From the back cover:
The Nameless Monster, a mysterious children’s picture book, holds the key to unlocking the secrets of Johan’s past. The startling discovery that it was created by an official from the Czechoslovakian secret police leads Tenma to the ominously eerie Red Rose Mansion—an estate with a dark and tragic history covered up and sealed away for decades. Meanwhile, a serial murderer in Prague has been identified as a beautiful blond woman. Who could she be and what is her connection to Johan?
Um, blurb? That last question was answered in volume eleven. Not to be outdone, the story recap (dubbed the “Monster Chronicle”) says that when Tenma gets to Prague, he discovers that Johan was once in 511 Kinderheim. Except he learned that back in volume three.
Before I proceed, I’m gonna talk about a pretty major spoiler in my review, because one of the things I loved best was in direct reaction to it, so avert your eyes now if you don’t want to know.
1. The orphans Grimmer befriended a couple of volumes ago try to prove he didn’t have anything to do with the killing of the guy who ran the orphanage. They do this by staking out a street for a suspect and even have a little map and everything.
2. Grimmer reveals more about his background, and it’s really fascinating. It casts his typically jovial manner in a whole new light. I particularly love the scene where he tries to comfort Milosh, an orphan who has seen some pretty freaky stuff while searching for his mother in a bad part of town.
Super Awesome Things:
1. Lunge returns and tracks down some details on the writer of the picture book that freaked Johan out. He finds an abandoned old mansion, covered with vines, breaks down a wall, and discovers the most gloriously creepy room ever. It’s mostly empty, and yet its freaky atmosphere is perfectly conveyed.
2. Tenma is apprehended in Prague! The way in which this happens is great, but even better is the final chapter which, I know, is probably trying to make me all verklempt, but features a bunch of grateful patients and people Tenma has encountered while on the run wanting to rally together and support him. Since they’re not sure where he’ll be sent in Germany, Schuwald instructs his son Karl to line up the best criminal attorney around in each of the possible venues. I am kind of excited by the prospect of a trial in the offing.
So, whatever happened to the theory that Johan has Multiple Personality Disorder? That seems to have completely dropped by the wayside.
With Tenma’s apprehension, it really feels like the series is turning its final corner. I’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow to join it, however, since my brain is frazzled from reading Monster all day.