8 Books/Manga Like Monster
Monster is a dramatic mystery manga written by well-acclaimed manga author Naoki Urasawa. This manga contains a well-crafted narrative, a well-written cast, and phenomenal tension. This series was published in Shogakukan’s seinen manga magazine Big Comic Original between 1994 and 2001. The series has spawned over 21 volumes and is a phenomenal anime adaptation by Studio Madhouse.
If you’re in the mood for more dramatic mystery manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 8 books/manga to check out when you’ve completed Monster. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Death Note – Tsugumi Oba
Similarities – Crime & Thriller
Death Note is regarded as one of Shonen Jump’s best works for its intelligent cast, countless mind games, and horrific themes. This manga will keep readers entertained with its constant twists and turns. If you adored the mind-numbing actions Johan Liebert administered in Monster, you’ll adore what Light Yagami brings to Death Note.
That said, our story revolves around Light, a high school student who wants to make criminals pay severely for their actions. One day, he finds a black notebook called the Death Note. This book allows its owner to murder anyone by writing their full name inside the book. Light uses the book to commit several murders and creates the alias Kira to hide his identity.
Despite being praised as a hero, Light must combat a detective prodigy named L. This leads to some entertaining banter and mind battles between the two that are nothing short of awesome. If you’re looking for an incredible manga with a eery atmosphere and numerous thrills, give this manga a shot.
20th Century Boys – Naoki Urasawa
Similarities – Mystery & Suspense
20th Century Boys is another thrilling work created by Naoki Urasawa. The manga’s protagonist Friend administers similar manipulative tactics as Johan Liebert but on a wider scale. There are multiple protagonists in this story who’ll fans will grow fond of. They all have intriguing personalities and characteristics that help them stand out.
Furthermore, this story will have readers flipping pages consistently. It’s a page-turner with well-executed cliffhangers that receive stellar payoffs. This manga leans more into sci-fi than Monster. However, if you enjoyed the mystery that developed over the course of Monster’s run, you’re in for a worthwhile treat with 20th Century Boys.
This manga follows Kenji Endo, a store manager whose doing his best to get by in life. Suddenly strange things start happening around Kenji from a villain named Friend forming a cult to his friend Donkey committing suicide. With Donkey’s left clues, Kenji realizes Friend’s organization is after him, his friends, and the entire world. Therefore, the manga highlights Kenji and his friend’s mission to put an end to his Friend’s tirade before it’s too late.
Pluto – Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka
Similarities – Suspense, Mystery, Tone
Pluto is a Urasawa work based on Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga, Astro Boy. Funnily enough, Astro Boy barely makes an appearance in this manga. It also has a darker tone that’s not often present in Astro Boy. Nonetheless, this story contains an impressive cast, a mesmerizing sci-fi setting, and well-drawn action scenes.
This is set in a world where robots and humans grieve over Montblanc’s death. He was a beloved Swiss Robot with a beautiful personality and an urge to preserve nature conservation. A detective and war veteran named Gesicht investigates Montblanc’s demise and obtains knowledge about an entity called Pluto.
Furthermore, Gesicht leans that there’s a plot to dismantle eight robots who participated in a war alongside Montblanc. To protect the harmony between man and machine, Gesicht must prevent this evil plot from unfolding. This manga feels less realistic than Monster because of its futuristic setting. However, Gesicht administers similar techniques as Lunge does in Monster. Pluto also contains some exciting plot twists and numerous sub-plots that come together to form a cohesive story.
MW – Osamu Tezuka
Similarities – Sociopathic Antagonists & Mind Games
Many authors of manga and anime owe a lot to Osamu Tezuka for paving the way. He created numerous influential works before his passing from Astro Boy to Dororo. Based on the story and characters presented in MW, it feels apparent that Urasawa attained some influences from this underrated work.
MW follows a Japanese Catholic Priest who struggles to abandon his sexual relationship with a criminal mastermind named Yuki. He crimes have become worse over time and many innocent people lost their lives because of her cruel actions. Therefore, we hone in on our priest Gurai’s inner turmoil and pain.
Yuki’s character feels like the blueprint for antagonists like Johan Liebert. She’s an attractive sociopath who utilizes charm and manipulation to put people to rest. Her actions will make readers’ blood boil and her reactions to matters will make them hide under the covers. This manga contains some excellent cat-and-mouse dynamics that will keep readers entertained. If you’re looking for an unknown relic with similar themes and characters, check out MW.
Bastard – Kim Carnby
Similarities – Psychological Crime Dramas
Kim Carnby has been making a name for himself in the world of webtoons. He’s a talented writer known for creating mysterious worlds, well-rounded characters, and forming intricate plots. Although many fans adored Sweet Home, many argue Bastard is his greatest work because of its thought-provoking concepts.
Bastard revolves around a bullied boy named Seon Jin. Many pick on him for his quiet demeanor and meek appearance. Despite the constant ridicule, his bullies aren’t what makes him afraid. What drives shivers down Jin’s spine is his father. Although his dad looks like a successful businessman, he’s not as bright behind closed doors.
He’s actually a deranged serial killer who forces Jin to be his accomplice. They’ve been carrying this ruse for many years. It’s not until his father sets his sights on Jin’s new female classmate Yoon Kyun that he decides enough is enough. This webtoon will shower readers with constant thrills and chills with each chapter. Like Urasawa’s works, you’ll find it challenging to put this comic down. Coupled with his artist friend Young-chan Hwan’s incredible art style, this is a must-read webtoon.
ES: Eternal Sabbath – Fuyumi Souryo
Similarities –Psychological Drama
Many mangas get cast to the wayside even if they tell visually appealing stories with insanely good plots. ES: Eternal Sabbath is one of those works. With its semi-realistic art style, well-developed characters, and complex storytelling, this manga is well worth a read, especially for people who enjoy Urasawa’s thought-provoking works.
This manga follows Ryousuke Akiba who prefers to be called ES. This is a code name he took from a mysterious scientific experiment. ES can survive for an incredible amount of time. He has the power to enter people’s minds and rearrange their memories. ES believes committing these acts will grant him, familial love.
Accompanied by a determined researcher Dr. Mine Kujyou, ES hopes to uncover the hidden parts of his past. This manga offers a similar emphasis on crime and features an antagonist that thinks and acts similarly to Johan Libert. This manga delves into subjects regarding human relationships and emotions flawlessly. If you’re looking for another mind-boggling work that’ll make you think, give this series a shot.
Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni – Ryukishi07
Similarities – Mystery
Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni (Higurashi) is a well-acclaimed horror series. What started off as a mundane sound novel later became a cult classic in the eyes of anime and manga fans. This series features nightmarish imagery, grotesque facial expressions, and several horror aspects that’ll keep you up at night. With hints of supernatural and mystery components, this is a must-read for fans of complex storytelling.
Our tale follows Keiichi Maebara, who just moved into the strange village of Hinamizawa. In it, he meets several girls who show him hospitality and kindness. Although everything seems well, Keiichi picks up on several mysteries hidden within the village that’ll scare the daylights after him. Therefore, it’s up to Keiichi to unravel Hinamizawa’s dark mysteries before it’s too late.
Higurashi is a unique mystery manga that features multiple different scenarios. You’ll see our characters perish but be brought back in tip-top shape in the next story arc. It’s this supernatural phenomenon that’ll keep you speculating. The story features some clever ounces of foreshadowing but doesn’t reveal its hand too early. If you were astounded by the clever-written mystery components found in Monster, you’ll adore what Ryukishi07 offers in Higurashi.
Detective Conan – Gosho Aoyama
Similarities – Crime & Mystery
Detective Conan was Gosho Aoyama’s answer to Sherlock Holmes. The series ran into some localization issues in the west and may be remembered as Case Closed. Either way, this is an episodic mystery manga with a phenomenal cast, excellent crimes, and mature themes. Although it’s the protagonist is a young child, readers will be astounded by his sharp wit and critical thinking.
Detective Conan follows a high school detective named Shinichi Kudo. Shinichi is remarked as a prodigy as he can solve any case granted to him without issue. One day, he gets ambushed by two men who drug him. Although they aimed to kill him, the convocation ends up transforming Shinichi into a toddler.
This forces Shinichi to take on the alias Conan Edogawa because he doesn’t want to worry about his friend and her father. On that note, we follow Conan’s daily life-solving crimes with his friend’s father while looking for the people responsible for drugging him. This is an ongoing manga that spans over 1,000 chapters.
Although it can feel slightly episodic, Gosho includes some arcs that are pivotal to Conan’s cause. The cases are distinct enough to keep you invested. With a hint of comedy and spooky imagery, Detective Conan is a must-read for any crime enthusiast.
So there we have it, our 8 books/manga to read after you complete Monster.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!