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At a Glance: Monster

Updated on April 3, 2017

In Monster, brilliant young Japanese brain surgeon Dr. Tenma is living in Germany, and is engaged to the director of the hospital's hot blonde daughter, Eva . He thinks he's got everything going for him. But, it all goes to hell fairly quickly. He soon realizes that the director, Heinemann, cares more about saving important people's lives than about the important ethical principle in medicine of treating all lives as equally important. Eva, who is very spoiled, says bluntly that she does not believe all lives are equal. Since Tenma does a "screw orders, I'm doing what's right", he loses social standing with his boss and Eva leaves him for another man.

Then, Heinemann is murdered. Tenma doesn't know what he did exactly that night (he had been drinking), and had a motive to kill him, making him a suspect. What really happened? This is one of those mysteries that just gets deeper and deeper. It seems to involve a former patient of Tenma's, who he saved from a bullet wound to the head when that person was a child. Tenma comes to regret ever saving this person, as their dirty deeds come to light. The story raises several ethical questions arising from the practice of medicine. It is also a compelling, suspenseful murder mystery.

Source Material:
Manga by Naoki Urasawa
Additional Material:
Novel: "Another Monster"

Having read a volume of the manga, I could see that the real brilliance in this story comes from the manga, and that the anime version doesn't really add much to that. The anime is passable, but this is probably a story I just think is better to experience as a manga. It shows influence from Osamu Tezuka. The story is like I said, thrilling and suspenseful. It's not for the faint of heart, but I would recommend it for people who like murder mysteries and thrilling crime dramas. It kind of reminded me of Death Note, but with less of the emo teen aesthetic, so, more mature than Death Note. I think it's the kind of story that is really great food for thought, and this anime could be good for an anime club because it is likely to inspire discussion.

Rating for Monster: 7/10


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