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Master Keaton (MASTERキートン Masutā Kīton?) is a Japanese manga series created by Hokusei Katsushika and Naoki Urasawa. It was serialized in Big Comic Original between 1988 and 1994 and ran for 18 volumes (144 chapters in total). An anime adaptation of the series aired between 1998 and 1999 in Japan on Nippon Television. A total of 39 anime episodes were produced.

Though the manga series has not been translated into English, the anime series was dubbed into English and dual-language DVDs were available for English-language markets, but are now out of print. The manga's target audience was Japanese men in their 20's and 30's, a comparatively older target audience than is common for most anime series.


The story revolves around Taichi Hiraga-Keaton (平賀=キートン・太一 Hiraga-Kīton Taichi?), the son of Japanese zoologist Taihei Hiraga (平賀太平 Hiraga Tahei?) and well-born Englishwoman Patricia Keaton. Keaton's parents separated when he was five, and young Taichi moved back to England with his mother. As an adult, he studied archeology at Oxford University, in part under the tutelage of Professor Yuri Scott.

At Oxford, Keaton met and later married his wife, who was a mathematics student at Somerville College. The couple later divorced, with Keaton leaving his five-year-old daughter Yuriko (百合子?) in her mother's care. After leaving Oxford, Keaton joined the British Army and became a member of the SAS, reaching the rank of master sergeant and seeing combat in the Falklands War and as one of the team members that responed to the Iranian Embassy incident. His combat training serves him in good stead as an insurance investigator for the prestigious Lloyd's of London where he is known for his abilities and his unorthodox methods of investigation.

In addition to his work for Lloyd's, Keaton and his friend Daniel O'Connell operate their own insurance investigation agency headquartered in London. Even though Keaton is fairly successful as an insurance investigator, his dream is to continue his archaeological research into the possible origins of an ancient European civilization in the Danube River basin.

Anime series


Episode list

Episode Japanese title English title Description
Case 01 迷宮の男 Man in a Maze The mysterious death of a soldier in Greece causes suspicion. Lloyd's sends Keaton as an insurance investigator.
Case 02 小さな巨人 Little Giant Bounty hunters stakes out a former German Red Army member, Rosa. Keaton is hired by her wealthy family to protect her.
Case 03 ラザーニェ奇譚 Strange Tale of Lasagna Keaton is hired to retrieve nine year old Flora from Italy. They flee for France where her mother waits.
Case 04 不死身の男 Immortal Man Keaton saves the "immortal man" from the Russian Mafia. The man reveals the secret of the "Romanov Treasures.
Case 05 屋根の下の巴里 Paris Under the Roof After being fired from a college in Tokyo, Keaton finds a job as an instructor at an adult education center in France. There he meets...
Case 06 白い女神 White Goddess Keaton meets Anna in Scilly Islands in England, who is protecting an archaeological site all by herself.
Case 07 遥かなるサマープディング Memories of Summer Pudding Keaton, hoping to spend the summer vacation alone with Yuriko, heads for a farmhouse where he spent summers as a boy.
Case 08 交渉人のルール Negotiator's Rule Keaton heads for the countryside in England to rescue a kidnapped manager of a Japanese electronics corporation.
Case 09 貴婦人との旅 Journey With a Lady Keaton meets an arrogant old lady on a train from Germany to Switzerland who claims to be pursued by the Czech Secret Service.
Case 10 チャーリー Charlie Keaton helps a childhood friend Charlie Chapman, also a world-renowned detective, with the murder case of an art dealer.
Case 11 特別なメニュー Special Menu Keaton assists an Englishman to become a Chinese chef with the help of a secret recipe.
Case 12 御婦人たちの事件 A Case for Ladies Keaton and an elderly woman who loves detective movies pursue the truth behind a high-profile murder case.
Case 13 穏やかな死 A Peaceful Death A terrorist finds his conscience and seeks Keaton's help to locate and defuse two IRA bombs in a crowded London shopping mall.
Case 14 心の壁 Wall in One's Heart Keaton helps a German businessman to locate his long-lost daughter while she seeks to avenge her mother's death in a labor camp in East Germany.
Case 15 長く暑い日 Long Hot Day An attack dog ruthlessly stalks Keaton deep in the mountains of Spain.
Case 16 永遠の楡の木 The Elm Tree Forever Earl Fenders' bankruptcy leaves him a broken man, but his son, Robert, needs his fathers overbearing personality to inspire his music - can Keaton restore the father's domineering arrogance?
Case 17 バラの館 A Mansion of Roses Edmond Layman was found murdered in his rose garden and his widow fears for her life. Their gardener, Eric, disappeared and is the chief suspect but Keaton soon unburies a thorny secret!
Case 18 フェイカーの誤算 Miscalculation of a Faker Professor Bennington runs for Chancellor to save the college only to be targeted by a team of con men. But will the con men's professional pride lead them to change their minds?
Case 19 空へ… Into the Vast Sky Keaton's daughter meets a childhood friend who wants to free a hawk. Keaton and the boy's father secretly follow out of concern for the boy who also desperately wants to be free.
Case 20 臆病者の島 The Island of the Cowards The Polish Mafia takes over Keaton's hotel in a blaze of gunfire. Although accused of being cowards for their inaction, Keaton and a secret legend use their experience to win despite the terrible odds.
Case 21 アザミの紋章 The Thistle Emblem Keaton flies to Scotland to investigate a watch preserved in a shrine in Japan.
Case 22 シャトー•ラジョンシュ1944 Chateau Lajonchee 1944 Keaton visits Burgundy to insure the extraordinary vintage wine Chateau Lajonchee 1944.
Case 23 出口なし No Way Out Keaton must escort a fugitive through a perilous road across a bottomless swamp.
Case 24 オプの生まれた日 The Day the Op Was Born Keaton recalls the first time he met Daniel and became the insurance investigator 10 years ago...
Case 25 砂漠のカーリマン Kalihman of the Desert Keaton and the excavation team are left for dead in the Taklimakan Desert.
Case 26 家族 Family Keaton, asked to recruit a former East German Olympic swimmer, but first Keaton must deal with the swimmer's depression and face off against a group of skinheads.
Case 27 赤い風 The Red Wind Razin left Russia to attend an air show in the UK, but after his two bodyguards are murdered, Keaton finds himself between Razin and a killer KGB agent.
Case 28 アレクセイエフからの伝言 A Message from Alexeyev While visiting a resort on a Spanish island, Keaton meets Sendel who reveals a tale of passion and betrayal between Russian agents and locals the Spanish Civil War 50 years ago.
Case 29 禁断の実 The Forbidden Fruit Keaton crashes a party for the newest board member of the premiere accounting firm in the UK after he suspects the board member of murdering his way to the top!
Case 30 瞳の中のハイランド The Highlands in Your Eyes Keaton attempts to rescue an artist forced to paint forgeries who has been held hostage in a house by his extreme shortsightedness and his shattered confidence.
Case 31 匂いの鍵 The Scent is the Key A man requests Keaton to investigate the untimely death of his friend who lacked a "scent of death."
Case 32 背中の裏街 The Back Street A reluctant Keaton believes he is handing enticement money to a woman on behalf of her father, but soon discovers quite a different story.
Case 33 天使のような悪魔 Devil like an Angel Keaton searches for a Japanese art student in Italy only to discover the student has become involved with a terrorist group!
Case 34 瑪瑙色の時間 The Agate Color of Time Keaton shares stories of his youth in Cornwall with his daughter, Yuriko.
Case 35 五月の恋 Love in May Keaton's daughter becomes involved in a purse-snatching investigation in London while her father rests his broken leg in the hospital.
Case 36 ブルーフライデー Blue Friday While Keaton chases after an elusive insurance beneficiary, his parter Daniel pursues a new beauty.
Case 37 面接の日 Interview Day Keaton, unsure about pursuing a career as an archaeologist, allows himself to be distracted by his father on his way to an interview at Tozai University.
Case 38 狩人の季節(前編) Hunting Season Part 1
Case 39 狩人の季節(後編) Hunting Season Part 2 Two knife murders in London drags Keaton into a chase tying the SAS to a vicious drug ring.

Theme songs

Opening Theme Song

Ending Theme Song

  • "eternal wind" - Performed by BLÜE (Episodes 1 - )
  • "A Sigh" (ため息, Tameiki) - Performed by KneuKid Romance (Episodes - 25)
  • "From Beginning" - Music by Kuniaki Haishima (Episodes 26 - 39)


The English version DVDs were released by Pioneer Entertainment/Geneon Entertainment Inc in association with The Ocean Group. The first 4 DVDs were released prior to Pioneer's switch to Geneon. Each DVD had 5 episodes, except the last one, which had 4, and all included an English translated dialog along with the original Japanese dialog. The DVD volumes and their US release dates are:

  • Master Keaton - Excavation I (DVD 1) 2003-06-10
  • Master Keaton - Excavation II (DVD 2) 2003-08-12
  • Master Keaton - Killer Conscience (DVD 3) 2003-10-14
  • Master Keaton - Blood & Bullets (DVD 4) 2003-12-09
  • Master Keaton - Blood & Dust (DVD 5) 2004-02-10
  • Master Keaton - Fakers & Friends (DVD 6) 2004-04-13
  • Master Keaton - Life & Death (DVD 7) 2004-06-08
  • Master Keaton - Passion Games (DVD 8) 2004-08-10

Controversy over the "true" creator

Hokusei Katsushika is a pseudonym for Japanese comic story writer (not an artist) Hajime Kimura, who was a co-writer of manga Golgo 13. It had been generally believed that Kimura created the story, while Urasawa did the artwork. After Kimura died of cancer in December 2004, however, Urasawa claimed in an interview with weekly magazine Shuukan Bunshun in May 2005 that Kimura stopped to work as a story writer due to a personal conflict with Urasawa at one point during series, after which Urasawa alone created both story and art. Because of this, Urasawa demanded that the fonts of the name Katsushika appear smaller than Urasawa on the comic's cover. A manga story writer Kariya Tetsu who was a close friend of Kimura and an influential figure in Shogakukan opposed this action vehemently, which resulted in the discontinuation of the further publication of the comics as of July 2005. [1][2][3][4]

External links