Monster

Monster

TV-14

netflix

The classic psychological thriller anime that’s simply one-of-a-kind

The Very Best

9.2

TV Show

Japan, United States Germany
Japanese
Animation, Crime, Drama, Mystery
2004
Hidenobu Kiuchi, Hideyuki Tanaka, Hisayoshi Suganuma
24 min

TLDR

Johan Liebert is proof that you should never trust a guy whose name starts with J. (Just kidding. But dear lord, this boy is terrifying.)

What it's about

After risking his career nine years ago to save a boy over the rich mayor, brilliant Japanese neurosurgeon Kenzo Tenma is accused of a string of unusual serial murders that might actually be linked to his former patient Johan Liebert.

The take

At first glance, Monster doesn’t seem like the typical anime of the 2000s. With its muted colors, realistic action, and Eastern European setting, it seemed like a more subdued series compared to other thrillers. But because it feels so realistic, Monster is one of the most thrilling psychological series that happens to tackle the value of a human life, as the compassionate doctor Kenzo Tenma grapples with the weight of having saved a boy who grows up into a manipulative psychopath. Mangaka Naoki Urasawa and showrunner Masayuki Kojima directly challenges their respective philosophies through excellently paced investigations, well-developed characters, and the thorough examination of the different ways humanity has failed each other, and it’s downright beautiful to see how this anime adapts Urasawa’s complex, sophisticated story so faithfully.

What stands out

Johan Liebert is one of the most fascinating and unusual antagonists ever created, anime or otherwise. His motives and methods are so inscrutable. He’s not the straightforward fascist figurehead his admirers want to prop up, nor is he aiming for money, fame, or world domination. Instead, he’s unpredictable, brilliantly manipulative, and what he aims and believes in stands opposite to our protagonist, making him the perfect challenge to Tenma’s optimism and hope in the human race.

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