What is a monster? Is it something that goes bump in the night or are they the things that hide in a child’s closet? Perhaps monsters aren’t born from our fears, but instead could they are born from the darkness within our hearts? These are the ponderings of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, a grim tale of life, death and the darkness that lies between.
For this preview we received a screener copy of the first 15 episodes in English dub format from anime distributor Siren Visual. As such, this will serve as a preview for Siren Visual’s release of the Monster anime series, which is scheduled to begin on November 20th, 2013.
Within the very first episode of Monster, it quickly becomes quite apparent that this is something truly special. This isn’t just your run of the mill thriller. Monster is intense, atmospheric, sharply written and intellectually engaging. Urasawa’s vision is simultaneously horrifying and darkly beautiful.
The series follows Dr Kenzo Tenma, a neurosurgeon who makes a life or death decision that alters the course of not only his life but countless others. When a trail of murders leave Tenma a suspect, he begins to investigate the bloody path in search of the monster behind it.
Set in the cold locale of Germany, Monster features a grim aesthetic that amplifies the sense of foreboding that resonates throughout the series. The harsh world makes for a perfect stage for the tale that Urasawa spins with an almost sinister delight.
Monster’s cast features some of the most despicable characters ever conceived. You get the feeling that Urasawa intended to focus on the uglier side of humanity with this cast and with the shades of grey that comprise the moral core of the series, it is clear that he wasn’t going for a simple black and white, good and evil, kind of scenario. These are highly detailed characters each with their own motivations, goals and histories. There is no clear cut morality in Monster and that makes for some truly intriguing storytelling and characterisation.
Urasawa dives deep into the darker side of humanity and places a spotlight on the monsters that can reside within us all. It is a heavily psychological story that explores the human psyche in ways that are simply unheard of in anime. If you are looking for something different, Monster is simply unlike any anime you’ve ever experienced. Monster feels like the work of a mad genius and it is all the more compelling for it.
It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that Monster is an anime classic. It’s one of the best-written series you’ll ever have the privilege of watching and it is truly must-see anime. There are certain anime series that come along every so often that are genuine masterpieces of the art form. Monster is one of those masterpieces.
The thrill ride begins on November 20th with Siren Visual’s release of Monster Part 1 on DVD, you can pre-order it now on their official website here. This is one anime that you have to experience.