Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Monster is sort of interesting in how it sometimes combines both the best and worst aspects of what you can find in anime. It has a tone that isn't exactly typical to the medium, telling a tense and moody story about a larger-than-life serial killer, manipulating others to do his bidding and working towards some unknown, probably terrifying goal. It plays to the strengths of being an anime by being unafraid to go anywhere or do anything with its story, and by allowing certain moments to have huge impacts that can be difficult to pull off in text or live action. One common fault of anime though is that it takes a long time to get anything done, and the show does seem to suffer a bit from having filler. It frequently deviates from its main plot to tell another little isolated story, ignoring the main characters for a few episodes. These side stories usually end up tying back in to the main show, but it's a bit odd to see it seemingly meander so much. Monster is interesting, but it should have taken 74 episodes to reach its ending.

The show stars a Japanese doctor called Kenzo Tenma, living in West Germany before the fall of the wall. He's an extremely talented neurosurgeon, but his career takes a bad turn when he saves the life of a small boy over the town's mayor. But then some murders start happening that benefit him, and he becomes a target, both of a former patient and the authorities who believe he's responsible. He goes on the run, both to prove his innocence and stop the killer from making any more victims. It soon becomes clear though how futile that is, as the only thing that surpasses the monster's derangement is his ability to realize it. Kenzo meets a lot of people on the way, helping who he can and avoiding those who want only to stop him. I think I might have preferred something that was a little tighter, with fewer extraneous pit-stops and dramatic revelations, but the show itself usually worked and pretty creepy throughout and occasionally devastating. It's too flawed for me to consider it great, but it's worth watching if you'd like to avoid most of the medium's worst parts. Besides the whole taking-too-long thing.

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