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Posts Tagged Naoki Urasawa

Review: Pluto (Vol. 01)

Original Concept: Osamu Tezuka
Manga-ka: Naoki Urusawa
Publisher: Viz
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: February 2009

Synopsis: “In an ideal world where man and robots coexist, someone or something has destroyed the powerful swiss robot, Mont Blanc. Elsewhere a key figure in a robots right group is murdered. The two incidents appear to be unrelated… except for the one very conspicuous clue – the bodies of both victims have been fashioned into some sort of bizarre collage complete with makeshift horns placed by the victims’ heads.”

This first volume of Pluto was truly a memorable piece of both art and literature. Admittedly, despite all the glowing things I’d read about it being Naoki Urusawa’s best work, I remained skeptical about Pluto purely based on how much I enjoyed Monster (and more recently 20th Century Boys), but here his ability to give robots and humans alike an undeniably empathetic breath of life was nothing short of moving.

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Review: 20th Century Boys (Vol. 01)

Manga-ka: Naoki Urusawa
Publisher: Viz
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: February 2009

Synopsis: “Failed rock musician Kenji’s memories of his past come rushing back when one of his childhood friends mysteriously commits suicide. Could this new death be related to the rise of a bizarre new cult that’s been implicated in several other murders and disappearances? Determined to dig deeper, Kenji reunites with some of his old buddies in the hope of learning the truth behind it all. Humanity, having faced extinction at the end of the 20th century, would not have entered the new millennium if it weren’t for them. In 1969, during their youth, they created a symbol. In 1997, as the coming disaster slowly starts to unfold, that symbol returns. This is the story of a gang of boys who try to save the world.”

Coming soon on the heels of Monster’s completion in English, comes one of two new Naoki Urusawa titles to grace North American shores: volume one of 20th Century Boys. Part a tale of childhood, part suspenseful mystery, 20th Century Boys maintains focus on a group of friends whose childhood adventures seem connected to current day events of disappearing families and murdered comrades.

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Review: Monster (Complete Series)

Fanart by ShardGlass (Full version can be seen here)

What you’re about to read are my initial thoughts and post-week musings of Naoki Urusawa’s dramatic suspense series, Monster. I wanted to get out my theories and ideas on the manga before I seek out and read others’ opinions through the power of the Internet, lest my easily persuaded mind be influenced by the more well-worded and coherent thoughts of others ;)

I encourage those who’ve read the series to share some of their thoughts and opinions as well. It’s truly a series that warrants discussion and I look forward to hearing what others thought.

Keep in mind that the following contains discussion pertaining directly to the end of the series. I’ve made note in the text below the cut where those who’ve not finished the series should stop reading if they wish to avoid spoilers.

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Manga Quickies – January 29 ’09

Manga Quickies

Since I read more manga than I write full reviews for (aka, jobs and school have been doing a good job sucking all my writing time up), I figured it’d was time to adopt some good ideas and do the occasional mini-thoughts on what I’m reading now. Also, if anyone can suggest a name for said posts, feel free to share your ideas. The simple brilliance of Manga Minis is already in use by a talented crew and I’m not sure how attached to the name Manga Quickies I am yet ;)

Monster (Vol. 11)Monster (Vol. 11) – Viz – I finally continued reading this series recently, years after I initially read the first volume and loved it. Somehow it just always escaped my radar. But a couple more volumes and I’m hooked, always looking for the next fix. Now up to volume 11, I was blown away by a plot twist that I didn’t see coming, even if it is a little obvious in hindsight. Just when you think things are coasting in one direction, they veer sharply into another. Naoki Urusawa’s ability to weave every character, large or small, into the plot also remains nothing short of incredible. (Available now on

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The Best of Pokemon Adventures: RedThe Best of Pokemon Adventures: RedVizKids – I couldn’t help but pick this one up because I’m currently in a big nostalgic-Pokemon kick (where’s my Gameboy?!) and I loved this adorable version of the manga when it was initially released in large format stiff-covers by Viz years ago. The art style is still ridiculously cute and I love how it contrasts to some plotlines and events that still manage to be a little darker than what the television show offered (Pokemon die and trainers get attacked, oh no!). My only complaint about the book is that it’s a ‘best of’ compilation, which means that readers, both new and old, will easily get tripped up when reading these chronological stories and random episodes are missing. I don’t see why they didn’t just release the whole series into two books instead of a one-shot best of book, there’s not much else to it than what’s here and I’d love to have it all in such a tidy little format. (Available now on

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The Best of Pokemon Adventures: YellowThe Best of Pokemon Adventures: Yellow VizKids – I couldn’t buy a book about Pokemon trainer, Red, and not the best-of book of Yellow! I’ve got a soft spot for this cute little trainer. Yellow is a young, unabashedly cute Pokemon trainer with the ability to heal Pokemon and read their memories. After Red goes missing, Yellow is charged with the mission of bringing him home safely along with the help of Red’s Pikachu and Yellow’s own assortment of dedicated Pokemon. The Elite Four is the real threat in this storyline as their leader Lance plots his world domination-of-sorts and all the old players return to take the four down. I had the same issue with this book as with Red’s, where it’s a little confusing reading a best-of for a short series since it feels like I’m reading a compilation with missing chapters over a carefully selected assortment. And despite being “best of”, they leave out the explanatory chapter with the big Yellow plot twist. Such a shame, I was sure that would at least qualify as a best-of. (Available now on

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