I am a pretty diverse anime viewer. I’ll watch just about anything, so long as it intrigues me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a genre I don’t normally partake in because if it’s good? I’m definitely watching it. But still, I get uneasy when it comes to stuff like gore and horror. I’m one of those crybabies that read up on the plot of horror movies before watching them, so I don’t end up screaming at every gory twist. I am not ashamed of that. So, when I was first recommended to give Monster a try, I was skeptical.
But I can now confidently say that Monster is more than a worthy watch. Even if you don’t like thriller anime, Monster is a feat of storytelling genius. It’s no wonder the manga is so critically acclaimed; it’s some of the most exhilarating yet insidious writing I’ve come across. Like, I don’t like horror and suspense; I don’t like the anxiety it gives me. But the chase in Monster, between a killer and his healer, it’s genuinely intriguing.
Monster was one of the two more ‘serious’ anime I remember from my childhood, the other being Death Note. And it’s easy to see why the two of them skyrocketed in popularity around the same time. They share more than a few similarities, but the biggest one is that the show’s main lead is morally corrupt. In Light Yagami’s case, he started with noble intentions, only to use his powers to kill mercilessly later on. In Johan Liebert’s case, the misguided belief in nihilistic ideology was his motive for the killing and his eventual downfall.
Monster is a very carefully written story, filled with twists and turns that make you question the integrity of saving someone when they could turn out to be a psychopath. But it goes deeper than that. And here’s why you should be watching it!
Monster: The Sins Of The Saviour
Everything seems to be going right for a neurosurgeon, Dr. Kenzo Tenma. He’s slowly working himself up in his career, engaged to the hospital director’s daughter and helping those in need. Until one day, he is pulled from life-saving surgery to operate on a famous performer on the director’s order.
The performer survives at the cost of the poor patient before he dies. This scars Dr. Tenma to the point when a similar situation arises again, he instead chooses to save the child, Johan Liebert, over the town mayor. Sure, he loses all social standing for it but at least he can sleep soundly at night.
One day, however, he’s restored to his former glory following a string of deaths, including the director. Despite Dr. Tenma having the most motive to kill these people, he is released and becomes the new director.
But the deaths continue, and he’s soon caught in a web that might’ve been his own making. What has his past led him to?
The Breakdown: A Horror That Builds
You’ve heard of slow-burn romance before, one that builds and pines and gets you right in the mood for some lovin’. Now, get ready for a slow-burn terror that creeps and edges and settles into your bones with every chilling fact that comes forward.
Monster isn’t for the faint of heart, not because it’s particularly bloody, but because of how it’s terrifying in its revelations. Dr. Tenma just wanted to help someone, and do justice in his profession. But his good intentions are what start this trainwreck where people die because of a decision he made.
It’s bleak; it’s like watching an accident happen in slow motion knowing you can’t do anything to stop it. Monster is amazing at building the suspense and letting it out after a burst of anticipation, yet making you feel like you’re left with more questions by the end of it. It’s simultaneously satisfying but leaves you feeling this dread of what’s to come next.
Monster isn’t about a serial killer; it’s about the mindset that leads you there.
The Verdict: An Anime You Can’t Miss Out On
With great characters, amazing use of dynamic yet subdued art, and a fantastic story, it’s no wonder Monster is considered one of the best anime of the decade!
If you like your scary media more humane and less supernatural, this is the show for you.