A Monster among us

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According to VIZ Media, Syfy will start airing episodes of the anime show “Monster” on Oct. 12.

It will be part of the network’s Ani-Monday programming block. New episodes will air each Monday night on the Syfy channel and will be re-broadcast on SyFy’s sister channel, Chiller, the week after. It is rated TV-MA.

“Monster” is based on the manga by Naoki Urasawa that is published in North America by VIZ Media.

I consider “Monster” one of the best anime shows created because of the characters and the plot. It is a psychological thriller centered around a Japanese surgeon who works in Europe.

Dr. Kenzo Tenma saves a young gunshot victim rushed into his hospital. Little did he know that act would propel him into a nightmarish odyssey where he would become the hunted.

Because Johan, the boy he saved, is not like any child. He is a cold-blooded killer. Several of Tenma’s colleagues are murdered and police’s suspicion fall on the brilliant surgeon years later.

The doctor goes on the run intent on stopping the young man he saved as a child. As he tries to follow the trail of his former patient, Tenma runs into former Communist bloc men involved in secret government experiments, remorseful crooks and those who barely survived Johan.

Naruto, Bleach and Death Note: uncut, original and online

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VIZ Media announced that original uncut versions of “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “Death Note” will be available on Hulu.com. For free.

The episodes carry English subtitles. Hulu is an online video service.

“Naruto” and “Death Note” launched in the United States on Hulu this week. “Bleach” and new episodes of each title will be added regularly on Hulu. (I’m assuming “Bleach” episodes aren’t on there yet.)

Here’s a synopsis of the shows by VIZ Media for those who haven’t heard about these series.

“Naruto” (http://www.hulu.com/naruto) Created by Masashi Kishimoto, the series depicts the adventures of a young boy named Uzumaki Naruto who trains to become a ninja. The boy is cursed with the spirit of a nine-tailed fox demon and is forced to live a bullied life discriminated against by his fellow villagers. Naruto is resilient and undaunted in his quest to become a master ninja and his determination often inspires those around him. Through amazing adventures, the young ninja learns the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right vs. wrong. Dedicated website at www.naruto.com.

“Death Note” (http://www.hulu.com/death-note) is based on the manga series of the same name. Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects but is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must now reevaluate his one noble goal. Dedicated website at www.deathnote.viz.com.

“Bleach” is the story of 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki who was born with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow – a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo encounters a Soul Reaper and absorbs her powers. Now he has dedicated his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured souls find peace. Dedicated website at www.bleach.viz.com.

A little Jrock to end the day

I still consider “Shell” by BANA one of the better anime songs I’ve heard. The song was used in the series, “Witch Hunter Robin”, which is readily available here on DVD. The soundtrack should be easy to get too.

It’s the guitar part that I like so much about the song. That and the fact the singer doesn’t sound like a squeaky gerbil. Here’s the opening animation to the show courtesy of some fan who put it up on YouTube.

Robin does some weird thing to the TV screen. I suppose she’s getting all swoony over Amon who broods, shoots and generally looks cool during the entire show. But who wouldn’t swoon over such a bishounen (beautiful boy) , neh? And like any brooding anime hero, Amon wears all black plus a trenchcoat. I’m getting the vapors now. Just kidding.

Good vs Evil: The Age OId Fight

I love the artwork in “Death Note” the manga which was faithfully rendered in the anime. Some anime blogger said it was very clear what show sucked up most of the budget for last season’s crop of anime. Well it shows.

“Death Note” has a new opening and ending song beginning with episode 20. I loathe them. Here’s the first intro song which fits the protagonist’s motives to a T. Just remember that Light Yagami is a sociopath who believes that the ends justify the means.

I summarized the show in two previous entries so I won’t repeat myself.

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.