Master Keaton (Japanese: MASTERキートン Hepburn: Masutā Kīton) is a Japanese manga series created by Hokusei Katsushika, Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki. It was serialized in Big Comic Original between 1988 and 1994, with the 144 chapters collected into 18 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan.
An anime adaptation was created by Madhouse, with 24 episodes airing between 1998 and 1999 in Japan on Nippon Television. An additional 15 episodes were created and released as original video animations, bringing the total to 39 episodes. Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki created a sequel to the series, titled Master Keaton Remaster (MASTERキートン Reマスター). Set 20 years after the original series ended, it ran in Big Comic Original from 2012 to 2014 and was collected into a single volume.
The anime and OVA series were dubbed into English and released in North America by Pioneer Entertainment. Viz Media began releasing the manga in North America in 2014.
The story revolves around Taichi Hiraga-Keaton (平賀＝キートン・太一 Hiraga-Kīton Taichi), the son of Japanese zoologist Taihei Hiraga (平賀太平 Hiraga Tahei) and well-born Englishwoman Patricia Keaton. Keaton's parents separated when he was five, and young Taichi moved back to England with his mother. As an adult, he studied archeology at Oxford University, in part under the tutelage of Professor Yuri Scott.
At Oxford, Keaton met and later married his wife, who was a mathematics student at Somerville College. The couple later divorced, with Keaton leaving his five-year-old daughter Yuriko (百合子) in her mother's care. After leaving Oxford, Keaton joined the British Army and became a member of the SAS, holding the post of survival instructor and seeing combat in the Falklands War and as one of the team members that responded to the Iranian Embassy incident. His combat training serves him in good stead as an insurance investigator for the prestigious Lloyd's of London where he is known for his abilities and his unorthodox methods of investigation.
In addition to his work for Lloyd's, Keaton and his friend Daniel O'Connell operate their own insurance investigation agency headquartered in London. Even though Keaton is extremely successful as an insurance investigator, his dream is to continue his archaeological research into the possible origins of an ancient European civilization in the Danube River basin.
Master Keaton was serialized in Big Comic Original from 1988 to 1994. The 144 chapters were collected into 18 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan between November 1988 and August 1994. A kanzenban edition of the series, including color pages, was published in 12 volumes between August 30, 2011 and June 29, 2012. During its initial magazine run and tankōbon release, Hokusei Katsushika was credited as its writer and Naoki Urasawa as its illustrator. The kanzenban reissue co-credits Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki as the writers for the first five volumes, while Katsushika and Urasawa are co-credited as the writers from volumes six on.
Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki created a sequel to the series, titled Master Keaton Remaster. Beginning in the March 2012 issue of Big Comic Original it finished in 2014 and was collected into a single volume on November 28, 2014. A deluxe edition including the full color pages from the magazine run was released the same day.
In 2014, Viz Media licensed Master Keaton for release in North America. They began publishing the kanzenban edition with color pages on December 16, 2014.
An anime adaptation of Master Keaton was created by Madhouse, with 24 episodes airing between October 5, 1998 and March 29, 1999 in Japan on Nippon Television. An additional 15 episodes were created and released as original video animations, bringing the total to 39 episodes.
The opening theme "Railtown" is by Kuniaki Haishima. The ending theme song for the first thirteen episodes is "Eternal Wind" by Blüe, the ending theme for episodes 14 to 25 is "A Sigh" (ため息 Tameiki) by Kneuklid Romance, and theme for the remaining episodes is "From Beginning" by Kuniaki Haishima. New ending themes were used for the anime's rebroadcast; "Tsuki to Kimitoboku no Kankei" (月と君と僕の関係) by Kneuklid Romance for the first thirteen episodes and "Ever" by Blüe for the remaining.
The anime and OVAs were licensed in North America by Pioneer Entertainment (later named Geneon), with an English dub produced by The Ocean Group. They released eight DVDs between June 10, 2003 and August 10, 2004. Each DVD had 5 episodes, except the last one, which had 4.
||Man in a Maze
||The mysterious death of a soldier in Greece causes suspicion. Lloyd's sends Keaton as an insurance investigator.
||Bounty hunters stakes out a former German Red Army member, Rosa. Keaton is hired by her wealthy family to protect her.
||Strange Tale of Lasagna
||Keaton is hired to retrieve nine-year-old Flora from Italy. They flee for France where her mother waits.
||Keaton saves the "immortal man" from the Russian Mafia. The man reveals the secret of the "Romanov Treasures.
||Paris under the Roof
||After being fired from a college in Tokyo, Keaton finds a job as an instructor at an adult education center in France. There he meets...
||Keaton meets Anna in Scilly Islands in England, who is protecting an archaeological site all by herself.
||Memories of Summer Pudding
||Keaton, hoping to spend the summer vacation alone with Yuriko, heads for a farmhouse where he spent summers as a boy.
||Keaton heads for the countryside in Wales to rescue a kidnapped manager of a Japanese electronics corporation.
||Journey with a Lady
||Keaton meets an arrogant old lady on a train from Germany to Switzerland who claims to be pursued by the Czech Secret Service.
||Keaton helps a childhood friend Charlie Chapman, also a world-renowned detective, with the murder case of an art dealer.
||Keaton assists an Englishman to become a Chinese chef with the help of a secret recipe.
||A Case for Ladies
||Keaton and an elderly woman who loves detective movies pursue the truth behind a high-profile murder case.
||A Peaceful Death
||A terrorist finds his conscience and seeks Keaton's help to locate and defuse two IRA bombs in a crowded London shopping mall.
||Wall in One's Heart
||Keaton helps a German businessman to locate his long-lost daughter while she seeks to avenge her mother's death in a labor camp in East Germany.
||Long Hot Day
||An attack dog ruthlessly stalks Keaton deep in the mountains of Spain.
||The Elm Tree Forever
||Earl Fenders' bankruptcy leaves him a broken man, but his son, Robert, needs his father's overbearing personality to inspire his music - can Keaton restore the father's domineering arrogance?
||A Mansion of Roses
||Edmond Layman was found murdered in his rose garden and his widow fears for her life. Their gardener, Eric, disappeared and is the chief suspect but Keaton soon unburies a thorny secret!
||Professor Bennington runs for Chancellor to save the college only to be targeted by a team of con men. But will the con men's professional pride lead them to change their minds?
||Into the Vast Sky
||Keaton's daughter meets a childhood friend who wants to free a hawk. Keaton and the boy's father secretly follow out of concern for the boy who also desperately wants to be free.
||The Island of the Cowards
||The Polish Mafia takes over Keaton's hotel in a blaze of gunfire. Although accused of being cowards for their inaction, Keaton and a secret legend use their experience to win despite the terrible odds.
||The Thistle Emblem
||Keaton flies to Scotland to investigate a watch preserved in a shrine in Japan.
||Chateau Lajonchee 1944
||Keaton visits Burgundy to insure the extraordinary vintage wine Chateau Lajonchee 1944.
||No Way Out
||Keaton must escort a fugitive through a perilous road across a bottomless swamp.
||The Day the Op Was Born
||Keaton recalls the first time he met Daniel and became the insurance investigator 10 years ago...
||Kalihman of the Desert
||Keaton and the excavation team are left for dead in the Taklimakan Desert.
||Keaton, asked to recruit a former East German Olympic swimmer, but first Keaton must deal with the swimmer's depression and face off against a group of skinheads.
||The Red Wind
||Razin left Russia to attend an air show in the UK, but after his two bodyguards are murdered, Keaton finds himself between Razin and a killer KGB agent.
||A Message from Alexeyev
||While visiting a resort on a Spanish island, Keaton meets Sendel who reveals a tale of passion and betrayal between Russian agents and locals the Spanish Civil War 50 years ago.
||The Forbidden Fruit
||Keaton crashes a party for the newest board member of the premiere accounting firm in the UK after he suspects the board member of murdering his way to the top!
||The Highlands in Your Eyes
||Keaton attempts to rescue an artist forced to paint forgeries who has been held hostage in a house by his extreme shortsightedness and his shattered confidence.
||The Scent is the Key
||A man requests Keaton to investigate the untimely death of his friend who lacked a "scent of death."
||The Back Street
||A reluctant Keaton believes he is handing enticement money to a woman on behalf of her father, but soon discovers quite a different story.
||Devil like an Angel
||Keaton searches for a Japanese art student in Italy only to discover the student has become involved with a terrorist group!
||The Agate Color of Time
||Keaton shares stories of his youth in Cornwall with his daughter, Yuriko.
||Love in May
||Keaton's daughter becomes involved in a purse-snatching investigation in London while her father rests his broken leg in the hospital.
||While Keaton chases after an elusive insurance beneficiary, his partner Daniel pursues a new beauty.
||Keaton, unsure about pursuing a career as an archaeologist, allows himself to be distracted by his father on his way to an interview at Tozai University.
||Hunting Season Part 1
||Two knife murders in London drags Keaton into a chase tying the SAS to a vicious drug ring.
||Hunting Season Part 2
||Two knife murders in London drags Keaton into a chase tying the SAS to a vicious drug ring.
Controversy over creator
Hokusei Katsushika is a pseudonym of Japanese manga story writer Hajime Kimura, who was also a co-writer of Golgo 13. Originally, Kimura created the series' story, while Urasawa did the artwork. However, after Kimura died of cancer in December 2004, Urasawa claimed in an interview with weekly magazine Shuukan Bunshun in May 2005 that Kimura stopped work as a story writer due to a personal conflict with Urasawa at one point, after which Urasawa alone created both story and art. Because of this, Urasawa demanded that Katsushika's name appear smaller than Urasawa on the manga's cover. Manga story writer Kariya Tetsu, who was a close friend of Kimura and an influential figure at Shogakukan, opposed this action vehemently, which resulted in the discontinuation of the further publication of the manga as of July 2005.
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Viz Media's release of Master Keaton was nominated for the "Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia" category two years in a row at the 2015 and 2016 Eisner Awards. The series was also included on the Young Adult Library Services Association's 2016 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens.
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- ^ "小学館：コミック 『ＭＡＳＴＥＲ ＫＥＡＴＯＮ ／ １２ 完全版』" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
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- ^ "小学館：コミック 『ＭＡＳＴＥＲキートン Ｒｅマスター" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
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- ^ "Viz Media Adds Naoki Urasawa's Master Keaton". Anime News Network. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
- ^ "Viz Media Debuts Naoki Urasawa's Suspenseful Manga Series Master Keaton". Anime News Network. 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
- ^ "All You Need Is Kill, In Clothes Called Fat, Master Keaton, One-Punch Man, Mizuki's Showa, Wolf Children Nominated for Eisner Awards". Anime News Network. April 22, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
- ^ "Assassination Classroom, A Bride's Story, Master Keaton, Mizuki's Showa, A Silent Voice, Sunny Manga Nominated for Eisner Awards". Anime News Network. 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
- ^ "A Silent Voice Ranks in YALSA's Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens". Anime News Network. 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2016-05-02.