September 1st, 2005

mushishi - mushi

Monster

Finished Monster about five minutes ago, and my head is still reeling. I started it sometime yesterday afternoon.

I was very curious (I got it on a recommendation from zinjadu, who has excellent taste!), slightly apprehensive - didn't know at all what to expect. It's not like anything I usually read, and when I tried to watch the first ep of the anime I was seriously freaked out, and not at all in a good way. But I'm slightly less sensitive when I can dictate the pace and such myself, and I got through that part without any major difficulties. And then I kept reading, and reading, and before I knew it I was so absorbed by the story that I couldn't put it down. I didn't even stop reading during supper and watching MASH with my vargen, even though it was a slightly brain-breaking combination, MASH on the TV and Monster in my brain.

Monster is... good. So damn good I don't know when I last had a reading experience like this one. Finished, Monster is 18 volumes, but already after ten chapters I was wondering how on earth it was going to manage being this tense and this amazing for 162 chapters. I still don't know how Naoki Urasawa, the mangaka, managed. I just know it really was that good, and then kept getting better - more intense, more involving. And it's not just creepy and tense, it's also one of the most fantastically warm and human things I've read in a long time. Which just makes the scary and dark even more intense, because bad things really do happen to good people, and it sucks.

I don't think Monster is for everyone. I just think everyone should try and see what they think, because those people who could read it and aren't reading it are missing out on a fantastic reading experience. It's also a fantastic art experience - there were times when the story was so intense that I wouldn't have been able to tear myself away for anything, and I still had to stop reading and just look at a particularly gorgeous panel. I think I may even want to read it all over again, at a slightly less frantic pace, just to be able to fully appreciate the whole of the story and the art together.

Monster is avialable from Mangascreener, who have done a brilliant job with the translations and scans. (Or just contact me - I've got them as a batch!) ...hey, wait a minute. No wonder it's brilliantly translated - it's Stephen. Small world, this. ^_^ (Stephen does the best One Piece translations ever.)

They're also translating the novel Another Monster which I want to get, but since it's not finished I would probably just have a fit if I started now, so I'll try to restrain myself. ^^;
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