And with this, I’ve finally finished this behemoth of a series. Aside from LoGH, this probably is the most critically acclaimed anime out there. And by GOD, I do agree with that consensus.
I already noticed when watching Master Keaton, how much research its author, Naoki Urusawa, puts into his stories and setting. The same influence can be seen in Monster. It’s completely different from Master Keaton, and yet both shows are meticulously well researched: its portrayal of Germany is fantastic, and like Master Keaton: everyone is a professional. This isn’t a series of impulsive plans: everyone all spends a large amount of time preparing and researching. This has two benefits: it’s incredibly believable what these guys do, and it fleshes out whatever they’re investigating brilliantly.
Now, talking about what makes this show so amazing is very difficult without delving into spoilers, so I’ll try to be as vague as possible with this review, as usual. Let me just say that this series has some of the best villains I have ever seen. Perhaps even the best out there. The only thing I’ll say about them is that their character development is just utterly fantastic.
Now, Monster is long. I have found that marathoning these long series, like most recently Hajime no Ippo and Legend of Galactic Heroes, that while they have some amazing parts, there are also parts at which it’s a bit of a chore to sit through with all of the build-up. And here is the thing: with Monster, I did not have that. It immediately starts off with an amazing display of fireworks, and even though it is paced very slowly, every episode delivers an interesting new twist to the story, and every episode had me at the edge of my seat. Even the build-up episodes are fascinating to watch, and in a personal way that really allows you to connect to the characters. It manages to avoid being repetitive by continuing to push its storyline in different directions, and introducing a wide variety of characters. Seriously, even the development of the minor side-characters has its flashes of brilliance.
On top of that, this show also has a stunning direction, use of music and audio. Masayuki Kojima has really shown that he can direct in pretty much any style. And heck, Ryousuke Nakamura (yes, the Mouryou no Hako guy) was actually the assistant director for this. The result shows, with an incredibly solid show that hardly ever shows any bad animation. The animation that’s there feels real and yet very intense when it needs to, and it makes very good use of its camera angles and fluidity. The music is also just perfectly timed.
This show is amazing. I’m very sure that this show is better than anything else that’s going to appear this year. Did it become my favorite series? Well, it’s certainly amazing, but near the end of its run it does lose a little steam, and the ending itself was excellent, yet left me hungry for more answers. It’s not like the ending is rushed, but because it wasn’t rushed it couldn’t answer as much as I had hoped to. Still, a spot in my top 20 favorite anime has most definitely been conquered.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Brilliant atmosphere and pacing.|
|Characters:||10/10 – Deep and diverse characters, both main and side. Fantastic development.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – Perhaps not over the top or anything, but the animation is very refined and very realist, plus the soundtrack is terrific.|
|Setting:||10/10 – Again, meticulously researched. A very realistic and believable portrayal of Germany.|