I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
[I'm going to include a full synopsis for this volume, but not for any of the others. However, my original post on my blog includes synopses for every single volume I read. They have major spoilers, so only read them if that doesn't bother you.]
Dr. Tenma's life is going fairly well, until he gets frustrated with being used for the hospital director's benefit and chooses to operate on a little boy rather than on the mayor, who was brought in later but would have been a more politically advantageous patient. He is then demoted and dumped by the director's daughter, after which the director and several of his cronies turn up poisoned. Nine years later (1995), Tenma is head of surgery and saves the life of a lock picker. Lunge, the detective in charge of the case involving the lock picker, still suspects Tenma of those poisonings. Then Tenma learns the truth: Johan, the boy he saved, killed those doctors and paved the way for Tenma's career advancement.
The story's setup is nice and clear: an idealistic doctor tries to do good things and keep himself apart from political games and ends up saving the life of a monster. The series' “monster,” a little boy, is on the loose, his twin sister is missing, and Tenma is suspected of having killed several people for his own gain.
I like Urasawa's artwork – clean lines and character designs that are more than just “stock face with different hair and clothes.” I also like the setup, although it's hard to believe that a little kid managed to kill multiple grownups like a pro.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)