Why you should watch “Monster” when it comes to Netflix

Everett Reagan, Guest Writer

Violence, vengeance and past sins come to fruition for the first time in the United States.  “Monster” has not been available in the U.S. for several years—until now. In August 2022, Netflix signed a deal with Nippon TV — a leader in Japanese entertainment — for the licensing of 13 titles that will soon be coming to Netflix. Among these titles is the anime show “Monster.”   

Monster itself is a 74-episode-long series, adapted from the 18 volumes of Naoki Urasawa’s manga. The manga in its own right is award-winning, and highly renowned globally; it has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The anime builds on the strength of animation, elevating the manga with a wonderful musical score that adds to the atmosphere of every scene. “Monster” is the pinnacle of Madhouse studio’s animation, especially if you enjoy its early 2000s style.

The story centers around Japanese surgeon, Kenzo Tenma, in 1986 Germany. When caught between saving two lives — the town mayor or a little boy — Tenma defies the hospital director’s orders and chooses to save the latter instead. Tenma experiences the consequences of his choices, especially losing the favor of the hospital administration. Unbeknownst to anyone is that the little boy, Johan Liebert, is a monster — a sadistic nihilist who only finds enjoyment in the torture and manipulation of others. Tenma, in doing the moral thing, has brought a monster back to life and all others suffer for it. Johan kills the hospital administration that seeks to undermine Tenma in order to show his gratitude for Tenma saving his life. 

Years later, Tenma is confronted with the truth about Johan, and Tenma sees Johan for what he truly is: nothing but a monster with a human appearance. When Tenma learns the truth about Johan, he seeks to rid the world of the monster he created. As Tenma suddenly disappears on his quest, the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (the “BKA”) labels Tenma suspect number one in the ongoing murder case. The eccentric inspector Lunge is on the prowl to bring Tenma to justice. The story unfolds like a drama – a thriller of epic proportions. 

Tenma travels across Germany in pursuit of Johan and answers on how Johan came to be. What conditions could make a person so evil or is there no answer and Johan is just evil personified? 

Caught up in this cat-and-mouse chase is a whole cast of characters, each infused with as much complexity and emotion as Tenma and Johan. But the story is so much more. “Monster” delves into the darkness of the human heart and soul while capturing the deep humanity of its characters. “Monster” is a story of loss, death, bigotry, manipulation, that still captures hope, love and optimism at the same time. If any of this interests you then I would say that you give “Monster” a try. Keep your eyes on the news for when “Monster” is coming out.

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