I don't even know where to begin with Monster. It’s beautiful in its themes and character development, it’s literary in value, and it’s powerful. The very first chapter gripped me with its clear presentation of the story's main theme: what is the value of a human life? and the story never let me go. It takes an honest look at its question, wrestling with it in each of its characters and unafraid to get gritty and uncomfortable. It looks at the tendency in society to other-ize people via racism, hostility towards immigrants, and a tendency to overlook children when they usually wind up suffering the most for adult squabbling. The main character and main villain are perfect in mirroring the strengths and weaknesses of the other one, and Nina and Eva are fantastic female characters. By the time the story arrives at its conclusion (and it never drags; the suspense hits every single chapter), it has truly earned the answer it offers--nothing about its conclusions feel cheap in any way. It is a story that, ironically because of its title, really depicts what it means to be human in all its ugliness and beauty.
Autor Urasawa, Naoki