Top 20 Reasons to Watch/Read Monster
Naoki Urasawa’s has been growing in popularity ever since it has been adapted into manga. Monster is one of those anime that deals with the complexity of human nature and waves in themes like nihilism, morality, and fate into a suspenseful premise. The original manga series contains 18 volumes that are officially published under the Viz signature banner. This underrated seinen anime series that premiered in 2005 is back in the discussion for its perplexing plot.
A doctors’ dilemma (plot overview)
The story of the Monster manga follows the life of a doctor named Tenma. Just like it happens in real life this doctor also has to make a tough call and that too at the expense of a life. As the storm passes there are challenges still left for the doctor to face. His choice pays off by turning into the chaos that he wants to undo.
The story of this manga/ anime is not as simple as the title seems. The complexity of it lies in the interconnected fates of the doctor with the monster in the story. Every episode or chapter in the anime/ manga takes things to new extremities engaging the audience.
Reason vs Responsibility
Reason versus responsibility is something that resonates from the very opening of the story. Doctor Tenma is a neurosurgeon who has to decide between responsibility and reason. The whole conflict in Monster revolves around whether this doctor should prefer his professional well-being or satisfy his moral reason.
Flourishing to Fugitive MC
Dr. Tenma in Monster turns from a flourishing professional neurosurgeon to a fugitive convicted of murders. Despite being morally right the circumstances play against this doctor making him a victim of his own decision. The main character is strong but the twist and turns of his fate make space for character development.
Not a traditional action
Here in Monster manga, the action alludes not to violence but to real day-to-day deeds. It is a suspense-laden plot that does not equal a traditional shonen one. The story does encounter some violent movements but the fights in this one are more on the cerebral level. It is interesting to watch the atypical protagonist solve the mystery of his life.
All lives are equal stance
Earlier in the plot overview we talk about the doctor’s dilemma of saving two patients. Tena has to choose between the mayor and an orphan boy. and he chooses the boy whose life is over the financially affluent Mayor. Naoki uses this idea out of a doctor’s rule book to lay the premise of ethical thought. It is one of the most crucial beginnings ever for an entertainment medium like manga.
Op Suspense Thriller
For all those people who are into suspense thrillers, Monster is a must-watch/must-read. The incredible elements of the thriller manga arise from the cat and rat chase between Dr. Kenzo Tenma and the murderous monster in the story. The suspense lingers on until the doctor identifies if Johan is the culprit or not.
Monster- the multilayered narrative
There is a multilayered narrative that Naoki has taken a chance at. This popular manga or anime might seem like a very straightforward story but the progressing narrative is multilayered. From depicting the guilt-ridden doctor to a psychologically traumatized villain it captures different perspectives. The manga is comprehensive with multilayered character building too.
Hint of Political Intervention
Urasawa has left no stone unturned in embedding the manga with themes. On the surface level where things seem to be ethical or at times psychologically intervened there is politics involved in the background. For instance, the story is set in Germany and the mysterious murders lead an extremist political wing of Germany to burn down a section of the town that presumably seems like Johan’s agenda to them.
Compelling Inner Turmoil
Naoki Urasawa’s masterpiece manga Monster focuses intricately on inner battles rather than the chaos outside. Every character has something messed up in their life that leads them in the wrong direction. The story of Johan and the plight of the medical profession shown through Doctor Tenma are prime examples of it. A larger part of the story in the manga Monster or its anime adaptation makes us wonder about our choices in life.
Disclaimer: From here on there are going to be spoilers and giveaways of plot points
It is a story, driven by MC’s guilt
Particularly the story is driven by the main characters overpowering guilt. The narrative is fed upon by the chaotic outcome of Tenma’s difficult choice. Doctor Tenma is at the prime of his career but the chaotic twist spoils everything. The reason for him feeling guilty is that he probably traded the life of a monster for several other lives that he takes. An ethical persona Kenzo Tenma who left behind his career to save a life cannot bear that his good deed and choice were turning out to be the potential worst in the life of some people.
Monster is a mix-bag of characters
Monster is full of characters that are made up of intensity and psychological trauma. Every character in this anime or manga is completely twisted. Although each character in the series will resemble someone you have come across in life the magnificence of the story makes them feel unrealistic. The story has not been limited just to the point of view of doctor Tenma which significantly gives us the detail of the side stories and characters.
Alongside the main characters, the side characters of Monster also have a part in the world-building of this great manga fiction. Instead of giving the side characters a stagnant viewership, Naoki Urasawa has built up a space for the development of the side characters as well.
Exposition of philosophical challenges
Rightly claiming Monster as an animanga filled with philosophical challenges. Through Monster Urasawa has put up a philosophical commentary on the dark aspects of society. Comprehending the intention behind each action depicted through the protagonist and subsequently the antagonist too. Urasawa has used multifaceted realities and lives to pitch morals and personal gains to add conflict with one another.
Destined to be destroyed trope
In some instances in the story, the viewers feel that the protagonist of the story is destined to be destroyed. Doctor Tenma’s life has something strange to do with Johan’s fate. As witnessed the strange connection between the doctor and his patient leads them to be believed as alter egos of one person by inspector Lunge.
Animation in Adaptation
The dark philosophical manga Monster has been greatly adapted into anime. Madhouse studio has used its experience in adding the best of efforts in the dynamic story. There is a very fine use of lights and shadows that enhances the emotion and themes in the story. Even the silhouette is so clearly outlined that viewers can identify the character just by seeing the shadow.
Horrors of Psychology
Monster exhibits psychological horror that is unmatched in anime. As we discussed earlier the guilt of Doctor Tenma runs behind his actions. Similarly, the antagonist is also ruined because of his past. The psychology of an oppressive sociopath has been dissected by Urasawa to add depth to the story. The discussion of the past of the 2 twins along with Wolfgang depicts how the repressed trauma of childhood comes forth as a fearsome flaw in adulthood.
For a psychological thriller, Monster’s story is perfectly paced. This slow-burn suspense has enough time to build and on the other hand, depicts the perspective of the main and side characters. Monster is a success as the place and Cliff hangers make it a page-turner manga turned into an anime worth binge-watching.
Sound affects the story
The sound and the theme tracks have a deep effect on the story. Accompanied by flawless voice acting that adds an additional touch of realism to the story the openings and endings are also spectacular. Where the opening gives a hint of the turmoil within the story the ending provides a perfect fit to the tone of the story. The limited track list of Monster has limited yet great OSTs specifically the ED by David Sylvian titled For the Love of Life is widely loved.
Monster is one of those quintessential suspense dramas that incorporates many themes. Ranging from suspense, drama, and political intervention to emotion, humanism, and psychology this series has it all. The profound questioning of each aspect of human life makes this manga/ anime resemble with seinen genre.
Monster is a Diverse persona
Johan Liebert is not simply your sociopath who goes around murdering people. Naoki Urasawa makes this villain made up of a chaotic past and traumatized experiences. More than the personality of Johan the mindset and childhood that he lived through are messed up. We had been saving this one for the last because it gives away a very central aspect of the story. Instead of trying to prove one character as the villain Urasawa has attempted to prove that each human has a shade of monstrous negativity thriving in them.