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Viz Media announced over the weekend at Otakon in Baltimore that it will bring Naoki Urasawa’s acclaimed psychological thriller Monster back into print next year a two-in-one format. Anime News Network reports the new oversized omnibus series, called Monster: The Perfect Edition, will debut in July, with a new volume released every three months.
Originally released in North America from 2006 to 2008, the 18-volume manga, Monster tells the story of a young brain surgeon who ruins his own reputation by saving the life of a boy, only for the child to grow up to become a sociopath.
The series was adapted in 2004 as an anime; HBO and Guillermo del Toro are collaborating on a live-action version.
The new omnibus treatment will cut the number of volumes in half, which each retailing for $19.99. Viz will take the same approach with Rumiko Takahashi’s martial arts/romantic comedy Ranma ½, which will go back into print beginning in March.
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys is soaked in rock music, so it’s no surprise that Urasawa himself is not only a fan but a musician; he talks a bit about his music in this interview, saying modestly, “I didn’t notice this myself, but Koji Wakui says that I have sound that’s a little like Neil Young.”
You can judge for yourself from this obviously bootleg video (see below) of Urasawa performing in concert. In fact, the creator of Monster, 20th Century Boys and the greatest manga of all time, Pluto, is a pretty serious rocker in his spare time, and he released an album, Half Century Man, a couple of years ago. His best-known song is “Bob Lennon,” which was written by his fictional character Kenji Endo in 20th Century Boys.
And now Urasawa is taking his act on the road: The French site Japan Journal reports that Urasawa will be a featured guest at the French anime and manga event Japan Expo, and not only will he speak to fans and sign autographs, he will also perform a concert, backed by J-Rock band Hemenway. Urasawa has performed in clubs in Japan, but this looks like his first gig outside the country.