Mal reviews: Naoki Urusawa's Monster

#1
For those of you who haven't read or heard of this, here's a plot summary according to ANN:
When a Doctor makes the highly controversial decision to save a boy's life over the mayor's, it leads to the loss of almost everything he holds dear. His fiance, his career, his social standing. The only thing he keeps is his own feeling of self worth, knowing that he did the right thing in saving the boy, who came in first. Yet even that is threatened when he begins to learn that nothing is as it originally appeared. A trail of bloodshed pointing to the seemingly innocent child leaves him questioning even his beliefs. Whether, in the end, all lives are ever truly equal.

Here's one of the best recommendations for it I've found (it was written for the anime, but it still applies)
Very mature, genuinely deep and often as creepy as it is inspiring; offers little in the way of action, humor, fanservice, or bright flashy art - and everything in terms of plot, athmosphere and character. Although it does center around some pretty contrived conspiracies, there is nothing supernatural involved and everything ultimately comes down to human nature - and this show does raise some extremely poignant (and more or less unanswerable) ethical questions.
Also, it's set in 1990s Europe and revels in very accurate athmosphere - visually and otherwise (it's surprisingly well-aware of social issues in post-communist Europe, for example). The art, while not flashy as I said before, soaks in beautiful European cities and landscapes, and the characters designs - many of which border on ugly - are realistic and unglorified. Also, in a break from the usual teen domination of everything, the protagonist is in his late 30s - ironically that's a median age for the cast, who with a few exceptions are all adults.
All in all, a breath of fresh air who want a bit less flash and a bit more substance in their anime.
So far I've only read through volume 11 (with volume 12 coming out tuesday :D) and so far the story has been astounding. For those of you who liked Death Note, this has drama and intrigue, but without the super powers. However, this only adds to the suspense. The characters all feel real. There isn't some super being, these are all people who have flaws and depth. The artwork, though not full of pretty boys and beautiful women, is still good.

Honestly, the series is a must to see.
 
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