WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Look Back by Tatsuki Fujimoto, Amanda Haley and Snir Aharon, available in English now from Viz Media and Manga Plus. Chainsaw Man creator Tatsuki Fujimoto has released a special 140-page one-shot, Look Back, on the second anniversary of the Kyoto Animation arson, in which 36 people tragically lost their lives. On the surface, the one-shot is a heartbreaking tale of friendship and loss between two girls who dream of being manga artists. But Look Back is also a sorrowful elegy to those who were lost in the massacre, and will hit the hearts of everyone who reads it. In Look Back, Fujino was showered with compliments over her four-panel manga strips back in fourth grade. She wasn't particularly passionate about drawing, but who doesn't love receiving praise? All of that gets shattered when the work of another student, a truant, is published alongside hers, showing Fujino the stark difference in their skill levels. At first, this lights her competitive spirit as she throws herself into her work. But after seeing how little she's improved, coupled with the lack of a support system, Fujino soon loses interest.
39;s very first friend.
She later gets an opportunity to meet the mysterious student, Kyomoto, who spends her days holed up in her room. Fujino slips a manga strip under Kyomoto's closed door, urging her to come out. It's only then that Kyomoto leaves her room for the first time. Fujino soon becomes Kyomoto's very first friend. When they initially meet in Look Back, Kyomoto immediately asks for an autograph as she's an enormous fan of Fujino's work. Of all the people who have read her manga, Kyomoto is the only one who has read Fujino's stories every week and missed her when she stopped putting them out in sixth grade. Suddenly, all of those lonely nights drawing in a room are replaced with nights where the two work quietly on their first manga together. Before Fujino's arrival, Kyomoto had never even considered leaving her room. She couldn't fathom talking to people but the manga strips Fujino drew in school -- along with the strip that found its way under her door -- led her to meet Fujino and discover friendship for the first time.
Kyomoto once asked Fujino why she draws.
Similar to Fujino, Kyomoto had only started drawing because of sheer boredom, but she's grateful for what her hobby has brought her. The dynamic duo soon sees a huge burst of success and get their first serialization after high school. As they get older, however, they begin to grow apart with Kyomoto leaving to study at art school while Fujino remains in her studio, just like it was in elementary school. On January 10, 2016, Kyomoto's school was attacked by a man with an ax, killing 12 people -- including Kyomoto. Suddenly, Fujino remembers a time when they were walking in the snow, before having their work serialized. Kyomoto had lamented about not being fast enough but Fujino happily told her that all she needs to do is improve her skills. And Kyomoto took those words to heart, eventually enrolling in art school. Kyomoto's death hits Fujino hard. She stands outside her friend's bedroom door, where it all started with a simple drawing and a young girl asking the person on the other side to come out. Fujino, overwhelmed with guilt, believes Kyomoto died because of her. She would still have gone to art school, and yes, the school would've been attacked -- but if Fujino had never chosen to pursue art and instead pursued karate, she could've saved Kyomoto. The Look Back one-shot hits close to home for many with its tribute to the victims of the KyoAni massacre. While the story mourns and grieves for those lost, it ends on a bittersweet note. The very title, Look Back, can refer to how we can't get sucked into conjuring "what-if" scenarios when tragedy strikes, but it can also refer to Fujino's choice at the end. Kyomoto once asked Fujino why she draws. It's hard, lonely, and never-ending. As Fujino returns to her studio, alone once again, she holds her memories of Kyomoto's smiles and the times they shared together close to her heart as she works on the next volume of their series.
It's almost Halloween, and what better way to spend October than watching psychological thrillers? If you're looking for an anime filled with suspense, amazing storytelling, and dynamic characters, Naoki Urasawa's 2004 anime series Monster gives us all of these things and more. It focuses on the life of Dr. Tenma, a brilliant Japanese brain surgeon working at Eisler Memorial Hospital in West Germany, 1986. He's the hospital's rising star and engaged to the daughter of the hospital's director when he's suddenly faced with a moral dilemma that shakes his core, forcing him to make life-changing decisions. An innocent man dies because Dr. Tenma followed orders to treat a patient of higher social and political status. He is devastated and horrified as the widow confronts him, realizing what following these orders had entailed. This is a huge turning point in his life and the beginning of our story. This moment leads him to make a decision that alters his life in ways he couldn't even begin to imagine. The dilemma Dr. Tenma had to face is one that is brought up throughout the entire series: is every life equal? Obviously, the answer is "yes," and Dr. Tenma tries to convey this time and time again.
The plot of Monster is imaginative, with a well executed story.
Starting because of the innocent man dying because he wasn't deemed as a priority by the hospital, Tenma performs surgery on a boy with a gun shot wound despite receiving orders to treat the major first. When Dr. Tenma decides to help this boy, he's completely unaware that he's reviving a "monster" and the antagonist of this story. Almost immediately, Dr. Tenma is faced with tragedies and mystery at the hands of this ten-year-old boy. Most of Monster takes place 10-12 years after this point, following a string of murders occurring around Germany. It doesn't take long before Dr. Tenma is standing face to face with the murderer, who then reveals that he was the young boy Tenma brought back to life ten years prior: Johan Liebert. He shoots Dr. Tenma's patient right before his eyes and walks away like a true psychopath: cool, calm, and menacingly slow. Thus begins Dr. Tenma's journey to take Johan down, pulling him out of the shadows and into broad daylight to prevent any more murders from happening. This proves to be no easy task, though, and Dr. Tenma soon discovers there is far more than meets the eye in his journey of rectitude. The plot of Monster is imaginative, with a well executed story. The mysteries, plot, and characters are all woven together so seamlessly, and everything made perfect sense as the story progressed, while also managing to surprise at every turn. The plot is beyond compelling and riddled with depth and intrigue.
They were each their own person and brought something unique to the story.
Urasawa did a great job making the characters three-dimensional and real. These characters weren't good or bad, or cookie-cutter images of other characters. They were each their own person and brought something unique to the story. They made us reflect, they made us cry, and they made us feel. Every episode brings something new and enthralling. The characters are carefully developed along the way-heroes, villains, and everyone in between. There are a lot of different types of villains in Monster (with the big bad boss being Johan Liebert), which is a big part of what makes this series so great. There's not just one bad guy and a bunch of lackeys, but multiple villains of all calibers, with various levels of evil versus humanity, none of which are the same. Even Johan's followers have their own individuality as villains. Each one brings something different to the table, and we tend to hate each of these villains (or love to hate them) for different reasons.
He is easily one of the creepiest villains in all of anime.
First and foremost, there's Johan. If you like incredibly eerie, disturbing villains-the calm and collected ones that are secretly serial killers-you've come to the right place. Johan's the main antagonist of this story and Dr. Tenma's worst nightmare come to life. He constantly taunts the doctor and murders anyone in his way-sometimes for no reason at all other than he simply can. As the show progresses, secrets are revealed and more tragedies occur. We realize just how bad Johan really is and how much he seems to hustle as a villain (seriously, where does he find the time)? He is easily one of the creepiest villains in all of anime. Everything he does is meticulous, and he can't interact with anyone without ruining their lives or convincing them they're useless and unworthy of love, or even life itself. He's calculated, intelligent, and has no remorse; he knows exactly what he wants to do and will accomplish it at all costs. He isn't predictable either, which gives the story all the twists and turns it needs to be made even more interesting. While Johan is the calm, creepy evil mastermind, there are others walking adjacent paths, such as the recurring villain Roberto. This man is so easy to hate, which makes him a good villain in its own way. In contrast to Johan's insidiousness, Roberto's more of a brute force/macho man villain that you know can beat the life out of you without breaking a sweat. While Johan uses mind games to win his wars, Roberto uses his inhuman strength and size to barrel through obstacles and demolish his enemies.
He's seditious and lacks no remorse for his actions, much like Johan. However, he still bows down to Johan and does what he's ordered to. He also thinks of his own self-indulging antics as well, as seen through his multiple affairs and his toying with people. Part of what makes Johan more evil than Roberto is that Johan seems detached from being human altogether and doesn't care about following anyone's plans or desires other than his own. There are many other villains in this series with their own twists on evil as well. Some prove to be more human than what first appears, making their stories even more interesting. This series shows us we're all human and that there are blurred lines between good and evil. We are then begged to ask the question, "can truly evil people become good in the end?" Questions like these are threaded into the entire show and addressed in ways that make us stop and think. Where there are mighty villains, there are mightier heroes. No one can watch Monster and not root for Dr.