Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 7, 2004 to Sep 28, 2005
24 min. per episode
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.751 (scored by 30773 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama horror mystery psychological thriller
SynopsisDr. Kenzo Tenma is a renowned young brain surgeon of Japanese descent working in Europe. Highly lauded by his peers as one of the great young minds that will revolutionize the field, he is blessed with a beautiful fiancé and is on the cusp of a high promotion in the hospital he works at. However, all of that is about to change with one critical decision that Dr. Tenma faces one night—whether to save the life of a young child or that of the town's mayor. Despite being pressured by his superiors to perform surgery on the mayor, his morals force him to perform the surgery on the young child, saving his life and forfeiting the mayor's. All of a sudden, Dr. Tenma's world is turned upside down by his decision leading to the loss of everything he previously had. A doctor is taught to believe that all life is equal; however, when a series of murders occur in the vicinity of Dr. Tenma, all of the evidence pointing to the young child who he saved, Tenma's beliefs are shaken.
Naoki Urasawa's Monster is a tale full of mystery, suspense and intrigue as Dr. Tenma journeys to find out the true identity of the young child. In turn, the fate of the world may depend on it.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Related AnimeAdaptation: Monster
Summary: Monster Extra
Characters & Voice Actors
Monster plays out like a macabre game of cat and mouse in a world that is frighteningly similar to real life. Uncomfortable subjects such as coercive human conditioning and the psychology of the sociopath, morality issues regarding the origin of evil and the value of human life, are horrifyingly, yet engagingly, realized. The protagonist, Dr. Tenma, struggles to fix that which is so remorsefully broken in his world. Monster is a chilling tale rooted in reality, a far cry from the superpowers and supernatural forces found in more detached fantasy series.
The writing in Monster is exceptional. The pace is a slow burn that smartly captivates the viewer with moments of shock, awe, and depravity, which are masterfully combined with well executed moments of anticipation and proper denouement. Once the show has established the setting and many of the players, the series begins a thrilling, rollercoaster of action, suspense and character development. Viewer will rarely feel as though they have missed an important piece of information, and will instead find themselves riveted to the screen as the overarching mystery unfurls.
Dialogue is not wasted in frivolity for Monster. The anxious atmosphere is enhanced with carefully crafted lines that provide insight into characters' personalities and cast shadows of suspicion. The intelligent interconnectedness of all the characters, especially towards the climax of the show, speaks volumes about the care given to crafting living individuals in appropriate circumstances.
The art both augments tone and adds layers of character to the series. The dynamic use of light and shadow often creates red-herrings, skewing the faces of particular characters into unforgiving masks. Character designs stand out for their realism and attention to facial structure, especially regarding emotions. Variety in body type distinguishes characters, allowing viewers to immediately recognize someone from their visage, or even their silhouette, without hesitation. Characters who are old look old, with age lines harrowed into sagging skin. There are distinct differences given to dissimilar nationalities, so much so that the viewer can easily determine whether a character is of Asian, Slavic, or Middle-Eastern decent.
The background art is a feat in and of itself. There is a wonderful variety spreading from pastoral vineyards to dilapidated cities. German towns and districts such as Düsseldorf, Bavaria, and Hamburg are executed to a near photorealistic quality that extends into the Czech Republic and France.
Everyone in the voice acting crew does well. They suit their characters perfectly and never falter, even in the more dramatic scenes. Sasaki, Isobe, and Kiuchi (Johan, Lunge, and Tenma respectively), give outstanding performances that express the complexity of the emotions, personalities, and experiences of their characters.
The sound effects used throughout the series serve to add an additional layer of realism. As a testament to Monster's focus on being accurate even in minute details, each gunshot correctly reflects the weapon which was used to fire it.
The OP gives you a hint of what to expect and the ED, "For the Love of Life" by David Sylvian, is one of the spookiest ending themes in anime. The soundtrack should also be commended for its spectacular use of subtlety. It truly fits the idea of "background music," often setting the tone of the scene with a simple phrase. Additionally, whilst the series has a relatively limited tracklist, the music never feels repetitive.
Perhaps Monster's greatest strength lies in the depth of its characters, with the main cast representing some of the strongest leads in the genre, whilst those in the supporting roles are often defined far better than the regular cast in many other series. The show manages to bring its characters to life with extraordinary clarity, and although viewers will be “dazzled” by the quality of the lead roles, they may often find themselves growing attached to the minor characters over the course of the series.
The centrepiece of the series is the complex relationship between the Tenma and Johann. Tenma’s emotional, physical, and psychological transitions lead the audience through a complex maze of issues regarding personal and social morality. This is remarkably achieved without losing Tenma’s basic humanity or resorting to didacticism, and contrasts sharply with Johan’s manipulations and calculations which strike a cold, appallingly realistic note with the audience.
The supporting ensemble does a great job of adding intensity and gravity to the relationship between Tenma and Johan. They are all well crafted and executed, and often have their own demons and battles that remind the audience of what precisely lies in the balance between good and evil. Discovering why these people are the way they are and how they relate to each other is half the journey as a viewer.
From its brilliant characters with outstanding development, to its well-paced story and realistic setting, Monster will leave you on the edge of your seat. Finding a show like this is a real treat, and whilst 74 episodes may seem daunting, it is utterly worthwhile in light of the great journey taken. The show’s dramatic storyline and intrigue filled atmosphere will keep you guessing, thinking, and feeling. The complex issues and relationships addressed throughout mark this as one of the most unique anime to appear in many years, and the questions it asks should be confronted by everyone at least once.
Monster is a true rarity in anime. The quality of its story, cast and production have earned it widespread acclaim, even garnering it plaudits from the “hate what’s popular” clique. It is both entertaining and enlightening, and the sheer depth of the series has led to it being widely regarded as a modern classic of anime.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team original members were:
Lowell - Writer
Calla - Writer
Sai_notts - Writer
Revisions were done by:
noteDhero - Writer/Editor
naikou - Writer/Editor
Editing was done by:
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Category - noteDhero, naikou
Story - 10, 10
Art - 9, 9
Sound - 9, 9
Character - 10, 10
Enjoyment - 10, 10
Overall - 10, 10
In the club wide poll held for Monster it received an average overall rating of 9.16
If you've heard of Monster, then odds are you've probably heard of the incredible hype surrounding it. For a while, Monster has been the absolute critic's darling of anime, being the poster-boy for lofty intellectual types. Because of this, it can be very easy to imagine Monster as being overhyped.
But Monster lives up to every word of the praise it gets.
The story of Monster begins fairly simply. A skilled Neurosurgeon named Kenzo Tenma is due to perform an operation on a patient, but is called away to operate on a popular singer instead. The singer's life is saved, but his original patient dies. Dr. Tenma is, soon after, called away from another operation due to the mayor needing his services, but this time, he declines, and instead operates on the patient he was originally supposed to save. The operation is a success, but this time, the mayor instead dies. For his insolence, Tenma is to be demoted and replaced... but at the last second, everyone standing in his way is mysteriously killed.
Years later, Tenma's career is back on track, and he is enjoying a successful life doing what he does best. But one day, a string of bizarre serial murders winds up leading to one of Tenma's patients. Amidst the investigation surrounding him, the patient disappears... Tenma follows, only to see his patient murdered before his eyes, by the orchestrator of the serial killings... Johan Liebert, the boy whose life he chose to save those years ago.
What follows is 70+ episodes of Tenma's frantic search to find the boy he saved, and fix his mistake. Along the way, we meet some of the most unique and interesting, yet believably human characters in the history of anime, matched with amazing, compelling subplots, with all of these both answering mysteries regarding, and yet at the same time, furthering the question: Who is Johan Liebert, and what is he trying to do?
While the 70 episode runtime can be daunting, Monster is a worthy investment of time. While it is driven by compelling mysteries that make you want to watch more, Monster is just as much about enjoying the journey as it is reaching the destination. To hold the viewer's attention for 74 episodes is a feat in of itself, but Monster goes beyond that... it's a show that, once you start watching, you'll never want to stop. Monster is in the master class of suspense. It keeps a constant stream of new twists and developments that, while plentiful, never feel contrived. The characters are both strong and numerous, but while there are countless cast members, unlike many shows where there are large amounts of characters that are completely useless and contribute nothing to the plot, every character in Monster brings something to the mix. Not only that, but they are rarely left open-ended, as Urasawa makes sure to bring back characters from previous arcs, using each one to their fullest extent.
The brilliance of Monster also extends past the plot to the production. While Naoki Urasawa's art style is better suited to pen and paper than it is to animation, it doesn't take long to get used to, and the detail is quite noticeable. The genius in Urasawa's distinctive style is in the way he draws faces. The cartoony, yet detailed features have a strange level of warmth to them, but they can also be used to create truly intimidating expressions, ranging from death glares to blank, glassy-eyed gazes. The directing is also top-notch, cutting no corners to create a perfect adaptation to the manga.
Also of note is the soundtrack. Every song on it is a fantastic piece of music, beautifully married to the scene it accompanies. Many pieces are subtle, yet brilliant... The Seeds of Time, for example, rather than going for full-on, orchestral bombastics, eases in with quiet, yet tension-ridden power that gradually rises, making for several of the most stunning scenes in the entire series. The opening and ending themes are also very strong... the opening theme, Grain, would have to be, as it is the opening for the entire course of the 74 episode series. The ending themes, For The Love of Life and Make It Home, are strange, ethereal, haunting songs, and match the "Monster With No Name" theme of the series that is used in the ending credits perfectly.
As for the voice acting, both languages have a very strong cast. In terms of acting quality, the Japanese is the better of the two, if not by a wide margin, featuring several great performances, the highlight of which is Nozomu Sasaki's dead-on, creepy take on Johan. However, while the acting is slightly inferior in the dub, the casting is considerably better. Richard Epcar is perfect for the role of Detective Lunge, and Patrick Seitz' deep tones and off-kilter performance are a great match for the eerily poker-faced Wolfgang Grimmer. The only actor who seems off in the dub is Keith Silverstein's work as Johan, which feels rather unnatural, and overshadowed by his superior Japanese counterpart. Overall, I would recommend the dub, but it's hard to go wrong with either language.
Now, as much as I hate to say it, Monster isn't quite perfect. It's probably as close as you're likely to find, but it does have one problem. Whilst not so much a fault as a double-edged sword, Urasawa's storytelling technique of switching off to another location whenever the plot starts to get tired can be somewhat problematic. Don't get me wrong... as a storytelling technique, it's a very good one. It helps to keep the viewer's interest and stop the plot from getting stale, and also features prominently in Urasawa's later works, 20th Century Boys and Pluto. The problem is that on some occasions, it gets overused. While Monster is nowhere near as big an offender for this as 20th Century Boys is, it goes off on new plot threads that, while enjoyable, don't really lend anything to the plot. While they often develop into full-fledged and brilliant story arcs, they sometimes end up going nowhere, and in a series where the viewer is dying to find out more, this can be somewhat distracting.
However, any complaints against this series are completely and utterly silenced by the ending. The final six episodes are probably the best in the entire series. The remaining cast members are all given a triumphant finale, as the tension reaches its absolute peak, and it is thoroughly clear that this is what the entire series was leading to. With the exception of one small Deus ex Machina that I shall not name due to spoilers, everything about it is a flawlessly executed conclusion.
Monster probably isn't something that beginners to anime would enjoy. If you enjoy the medium for the abundant exaggeration, then this probably isn't up your alley. This is more of a classic, cat and mouse detective series than anything you regularly see in anime, and if that sounds like your sort of thing then Monster is an absolute must-watch.
Final Words: Exemplary in every single aspect, from the story, to the characters, to the writing, to the directing.
English Dub: 9/10
For Fans Of: Pluto, Gankutsuou. read more
Both top tier anime for the Mystery genre. Very entertaining and very well done. If nothing else binds these two anime together, than their flawlessness would do just that. Regardless of whether or not you are fans of this genre, it is still highly likely that you will come to love and enjoy both of these vastly entertaining titles.
They both deal with 'monsters' in people. By this, both shows are portraying the 'good' that each person thinks is 'right'.
Monster and Death Note are unique in many ways. In both cases the issue of morality in its truest form, that is the frontier between good and evil, is explored via highly tense psychological thrillers. Monster is highly realistic and portrays a very believable world while Death Note has a supernatural element to it; in both the viewer is forced to think and make choices toward deciding who the real villains are and just what it is that makes one individual evil.
Both are psychological thriller and suspense. The only difference is that Death Note is more supernatural while Monster is more dramatic. If you like Monster, then surely you'll like Death Note, vice-versa.
Both feature main characters who are being chased by detectives. While Monster may be more mature, Death Note is just as good but more supernatural
I think people who like Death Note would like Monster since it's also quite dark and unique, and AMAZING~<3
Both are high ranking thriller that will have you at the edge of your seat screaming for more. The mysteries and plot twists will leave your head spinning off its shoulders. I give it 10/10! A true Masterpiece!
Both question the concept of the themes each embodies - psychological war games and identity anonymity. Both do have differences, though:
Monster is slow but aptly paced while Death Note is pulse-racing right to the end.
Monster is apparently longer than Death Note.
Death Note uses a lot of plot devices while Monster uses minimal.
Either way, I still recommend both. Plus, for the imaginative viewers, a crossover between the characters in both series will make you grin like a little boy on Boxing Day C:
Both animes revolve around gone-berserk (methinks) guys. Each of their stories are mature, too-- both practically deal about murder, death, and whatnot.
Its almost Basically the Same mystery/horror Good Guy vs Bad Guy type of Story except that The 2 Main Characters of the Show Kill for different reasons
Both have plots that don't focus on action, instead they focus on the minds and personalities of the characters and how they interact with eachother. Both also have that kind of battle of 2 characters through non-direct attacks.
A couple of good guys come together to hunt down a psychotic mass murderer. A macabre game of 'cat and mouse' ensues, leaving the viewer at the edge of his seat. The story in both cases goes at a very complex depth, and so do the characters.
In Monster, the story is much more complex, and focuses more on character development. Monster grapples with issues of morality and is a bit more philosophical.
Both have amazing characters, good animation and a FANTASTIC STORY! they are both about a serial killer but they are a little different from each other:). U will get addicted immediately! These are one of the best ever made.
Both Death Note and Monster are Mystery, Drama, Psychological, Thrillers that make you think.
Both anime are psychological thrillers dealing with never ending battle/chase between good and evil. Both plots are full of twists and cliffhangers although the pacing of the two series are quite different. Death Note has a faster pacing with more focus on the main few characters while Monster introduces many side characters in depth through different arcs.
Both shows deal with similar topics: equality of human life, good vs. evil, the right of a killer to live, etc. Whereas Death Note is more concentrated on the cerebral task of investigation, Monster's focus is on morality and redemption. Both of them are top-notch, but I find Monster to be better overall.
Intellectual game between two brilliant characters that makes you wait to see the next episode.
These series are both brilliant, compelling and you can't get enough of either of them! It's hard to say why these two series are like each other, i think it's the sence of justice and the practactly the same morals. Both of 'em will have you off your seat, guesting what will happen next.
Both are psychological, detective dramas. The difference being that Monster is a seinen and Death Note is a shonen hence Monster has none of the annoying characters and general bull that goes on in Death Note.
Both are psychological thrillers. While in Death Note there is heavily influenced by the supernatural, Monster is more realistic, and could even happen in real life. If you liked one, you should watch the other. There's a nice chance that you'll like it.
both anime contains elements of thriller, dark atmosphere, psychology, morality... And incredibly interesting plot!!!
Very deep and an excellent psychological thriller.
Both these compelling thriller animes, have morals. Hidden in the characters past, or beliefs, even the plot, there are morals. These two animes are brilliant, will leave a lasting impression.
They Are Both Thrillers And Will Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat.....
Both amazing thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you have completed them.
Monster and Death Note both are psychological thrillers. Both are full of mysteries, although Death Note is more involved with the police system, and solving crime, while Monster is a mystery which the main character is trying to solve basically on his own. Both have that dark, psychological thriller feel to them, and keep you captivated throughout the whole series (although Monster is quite a bit longer than Death Note). =)
Death Note and Monster both share the common theme of Justice. They both look quite deeply into human nature, and they are also both quite dark.
Whilst the main characters in Monster and Death Note are almost polar opposites, the idea of a 'battle of the minds' is in both series'.
Monster is an excellent anime. The only anime that has great suspense and mystery, and the only anime that can change the speed of heartbeat. So if you liked death note defintely check out the more supenseful Monster!
In the world of Death Note and Monster exists a dark atmosphere and tone involving crimes, murders, and conspiracy. Both of these series are an excellent watch for those interested in for some psychological thriller themes.
Both series employs violence as well as plot holes and twists that can keep a viewer glued at their seats.
The psychological element of both series are present with a lot of mind twists and intelligence. Speaking of which, the main protagonist in both series are quite intelligent and cunning as with the antagonists.
Both series also deals with detective fiction and the exploration of law and identity. There are moral questions involved in both series with philosophical ideas in each episode. As such, both series has a complex plot and development that focuses on events involving the main characters.
Both series features murders and some other mature themes but are an excellent watch.
They both involve a serial killer. But it's different. Monster is more serious. Death Note pulls you in more. They're both good, but I like Death Note best. It's cool.
They been compared thousand of times in different sites worldwide. They initially look so different but watching more you will realize that have the same issues that they want to convey: What is the extent of what human beings can do?
Monster is a fantastic anime. It's darker than Death Note and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's also fairly realistic, which makes it all the more darker when it comes to the murdering. This is a thrilling one, and you will want to keep watching until it's over.
Both have a highly character-driven story and keep you guessing as to what will happen next. Both involve an antagonist who at first seems kind but has evil intentions and manipulates others. Each one contains great character development and characters who you feel and care for. If you want an anime that strays from the norm and delivers an interesting story with realistic portrayals of human emotion then this is for you.
Both go very deep into the characters themselves, who are not as clean-cut as they appear on the outside.
Both very character driven stories, however Gankutsuou has much prettier animation and a sci fi feel.
Given that Gankutsuou is a retelling of The Count of Monte Christo the story may not feel as unique as Monster, but it still retains excellent character development.
A cat and mouse game. A very in depth psychological mystery. Excellent characters and plot.
In both series, the setting has a similar feeling along with its serious tone of telling the story.
Betrayal and cruelty are themes from both series that involves the characters. There is strong character insight and development involved from both series that deals with how humans cope with their actions and the consequences. Other themes involved in both series include pain, terror, hatred, and strong emotions.
Both series are dramatic and highly recommended for viewers into psychological thriller with a sinister ploy.
I ended up watching Monster thanks to a recommendation On Gankutsuou, both of which now rank amongst my favourite anime, and I have to echo the sentiment. Gankutsuou and Monster are both top tier anime featuring an intense plot driven by the diabolical schemes of a brilliant and devastatingly charismatic antagonist. The writing and characters for both is top quality, and although the both have very different pacing and artistic styles, they are both the best at what they set out to do and will have you gripped from start to finish.
Both feature an antagonist with a sinister plot by which they are driven.
They both are able to manipulate others around them using their charm and intelligence,
although the antagonist in Gankutsuou relies more on himself, so if you are wondering how one might go about their plan with a different take on it watch Monster and
vice-versa. Monster is longer while Gankutsuou is more intense, but once you grasp the mystery surrounding the antagonist both will keep you hooked to the very end which both do exceptionally well.
Opening Theme"Grain" by Kuniaki Haishima
Ending Theme#1: "For The Love of Life" by David Sylvian (eps 1-32)
#2: "Make It Home" by Fujiko Heming (eps 33-74)
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
Related ClubsOtaku, Amarillo College Anime Club, Monster, Noto Mamiko Fanclub, Cogito Ergo Sum - Philosophy In Anime and Manga, The Derailers, 9-5 Weekend Warriors Survival Preserve, ~*~Tenma & Johan~*~, The London Club, Kenzo Tenma fan club, seinen & josei, Thoughtful Discourses on Japanese Audiovisual Culture Club, Decadence, CNCFixins, The Twin Factor, Overrated Shit, ytuGeyik, The Misc, KnownOfDreams's 'HideOut', Tragedy ClubMarry a Character (M.A.C.), Unraveled Mysteries, †=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=† ___________Готы___________ †=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=†=†, chiaki's favorites!, Psycho Characters., Johan Liebert's Fans, Armitage's Dimension Radio, Long Black/Dark Haired Guys, The Demon Lord, Club Dead, The Muddykipz Fanclub, Critics and Connoisseurs, Anime and Manga Talk, Sub Or Dub?, Hero tv Anime club!, Avant Garde and Philosophical anime, Tomokazu Seki Fans, Psychological Love, My personal favorites., Atarashi Otaku, Police, The Emotional/Sad/tragic Anime Collection worth watching club!, God of Manga (A.K.A. Urasawa Naoki), Grip of Insanity, POWA Club, FAT PPL RP CLUB 2! ~ ♥♥♥, Anime Break, MAL Rewrite, Scooter Girls, The Monster without a name, The Wolfgang Grimmer Fan Club, Recommendation Club, Dark Anime Club, HentajGejtan, Der Niedersachsen-Klub, !Anime Horror & Psychological Squad!, Seinen Brasil, ARAB Otaku ST2, Bermuda Tri Star Angle Club, ~~*Claim Club*~~, Horror Anime Fanclub, Anime Club Bayern, [[ Live Action Adaptations ]], Anime Fans Club, English Dub Fanclub, Anime Experience, Good Vs. Evil, Secret Club, R rated animes, Secret Paku Romi Fan ClubXD, Serial Killers Anonymous, *Twins*, What's My Name Again?, Realistic Anime, Fan Fiction Guild, hero's dark side, Moe and loli haters , Club Dubbed, The Mamiko Noto Club, ✖Metroid Exterminator✖, PROJECT EGO, ~ Takai's LEAGUE ~, Criminal Minds, Elitists, Rumble Fighter, All the Hot Guys from A&M 2, Creepy Anime Fanclub, MAL Ultimate Victory!, Anime Blue, Youkai's Mansion, The Epic Plot Twist Club, Insane Anime Club, Claim a Character's Ambition/Dream, Richismo, Anime Association of Northern Illinois University MyAnimeList club, MadHouse, The Skuar, Opiate Anime (and Manga), Dark Fashion FC, Dark Gods, World of Animes (W.O.A.), Long series see all
Recently Watched By