"Doctor Tenma, for you all lives are created equal, that's why I came back to life. But you've finally come to realise it now havn't you? Only one thing is equal for all, and that is death."
- Johan Liebert (Monster)
I used to dislike manga and anime. Don't know why, probably just trying to be a hippie and not follow the trend that was ongoing at that time (or perhaps it was because the impression I had of anime at that time were things like Dragonball Z and its over nine thousand episode spirit bomb that didn't do anything), but that changed when I discovered FMAB and Liar Game. Now I recognise that whether it be manga or anime or a regular film or a novel, they are all trying to tell a story and how good the story is does not depend on its platform but on the man behind it.
So quite a long time ago, I got tired of how Liar Game (the only manga I read back then) just wouldn't update. It was fascinating until it just stopped updating properly then well yeah. Like the writer hit a writer's block or something. So I googled around, searching for mangas which I hoped would be similar to Liar Game.
I found three, bookmarked them, but never got down to reading them. So when I got this new phone and found myself with potentially lots of free time in camp, I thought perhaps this would be the best time to catch up. So I downloaded a manga app and downloaded two of the three mangas. I didn't download Kurosagi because it appeared to be facing the same problem as Liar Game, but the other two were both completed series. Mirai Nikki was interesting and kept me reading but it wasn't anything incredible, it was honestly quite stupid at times actually heh.
Monster, was the best manga ever. I hate to say it when I read like a grand total of less than five mangas in my life but I don't think I'll be able to find another story quite like it anytime soon. Don't worry its not a horror manga which things jumping out to scare you despite its name.
So enough about me, let me tell you about this manga.
The background of this story basically is about this genius brain surgeon Dr Tenma who was working in his hospital in Germany and all is going well for him. However, the hospital did not treat all lives as equal, prioritizing the more 'important' people over the general populace. One day, a young boy Johan Liebert caught in a mysterious tragedy leaving his parents dead and his twin sister in a state of shock, arrived at the hosptial. As Dr Tenma was about to start operating on him, the mayor also came in, and orders were given to Dr Tenma to attend to the mayor instead. Dr Tenma disobeyed orders and operated on the boy, and as a result the boy lived but the mayor died. Dr Tenma's world looked like it was about to come apart after that, his bright future was about to be extinguished because he stayed through to his ethics.
Then, the director and other important doctors in the hospital suddenly died, and the twins disappeared from the hospital. The mystery surrounding these deaths was never cleared and the twins were never found. Dr Tenma's position in the hospital was restored. About a decade later, Dr Tenma was a high flyer in the hospital, but still a humble and compassionate man. Everything changed though, when Johan returned and Dr Tenma discovered the truth. That it was Johan who killed the hospital staff, and not only so, he was responsible for a string of murders happening around Germany. In saving Johan, Dr Tenma has brought a monster back to life.
The manga then follows the story of Dr Tenma as he attempts to hunt down Johan to stop him from bringing greater death and destruction to the world. His quest brings him to discover dark secrets that should never have been uncovered as he learns more about who this Johan person really is. Admittedly there are times when I thought to myself 'oh gosh isn't this enough just kill him already', but I'm glad that did not happen, for darkness increases as the manga accelerates towards the grand finale, and with every step as light breaks into the darkness more and more skeletons are unearthed.
Now this manga is good because the plot is utterly fantastic. Johan is the perfect criminal, a monster, a devil. To quote a reviewer, "he's a monstrous presence in the book, but nobody really knows who he is or even what he wants". More than just a psychological thriller, it reveals the depths of depravity in humanity, the inner darkness within every single individual.
So there you go. If you have the time to read this (I was supposed to read this slowly while I was in camp with nothing to do but I guessed I just blazed through the whole thing in four days), it is definitely worth a read. If you found memento fascinating, this will be too. If you havn't seen memento, then well go watch it and then come read this heh.