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Monster weaves the riveting story of brilliant Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a famous surgeon with a promising career at a leading hospital. Tenma risks his reputation and promising career to save the life of a critically wounded young boy. Unknown to him, this child is destined for a terrible fate. A string of strange and mysterious murders begin to occur soon afterward, ones that professionally benefit Dr. Tenma, and he emerges as the primary suspect. Conspiracies, serial murders, and a scathing depiction of the underbelly of hospital politics are all masterfully woven together in this compelling manga thriller.

By Naoki Urasawa (Monster)

Main Characters

Doctor Kenzou Tenma
Voiced by: Hidenobu Kiuchi
Doctor Kenzou Tenma is a Japanese neurosurgeon working at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf. At the beginning of Monster he is favored by the department director for his prodigious surgical skill. After a crisis of conscience, he chooses to save the life of a young boy instead of the city's mayor, and is unjustly demoted as a result; he then becomes a suspect for murder when the department director and several prominent doctors are killed weeks later. It is only after nine years that Dr. Tenma learns the perpetrator of the hospital murders is none other than 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. Despite his mission, Dr. Tenma is a humanitarian who genuinely cares about the lives of others. These acts of kindness make him very influential with the people he meets. Not much is known about Tenma's childhood; however, when he was growing up in Japan, he was constantly getting picked on and had a habit of wetting his pants. This earned him the nickname of "Sissy Pants Tenma". As well, Kenzo's father and brother were also doctors, though Tenma was not close to his family and his family ties have grown weaker as he had not been back in Japan since he left to Germany. It is unknown how much time passed between Tenma becoming a certified doctor to when he started as an attending surgeon at Eisler Memorial Hospital. However, it soon became evident to his superiors Kenzo was perhaps the best neurosurgeon on staff, and he would quickly be promoted to Chief of Neurosurgery and at the same time he meets Eva. Tenma also has some acquaintances from Japan who occasionally visit Tenma while on business, but it is not known how close his friendship with these people is. In his journey to kill Johan, he comes incredibly close on a number of occasions only to have Johan slip away.

Dr. Tenma shares his name with the scientist who created Astroboy to replace his dead son; while the creator of Monster has not given any formal statement about the names, presumably it is intended as a tip of the hat to the early, influential manga and draws a parallel between the first Dr. Tenma's creation of the hero Astro Boy and Dr. Tenma's creation of the titular monster. Naoki Urasawa would later go on to create Pluto, a manga based on the popular "World's Strongest Robot" story arc from the Astro Boy series.

Johan Liebert
Voiced by: Nozomu Sasaki
Johan Liebert is the namesake "monster" of the story and the mystery of his past is the focus of the plot. He has been called a monster, the next Adolf Hitler and even the devil himself. Johan Liebert was shot in the head at a young age but saved from death by Dr. Tenma. Because of this, he regards Dr. Tenma almost as though he was his father. He has spent portions of his life in different places under different aliases and possesses an extraordinary level of charisma and intelligence. He uses his gifts to cruelly manipulate and corrupt others, often with no apparent end other than to cause suffering and destruction. His goal, as he stated when he was young, 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 transforming into monsters; Johan often acts as both a direct and indirect catalyst for this transformation.

Like his co-star Tenma, Johan also has many similarities to a character from a classic manga by Osamu Tezuka, in his case Yuuki Michio, the main villain from MW. These include his childhood involvement in a secret military experiment, ability to skillfully manipulate powerful people, ambitions to cause the end of the world, occasional suicidal tendencies and his infrequent bouts of cross-dressing.

Nina Fortner / Anna Liebert
Voiced by: Mamiko Noto
Johan's twin sister and the only unharmed survivor of the night when both her parents and her brother were shot in what appeared to be a botched burglary. At first she showed signs of amnesia due to the psychological trauma of the incident. After she and her brother 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 hardworking law student at an unnamed university (likely the University of Heidelberg), as well as an adept practitioner of Aikido. She lived her life in peace until Johan made contact with her on her twentieth birthday. She comes to pursue Johan, albeit by different methods and for a different reason than Tenma.

Inspector Heinrich Runge
Voiced by: Tsutomu Isobe
Inspector Runge (referred to as Lunge in English) is a BKA detective assigned to the murder case of the hospital, and holds Doctor Kenzo Tenma as a main suspect. He first believes that Dr. Tenma invented Johan; later, he becomes convinced that Johan is, in fact, an alternate personality of Tenma. Perhaps inspired by the character of Javert in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Inspector Runge is utterly obsessed with Tenma. His devotion to his work comes at the expense of neglecting his personal life, and during the course of the series, his wife and pregnant daughter leave him. He also possesses an excellent memory and has a habit of "entering data" into his memory by making typing gestures with his hands. On the surface, he passes off as a man devoid of emotion and it is this state of mind that allows him to commit himself to every case he works in. His tough style eventually drives one of his murder suspects to suicide, prompting his superiors to remove Runge from every case he is working on, with the exception of the case against Dr. Tenma. Also, somewhat like Grimmer, he has an expression that barely changes. After the inferno at the University of Munich, Runge learns for the first time that the existence of Johan is indeed true. He then decides to take a "holiday" to Prague to track down Franz Bonaparta, the author of a book he happened to come across that may be the source of Johan's origin. Ultimately, he ends up in Ruhenheim and meets up with Grimmer and Tenma, apologizing to the latter for his mistakes, before heading off to a showdown against Roberto. First seen in Chapter 5.

Voiced by: Junko Takeuchi
Dieter is a young boy when found by Tenma to be under the care of a man named Hartmann. Upon meeting Dieter, Tenma notices that the young boy is covered in bruises. It turns out that Hartmann was trying to make Dieter into another Johan, a kind of leader that had not been produced from Kinderheim 511 before. Dieter later becomes more optimistic after being saved by Doctor Tenma from Hartmann's physical and mental abuse. He follows Dr. Tenma in his search for Johan, partially to prevent Tenma from becoming a murderer, but also because he is fond of Tenma. He later teams up with Nina, to give her moral support whenever her traumatic memories resurface as he was also subjected to similar abuse. First seen in Chapter 19.

Eva Heinemann
Voiced by: Mami Koyama
Eva Heinemann is Doctor Tenma's fiancée and the daughter of the Director of Eisler Memorial Hospital. Kenzo's relationship with Eva initially appears to have some issues, as Tenma would insist on partaking in activities that Eva (as the daughter of a high class hospital director) would not even want to do (e.g. picnic). Also, Tenma would have the tendency to ignore Eva while he is conducting research. However, it is assumed that they do at one point fall in love to the point that Tenma asks for Eva's hand in marriage, much to the approval to her father. Eva appears to be enthusiastic about this, she is looking forward to Dr. Tenma climbing the ladder of the hospital and soon becoming the hospital director, a prospect that Eva anticipates with glee so she could be "the director's wife". She leaves Doctor Tenma after he is demoted by the Director for disobeying his orders. After Director Heinemann is murdered by Johan, she tries to return to Tenma, then recently promoted Chief of Surgery due to holes created in the staff by the murder. After being rejected by Tenma, she later becomes an extremely embittered alcoholic, a three time divorcee who uses the money from divorce settlements to finance her lavish lifestyle. After burning her house down in a drunken rage, she wanders throughout Germany and is also caught up in the investigation of the Monster. Although she does not personally suspect Dr. Tenma as having caused her father's death, one of the things she lives for is to see him suffer in prison in retribution for his rejection of her, as she had previously turned over evidence incriminating Dr. Tenma to Inspector Runge. Her relationship with Tenma can be characterized as obsessive. During the series, she becomes a main target of Roberto. At the same time her experiences allow certain personality changes to occur, and soon becomes a different person than before.

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