MONSTER is some black-on-gray intense drama with a bleak tone that gives me a better perspective on why I disliked such drab “serious” shows like REQUIEM FOR THE PHANTOM and GUNSLINGER GIRL. While one of you lunatics recommend this show to me in the now-legendary talkback thread a while back, I only zeroed-in on actually watching it after one of its trailers played in front of another Hulu-hosted anime show. On as basic level as you can get, the hook's just lot more interesting. A doctor having to handle the horrors of a serial killer whom he saved as a boy, and all the paradoxical guilt that comes with that, is just more intriguing to me than any amount of emotionless child assassins searching for the truth of their past through any number of blown up heads. While it was hard not to laugh at show that finds nothing funny about a little girl beating up full-grown criminals, this has real emotional substance to befit its serious tone.
The only real problem with a show like this, however, is that you kind-of have to know a secret or two ahead of time before you go in. I know that little boy’s going to grow up to be the titular “monster,” and, thus, it’s patently obvious that he’s the one who murdered his family. Also, his catatonic sister’s obviously trying to tell everybody to kill him. There’s no ambiguity about that. However, I was impressed by how the proper dues were paid to explain Tenma’s motivations. You can just hear that voice in his head, blaming him from the Turkish father’s death and urging him to resist the temptations of hospital politics. We’re probably a few episodes away from the much-hyped twist hitting, but the developments in this episode still ratchet up the predetermined tragedy with the power of omens in tragedy.
Anyway, I’m definitely intrigued to watch more of this, but I’m daunted by the show’s 72-episode length. Sheesh… BROTHERHOOD was a fantasy with so many worlds and mythologies to explore, and even it wasn’t as long as that. Also, while I enjoyed the more realistic and restrained rendering style, I have to say it was morbidly amusing that Tenma’s fiancé looked like she’d had some baaaaaaad plastic surgery.
Watch this episode "Herr Dr. Tenma" below and decide for yourself.
Check out my thoughts on the other shows I've sampled below...
- GUNSLINGER GIRL
- FULL METAL PANIC!
- SCHOOL DAYS
- OTOME YOKAI ZAKURO
- GIANT KILLING
- HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD
- PANTY & STOCKING
- GUIN SAGA
- PRINCESS TUTU
- TATAMI GALAXY