plan to send forces into Friend World, into the virtual reality game,  but Kenji tells them that won’t work. He has to be the one to go there.

So much of the past is finally being exposed as present, past, and future reveal themselves in an elaborate tapestry, one  woven by a master. Things that didn’t make sense before become clear.  I really enjoyed watching the relationship of Kenji and Yukiji from the beginning. Gosh, Kenji was… is… so dense.  At the same time, the more we learn, the less we know. So much to grasp. A copy of a copy?  Fukube? Sadakiyo? Someone else? Kenji runs into Manjome in Friend World. He’s lost his way and is seeking a way out, but Kenji has to tell him that won’t work because in the real world he is dead. We see more and more of Manjome in the past, and the part he played in what happened.

Detective Chono seeks answers regarding his grandfather, the legendary Cho-san. And Kenji wants to know why he was called evil. What did he do in the past that would warrant such an accusation? The story isn’t over yet, one more book to go. Is there an anti-proton bomb? And can they find it before it takes out the world? On pins and needles waiting to find out!

Book Review: Monster, Perfect Edition Vol 6 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 6

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 20, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/406 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tenma arrives in Prague and locates what was once an old pub whose sign contains three frogs and tries to learn about a woman who once lived there, years before. Did she have twins, by any chance? Nina talks to Detective Suk who was investigating Grimmer and reveals that Grimmer gave him the key to a safe deposit box.The key was given to him by the doctor who once ran 511 Kinderheim. She warns him to tell no one about the key. But is she who she appears to be?

Suk goes to meet Grimmer, unaware that his own department is trailing him, hoping to get a lead on their suspect. Together they go to the bank and open the safe deposit box to find a report and a cassette tape. On the tape is the voice of a young boy who is being asked questions, such as his name. He says his name is Johan, and he speaks about Anna and a monster with no name. Afterward, Suk is approached by members of the Secret Police, who accuse him of having something to do with the poisoning of the three policemen. Although he protests his innocence, things don’t look good when they find a package of the same whiskey bonbons the men were poisoned with! When Grimmer arrives, he finds Suk standing in a room with two dead detectives! What is going on here? And where are the tape and the report?

Tenma learns about what has happened, and goes to visit Suk’s mother in the hospital to see if she has heard from him. Unfortunately, she has memory lapses and thinks he is Suk, so that doesn’t help. But she does remember a secret hideout Jan played in as a boy, and reminds her “son” of where it is. Can Suk and Grimmer be there? When Tenma finds Grimmer, he learns about his background as a spy, and how he was once at 511 Kinderheim himself!

Now Suk is missing and not in the hospital he should be in. Tenma and Grimmer find themselves invited to dinner by the man who knows where he is, Colonel Lanke. He only wants the tape and the report in exchange for Suk’s whereabouts. It turns out he has a personal reason to destroy those behind the notorious orphanage.

Nina and Dieter are also in Prague and when they find the pub with the three toads, the place is strangely familiar to Nina. What she doesn’t understand is why people there seem to recognize her, and why do they call her Anna?

A lot of backstory here, history coming to light, as the threads in this incredible tapestry of a story become more and more tightly woven, a picture emerging. So Grimmer was at Kinderheim too? Interesting. His history explained much about him. It’s amazing he turned out as well as he did. Except for the part about the Amazing Steiner. But maybe that isn’t what it seems either. Johan must be getting nervous if he’s dressing up like his sister to fool people. Detective Lunge is still on the case, but he is so obsessed with being right about Tenma that he dismisses any other evidence as wrong, especially if it points to Johan being a real person who isn’t in Tenma’s mind. Then the unthinkable happens, and Tenma is captured. How will he get out of this? And yuck, his alcoholic ex is back in the picture. Hopefully not for long.

Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 22: The Beginning of Justice by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 22: The Beginning of Justice 

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 18, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/256 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Kanna and the others decide that the only safe place to be, in order to avoid the virus that will rain down from the flying saucers, is Expo Park. But how to get the word to everyone in such a way that they will listen and not panic? Turns out that Kenji’s old enemies, Yanbo and Mabo, created the flying saucers for the Friend. But they say they had no choice, and they are on Kanna’s side now and only want to help. They tell Otcho he has to shoot the saucers down, and he can’t afford to miss. Otcho is up to the challenge, and will do whatever it takes.

Kanna takes a couple of teams to the TV station, expecting to meet with armed resistance, but it is eerily silent. Inside, they encounter Friend’s former assassin, Thirteen, along with the DJ who’s been playing Kenji’s song non-stop, and who turns out to be another childhood friend of Kanna’s uncle. He tells Kanna that Kenji is the one who introduced him to CCR.

Friend’s associates are stunned by his announcement that he is responsible for all the atrocities formerly attributed to Kenji and his group. Can it be true? If so, why, and what are they supposed to do now? Meanwhile, Kanna and the others begin plastering fliers all over town advertising a huge music festival in Expo Park – free! The big draw is that the elusive singer of “Bob Lennon” will be there. Who wouldn’t want to hear him live? Although Kanna entreated Haru Namio to perform, he declines, but shows up anyway with his old band.

Maruo and Keroyon and his son discover a group of masked children who lead them into a toy store, to their masked leader, whom they’ve dubbed the Mask King. He turns out to be another of Kenji’s childhood friends. Maruo and Keroyon vaccinate the children, and they are shown a way to get into Tokyo, over the wall.

Once they manage to cram all the people they can into Expo Park, the flying saucers are unleashed. But they aren’t headed in the direction they expected. In fact, they’re going straight to Expo Park! Did they just lead everyone into a trap? And the Giant Robot has been activated prematurely. How will this possibly end well? Will Friend’s insane plan be put into motion?

Wow, wow, wow. So much going on. So much drama, conflict, violence, hope, suspense… everything but resolution. Because this is not the last volume, contrary to popular belief. Good thing, because the ending, though sweet, isn’t enough, and explains so little and leaves so much hanging.

I confess to being angry at first at the ending, until I dug a little and discovered the story continues in Twenty-first Century Boys, which consists of two volumes. Okay, I can live with that. There is a certain amount of resolution in this volume, but there are people who need to be dealt with before the world can truly be safe. Or maybe the question is, can the world truly be safe?

All I can say is … to be continued.