Greetings, dear readers. My hiatus felt very long indeed. I want to return to the ani-blogging world, but it’s difficult to know where to start. Since my blog is all about rants, I figured it would be suitable to start with a Random Rant containing some thoughts about the anime Monster, based on the manga by Naoki Urasawa. Now, there is some direction in the following rant. The goal is to answer the following five questions.
Can you say when and how you discovered this show?
Why do you, 7mononoke, love this show?
What are some strong points of the show’s production?
Who is/are favorite character(s) in this show and why?
How did this show effect you and/or what did it mean to you?
Without further ado, we begin. I came across Monster when looking for psychological anime. I was at a low point in my life; if I hadn’t been so depressed, I wouldn’t have stayed in my bed and binge-watched all 70+ episodes in five or six days. Now, I’m glad I gave this show all that time and attention. Since then, I’ve re-watched the show twice, and some of the arcs I’ve seen four or five times. It would be an understatement to say Monster is a good, worthwhile anime.
There are a lot of reasons fans like myself may enjoy Monster. For one thing, there is the show’s overall tone– the tendency of its themes and story material to be dark and thoughtful. It isn’t excessive, but it’s a series unafraid of getting gritty about the horrible things humans can do, and the profoundly twisted thoughts and attitudes humans can have. Mystery, adventure, violence, psychology, character exploration, emotional moments, interesting themes, and more can be found in Monster. But why do I, personally, love this show so much?
While I like almost everything about Monster, my wish is to provide one or two key responses to the above question. First, take the character Johan Liebert. One of my favorite villains in all of anime, Johan is the story’s central antagonist. His character has a great starting concept and is uniquely and thoroughly presented, developed, and explored throughout Monster. The most fascinating aspects of Johan’s character are personal identity, the significance of names, and psychological abnormalities. These are three topics I adore, and they all come together excellently in Monster, especially in the character of Johan Liebert.
Moving on, consider the strengths this anime shows in terms of quality and production value. I mean elements such as visuals, audio, story/themes, characters, and enjoyment. This isn’t one of my anime reviews, where I have a rating system and can address each aspect thoroughly. For the sake of brevity, the two strongest elements Monster has to offer are characters and story themes. (That being said, the audio is excellent, and the unusual art style immensely pleasing.)
The plethora of themes in the anime includes psychology, identity, vengeance, crime, self-exploration, the value of life, and the good-and-evil duality of human nature. Well-written and interesting characters abound, not just Tenma and Johan, but also cases like Grimmer and Lunge. This leads smoothly into the next question, which was, “Who are your favorite characters and why?”
Johan is probably my favorite anime villain, but he’s not the only one I view as a favorite character in Monster. The others would probably be Eva and Grimmer. I found Grimmer’s personality a cheerful and much-needed breath of air in this series. I also love his quest to seek after an identity, after being robbed of his as a child. As for Eva, she is a case of an irritating and deeply flawed character that grows and changes over time, is realistic, and is in some ways easy to relate to, for me personally. Hopefully I’m not that much of a bitch, but I have a privileged lifestyle, a strong stubborn streak, and the personality of an addict.
The last question I wanted to address was, “how did this show effect me and what did it mean for me?” Watching Monster, I found its “darkness” to be refreshing. It made me feel understood when I was in a bad place. I also felt understood through the characters: especially Tenma and Johan. Long story short, many of my own thoughts were reflected in the main characters and the show’s themes. That was a good thing for me in the depression in which I was stuck.
Let me give just a bit of detail about how I related to the characters Tenma and Johan. Like myself, Kenzo Tenma became suddenly and disturbingly disillusioned, and constantly grieves the cruelty and darkness of the world. I “get” that so strongly. Then there is Johan, feeling like a monster, something not human. He looks everywhere for something to fill an emptiness inside him, and to learn about himself and his origins. He knows perfectly well the flaws of the human psyche, but rather than grieving them, he feels that nothing really matters. All of those feelings and thoughts I shared with him.
Watching Monster didn’t change me, per se, but it did have some effects. It got my slow mind thinking, it got my numb heart emotionally involved, it got me cemented in my anime-watching habits, and it made me feel understood. That’s about it for this random anime rant. If you read through this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if you just clicked to give one of my posts a view, that is much appreciated as well. Take care of yourselves, my friends.