Promotional image for the Monster anime series, showing Kenzo Tenma in profile and Johan Liebert, face obscured, holding a gun.
|Genre||Detective fiction, Drama, Horror|
|Written by||Naoki Urasawa|
|Magazine||Big Comic Original|
|Original run||December 1994 – December 2001|
|Written by||Naoki Urasawa|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masayuki Kojima|
|Written by||Tatsuhiko Urahata|
|Music by||Kuniaki Haishima|
|Original run||6 April 2004 – 27 September 2005|
Monster (モンスター Monsutā ) (sometimes referred to as "Naoki Urasawa's Monster") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, published by Shogakukan in Big Comic Original between 1994 and 2001, and reprinted in 18 tankōbon volumes. The story revolves around Kenzō Tenma, a Japanese surgeon living in Germany whose life enters turmoil after getting himself involved with Johan Liebert, one of his former patients who is revealed to be a dangerous psychopath.
Urasawa later wrote and illustrated the novel Another Monster, a story detailing the events of the manga from an investigative reporter's point of view, which was published in 2002. The manga was adapted by Madhouse into a 74-episode anime TV series, which aired on NTV from April 2004 to September 2005. It was directed by Masayuki Kojima, written by Tatsuhiko Urahata and featured character design by Kitarō Kōsaka. The manga and anime have both been licensed by Viz Media for English releases in North America, with the anime having been broadcast on several television channels. In 2013, Siren Visual licensed the anime for Australasia. Monster won an Excellence Prize at the 1st Japan Media Arts Festival in 1997, the 3rd Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 1999, and the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award in 2000.
Dr. Kenzō Tenma is a young Japanese doctor, working at Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf in 1986. An accomplished brain surgeon, he seems to have everything: a promotion in the offing; the favor of the hospital's director, Udo Heinemann; and Heinemann's daughter Eva as his fiancée. However, Tenma is increasingly dissatisfied with the political bias of the hospital in treating patients, and seizes the chance to change things after a massacre brings identical twins Johan and Anna Liebert into the hospital. Johan has a gunshot wound to his head, and Anna mutters about killing; Tenma decides to operate on Johan instead of the mayor of Düsseldorf, who arrived later. Johan is saved, but Mayor Roedecker dies; Tenma loses his social standing (and Eva) as a result. However, Director Heinemann and the other doctors in Tenma's way are mysteriously murdered, and both children disappear from the hospital soon afterwards. The police suspect Tenma, since he benefits from the turn of events; however, they have no evidence and can only question him.
Nine years later, Tenma is Chief of Surgery at Eisler Memorial. After saving a criminal named Adolf Junkers after Junkers was hit by a car, he hears Junkers muttering about a "monster". Tenma is kind to Junkers, who reciprocates by opening up to the doctor. One evening, when Tenma returns with a clock as a gift for Junkers, he finds the guard in front of Junkers' room dead and Junkers gone. Following the trail to the construction site of a half-finished building near the hospital, Tenma finds Junkers held at gunpoint. Concerned for Tenma's safety, Junkers warns him against coming closer and pleads with him to run away. Tenma refuses, and the man holding the gun is revealed to be Johan Liebert, the boy whose life Tenma saved nine years earlier. Despite Tenma's attempts to reason with him Johan shoots Junkers; telling Tenma he could never kill the man who saved his life, he walks off into the night, with Tenma too shocked to stop him.
After this incident Tenma is again suspected by the police, particularly BKA Inspector Lunge, and he tries to find more information about Johan. He soon discovers that the boy's sister (now called Nina) is living a happy life as the adopted daughter of two caring parents; the only traces of her terrible past are a few nightmares. Tenma finds Nina on her birthday; he keeps her from Johan, but is too late to stop him from murdering her foster parents. Tenma eventually learns the origins of this "monster": from the former East Germany's attempt to use a secret orphanage known as "511 Kinderheim" to create perfect soldiers through psychological reprogramming, to the author of children's books used in a eugenics experiment in the Czech Republic. Tenma also learns the scope of the atrocities committed by this "monster", and vows to fix the mistake he made by saving Johan's life.
- Dr. Kenzō Tenma
- Voiced by: Hidenobu Kiuchi (Japanese), Liam O'Brien (English)
- The main protagonist of the series. Kenzo Tenma is a Japanese neurosurgeon working at Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf. Little is known of Tenma's childhood apart from his father (who worked as a director at a prestige hospital) and brother also being doctors. Tenma's family ties grew weaker since he left Japan for Germany. Tenma's surgical skills became evident to his superiors at the beginning of Monster, and he was promoted to chief of neurosurgery by Director Udo Heinemann around the time he met Eva (who Directror Heinemenan offered to him in marriage). When a young boy with a bullet wound arrived, Tenma was about to operate when Chief of Surgery Dr. Oppenheim and Director Heinemann told Tenma to work on Mayor Roedecker (who collapsed at his holiday home) first. Tenma told Heinemann that he was the only one who could operate on a child and asked Heinemann to have Dr. Boyer handle the mayor. Heinemann ignored his request, ordering him to operate on the mayor. After a crisis of conscience, Tenma saves the life of a young boy instead of Mayor Roedecker. He is then scolded afterwards by Dr. Boyer and Dr. Oppenheim for not treating the mayor (who died as the doctors had to scramble to cover for Tenma at the last minute). At a banquet, Tenma begged for forgiveness from Director Heinemann who forgive him while blacklisting him, withdrawing Eva's hand in marriage, and Boyer becoming the new head of neurosurgery. Weeks later, Tenma gets word from the police that Director Heinemann, Dr. Oppenheim and Dr. Boyer have been mysteriously killed. Because of the three deaths and transfers of some doctors, the chairman of the board appoints Tenma chief of surgery. Nine years later, Tenma learns that Heinemann's murderer (and the recent killer of Adolf Junkers) is the boy he saved years before, Johan Liebert. Plagued by guilt, he resolves to find Johan and end the life of this "monster" he feels responsible for creating (while evading Inspector Heinrich Lunge, who suspects Tenma of the murders). He is a humanitarian who cares about the lives of others, and his kindness influences those he meets. In his quest to kill Johan, Tenma nearly succeeds several times only to have him slip away until their final confrontation in Ruhenheim. At the time when Tenma was staying at Milan Kolasch's house, it is revealed that Tenma can make a good Oyakodon. When Johan wants Tenma to kill him, he threatens Wim when the child's drunk father, Herbert, mistakes Johan for a monster and shoots him. After Johan is flown to a hospital in a helicopter, Tenma treats him and is cleared of all charges. He later joins Doctors Without Borders (learning from Otto Heckel where Johan and Anna's mother is), and visits the comatose Johan in a police hospital. Afterwards, he heads off to meet Dieter, Nina, and Dr. Julius Reichwein before he heads overseas.
- Johan Liebert
- Young Johan Liebert Voiced by: Yuuto Uemura (Japanese), Julie Ann Taylor (English)
- Adult Johan Liebert Voiced by: Nozomu Sasaki (Japanese), Keith Silverstein (English)
- Johan Liebert is the "monster" of the title and the principal antagonist of the series. The mystery of his past is the focus of the plot. He is called a monster, the next Hitler and the devil himself. Johan Liebert was shot in the head as a child, but saved from death by Dr. Tenma. Because of this, he regards Tenma as a father figure. He claims to love his twin sister, and has some loyalty to her. Johan has spent parts of his life in different places under different names. He possesses charisma and intelligence but is also cunning, manipulative and deceitful; while he is kind, compassionate and loving to children, he can be cold and cruel. He uses his talents to manipulate and corrupt others, often with no apparent end than to cause suffering and destruction. His goal (stated as a child) is to be the last one standing at the end of the world. One of the themes of Monster is how individuals are capable of behaving monstrously, and Johan often acts as a direct or indirect catalyst for such behavior. He identifies with other killers, discovering their secrets. Like Tenma, Johan is similar to a character from a manga by Osamu Tezuka: in this case Michio Yuki, the villain in MW. This includes his childhood involvement in a secret military experiment, his ability to manipulate powerful people, his ambition to trigger the end of the world, his suicidal tendencies and occasional episodes of cross-dressing. In keeping with the Apocalypse theme, Johan shares traits with the Antichrist: being "resurrected" after being shot through the head and being mistaken for a monster with "seven heads and many horns". Although Nina remembers that Johan and Anna had no real names, he is primarily known as Johan. After causing the death of Petr Čapek, he orchestrates the Ruhenheim Massacre and has his final encounter with Tenma. When Johan threatens Wim to get Tenma to shoot him, Johan is shot by Wim's drunken father, Herbert. He is flown to a hospital in a helicopter, with the bullet wound treated by Tenma. Comatose, he is visited by Tenma in a police hospital. The final page shows his bed empty, ambiguously suggesting that Johan has escaped from the hospital.
- Nina Fortner/Anna Liebert
- Voiced by: Mamiko Noto (Japanese), Karen Strassman (English)
- Johan's identical twin sister, the only physically unharmed survivor of the night her parents and brother were shot in what appeared to be a botched burglary. Nina is a sweet, kind, loving, hardworking and intelligent young woman. She seemed to have a happy life, but discovers there are parts of her past she does not remember. At first, she had amnesia due to the psychological trauma of the attack. After she and Johan disappeared, she was adopted by the Fortner family from Heidelberg (who were unaware of her previous identity as Anna Liebert). As Nina Fortner, she was a law student at the University of Heidelberg and a practitioner of aikido. She lived in peace until Johan contacted her on her 20th birthday and also pursues Johan, with different methods and for a different reason than Tenma does. While Nina does not share her brother's psychosis, they have similar fears linked to their past: she is frozen with shock after reading a children's book which caused Johan to faint. While Nina is primarily a pacifist, she will threaten (or kill) someone if she feels it necessary or to protect others. During a hypnosis session with Dr. Gillen, her personality changes and she reveals that Nina is not her name; when he asks her real name, she refuses to say and attacks him. She also reveals that their father was a soldier in Czechoslovakia, that he was murdered before they were born, and their mother was a political activist. She is present at the Ruhenheim Massacre, forgiving her brother and trying to dissuade Tenma from shooting Johan. By the end of the series, Nina graduates from college and plans to attend law school.
- Inspector Heinrich Lunge
- Voiced by: Tsutomu Isobe (Japanese), Richard Epcar (English)
- First seen in chapter five, Inspector Lunge is a BKA detective assigned to the murder case at the hospital. He thinks Tenma is the prime suspect, believing that Tenma invented Johan; he is later convinced that Johan is Tenma's alter ego. Inspector Lunge is obsessed with Tenma. His devotion to his work comes at the expense of his personal life; during the series, his wife and pregnant daughter leave him. What he loves most is his job; Lunge missed a chance to meet his grandson for the first time to see Tenma's friends from Japan instead. He expresses some regret; during his fight with Roberto he seems angry to hear Roberto say how happy his wife was with another man, and his grandson saw that man as his grandfather. Lunge has an excellent memory, "entering data" into his mind by making typing gestures with his hands. He seems devoid of emotion, which allows him to commit himself to every case on which he works. His toughness drives a murder suspect to suicide, prompting his superiors to remove Lunge from all his cases. After the University of Munich fire, Lunge learns that Johan really exists. He then takes a "holiday" in Prague to track down Franz Bonaparta, author of a book which may reveal Johan's origins. Lunge ends up in Ruhenheim, meeting Grimmer and Tenma; apologizing to the latter for his mistakes, he heads off to a showdown with Roberto. Both are wounded in the shootout; Lunge survives, while Roberto dies of his wounds. While being carried away by a stretcher to the hospital, he blames Roberto for the Ruhenheim Massacre stating that Roberto was essentially responsible for what happened there. It is unknown why, but it is hinted that he does so to protect Johan and perhaps Tenma. After the Ruhenheim Massacre, Lunge visits Grimmer's grave along with Jan Suk and Fritz Vardemann. He tells them he is a professor at a police academy, and has rekindled his relationship with his daughter.
- Voiced by: Junko Takeuchi (Japanese), Laura Bailey (English)
- First seen in chapter 11, Dieter is a young boy Tenma encounters in his search for Johan. When Tenma first meets him, he is under the care of a man named Hartmann; Tenma later discovers that Dieter is physically abused by Hartmann. Hartmann plans to make Dieter into another Johan by applying the same conditioning used in the Kinderheim 511 orphanage. Dieter later becomes happier after being saved by Tenma from Hartmann's physical and mental abuse. Dieter follows Tenma in his search for Johan, to prevent Tenma from becoming a murderer because he is fond of him. He later teams up with Nina, to help her find out more about her past and give her moral support when her traumatic memories resurface (since he was also subjected to similar abuse). Dieter seems to have absorbed some of Tenma's beliefs and optimism about life, when he meets a young boy influenced by Johan to be more like the latter. The young boy recites what he heard Johan say about life, death and fear, and tries to tempt Dieter to walk along the ledge of a building with his eyes closed. Dieter refuses, saying he wants to live, to experience new things and see the faces of the people he loves; he repeats what he heard Tenma say: "Tomorrow will be better". Dieter helps Nina find out more about her past. By the end of the series he reunites with Otto Heckel, who tells Dieter to give information he dug up on where the mother of the Liebert twins is to Tenma.
- Eva Heinemann
- Voiced by: Mami Koyama (Japanese), Tara Platt (English)
- Eva Heinemann is Tenma's fiancée and the daughter of Director Udo Heinemann. She is independent, superficial, bossy, loud, demanding, and manipulative. She is also cruel, taunting, demeaning, and hates not having her way. She is not often seen without either demanding to be pampered or having a drink. Tenma's relationship with Eva seems to have problems. He tends to ignore Eva while he is doing research, and insists on activities Eva does not want to do like having a picnic. Although she claims to love him, she sometimes treats him cruelly. However, Tenma asks for Eva's hand in marriage (to her father's approval). She leaves Tenma after he is demoted by her father for disobeying his orders where she drops her ring near him and meets up with another man without saying a word to him. Director Heinemann's murder takes a toll on her. She tries to reconcile with Tenma, but he quietly rejects her. Several years and three failed marriages later, she meets Inspector Lunge where she reminiscing about her time with Tenma. Nostalgic, Eva visits Tenma at the hospital and attempts to start over with him. When Eva is rejected again, she lashes out at him. She becomes an embittered alcoholic, using money from divorce settlements to finance her lifestyle. After burning her house down in a drunken rage, she wanders throughout Germany and is caught up in the investigation of the "monster" where one of her drunken activities caused her to spend a night in the police department's jail. Although she does not suspect Tenma caused her father's death, she obsessively hopes to see him suffer in prison in retaliation for his rejection of her. Eva becomes a target of Roberto during her near-encounter with Johan Liebert the night he murdered Adolf Junkers. Petr Čapek and "the Baby" hire Martin to bring her to Frankfurt, where she tries to mold him into a replica of Tenma. When Martin dies after a shootout, Eva is devastated. Although Tenma tells her to go by train to Munich to meet with Dr. Reichwein and tell the police what she knows about Johan, instead she plans revenge on those responsible for Martin's death and purchases a gun. Eva finds Christof Sievernich (partially responsible for Martin's death) and tries unsuccessfully to kill him. She is saved by Tenma who wounds Sievernich. Eva is later seen with Dieter at Julius Reichwein's house where she mentions that the police did not believe her story that Johan Liebert was the culprit. During this time, Eva trades alcohol for cigarettes. By the end of the series, she becomes an interior decorator who has released her anger at Tenma and her grief for Martin when she visits Dr. Reichwein. In Another Monster, Eva explains that she left Tenma after Director Heinemann demoted him because her father needed a right-hand man who he could put his full trust in. Eva still emphasizes that breaking the engagement was her own conscious decision.
- Werner Weber
- Werner Weber is a freelancing journalist who is the main character of Another Monster. He interviewed people that were in the lives of Kenzo Tenma and Johan Liebert ranging from Kenzo Tenma's childhood friends, Eva Heinemann, Inspector Heinrich Lunge, Rudy Gillen, Karl Neumann, Jan Suk, Karel Rank, and others.
- Director Udo Heinemann
- Voiced by: Masaru Ikeda (Japanese), Steve Kramer (English)
- The Director of Eisler Memorial Hospital. Director Udo Heinemann supervises Tenma and the other doctors and surgeons. Impressed with Tenma's talents, he offers his daughter Eva in marriage. Tenma is dissatisfied with hospital politics when he is ordered to treat an opera singer F. Rosenbach instead of a Turkish construction worker who arrived first. Tenma saves the singer, but the construction worker dies as a result of treatment delays from Dr. Becker. When the Liebert twins are brought in (with Johan's bullet head wound), Tenma is working on him when chief of surgery Dr. Oppenheim and Director Heinemann order him to treat a cerebral clot in Mayor Roedecker (who came in after them). When Tenma tells Director Heinemann that he is the only one who can successfully operate on Johan and to have Dr. Boyer handle the mayor for him, Director Heinemann ignores Tenma's request since the next review of medical facilities will have Mayor Roedecker promising increased funding to Eisler Memorial. Tenma's decision to operate on Johan causes the other doctors to scramble to cover for him at the last minute resulting in Roedecker's death. Director Heinemann receives a report from Dr. Oppenheim about what happened to Roedecker. The next day, Director Heinemann states at a press conference that Mayor Roedecker died from a cerebral infarction and that they tried their best to save him. When Tenma apologizes to Director Heinemann at a hospital banquet for what happened to Mayor Roedecker, Director Heinemann tells him not to worry about it and that he just followed his heart. However, Dr. Boyer will be assuming Tenma's Head of Neurosurgery position. Director Heinemann also tells Tenma that will not be getting any review papers from him by the next Health Summit and will not recommend Tenma if he plans a transfer. Angry about what Director Heienmann, Tenma sits beside an unconscious Johan Liebert ranting about Heinemann's attitude and that he'd be better off dead. Director Heinemann later ordered Dr. Oppenheim to have Dr. Boyer watch over the twins after hearing that Tenma was watching over them. Director Heinemann is later found dead when he, Dr. Oppenheim and Dr. Boyer were poisoned by candy left by Johan Liebert. Director Heinemann's death had its toll on Eva who broke down in tears during her father's funeral. In Another Monster, it was revealed that Kenzo Tenma had arrived in Germany after reading Director Heinemann's research on Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Tenma later learned that Dr. Heinemann's researches were not actually written by him, but by his teaching assistants. Dr. Tenma feared that he might become one of them.
- Dr. Oppenheim
- Voiced by: Nobuaki Fukuda (Japanese), Kirk Thornton (English)
- Dr. Oppenheim is the Chief of Surgery at Eisler Memorial, serving under Udo Heinemann. He has Tenma operate on F. Rosenbach while Dr. Becker treats the Turkish construction worker. When the Liebert twins came in, he hands Tenma his phone when Director Heinemann orders Tenma to treat Mayor Roedecker first. When Mayor Roedecker dies during surgery, Dr. Oppenheim berates Tenma for letting him die. He tells Tenma that he has already filed his report to Director Heinemann and that Mayor Roedecker's death is Temna's fault. Director Heinemann later orders Dr. Oppenheim to put Dr. Boyer in charge of the twins after he heard that Tenma was watching them. With Director Heinemann and Dr. Boyer, Dr. Oppenheim is found dead when the three are poisoned with candy left by Johan Liebert. Dr. Oppenheim's death caused the chairman of the board to give his position to Tenma.
- Dr. Boyer
- Voiced by: Masahiko Tanaka (Japanese), Michael McConnohie (English)
- Dr. Boyer is a surgeon at Eisler Memorial Hospital. He and another doctor were to join Tenma for Mayor Roedecker's surgery. After Tenma operates on Johan Liebert instead, Dr. Boyer scolds Tenma for inadvertently causing Roedecker's death and stated that the doctors had to scramble to cover for him at the last minute. Because of this, Director Udo Heinemann appoints Dr. Boyer to be the new Head of Neurosurgery. When Anna Liebert collapses near Johan, Boyer is instructed to photograph her memory jog over Tenma's objections as part of Director Heinemann's "emergency image-saver" for retrieving hospital's costs. Dr. Boyer tells Tenma that Director Heinemann has put him in charge of the Liebert twins and that he can't argue with Director Heinemann on this. After Johan awakens, Dr. Boyer tells Tenma that he has served his purpose by saving Johan's life and orders Tenma to return to his post as Dr. Boyer enters Johan's room. Director Heinemann, Dr. Oppenheim and Dr. Boyer are later found dead where they were poisoned with candy left by Johan Liebert.
- Dr. Becker
- Voiced by: Yasuyoshi Hara (Japanese), Christopher Corey Smith (English)
- Dr. Becker is a surgeon at Eisler Memorial. While Dr. Tenma is treating opera singer F. Rosenbach on Dr. Oppenheim's orders, Dr. Becker handles the surgery of a Turkish construction worker who dies from treatment delays. When the Liebert twins are brought in, he helps Tenma with Johan's surgery. After Mayor Roedecker's death, Becker visits Tenma asking if he has heard from Director Udo Heinemann. When Director Heinemann, Dr. Oppenheim, and Dr. Boyer are found dead, Dr. Becker, Tenma and a nurse discover that the Liebert twins are gone. After Director Heinemann's funeral, Dr. Becker and Tenma are approached by Inspectors Weisbach and Lunge, who are searching for clues. When Tenma is arrested in Prague, Dr. Becker voices doubts to his patients that a good lawyer would represent him.
- Egon Weisbach
- Voiced by: Ryuji Nakagi (Japanese), David Lodge (English)
- Egon Weisbach is a police inspector who is the first person to investigate the Lieberts' murder. At the hospital, he helps Anna Liebert remember her name and her brother. After Heinemann's funeral, he and Inspector Lunge approach Tenma for clues. Nine years later, Weisbach is near retirement when he brings apprehended murderer Rheinhardt Dinger to the police station. He later meets Rudy Gillen who is interrogating murderers whose murders do not match their modus operandi. When they ask Rheinhardt again, they are led by a clue leading to Johan Liebert.
- Professor Kronecker
- Voiced by: Taimei Suzuki (Japanese), Michael McConnohie (English)
- Kronecker teaches at the University of Heidelberg, and scolds Nina for being late for class. By the end of the series, he tells Nina that she has graduated and she had better not be late for her law-school entrance exam.
- Otto Heckel
- Voiced by: Yoshito Yasuhara (Japanese), Doug Erholtz (English)
- A buck-toothed thief, Heckel runs into Tenma in chapter 17 when he breaks into a murder victim's house where Tenma is investigating. Heckel is not interested in solving the mystery surrounding the monster; he is preoccupied with making quick cash by any means necessary. Nonetheless, Tenma and Heckel must rely on each other in order to survive. Heckel becomes friends with Dieter around the time when Tenma has his encounter with "The Baby." By the end of the series he resurfaces, telling Dieter that he has located the mother of the Liebert twins for Tenma.
- "The Baby"
- Voiced by: Kazuo Kumakura (Japanese), Kirk Thornton (English)
- First mentioned in chapter 26, "The Baby" is a short, elderly, neo-Nazi leader. He sees Johan as an ideal Aryan leader, who could become the next Adolf Hitler to lead Germany into prominence. The Baby works for four individuals who would welcome Johan as a political leader. He hopes to use Nina as bait to coerce Johan and as a precautionary measure to protect him (and the other group members) from Johan. This fails as Johan kills one of the four members of the organization. The Baby is reminiscent of a character from Twin Peaks named "the Midget." The Baby's first appearance is similar as he appears to Nina from behind a red curtain (similar in turn to the Black Lodge's waiting room), dancing to "Be My Baby". He is killed by an exotic dancer employed by Johan in a plot to destroy Petr Čapek and his organization.
- General Helmut Wolf
- Voiced by: Kōichi Kitamura (Japanese), Anthony Landor (English)
- First seen in chapter 29, General Wolf is an old soldier who was first to find the twins and is the second of four individuals (with Goedelitz and Čapek) in the organization. He gave Johan his name (the name of the boy in the picture book entitled The Monster without a Name). Wolf is the only one of the four who did not want to make Johan a modern-day Führer. His family and acquaintances have been killed by Johan, teaching him true loneliness. Later in the series, Tenma encounters Wolf on his deathbed after the destruction of the Red Rose Mansion; before he dies, he begs Tenma to speak his name as proof he existed.
- Rudy Gillen
- Voiced by: Takayuki Sugo (Japanese), Derek Stephen Prince (English)
- First seen in chapter 33, Gillen is a criminologist and one of Tenma's former classmates (a former student of Dr. Reichwein). He helps Tenma by saving him from arrest and acquiring information about Johan from the criminals Johan has met. Gillen has some insight into Johan and his motives, but is still baffled by Johan's actions. Gillen later gives Nina hypnotherapy, during which she tries to attack him. Gillen and Inspector Weisbach later interrogate murderers who have killed people who do not fit their modus operandi. He later accompanies Nina to Ruhenheim, where they encounter some of the people whom Tenma evacuated. He tells one of the adults to have the children treated at a hospital and to have the authorities get to Ruhenheim as fast as they can. Gillen is later seen with Nina when Johan is shot by Herbert Knaup. In Another Monster, Gillen writes a best-seller about Johan and his string of murders. He believes that Johan is still in the hospital, but thinks it best to not interview him if he awakens.
- Voiced by: Nobuyuki Katsube (Japanese), JB Blanc (English)
- First seen in chapter 37, Roberto is a big, burly man and one of the many people from the Kinderheim 511 orphanage whom Johan controls. He admires Johan often serving as Johan's bodyguard and hitman. While Roberto knows nothing about his past it is suggested that he is the nephew of a former high-level StB officer named Karl Ranke, since there is a resemblance between the two. Ranke tells a story about his sister who, with her husband, was shot trying to cross the Berlin Wall into West Germany; only their son, Adolf Reinhart, survived the attack. As Adolf's legal guardian, Ranke signed papers turning his nephew over to Kinderheim 511. Wolfgang Grimmer may be the only person who remembers him, considering him a friend during their time at the orphanage (Grimmer remembers that one of Adolf's favorite drinks was cocoa). It is unclear in Monster or Another Monster if Roberto is Adolf Reinhart. He is shot by Tenma and seems to fall over a balcony into a sea of flames, but returns as an attorney for Tenma called Alfred Baul. Largely faithful to Johan, he is thinner and his right arm is largely useless. When he first meets Nina Fortner, although Johan wishes no harm to his sister Roberto leaves her to be killed by his men to protect Johan. Of Johan's henchmen, Roberto appears the most frequently as an enemy. He is mortally wounded by Lunge in the Ruhenheim Massacre and kills Franz Bonaparta, and while dying asks Johan to show him "Dooms Day", but Johan says he can not see it.
- Hans Georg Schuwald
- Voiced by: Michio Hazama (Japanese), Dan Woren (English)
- First seen in chapter 47, Han Georg Schuwald is known as the "Bayern Vampire." He is a successful, reclusive paraplegic businessman and his success allows him to donate his library to the University of Munich. Schuwald employs several students from the university, who read him Latin. He fathered a son with a prostitute, Margot Langer (friends in Prague with a mother of twins), whom he says he still loves. Although it is believed he was there when Karl was born, for some reason he abandoned mother and son. While his library-dedication ceremony is targeted by Johan in a scheme to unleash terror and pandemonium, the authorities (including Inspector Lunge) believe Schuwald is the real target and Tenma is responsible. Before Tenma leaves for Prague, he has Karl deliver a message to Schuwald about the mother of the Liebert twins' living in Prague. Schuwald later undergoes therapy with Dr. Reichwein and hires Fritz Vardemann to defend Tenma when he is arrested. After the Ruhenheim Massacre at the end of the series, Schuwald is informed of Tenma's current status and wishes to see him again one day.
- Margot Langer/Halenka Novakova
- Margot Langer Voiced by: Atsuko Tanaka (Japanese), Brigitte Burdine (English)
- Fake Margot Langer Voiced by: Kazuko Yanaga (Japanese), Wendee Lee (English)
- A prostitute and mother of Hans Georg Schuwald's son Karl Neumann. Before meeting Schuwald, she and a friend plan to leave Prague. Margot succeeds, but her friend is caught. Margot then works as a high-priced call girl who eventually becomes Schuwald's lover (it is hinted that she returns his feelings). Years after giving birth to Karl, she sends him away out of love so he will not be known as "the son of a whore". It is hinted that after her retirement, she lives with Johan in friendship telling him of her past and his mother. However, it is also hinted that Johan kills Margot. Blue Sophie (who later posed as Margot) is also later killed by Johan and Roberto. In a flashback, Schuwald reveals that Margot's real name is Halenka Novakova and she went missing after leaving for Prague. It is later revealed that her old friend mothered the Liebert twins.
- Karl Neumann
- Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese), Yuri Lowenthal (English)
- First seen in chapter 47, Neumann is a student at the University of Munich and the son of Schuwald and Langer (who sent him away for a better life). Karl spent much of his childhood in foster care, until the Neumanns adopted him; he is shown to love and care for them as his parents. Neumann tries to get close to Schuwald without letting him know that he is his son. He is also involved in the mystery of a dead student, and the disappearance of Johan Liebert after his father's book collection is destroyed in an inferno during a ceremony at the university library. After reconciling with his father, he remains as Schuwald's personal assistant. He later confronts Inspector Lunge and shows him a picture of Johan. Under orders from his father, he encounters Tenma at the train station and reveals that the twins' mother lives in Prague. When Tenma is arrested Schuwald has Karl hire Fritz Vardemann to represent him, and Neumann is present when Nina returns for therapy with Dr. Gillen. At the end of the series, Karl tells his father about Tenma's whereabouts after the Ruhenheim Massacre. It is revealed in Another Monster that he has taken Schuwald's last name and lives happily with him, he is facing challenges to his paternity as Schuwald's son.
- Lotte Frank
- Voiced by: Kyoko Hikami (Japanese), Julie Ann Taylor (English)
- First seen in chapter 47, Lotte is a student at the University of Munich who is trying to win Karl Neumann's heart, so she aids his investigation of his father and late mother. When Karl rejects (and unintentionally humiliates) her by getting a proxy to go on a date with her, she is crushed and is comforted by Nina; they become fast friends. Lotte also wants to know about the mysteries behind Johan Liebert and the death of the student who worked with them for Schuwald. Lotte and Karl are seen together, when Anna briefly returns to visit the others and drop off Dieter with Dr. Reichwein. It is unknown whether she and Karl are a couple, but they are apparently friends.
- Julius Reichwein
- Voiced by: Ichirō Nagai (Japanese), Paul St. Peter (English)
- First seen in chapter 49, Reichwein is a psychologist who specializes in counseling and assisting recovering alcoholics. He is caught up in the mystery surrounding the "Monster" after one of his patients (Richard Braun) dies allegedly in a drunken accident while investigating Johan Liebert. He later becomes guardian to Dieter (helping Tenma and defending his character) and provides psychological care to Nina, Eva and others. Reichwein bears a physical resemblance to Wilford Brimley and Shunsaku Ban (from Astro Boy). Naoki Urasawa has also used Brimley as a model in Pluto.
- Richard Braun
- Voiced by: Hiroshi Arikawa (Japanese), Cam Clarke (English)
- Braun is a private investigator hired by Schuwald to investigate the (apparent) suicide of Edmund Farren. Formerly with the Munich Police Department, Richard leaves the force after drunkenly killing an underage suspect. Shortly after, his wife and daughter leave him due to his alcoholism. He is seeing Dr. Julius Reichwein to overcome his addiction, is piecing his life back together and has partially reconciled with his family. During his investigation into Farren's suicide, Braun becomes suspicious of Johan Liebert. He begins looking into the young man's past, and notices a connection to several of his previous cases. Aware of the detective's suspicion, Johan confronts Braun and leads him to a rooftop whilst discussing the incident which led to his dismissal from the police. Johan then claims that Braun was not drunk when he shot the suspect, but convinced himself that he was due to guilt. He then offers him a drink. Braun is later found dead after falling from the roof with a smashed whiskey bottle. The police rule it was either suicide or accident. However, Dr. Reichwein is convinced that he was murdered as Richard never drank whiskey.
- Wolfgang Grimmer
- Voiced by: Hideyuki Tanaka (Japanese), Patrick Seitz (English)
- First seen in chapter 78, Grimmer is a freelancing journalist researching Kinderheim 511 who is drawn into the search for Johan when he helps Tenma. Nearly always smiling, he is an apparently friendly, polite man who is good with children. However he seems to have a dark side; a former subject in Kinderheim 511, he has developed another personality: an aggressive fighter who protects him when he is under stress (similar to the Incredible Hulk), whom he calls the Magnificent Steiner, after a television show he watched as a child. Due to his training as a spy after his time in Kinderheim 511, he admits he is not good at expressing emotion. Grimmer mentions to Tenma that he had been married and had a son. One day, his son suddenly stopped breathing; although he tried to revive him, there was nothing he could do. When he attends his son's funeral, his wife is shocked and angry at his apparent lack of grief. However, he can finally show his feelings when a childhood friend nearly goes down the same road as Johan. Grimmer ends up in Ruhenheim under the alias of Mr. Neumeyer, and encounters Inspector Lunge. When the Ruhenheim Massacre begins, Wolfgang threatens a supposedly paraplegic man who was selling guns. When Grimmer is mortally wounded it sets off his Magnificent Steiner side, which pummels the gunmen. Dying, he confides to Tenma that he gave in to his anger (raising the possibility that his alter ego was a psychological filter he used to justify his violent acts); he then dies in front of Tenma, Franz Bonaparta and Wim Knaup. Grimmer's grave is later visited by Inspector Lunge, Jan Suk and Fritz Vardemann.
- Jan Suk
- Voiced by: Hisayoshi Suganuma (Japanese), Michael Sinterniklaas (English)
- First seen in chapter 84, Jan Suk is a detective with the Prague police trying to solve the mystery involving the death of his superior Inspector Filip Zeman. Zeman was investigating the death of a former headmaster at Kinderheim 511 (with Grimmer as a suspect), when Jan Suk discovered Zeman was working with the Czechoslovak secret police. When Commissioner Hamrlik, Chief Detective Batella and Detective Janacek (who also had connections with the secret police) are mysteriously poisoned with candy given to one of the detectives by Johan Liebert (masquerading as Anna Liebert), Jan Suk is under suspicion. When police attempt to monitor Jan Suk's movements, Detectives Novak and Zanda are killed by Johan. Suk obtains a tape made by the former headmaster of Kinderheim 511 and meets with Wolfgang Grimmer in an abandoned building, but is badly wounded by those seeking it. He confides in Anna Liebert (Johan masquerading as his sister), a blonde woman he meets at a bar. There are similarities between Kenzo Tenma and Jan Suk: both are young men with promise in their professions, caught in a web of events as a prime suspect. When Tenma is arrested by the Prague police, Suk tries to leave his hospital to help Tenma. Jan Suk is stopped by Detectives Bradec and Stransky who tell him that Grimmer has sent a note to them exonerating Jan Suk from involvement in the police officers' deaths. He and Vardemann later team up to discover the truth about Franz Bonaparta. At the series' end, Jan Suk visits Grimmer's grave with Inspector Lunge and Fritz Vardemann. It is interesting to note that despite having a crush on Nina Fortner/Anna Liebert who was actually Johan Liebert in disguise, he has never actually met Nina Fortner.
- Commissioner Nepela
- Voiced by: Katsunosuke Hori (Japanese), Bill Kessler (English)
- A member of the Prague police, Nepela met Inspector Lunge at a police convention. He became commissioner after the deaths of Commissioner Hamrlik, Chief Detective Batella, and Detective Janacek. Suspicious of Grimmer and Suk's possible involved in their deaths, he had his men watch them both. Inspector Lunge later approached him to help translate a book entitled The Monster with No Name.
- Karel Ranke
- Voiced by: Yoshisada Sakaguchi (Japanese), Peter Lurie (English)
- Ranke is a former captain in the Czechoslovak secret police who wants to see Tenma and Grimmer. Grimmer requests an agreement to obtain the tape and research materials for an unknown party in Germany in return for Suk's safety. While they do not agree, Ranke mentions Franz Bonaparta (a picture-book author living in a mansion covered with red roses, who cared for the Liebert twins). When they confirm Suk's safety, Grimmer and Tenma agree with Ranke to obtain the tape and research materials from Suk's mother. However, they discover the research materials gone; the tape has been recorded over by Johan Liebert with a message for Tenma. Inspector Lunge later visits Ranke for information about Franz Bonaparta.
- Fritz Vardemann
- Voiced by: Ryūsuke Ōbayashi (Japanese), Kyle Hebert (English)
- Vardemann is a lawyer hired by residents of Düsseldorf after Tenma is arrested in Prague. Vardemann has made a name for himself as a defense attorney, defending his own father (who died in prison on suspicion on being a spy, before being exonerated). He is married, and during the series his wife gives birth to their daughter. Vardemann enjoys listening to "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz. He is visited by Inspector Lunge, who is looking for a lead on Franz Bonaparta. Vardemann tells Tenma he did not know that Alfred Baul was Roberto in disguise, targeting Eva Heinemann. It is revealed later that Vardemann found notes written by his father, suggesting his guilt. He then teams up with Suk to learn the truth about Franz Bonaparta and his father's past. At the series' end he, Jan Suk and Inspector Lunge visit Wolfgang Grimmer's grave. It is revealed in Another Monster that he has some of Grimmer's research notes on 511 Kinderheim and is looking for an Incredible Magnificent Steiner episode which Grimmer wanted to see. Vardemann is also Günther Milch's lawyer in Another Monster, making him promise not to escape from prison again in exchange for Vardemann's exonerating him..
- Günther Milch
- Voiced by: Shigeru Chiba (Japanese), Kirk Thornton (English)
- Milch is a convict who, as a child, was kept in a cabinet while his parents were at work. During a life of crime, it is mentioned that he was caught and escaped many times. He met Tenma (who had been arrested by the Prague police and extradited to Düsseldorf) during his most recent capture. When Milch mentions his next planned escape, Tenma decides to accompany him when Roberto (as Alfred Baul) tells Tenma that he is going after Eva. When Tenma and Milch are being transported to prison, Milch's brother Gustav is a decoy. The plan falters when Gustav announces his love and promises to go clean for his girlfriend Helene. Forgetting his job, he stands in the road and is hit by the paddy wagon. Grabbing Gustav's gun, Tenma forces the guards to release him and Milch. After Gustav is taken to Eisler Memorial Milch and Tenma part, with Milch planning to go to Tunisia. It is revealed in Another Monster that Milch was caught and imprisoned again, promising his lawyer Fritz Vardemann he will not escape if Vardmann can get him out.
- Jaromír Lipsky
- Voiced by: Hiroaki Hirata (Japanese), Troy Baker (English)
- A down-and-out puppeteer in Prague, Lipsky meets Nina as she passes through the city in pursuit of Johan. Inspired by her, Lipsky begins work on a new show with a new puppet resembling her. However, Lunge soon discovers he is the son of Klaus Poppe (or Franz Bonaparta). Lipsky reveals that his father barred him from book-reading sessions at the Mansion of Red Roses due to his "lack of talent". As time passes and Poppe has second thoughts about his work, he warms slightly towards his son. A postcard Poppe had sent him helps Lunge locate Ruhenheim. Tenma visits him and gets a lead on Franz Bonaparta, leading Tenma to Ruhenheim. Lipsky's past is revealed in Another Monster; his mother was an actress in underground plays. Lipsky is happier, and his puppet shows are receiving more attention; he has also developed a relationship with a woman who likes his shows. Lipsky credits Nina, who showed him he could be happy.
- Martin Reest
- Voiced by: Shuuichi Ikeda (Japanese), Roger Craig Smith (English)
- Martin Reest was imprisoned for eight years for shooting his girlfriend Edda and her lover. After prison, he works for The Baby. Martin hates to drink, because of his childhood with an alcoholic mother. While she never beat him, she exhausted him from trying to keep her away out of bars. One night when she refused to come home with him, Martin (tired of her drunkness) left her on the streets alone and she froze to death. Petr Čapek recruited him to bring Eva Heinemann to Frankfurt and act as her bodyguard. Eva goes with him to avoid being killed by Roberto. In a bar, they exchange stories of their romantic lives. After seeing Petr, Eva molds him into an exact image of Tenma. Martin meets Tenma at a diner and beats him up, telling him to forget about Eva. Later that night, Tenma sees Martin at the same diner and describes Petr (who hired Martin to bring Eva to him) and an encounter with Johan at one of Petr's parties. Martin is later told by Petr to kill Eva. When (in an alcoholic stupor) Eva becomes aware of this, Martin does not kill her. He later meets Christof Sievernich, who learned that Martin's girlfriend Edda begged him to kill her and how he carried Martin's mother's body after she froze to death. Edda is a drug addict, and Martin tries desperately to get her clean. As it seemed he did, he came home to find her with her ex-boyfriend (a drug addict). Although she begged Martin to shoot her, he turned and left; as he did, he heard a gunshot and came back to find that she had committed suicide. Angered over her death, he killed her ex-boyfriend but never told the police that Edda shot herself. After leaving, he passes Johan without making eye contact. Martin later warns Eva of an attempt on her life, and has her dress as a maid to evade detection. He is shot in the stomach during a gunfight at the Reagan Hotel when protecting Eva from a team sent by Petr Čapek to kill her, although he shot five of the team. Robbie brings Martin to see Tenma. Martin tells Tenma about his encounter with Petr Capek, his continuing experiments, and his encounter with Christof before dying. Eva is devastated to hear from Tenma of his death.
- Voiced by: Yuzuru Fujimoto (Japanese), Peter Lurie (English)
- Robbie owns the diner at which Martin eats, and told him not to do any damage when he beats Tenma up. When Martin is wounded, Robbie drives him to Tenma.
- Petr Čapek
- Voiced by: Nobuo Tanaka (Japanese), Dave Mallow (English)
- First seen in chapter 121, Čapek is the last individual in the organization (with General Helmut Wolfe and Goedelitz): a bespectacled, white-haired, mysterious man responsible for many incidents in Monster. He is highest-ranked in the organization, and tries to control the devil by letting him meet Christof Sievernich. In his youth, Čapek was Franz Bonaparta's apprentice and participated in the experiment on the Liebert twins. Čapek thinks everything is going well, but Johan tells him clearly later that everything is going the right way according to Johan's own plan. Čapek was an old friend of a dentist, Milan Kolasch, who blames Petr for the riots which killed his loved ones. Kolasch tried to assassinate Petr at a convention, but was shot by police. Čapek was shocked at Kolasch's actions. After the death of "The Baby," he pretends everything is under control when he clearly knows things are going wrong. In his paranoia, when being driven to his villa Čapek kills his bodyguard, Pendington, when he thinks the guard is trying to kill him (Pendington was reaching for his lighter). Čapek later had Nina brought where Johan was waiting for them. After Tenma prevented Nina's suicide Čapek sees Tenma, telling him he is pursuing Franz Bonaparta. When Čapek's other bodyguards discover his paranoia, he is shot in the head by one out of two of them (who wonder what he and Franz were planning).
- Christof Sievernich
- Voiced by: Masashi Hironaka (Japanese), Travis Willingham (English)
- First seen in chapter 124, Sievernich is Johan's disciple and another survivor of Kinderheim 511; he was adopted by the Sievernich family from child traffickers, who bought him. Son of a politician, he is spoiled. He and Johan agree to reunite 10 years after escaping the orphanage; they are introduced at a party by Eva Heinemann (who was hired to point Johan out). His late stepfather was one of four individuals in a neo-Nazi organization, and Sievernich was likely to succeed him. He has qualities similar to Johan's, intimidating Eva Heinemann's bodyguard Martin by reminding him of what happened to his mother and wife. Like Johan, Sievernich seems calm and jovial in front of others but is known for his "creepy" smile when speaking of death and the truth. He has a knack for discovering secrets, and can read people well. Nothing else is known about Sievernich, except that Johan or the organization tried to make him a second monster. Like Johan, he seems charismatic and friendly; however, his attitude can quickly change when someone threatens his plans. When Eva sees Sievernich, she fires a warning shot at his ear. He flies into a homicidal rage, accusing her of ruining his face and promising revenge when he rules the world. Shot in the leg by Tenma, he is dropped off at the nearest hospital after Tenma learns Johan's whereabouts. Sievernich has possibly fathered a child with Frida Schelling (whom Johan had killed for him).
- Franz Bonaparta/Klaus Poppe
- Voiced by: Nachi Nozawa (Japanese), Michael McConnohie (English)
- Bonaparta is held responsible for the eugenics experiment leading to the birth of the Liebert twins, and author of the storybooks used to indoctrinate the children of Red Rose Mansion (notably The Nameless Monster, from which Johan took his name and his mode of operation). Other books include The Big Eyed Man and the Big Mouthed Man, The God of Peace and The Quiet Village. His stories are full of metaphor and symbolism, often with monsters as important characters. Most also promote the idea that human nature contains the ability to become good or evil, although his works tend to denounce humanity rather than uplift it. He is the father of Jaromir Lipsky, who received a postcard from him directing Inspector Lunge to Ruhenheim (where he runs the Hotel Versteck). Bonaparta is probably responsible for the death of the twins' father, as their mother strongly believes he is. He is shown (in flashbacks) to spend much time drawing her, although she despises him (vowing she would never forgive him, and when she died her children would avenge her). Bonaparta reveals his identity to Lunge and Grimmer after Grimmer threatens a supposedly paraplegic man who facilitated the Ruhenheim Massacre by giving out guns. Bonaparta repents for his actions after seeing Grimmer's death. He tells Tenma he had fallen in love with the twins' mother at first sight (despite her antipathy to him and his associates), also confessing that he killed anyone who was associated with (or even knew of the existence of) her and the twins. Bonaparta admits his guilt for making Johan; he later tries to kill Johan but is, instead, killed by a dying Roberto in front of Tenma and Wim. His real name is Klaus Poppe; other aliases include Emil Scherbe, Helmuth Voss and Jakob Vyrobek. Bonaparta revealed the twins' mother's name (Anna) only to Lunge and Tenma. Another Monster states that almost all traces of her were erased. After the mass murder at the Red Rose Mansion, it is hinted that Bonaparta erased her past. His son Jaromir Lipsky hints that Bonaparta wanted to isolate their mother and make himself the only one who knew of her existence.
- Wim Knaup
- Voiced by: Akiko Yajima (Japanese), Colleen O'Shaughnessey (English)
- Wim lives in Ruhenheim and works at a hotel owned by Franz Bonaparta. He is abused by his drunk father Herbert and bullied by three children for his old bicycle as they call him "trash." When the three bullies steal Wim's bike, they tell him that it is in the "vampire's house" on the hill. When he enters the house, he meets Inspector Lunge and Wolfgang Grimmer (who tells hims where his bike is). Wim is later beaten by the bullies, who steal the money for his father's liquor. After they leave he is approached by an elderly couple, who ask if he would like to avenge them and offer him a gun. After another bullying episode, Wim is tempted to use the gun he received when the Ruhenheim Massacre begins. When Grimmer finds Wim the bullies are dead, Wim never used his gun and does not know who killed them. This is mentioned to Franz Bonaparta, who tells Wim he did the right thing not to use the gun. When Nina and Dr. Gillen arrive, Wim recognizes Nina from the drawings of her and Johan in the "vampire's house" on the hill. Wim tells Bonaparta about Nina's appearance when Johan arrives, and sees the wounded Roberto shoot Bonaparta before the latter can kill Johan. Johan later threatens Wim against Tenma, only to be shot by Wim's father. When Herbert is taken away by the authorities for questioning, Wim says that his father was protecting him. He is comforted by Nina and Dr. Gillen.
- Herbert Knaup
- Voiced by: Eiji Hanawa (Japanese), Doug Erholtz (English)
- Knaup is an unemployed alcoholic who is the town drunk and the neglectful father of Wim Knaup. His drunkenness drove his wife to leave him and their son and he is mocked by the people of Ruhenheim. Because of his laziness, he forces Wim to run errands for him and abuses him. Like his son, Herbert is approached by the elderly couple and given a gun. During the Ruhenheim Massacre, he plans to avenge himself on the patrons of a local pub who often insulted him by killing them only to find everyone inside already dead. As the massacre continues, Herbert looks for his son and begins to lose his grip on reality. When he sees Johan threatening Wim, Herbert hallucinates and sees a monster in Johan's place. Panic-stricken, he shoots Johan in the head. When the police arrive, Herbert is taken away for questioning.
Written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, Monster was published in Big Comic Original from December 1994 to December 2001. The 162 chapters were periodically collected into 18 tankōbon volumes published by Shogakukan, the first on 30 June 1995 and the last on 28 February 2002. While writing Monster, Urasawa began the series 20th Century Boys in 1999, which would continue after Monster had finished.
Monster was licensed in North America by Viz Media, who published all 18 volumes between 21 February 2006 and 16 December 2008. They will begin re-releasing the series in a two-in-one volume format in July 2014, titled Monster: The Perfect Edition, with a new volume published every three months. The series has also received domestic releases in other countries, such as in Germany by Egmont Manga & Anime, in France and the Netherlands by Kana, in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, in Brazil by Conrad Editora, in Argentina by Larp Editores, in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing, and in Mexico by Grupo Editorial Vid.
|No.||Title||Japanese release||English release|
|01||Doctor Tenma||30 June 1995
|21 February 2006
|02||Surprise Party||30 September 1995
|18 April 2006
|3||Kinderheim 511||27 April 1996
|20 June 2006
|4||Ayse's Friend||30 August 1996
|15 August 2006
|5||After the Carnival||2 April 1997
|17 October 2006
|6||The Secret Woods||30 May 1997
|19 December 2006
|7||Richard||30 October 1997
|20 February 2007
|8||My Nameless Hero||26 February 1998
|17 April 2007
|9||A Nameless Monster||30 May 1998
|19 June 2007
|10||Picnic||30 October 1998
|21 August 2007
|11||The Dead Angle||30 March 1999
|16 October 2007
|12||The Rose Mansion||30 June 1999
|18 December 2007
|13||Escape||29 February 2000
|19 February 2008
|14||That Night||30 June 2000
|15 April 2008
|15||The Door to Memories||30 October 2000
|17 June 2008
|16||Welcome Home||28 February 2001
|19 August 2008
|17||I'm Home||30 August 2001
|21 October 2008
|18||Scenery of the Doomsday||28 February 2002
|16 December 2008
|No.||Title||Japanese release||English release|
|2||Another Monster: Part two||—||—|
The manga series was adapted into an anime by Madhouse, which aired between 6 April 2004 and 27 September 2005 on Nippon TV. Directed by Masayuki Kojima and written by Tatsuhiko Urahata, it features original character designs by long-time Studio Ghibli animator Kitarō Kōsaka which were adapted for the anime by Shigeru Fujita.
The anime includes an instrumental theme by the Chilean folk music group Quilapayún, "Transiente", which originally appeared on their 1984 album Tralalí Tralalá. David Sylvian was commissioned to write the ending theme, "For the Love of Life", on which he collaborated with Haishima Kuniaki. In the cover notes to the official soundtrack he said, "I was attracted to the Monster material by the moral dilemma faced by its central character. The calm surface of the music giving way to darker undercurrents, signifying the conscience of the lead protagonist and the themes of morality, fate, resignation, and free will."
An English dub of Monster was produced by Salami Studios for Viz Media, which had the North American license to the anime. A DVD box set of the series, containing the first 15 episodes was released 8 December 2009. However, due to low sales of the first box set, Viz decided not to continue releasing the remaining episodes on DVD and later dropped the license. The show aired on Syfy's Ani-Mondays with two episodes back-to-back each Monday night at 11:00 pm EST, beginning 12 October 2009, as well as on its sister network Chiller. Monster began airing on Canada's Super Channel on 15 March 2010, and on the Funimation Channel on 3 April 2010 on weekends at 12:30 am. The series is also available digitally from several internet retailers. Siren Visual licensed the series for Australasia in 2013, and will release it in five DVD volumes beginning in November 2013.
New Line Cinema acquired the rights for an American live action film adaptation of Monster. Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Josh Olson (noted for his work on the 2005 American/German crime-thriller film A History of Violence) was hired to write the screenplay. Although the studio planned a 2009 release, it is unknown when or if the film will be released.
In 2013, it was revealed the Guillermo del Toro and HBO are collaborating to come out with a pilot for a live-action television series based on Monster. Co-executive producer Stephen Thompson (Doctor Who and Sherlock) is writing the pilot, while Toro will direct it and be an executive producer alongside Don Murphy and Susan Montford.
Monster has been generally well-received. It won an Excellence Prize in the Manga division at the first Japan Media Arts Festival in 1997, the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award in the General category in 2001, Grand Prize at the 3rd Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, and placed on YALSA's 2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. Viz Media's English release was nominated several times for Eisner Awards, twice in the category Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan (2007 and 2009) and three times in Best Continuing Series (2007, 2008, 2009). In 2009, Oricon conducted a poll on which manga series the Japanese people want to see adapted into live-action, Monster came fifth. Monster won the award for Best Drama Manga at the 2009 Anime Expo.
Reviewing Monster for Anime News Network (ANN), Carl Kimlinger called Urasawa a master of suspense "effortlessly maintaining the delicate balance of deliberate misinformation and explicit delineation of the dangers facing protagonists that only the finest suspense thrillers ever achieve." He commented that even the stories and characters that had felt unrelated to the greater picture are "eventually drawn together by Johan's grand plan." He called the art "invisible perfection," saying there is nothing "showy or superfluous," and noted that the panels are so well laid out, that it is easy to forget how much effort is put into each and every page. He said the characters "wear their personalities on their faces, communicating changes in their outlooks, psychology, inner thoughts and emotions with shifts in expression that range from barely perceptible to masks of rage, hate and fear," but that their physical designs are not attractive. Carlo Santos, also for ANN, called Monster "a one-of-a-kind thriller", and suggests that one of the most overlooked qualities of it is that "amidst all the mystery and horror, there are moments of love and hope and all the good things about humanity. " Despite giving them good gradings, praising the art to be "cinematically precise", never confusing the reader, and that despite the large cast of characters each person is visually distinct, Casey Brienza was much more critical in their review of the last three volumes. Finishing up the ANN review, they felt that too much time was spent developing minor characters "who are likely to be dead or forgotten just a few dozen pages later," and that the series' ending "went out with a whimper." Brienza expressed disappointment that "there is nothing satisfactory ever revealed to fully account for [Johan's] supremely scrambled psyche," but that as long as the reader doesn't look for "deep meanings or think too hard about whether or not it all makes sense in the end" they will enjoy it.
THEM Anime Reviews called the anime adaptation "complex" and "beautiful", stating that it features "sophisticated storytelling and complex plot weaving, memorable characters, godly production values and excellent pacing". Carl Kimlinger, this time reviewing the anime for ANN, commented that "If the series has a weakness, it's in its unhealthy fidelity to Naoki Urasawa's original manga.", "there isn't a scene left out, only a handful added in, and as far as I can tell not a line of dialogue changed or omitted." But praised Madhouse's animation for not only keeping up the dark "cinematic quality of Urasawa's art", but improving on it, and that Kuniaki Haishima's score adds "immeasurably to the series' hair-raising atmosphere." He also called Viz Media's English dub one of the best in recent memory, and noted how they had licensing problems and were not able to acquire the original ending theme song. He explained that Monster has the habit of having the main cast just drop from the spotlight with a whole new cast replacing them, so that viewers who don't like that might want to stay away from the series, but "It cannot be overstated how brilliantly apart from the anime mainstream this unsettling, fiercely intelligent, and ultimately uncategorizable journey into darkness is." On the ending he wrote "As ambitious and complicated and just plain huge as Monster is, no conclusion is going to be entirely satisfactory. Someone is bound to get short-changed, loose ends are bound to be left dangling, and even if they weren't, the simple truth is that no climax could ever live up to the series' build-up.", "We feel vaguely let down when what we should really be doing is glorying in the somewhat messy, yes, but exhilarating final throes of one of last decade's great series." Darius Washington of Otaku USA also called it one of the ten best anime of the past decade.
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- "SPJA Industry Award Winners Announced at Anime Expo". Anime News Network. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster GN 5 – Review". Anime News Network. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster GN 8–9 – Review". Anime News Network. 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster GN 10 – Review". Anime News Network. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster GN 14–15 – Review". Anime News Network. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster GN 16 – Review". Anime News Network. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster GN 17–18 – Review". Anime News Network. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster Review". THEM Anime Reviews 4.0. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "Monster DVD Box Set 1 – Review". Anime News Network. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster Episodes 31–45 Streaming – Review". Anime News Network. 10 July 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster Episodes 61–74 Streaming – Review". Anime News Network. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "Monster: Box Set 1". Otaku USA. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- (Japanese) Official anime site
- Monster Graph – A Graph that shows relationships between characters
- Monster (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Monster (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Monster at the Internet Movie Database