Saturday, June 1, 2013

Anime Review: Monster

*Gulp* Where do I begin? I mean, how do you review this thing? Monster is, honestly... it's Monster, how can I sum this thing up? 

Well, I'll try anyway.

It's a long, fast-paced, action-packed, dark, depressing, hopeful, light-hearted, beautiful, horrifying masterpiece. No, I did not use too many adjectives. This is not for the weak-minded, folks! Do not enter without doing some soul-searching first.

Monster follows the struggle of Dr. Tenma, a brilliant neuro-surgeon, and Johan, a young German boy who's essentially the anti-Christ. Johan, with a bullet in his brain, comes under Dr. Tenma's care and, what can only be described as an act of self-definition, Dr. Tenma fixes him. Dr. Tenma gets a lot of grief for healing the boy due to some political maneuverings and, in his despair, says that all the people giving him trouble should die.

In front of the comatose Johan.

What do you think is going to happen?

Well, I'll give you a hint: they don't go to the park for ice cream.

Anyway, eventually Tenma finds out that his sudden fortune was made possible by Johan's acts of violence, and resolves to go and kill Johan. He meets up with a lot of people along the way, finds out what Johan is and where he came from, and just how screwed up the bugger is.  And that's all I can tell you about the plot. No, really! In good conscience that is all you are allowed to know, and even that's saying almost too much. This is because Monster goes through a lot of material. Considering that it's 74 episodes long, you'd think that that's a no-brainer, but consider things like Narutard for a moment and you'll get my meaning. A LOT happens in this show. Every single episode is jammed to the brim with plot, character development, and philosophy. I lost track of how many characters were introduced and then given sufficient (at worst) development. Each person is given their due in a stunningly horrifying way, as they encounter Johan and learn to deal with the presence of such a malevolent being. 

Despite it's length, Monster does not feel all that long at all. You'd think that 74 episodes of a good anime would feel long, right? No, not this one. Monster grabs you by the hair and drags you along, demanding your full and undivided attention as it shows you the horrors of... everyone? Johan? Tenma? Lunge? Grimmer? Anna? It's hard to explain in a review, and even harder to understand at some times what the show is trying to do, right up until the end when it becomes astoundingly clear what's going on. I wish I could tell you more without ruining it, really I do, but this is a show that really needs to be seen without spoilers for the greatest effect. 

Yes, you have time for something like this. So go watch it. Now. I'll see you at The Three Frogs when you're done, with beer in hand. And I don't even drink beer!

(WARNING: If you don't like your anime anything less than clear-cut and juvenile, don't watch. Please, for everyone's sake. Thank you)