The demon within

You are a brilliant surgeon in a big German hospital with a great career ahead of you. Your fiancee is the hospital director’s daughter. There’s talk of you becoming the department head. Your patients love you and most of your colleagues envy you. But fate has something terrible in store for you.

In “Monster”, Dr. Kenzo Tenma’s decision to operate on a wounded boy rather than the mayor has consequences he never imagined. He loses his job, his fiancee and gets accused of murder.

SPOILER ALERT. The boy, Johan, is actually a serial killer. He survives the operation and continues killing. His victims include the hospital director and the new department head. Years later, Dr. Tenma gets blamed for their deaths along with several others. He goes on the run. Tenma searches for Johan to kill him while trying to elude authorities especially one persistent detective. Along the way, he meets the young man’s twin sister who has lost her memory and the people who “helped” in Johan’s upbringing. I won’t reveal anything more but let’s just say the Cold War created twisted men with twisted ideas.

Hands down, “Monster” is the best anime I’ve seen recently. The writing is wonderful, the characters are complex and the animation fits the tone and mood of the show. It is a psychological thriller and the mystery of Johan’s origin slowly unravels throughout the 74-episode series. Tenma the fugitive encounters decent folks, crooks with some good in them still and the truly depraved. The world in “Monster” isn’t black and white but shades of gray.

The only complaint I have is that the show keeps Tenma heroic and pure despite of what he goes through. One can almost predict his actions.

Some folks might think the show slow, boring and will say that it’s just mostly people talking. To each his own I say.

The manga is available now in the U.S but I don’t think the anime has been licensed yet.

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