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Life Re-Winded? Review of Re: Monster

This is what happens when you reincarnate as a monster... manga.
KOBAYAKAWA Haruyoshi, KANEKIRU Kogitsune



Baltimore, the summer heat is here. The folks are out, and Justin Timberlake is coming to town. What? You haven’t gotten your tickets yet? Well get them before July 14th when he hits the 1st Mariner Arena with his 20/20 Experience World Tour. Odds are you can still grab your tickets, but rest assured that they’ll be going quick. And speaking of quick, let’s hit up a manga that just growing up with all kinds of fun. This week, we review Re: Monster.

Re: Monster is a story that can and will throw you for a doozy. The story starts out fairly normal as Tomokui Kanata starts out with an everyday life. But of course no one reads a manga for that crap. All the sudden, he’s killed by someone he considers a little sister (and stalker). When he comes to (respawns), he’s a goblin baby. Yes, you read that right, but that’s not where the manga started off odd. Before Kanata’s death, there are some pretty hefty references to the fact that his world isn’t normal. From unique items, to surgeries to improve (notice the word is ‘improve,’ not give) his strength and psychic abilities, the world he came from wasn’t average. But moving on, he manages to grow up inside of a week, and find that he can learn new things in the same fashion a baby does-- by sticking them in his mouth. But that’s not all. By eating and learning, Kanata learns that he can evolve from a simple goblin into something more. From the cover art, he does indeed become much more, but as of the fourth chapter, there doesn’t seem to be much linear direction to the story outside of ‘ranking up.’

For a shounen manga such as this one, there are a lot of deep topics touched out, some of them very adult like in nature. Kanata is presented with a very real truth from murder and betrayal, to origins and moral choice. As a character, he doesn’t seem to grow up more than physically over the course of the manga. In fact, he’s very accepting of things. He remembers everything about his past life in his present, including the murder, but doesn’t seem to make any point of understanding it or acting upon it. In fact, for all his likability, he’s a very relaxed kind of guy. Still, there’s something to be said about making the best out of a terrible situation as he does. While he doesn’t grow mentally, we as the audience do get a view into his mind through the choices he makes, specifically with the women who are held captive. Just like with Kichi and Gobbi, he makes a moral decision to help them without really any payment. That’s a swap to what happens with the rest of the tribe, as they’re not so lucky.

The style of art used in this shonen is very easy on the eyes. More than saying its beautifully done, it more accurate to safe it’s nicely detailed. All the characters (that aren’t mediocre), the environment, and the action are flow smoothly. The mangaka did a fantastic job of transporting the audience to a fantasy realm, and presenting everything as tangibly as possible.

With only four chapters in, the manga seems to have a lot to deal with. Most manga at this point have a direction for the plot which this one doesn’t. There’s also the issue with development really only given to Kanata. Granted, this is his story, but he isn’t alone. Though saying that must also turn to the fact that the other two characters are rather flat, at least at the moment.

The manga has a good twisted start to it. It will be interesting where the manga goes with its plot. With the people named at the beginning, they’re (hopefully) certain to make an appearance and we get some insight into things. The manga is looking good, let’s hope it continues that way.

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