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Archive for November 16th, 2014

Note: For the next few weeks on Sunday we will feature a review of books outside of theology, philosophy and apologetics.  Each review of a non-Christian book will also have a section titled, “What’s in it for the Christian?”

Naoki Urasawa's Monster

Can it be–that I, SlimJim, read a work of fiction?

I am not normally the kind of guy who reads fiction.  It has been over ten years since I have last done so in undergraduate, let alone a comic book (this is my first manga).  But I have to say with this was very good.  A young man in my church introduced to me and told me that I might find it interesting for the philosophical aspect of it.  The first volume gets you hooked right away with the story of a promising young surgeon who struggle with the idea that all life are equal which led him to the fateful decision of operating on a young boy injured in a grisly murder scene instead of a mayor.  That resulted in the death of the mayor and led the doctor being ostracized by his own hospital, his collegue, boss and fiancé.  The twist is that the young boy disappeared along with his young sister and years later would grow up to be a frightening murderer.  Once you start reading the first volume, you can’t put it down!

In total there is 18 volumes in this series.  With each volume the plot gets thicker and the suspense increases.  I loved how the story takes place over different part of Europe; there is a feel that this is “Jason Borne” in Manga form!  I thought it was also neat to see how this was originally in Japanese but the author and the artist gave great attention to detail concerning Europe, it’s “look,” the specific city and location and the subculture.  This series does a good job with developing the characters and getting the readers interested as soon as they are introduced.

The part that made me interested in this series are the philosophical themes throughout the book.  The antagonist is known as “him,” or the “monster.”  We often think of monster as aesthetically ugly but here the villain is someone that is attractive and seem normal.  This villain is also one who is able to perpetuate his plans by manipulating other people and taking advantage of what motivates them.  In some sense the monster is a demonic figure or an Anti-Christ.  It made me ponder a lot about how this illustrate spiritual truth of spiritual warfare that the devil out there is one who knows us and take advantage of our weaknesses and motivation.

 

What’s in it for the Christian: Often our culture portray Satan and demons as red creatures with pitchforks; I’ve always thought the devil was more sly than that.  This book’s villain is one that I think capture the reality of spiritual warfare in that our enemy is also one who is smart and often take advantage of using what we want and what we want to believe as a bait to fulfill the devil’s will.  This book’s “Monster” made me think about this a lot and the need for us to engage in biblical and sobering analysis of ourselves and our intentions.  We must be aware of our weakness!  The “Monster” in the series is one who is good looking and appear wholesome–it made me think about how Satan is no ugly beast but one who can aesthetically deceive others as angels of the light.

 

To Purchase Volume 1 (there’s 18 volume!): Amazon

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