Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Monster

Title: Monster
Language: English, Japanese, & a little German
Genre: Psychological mystery
Episodes: 74

Kenzo Tenma is the most talked about neurosurgeon in Germany. Originally from Japan, Tenma gained respect from the hospital's director, who is also his future father in law, and peers. With such a great gift brings positive press time, especially after saving a famous opera singer. Unfortunately, a common Turkish man died that same night and Tenma was unaware that he was originally assigned to operate on him. Tenma, being the caring man that he is, felt sad that the patient couldn't be saved after watching Director Heinemann talk to the press about the opera singer and facing the family of the Turkish man at the hospital. He contemplated whether all life was equal while having dinner with his fiancee Eva, which she believed that it wasn't.

With Eva's statement and a fellow doctor's comment about blending in with the rest of his colleagues and about the director using him for his research papers, Tenma has a change of perspective on his own life and decides to break away from the political thinking of Eisler Memorial Hospital by refusing to operate on the mayor of Düsseldorf and stick to his original patient, a young boy by the name of Johan Liebert. Little did he know that this decision would alter his life immensely.

Tenma soon loses his social standing with Director Heinemann as well as his relationship with Eva and is ultimately treated like everyone else. This affects him to a point, but his duties as a great doctor takes higher priority in the midst of disobedience. He tends to Johan and checks on his twin sister Anna Liebert who was brought at the same time. Although, with the consequence of the mayor's death, Director Heinemann and two other doctors take over and selfishly try to make the patients newsworthy material. This decision angers Tenma and we finally see how he truly feels as he speaks to the unconscious Johan. Coincidentally, his words come true and the three men that altered his life unjustly are mysteriously punished with death. At around the same time of the incident, the twins disappear from their rooms and Tenma is immediately suspected of the murders. Luckily, there was a lack of evidence against him.

Nine years later, Tenma is now Chief of Surgery at Eisler Memorial Hospital. The hospital becomes everything he wanted when he started medicine. His next important operation patient is a suspected criminal Adolf Junkers who was hit by a car. Junkers is frozen in a slight catatonic state and only being able to mutter the words "monster", in the beginning. He and Tenma create a doctor-patient bond and Junkers is able to become relaxed around him. One night out, Tenma decides to buy a gift for Junkers, an item he mentioned to the doctor, but discovers that Junkers is gone and the security guard is dead. He rushes out to a construction site to find Junkers pleading for his life and for Tenma not to come any closer to him as a mysterious dark figure aims a gun at Junkers. In the end, the man kills Junkers and reveals himself to Tenma as Johan Liebert, the boy he saved nine years ago. Before Johan walks away from the scene, Tenma learns that Johan was responsible for murdering the director and the other two doctors which leaves Tenma with a guilty conscience. Once again, Tenma is a suspect for the incident and decides to runaway to search for Johan to stop the "monster" he created.

Monster is one of those must see series that everyone praises to be a disturbing yet thought provoking masterpiece. After surviving all 74 episodes, I definitely agree with that statement and have become one of those admirers.

I've read many places that viewers have compared Monster to Death Note, but I can't really comment on that since I haven't watched the series completely and I'm still weighing my decision to do so. While watching the series, I noticed it shared a few great elements that my favorite series Trigun has, such as the storyline structure and a few character relations. For me, this is a great thing because Trigun really holds a special place in my heart. Once an episode ended, I wanted to see more. I was anxious to piece together the mystery of why Johan was so emotionless, but I also found myself asking who the real monsters are in this show. Not only does this question appear in the show several times, but you may find yourself applying this to every day life which makes the series even more powerful and admirable.

There are a lot of characters being introduced throughout the story, but they all play an important role to the main characters' journeys. Whether they stay around for a short or long period of time, they all leave a distinct impression on the viewer. Somehow the characters easily provoke an emotion such as sympathy or hatred without losing the character's depth and personality, which is a hard skill to execute in such a short period of time.

With all this praise, you must wonder what flaws exist in this series. I think my main complaint lies within the ending. It's not a bad one, but you'll see what I mean when you reach it. Perhaps the manga will elaborate on the story more when I get around to it.

Overall, this is an amazing, mature, psychological mystery that goes beyond most series. Both the subbed and dubbed are equally enjoyable. I must warn you that this series will screw with your mind consistently, alter your way of thinking, and lure you into an unconscious addiction.

Rating: 5/5

No comments: