I think it’s appropriate to kick off our MMF of Urasawa by actually sharing…how the heck we even know of and got into Urasawa. Please feel free to tell us in the comments how you got into Urasawa, while I share how I got into the man behind such works as Monster, 20th Century Boys, Pluto, etc., along with my team of writers Manjiorin, AnimeEmily, and Sweetpea.-Justin
Justin: So I’m curious as to how you three all got into Urasawa. I’m pretty sure it might differ drastically from me, since my interest in Urasawa started back when I was very interested in art. Back around my high school years I was drawing and attempting to get better at drawing. However, I chose not to really get interested in manga until around 2008, which was my freshman year of college. So I picked up some stuff I’ve heard of, like Negima and Rosario + Vampire, and a bunch of other manga, and tried to use that as inspiration for my writing and drawings. One day though, I just happened to either be flipping through channels or I had heard online somewhere that an anime was gonna air on the (either Sci-Fi or Syfy, will have to check later the right one at the time) channel. The anime that aired happened to be a work called Monster. I didn’t know what it was. But by the end of it, I wanted more. I was mesmerized. That was when I decided to check online and see what it was, and it was based off a manga by Naoki Urasawa. Needless to say, I decided to go to the bookstore to find it. The rest is kind of history — I loved his drawing style, I decided to keep an eye out for his latest work, and I’ve been a fan of him ever since I stumbled onto a program that was on Youtube (called Professional, a NHK program) and it showcased his lifestyle and work ethic. That’s how I got into Urasawa.
Manjiorin: I kind of stumbled onto Urasawa without realizing it. I randomly read Monster online years ago; I can’t remember why or how. I didn’t read much, but I remember liking what little I did read. A little while later (at this point it could have been years) I happened to pick up Monster unknowingly at a bookstore. Once I flipped through and realized what it was, I bought all four volumes that were available (so I’m guessing this was around 2006, as Amazon says that’s when the volume came out). I can’t remember what drew me to the series so much–maybe because Tenma’s life goes so horribly wrong for something that seemed so obviously right–but either way, an Urasawa fan was made.
AnimeEmily: As a person who, in comparison to a large part of the anime/manga community, is relatively young, my discovery, and quick obsession, with Urasawa is pretty recent. Although I had heard of the Monster anime for a few years and added it to my ever growing list of plan to watches, I never gave much thought to who the original creator was, only that it was generally regarded as a well done anime. I had also seen Pluto sitting on the shelf at my local library, and, despite knowing it had a generally good reputation, I blew right past it until last month. Since my library’s make-over, they had expanded their manga section a bit and I came upon the Pluto volumes again. I decided to give the first volume a shot and, much to my surprise, found myself rushing out to go and get the other seven volumes. I sat down and read the series this last Christmas Eve and tore through each volume, loving every bit. After that I decided to check out 20th Century Boys and Monster. Though I’m still new to being an Urasawa fan, his captivating and well-written stories, as well as his fantastic drawing style, leave me wanting more and confident that I’ll be a follower for quite a while.
Sweetpea: When I first dove into manga, the name I heard was Urasawa. I randomly picked one of his series to read – 20th Century Boys. Well, ‘picked’ is probably a relative term. I was on a manga reading site which had a ‘random title’ generator, and this came up, and I threw up my hands and started to read it. Now, I would never recommend that anyone choose THAT particular title to start off with (not because it’s bad, by far), but I was enthralled by the story and fell in love. I read it all in a few days, ignoring any other series. It was magical. And from there I went ahead and dove into the rest of his works, and haven’t looked back.
So, we’ve shared how we got into Urasawa, now it’s your turn! Were you recommended an Urasawa title? Did you happen to watch Monster and got into the series? What else about Urasawa would you like to share? Please feel free to sound off in the comments below!