"Monster", "20th Century Boys", "Pluto", "Billy Bat" - Naoki Urasawa's bibliography reads like a list of the best, most racy and successful manga epics of the last decades. Nothing indicated this career when Naoki Urasawa graduated in economics in 1982 and received a job offer from a toy manufacturer. He turned it down, because he wanted to seek his fortune in manga first. Urasawa has probably never regretted this decision: he is a superstar with a total worldwide circulation of over 100 million books.
Born in 1960, Naoki Urasawa is a gifted storyteller who likes to base his stories on relevant social, political and contemporary issues and always adds historical speculation and a fantastic, supernatural layer over the realistic foundation.
"Monster" is a disturbing serial killer thriller set in reunified Germany. In the autobiographically based "20th Century Boys", the doomsday fantasies of six teenagers suddenly become a threatening reality 30 years later when a cult guru wants to wipe out everyone with the very prophecies and weapons from their play scenarios. In "Pluto", Urasawa combines set pieces from Osamu Tezuka's "Astro Boy" into a clever, modern thriller about machine people and artificial intelligence. With "Billy Bat" he takes his readers on a wild flight through human history, interspersed with abstruse conspiracy theories bearing the marks of a mysterious bat figure. He has just launched a new series, "Asadora!", his interpretation of the history of Japan since 1945.
The pace of his stories is almost breathlessly fast, the dramaturgy compelling and dynamic, and the plots contain virtuosic and surprising breaks and twists. His stories are each several thousand pages long, combine entertainment and complexity, popularity and substance of the highest quality. Reading his epics is always a sly and thrilling pleasure.
Naoki Urasawa, born in Tokyo Prefecture in 1960, debuted as a mangaka in 1984. His international breakthrough came with the crime thriller series "Monster", published from 1994 onwards. It was followed by more series, including "20th Century Boys," followed by the science fiction epic "Pluto", a graphic adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's "Astro Boy". The 20-volume series "Billy Bat" was awarded the Max und Moritz Award for "Best International Comic" in 2014. Naoki Urasawa is considered the "Osamu Tezuka of his generation" and has received numerous other prizes in addition to two Eisner Awards. His most recent work "Asadora!" combines contemporary history with the fantastic, has been published in Japan in six volumes so far, the first volume of which already been translated into German. In most of his stories, he spans a narrative arc between past, present and future.
Publications by Naoki Urasawa in German (selection):
– Monster, 17 volumes. Egmont. Cologne, 2002–2006
– Monster. Perfect Edition, 9 volumes. Carlsen Manga. Hamburg, 2019–2021
– 20th Century Boys, 22 volumes. Panini Comics, Stuttgart, 2002–2009
– 21st Century Boys, 2 volumes. Panini Comics, Stuttgart, 2010
– Pluto, 8 volumes. Carlsen Verlag. Hamburg, 2010–2012
– Billy Bat, 20 volumes. Carlsen Manga. Hamburg, 2012–2018
– Asadora!, 1 volume so far. Carlsen Manga. Hamburg, 2022