AM! #1: Monster

Anime Me!  #1: Monster

This week, the first Anime I am viewing is called “Monster”.  This anime is based on a seinen manga (Japanese Comic) written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, published by Shogakukan in “Big Comic Original” (1994 – 2001).  It was adapted as a 74 episode anime series by Madhouse.  It originally aired on Japanese NTV from April 2004 to September 2005.

Monster

First to note, this is not for children.  A seinen anime is generally targeted at an 18–30 year old male audience.  The series follows Dr. Kenzo Tenma as he pursues a young psychopath & sociopath named Johan, whose life as a little boy, Tenma once saved.  In doing so Tenma must make a severe moral choice, one that haunts him and alters his life and they way he views it.  It is a unique anime as it does not involve any locations within Japan.  In this instance most, if not all, locations are based in Germany and the Czech Republic.

The story not only progresses between Tenma and Johan, but more importantly around those that each character comes in contact with.  Whether it be a stubborn detective or a distraught twin sister, every major and minor character is interwoven into this deep story of the moral choices between good and evil and how easily they can become a shade of gray.  IMHO, this is an excellent, thought provoking story.  It mixes action and intrigue, with a “whodunit” style with many twists and turns.

If there is a criticism that is fair.  This story could have been told, and have been equally thought provoking, with a much shorter episode count.  That doesn’t mean the story falls flat.  It doesn’t.  As it stands the 74 episodes is one of the longest average counts you will find in good anime.  Most that I will discuss will involve episode lengths of 13, 26, and 52 as the norm.  On the flip side, you will be sucked into the story, and you will want to see the next episode, just to see what happens.

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