[identity profile] grazzt.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Hey, I figured that since it's horror week, a bit more of Naoki Urasawa's Monster is appropriate.

Up until now, I don't think I've actually gotten into what the series is about. I've showcased a couple of characters, and I think that the themes behind the series has also been gleaned, but nothing much in terms of the overarching plot. To rectify this, how about a summary of volume 1? Let's go back in time to 1986 and witness the horrifying events at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Dusseldorf.

The light is the sun. We find out that they've been operating for six hours, and it was dark when they started. The young man being praised by his colleagues is Kenzo Tenma, a Japanese doctor practicing in Germany.

Passing by a woman in Turkish garb, Tenma remembers that her husband had been brought in for surgery. Unfortunately, the man didn't make it.

Things happen, characters are introduced, when Tenma is confronted by the Turkish widow:

Tenma is understandably taken aback, and decides to bring this up to his fiance (the director's daughter, Eva) at dinner.

The director, likewise, is not very sympathetic. First he dismisses Tenma's current research because he wants Tenma to write a different thesis for him (in the director's name, of course), then he weighs in on the Turkish patient and what he believes a doctor should be.

Tenma takes this, because that's his boss.

Meanwhile, the police receive a call to a mansion. The inhabitants of the mansion had just moved in recently, being a defected East German trade adviser, his wife, and their two children. What the police find isn't all that pleasant.

The girl is in shock, and the boy at her feet (her twin brother) is the only survivor, despite a bullet to his head. They're rushed to Eisler Memorial Hospital, where Tenma is woken to operate on him. Tenma reviews the kids scans, and plans to extract the bullet from his brain.

Just as Tenma is ready to start, he receives a call. Apparently the mayor of Dusseldorf has collapsed because of a cerebral blood clot, and is being helicoptered in for surgery. They want Tenma to abandon the boy and operate on the mayor instead. Tenma believes he is the only one capable of saving the boy in his condition, but the director has personally phoned and insists that Tenma save the mayor. Because the mayor is planning on increasing the subsidy to the hospital, naturally.

Tenma starts off to work on the mayor, but his conscience (or at least flashbacks of the callousness of his boss and fiance, and the crying Turkish woman) gets the better of him, and he operates on the kid anyway.

And finally, we check back in on his sister.

As you can tell, the art isn't up to the same standards as later chapters. Still, there are some great and iconic moments here: the dead parents, the girl standing over her wounded brother, Tenma freezing in the hospital hallway (not shown here). And the faces, even if they haven't quite reached the level that they will later, are still some of the most expressive in comics.

So, I hope that wasn't too disjointed for everyone. Up next, people learn valuable lessons. Or they're killed horribly. I can't remember which. Maybe it's both.

All scans taken from Spectrum Nexus, and not the official translation by Viz Media.

Date: 2009-09-12 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mullon.insanejournal.com
I've been trying to read this entire series for a year now. But my library sucks and for some reason can never get the volumes even when they say someone else has them. I've been waiting for volume 10 for months.

Date: 2009-09-12 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] espanolbot.insanejournal.com
The series of this is good. :) Though I don't think that there's a dub version.

Pluto is also good, and it's by the same person.

Date: 2009-09-12 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darklorelei.insanejournal.com
I really need to get back into Monster. I got through volume...4? And got distracted and stalled out.

Also, if anyone hasn't heard, Syfy is going to start airing the anime in October.

Date: 2009-09-13 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silvercatmon.livejournal.com (from insanejournal.com)
My brain is breaking at the *shudder* Syfy channel actually playing great stuff.

Date: 2009-09-13 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darklorelei.insanejournal.com
Gods, I know. I'm so conflicted. I really want to watch it, but...Syfy!

Date: 2009-09-12 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dcanacek.insanejournal.com
So basically this is Royal Pains if the rich guy had lived?

Date: 2009-09-13 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silvercatmon.livejournal.com (from insanejournal.com)
If the rich guy had lived, he would be the hospital's "Chosen one". They would rally around him and protect him from silly things like the death of someone unimportant.
The hospital wants money and prestige. Tenma can give them that.
Tenma made the wrong choice.

Date: 2009-09-13 03:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silvercatmon.livejournal.com (from insanejournal.com)
If you only read one manga in your life, read Monster.

Date: 2009-09-13 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kagome654.insanejournal.com
Excellent post from an excellent series. I do like how Tenma tries to justify operating on the opera singer over the Turkish man at first, it just demonstrates to me that he's a good man, but not a Saint, and that sometimes you need to hear your viewpoint expressed by other other people to realize that it's wrong.


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