Guillermo Del Toro Scrubs in to Bring Urasawa’s MONSTER to HBO

As his untitled Justice League Dark feature simmers on the back burner, Guillermo De Toro has his sights set on another comic book adaptation far more sinister. Deadline reports that the director of Hellboy and The Devil’s Backbone (seriously, go preorder that new Criterion edition yesterday) will produce Naoki Urasawa’s 18 volume serial killer manga Monster for HBO.


Monster centers on a German neurosurgeon named Kenzo Tenma who discovers a young boy he once saved (at great personal loss) has grown up to become a savage killer. Then, this is the guy who brought us Pluto (a personal favorite I rank up there with Preacher) and 20th Century Boys, so it’s a lot more complex and creepy and messed up and German and Japanese than all that.

Del Toro will direct a pilot he’s helped develop with writer Steven Thompson, a name that inspires a little less excitement. Thompson’s notable for some Sherlock and Doctor Who credits, but not necessarily the ones you’d want. He’s responsible for “The Blind Banker” and “The Black Spot.” And we’ll leave it there.

This project’s been in the works for quite some time, once in consideration as a feature film at New Line. I actually took in a guest lecture by Josh Olson (A History of Violence) back in college cough years ago, when he was working on a feature film treatment for Monster. Given the length of the original series (admittedly breezy compared to some other manga), the HBO route should allow for a lot more breathing room and even more chills.

Del Toro and Urasawa on HBO? Two great tastes I hope will taste great together. We won’t let that Spot of bother bother us too much.




  1. Seriously? He’s linked to another project?!

  2. I’m still waiting for a proper full release of the anime on DVD.

  3. Wow, this sounds great! I would watch this Ina heartbeat. Hope it happens.

  4. Was Monster ever a anime/cartoon version or am I thinking of something else? In any case, the premise is interesting and aired putting out on HBO is the right move.

    And The Devil’s Backbone is great movie, but because its a foreign film in another language, there’s no strong promotion. Much like Troll Hunters.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      There’s a Monster anime, yes.

      Hopefully Criterion’s release of Devil’s Backbone will bring the movie a bit more attention. Far and away my favorite of his films so far. And it’s got Mike Mignola cover art now!

    • Just curious, Paul: did you see Devil’s Backbone before or after Pan’s? I saw Pan’s Labyrinth first and felt Devil’s was just a warm-up.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I believe I saw Devil’s Backbone before Pan’s. They’re very much companion pieces.

  5. This was the only work of his that I didn’t really read all the way through. Well that and his new work Billy Bat, which isn’t licensed here in the United States as I know of anyway but from the chapters I have read it’s pretty good. I still think his best work is Pluto and then followed closely by 20th century boys. But I am really excited to hear this news!

  6. I don’t read anime but I’d like to check this out. Been curious about 20th Century Boys forever.

  7. An HBO adaptation would be interesting as Monster is pretty tame by their standards. I can’t see this ever actually coming to fruition. Viz tried for years to get the anime on TV without any success. Also, the manga is OOP and the anime DVDs only got one boxset released (out of 4). But who knows, maybe Pacific Rim makes a gazillion dollars. *crosses fingers*

  8. christ, i don’t even remember the blind banker and i’m a big sherlock fan. there must not have been that much to the episode.

    anyway, this news is exciting. i started watching the monster anime before netflix streaming pulled it and liked how creepy it was. this has my interest.