In the lead up to Halloween I thought it would be fun to cover a good horror anime episode by episode until October 31st much like I did last year with Shiki. Monster and Shiki are both fantastic horrors so I highly recommend that you watch them.
With monster being 74 episodes long I don’t really think it’s possible for me to cover it completely before the 31st as starting today I would need to put out around 3 episode reviews a day. While watching 3 episodes a day is quite possible writing a review for all of them really isn’t.
I treat all the series I episode review to completion very seriously and take a great amount of time to take notes and pour over every detail I can think of. Since monster has a lot of things I’m interested in then it is also especially hard to keep up with it! Anyway now that the introduction is out of the way let’s get on to the review.
Also please watch monster with me as I’m reviewing it, the show is great so it will be a really fun experience to watch it with all of you!
Monster opens with a bible passage from Revelation 13 verses 1-4 “The beast out of the sea”. It is ominous and terrifying, clearly portraying a ferocious demon. In the passage people worship the demon. Revelation goes on to say that for 42 months it is in control of everything on earth.
Opening on such a passage clearly sets the scene for what will take place in the story. Ferocious beasts are to be expected as well as people being tricked by them in the story.
When we think of horror we easily tend to think about the supernatural. Monster is not supposed to be supernatural. It’s horror comes from the terror of humanity and what the worst humans can cause. The beast set up here seems to be in reference to a horrible human of the story instead of anything supernatural, which gets me excited because the truly scary things to me aren’t ghosts but the terrors that humans can inflict.
Our protagonist for the episode (or this chapter of the story – since this was labeled chapter 1) was Dr Tenma, the best doctor at his hospital and he is capable of performing miraculous operations. Instead of showing the positives (the lives saved) we instead only see the consequences of people who have lost life during operations and how badly it affects the families.
Tenma cannot be in two places at once and it seemed clear to me that the anime was showing Tenma’s life to be filled with guilt, knowing he could have saved more people if only he didn’t have two operations at the same time.
Our story is set in 1986 Germany even though Tenma is himself Japanese. This is where we got the title card for the chapter and it also shows that most people in the series are German.
This includes Tenma’s fiance Eva who is the daughter of the director of the hospital Tenma works at. Tenma receives a lot of orders from the director and therefore their relationship is very strange.
This is when we are introduced to the idea that there is corruption at the hospital, especially from the director who takes all the credit for Tenma’s operation on a famous opera singer. But this isn’t the only problem as it’s later revealed that Tenma was taken away from an equally difficult operation to save that singers life even though the other person arrived at the hospital first.
This is a pretty horrific thing to happen, only motivated by gaining publicity and money from the singer once he recovered. Tenma wasn’t actually aware of this at the time though, and it was clearly frustrating to him that he couldn’t have saved that persons life.
This is when Eva says “People aren’t equal” which is a statement that needs unpacking because obviously people are equal and should be treated equally however the people in the show disagree. They think that money and fame is the factor that makes people superior to others, or they just operate on richer people out of greed to get more money. Either way it’s a pretty horrific view to have and Tenma feels that exact same way, he’s horrified. It doesn’t really look great for Eva and Tenma’s future relationship especially when you take into account the future events of the episode.
The director of the hospital is also shown to be operating for completely incorrect reasons. He blatantly says to the doctor that saving human lives is not his top priority! It’s not what you want to see at a hospital.
We are then shown the aftermath of an incident that isn’t really explained very well. All we see is a family of four in a terrible state. The mother and father are dead with the young child daughter standing stationary in shock and the child son still alive with a bullet wound to the head.
Tenma is obviously called in to operate however at the same time the rich mayor is injured and also needs operating on. The director asks him to switch the person he’s operating on but he ends up refusing, prioritizing his principles.
We end with the little traumatized girl going “kill him” ominously as the episode fades out. I can’t help but feel like that will be relevant to the rest of the series!