Just in case you need a refresher, every volume from 11 until the final 18 now opens with a summary and who’s who … not that you’re really going to need it because the characters really are quite unforgettable. But you might use it for the occasional obscure name or two … oh, have I mentioned Dr. Reichwein’s name means ‘rich/substantial/costly wine’ and he counsels alcoholics? ‘Weinen’ is also the infinitive for ‘to cry’ or ‘to whine,’ so could also mean ‘lots of whinge-ing’ which is what the good shrink basically deals with all day – how could you not appreciate Urasawa’s wicked sense of humor – especially when names of are of utmost importance to the plot of this entire series?!
So we’re nearing the final volumes (boo hooo) … and it’s a fast and furious read to the bitter end. You WANT to slow down to make them last, but … well … that just isn’t going to happen. The twists and turns are so intriguing, I don’t want to give anything away … just little hints in hopes you’ll want to join in on the heart-thumping excitement.
Prague’s the hot spot in vol. 11: Tenma’s found the apartment where the twins lived with their mother before everything fell apart, detective Suk thinks he’s getting close to Anna Liebert, he and Grimmer track down the mysterious tape and hear Johan’s eerie child’s voice, then quickly have to go on the run, and Nina and young Dieter arrive at the The Three Frogs while Nina tries to recover some of her missing memories.
Inspector Lunge re-appears in vol. 12, supposedly on vacation in the lovely city of … Prague (surprise, surprise). He finds the eerie Red Rose Mansion where tragedy has been trapped for decades, and knocks down the stone wall to more than just a secret room. Grimmer starts to remember details of his own startling tragic past … and finds his heart again, piece by piece: children can work miracles without even knowing it. Everyone’s looking for the elusive Franz Bonaparta, children’s author to some, brutal secret police to others. And Tenma gets arrested!
Tenma’s not talking n vol. 13, and insists on wasting away in his German jail cell. A powerful lawyer devoted to freeing the innocent – who has shocking secrets of his own – is determined to help Tenma, but his legal partner’s got other plans. Dr. Reichwein tries to convince Tenma’s ex-fiancée (and vengeful nemesis – never underestimate the fury of a dumped woman) Eva to go to the police to prove the good doc’s innocence, but her boozing days aren’t over and she’s playing hardball.
Tenma’s out running again in vol. 14 and headed back to the Czech border … the Red Rose Mansion is calling to him. Nina’s seeing one horrific memory after another and literally collapses, only to recover with the kindness of a stranger … but who is he really? Eva’s managed to get herself out of the gutter and cleaned up, with a burly bodyguard to boot, but her new boss is as dangerous as they come …
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2007-2008 (United States)
MONSTER © Naoki Urasawa
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.