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Friday, January 16, 2009

Monster. -Spoiler Ahead.


I'm a professional Tip-Toeist. Hah.

Practically, I've been sneaking out of my room at the darkest, quietest, hours of the night to the lower floor, reaching out into my father's working bag in total darkness to get the mobile modem. Literally speaking, its like the Chinese Idiom sayings, 'When you reach out your hands you don't see your five fingers'.

You may call me crazy, but I've been doing that for the past two weeks. My sleep times are haywire. I feel like junk in the day, so I prefer doing nothing but sleeping in daylight; except days which make me wake up earlier than usual for some rare activities. Rare, I have nothing to do at home except for eating junk and chocolate, pianoing, and animeing. Some reading perhaps. I read more wiki than books by the way - world without borders, I can find out something instantly with a blink of an eye with just a few finger acrobatics.

Anyway, sleeping at 9pm and waking at 2am is an example how I spent my last two weeks. I get all the bandwidth to myself at those hours while my neighbours spend theirs in dreamland. Hah! That, means I can stream all the videos I want. It loads at up to 200kb/s. So I have no problem of slow YouTube; unlike during daytime it takes 3 hours to load a 20 minutes episode - I'd rather spend those hours in bed, sleeping.


Another Psychological Thriller.

The previous ones I watched were Death Note and Paranoia Agent.

I would say Monster had 'some' similarities with Death Note - but I can't compare both downrightly, it would be like comparing an apple to an orange.
Nonetheless both had protagonist that ventured on a killing spree.
Death Note was like a board game - I give you the rules, you play it, and another would figure out the rules and how you would play the game.
On the other hand Monster was written by Naoki Urusawa, based on real-life mysterious, psychological murder cases in 20th century Europe, mainly Germany.
Not only focusing on murder cases, it revolved around Experiments and Eugenics, human behaviour when put in different situations, strong willed characters, and how a 'Monster' was created. Some philosophical moments there could probably strike up some of your deepest thoughts and questions. Monster gets down to the depths of humanity while portraying white, black, and gray within humanity's painting.
No shinigami involved.

What a profound one.
I wonder why, its always the Japanese that comes up with all these interesting (intellectual, weird, useful, humourous) ideas?

Ah. I'm always annoyed by Stephen King style of ending. The open kind which leaves the reader thinking, without complete explanation of some events that happened throughout the plot. Monster was one of those. It was a good ending for the anime nonetheless, but I could use some explanation though. Things just DO NOT end easily and happily like Itazura na Kiss. There were many question marks that made me read all the forums for a proper explanation and what possibly could happen afterwards.

Anyway, there I was, lying in bed at 3am with the lights off , only with a laptop in front of me. Since the screen was brightly litted in the dark room, the background behind the screen was pitched black. Blinding lights in the dark. But I had no time for imagination, my eyes were fixed onto the computer screen for long hours until the sun decides to rise. The suspense can kill. It makes your eyes stay open and load a few more episodes even though you're on the line between dreamland and reality. There were many gunshots heard but it doesn't turn out the way you anticipate, and the truth revealed later on.

Johan The Psychopath. He and his twin sister are the products of the experiment. They're both intellects, the only difference is that the girl is a normal, admirable, and steadfast; on the other hand Johan is a sociopath that kills without second thought. The only people he spares is his sister, and Dr Tenma who saved his life after the gunshot in the head.

Okay, most people would think he's the 'Monster' in the story, as he goes around killing people using his 'disciples'. I mean, its clear that he's the monster; but according to him he wasn't 'born' to be a monster. It came from outside. The actual story of his life is still unclear, as it wasn't stated. Putting random opinions together, this is what I can conclude: The mothers' hate for the man and his team who conducted the experiment and killed her husband brewed while she was pregnant with the twins. After the twins were born Johan saw how things was among his mother and those people, and probably the monster grew within him. After the sister's return from the genocide experience, she told everything to Johan and he took it as his own experience, thus the monster 'grew' again. From then on he went to an orphanage which also played around on human experiment. There he ended the organization by 'adding oil to fire'. Everyone in the orphanage killed each other whilst Johan sat on a chair viewing the drama. And then Johan continues his orchestration of multiple homicides, although at a tender age. Oh wait, he dosn't only kill or make people kill, he psyches people into comitting suicide. The length to which he goes to torment those around him is absolutely sadistic and few characters can match his calm demeanor that leaves the viewer unnerved because of his mastery over the basic concept of fear and how to inspire it in others. Or rather, he was the personification of the devil himself=/ It wasn't Johan who experienced all the tests at Red Rose Mansion, but his sister Nina. So who can explain how exactly Johan was turned into the Monster he had become? Perhaps he IS actually the Antichrist, and there was nothing in this world that corrupted him. He was corrupted from the beginning. Note the fact that Johan can not die. What reason could this be? He was shot in the head twice, yet saved both times.
Was he the victim of the monster that contained him, or the Monster itself?
Or he just wanted to find out his real name, and who his mother really love when she was force to give up one of the twin the the experiment?
That's a question.

Tenma is one admirable man. If the world was filled with these sort of people perhaps no war would ever happen. Give Tenma a Nobel prize! =D The last part where Johan, much older now, was shot by a drunkard who did it in order to protect his son from getting shot by Johan was one part where it really messes up people's emotion. Tenma went this far to kill Johan, and now he has the power to give him another chance to live - by performing a surgery on Johan, again. How ironic. Maybe Tenma operated in the end because he realized that even Johan could never truly relinquish his humanity, as hard as he may have tried. Ultimately, he was more or less the same as everyone else, just that his reactions weren't.

I can't help but feel sad for Mr. Grimmer when he finally died helping out the folks in Ruhenheim in Johan's 'perfect suicide' plan. Grimmer, you read, but ironically his face does not reflect his name. I was anticipating for this character to appear, thinking that it will be a nasty hunch-back old notredame, a creepy one. But the character turned out to be in a stark contrast with my imagination of Mr. Grimmer. Instead he was a tall guy, with a big sling bag (very similar to a bolster found on beds with a strap attached to the both ends) on his shoulder, with a cheerful smile as broad as a Nike swoosh and has a cheerful personality himself.
*quote wiki* A freelance journalist who is researching Kinderheim 511, he is also soon drawn into the search for Johan, as he decides to help Tenma. He nearly always has a big smile on his face. As a former subject in Kinderheim 511, he had seemingly developed another personality: an aggressive fighter that comes out and protects him whenever he is under dire stress, inspired by his childhood adoration for an Incredible Hulk-type TV character whom he refers to as the Magnificent Steiner. He also received training as a spy after his time in Kinderheim 511. Due to this conditioning, he admits he is not good at expressing emotions, however he is finally able to do so when one of his child friends nearly goes off onto the same road as Johan, and when he is mortally wounded during the massacre at Ruhenheim. At the moment of his death, he confides to Tenma that he simply gave in to his anger, allowing for the disturbing possibility that his "alternate ego" was simply the psychological filter he used to justify his violent acts.*

Magnificent Steiner! =D

Actually I felt like Mr. Grimmer in the beginning when he appeared. He was into this stranger who told him a sad story about his family members being in hospital and needed money. He showed concern and gave some money. And the stranger ran away with the money. A guy nearby saw it, and told Mr Grimmer he was tricked. "I was tricked?" he said, with a very cheerful-confused face. Hah. Like how my cell phone was con off the other day. Despite that Mr Grimmer still shows compassion to people like that, especially children on the street that get bullied. Ah, my best loved character!

You may think that this anime is lacking in the graphics and animation sector, but don't let it stop you from watching it. It is one spellbinding, epic anime of the century. I watched the first episode one and a half year ago, while I was still in training. Clearly I didn't had time for things like this, furthermore the drawings of the people and the hospital life in the first part didn't really attract my attention at first. While the graphics in the beginning may seem dull, I realized that it was one of the anime with more realistic drawings compared to the big-eye and exaggerating movements in the other typical anime genre. But what caught my attention was the beautiful backgrounds - the real life cities in Germany, Czech(Prague) and France(Nice). The characters appearances changes according to the time line, even their hair grows longer. Dr. Tenma grew older - and from a reputable Neurosurgeon look, after all the fatigue and insomnia from the hunt of the monster he once revived, he got that fugitive, unshaven beard, shaggy hair, and panda-eye look. But he is an honourable character I admire, along with Nina and Dieter.

It's a good one. Brilliant storytelling; it really, really deserves some accolades.

Also it's pretty scary thrilling for something that doesn't have demons or blood around every corner. Oh yes, its much more complex than the classic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde although it may contain some elements of it. And some of Jack the Ripper.


Anyway, here's a brief synopsis and a review (not my own), so you might want to consider writing this in your anime list:
Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a brilliant surgeon had just finished a successful operation when he encounters a distraught Turkish woman in the hallways. Upon seeing him, she demanded to know why he neglected to care for her son who had arrived first and instead, cared for a public official who arrived later. Conscience-stricken by hospital politics, Dr. Tenma vowed to be as fair as he possibly can. So when a boy with gunshot wounds comes in, followed by a VIP, Dr. Tenma operated on the boy, who survives, while the VIP dies. This decision would cost Dr. Tenma his promotion as he fell out of the Director’s graces, but soon after, the Director and the new Head Surgeon were found poisoned and all of the circumstantial evidence points to Dr. Tenma. Cast out as a fugitive, Dr. Tenma struggles to hunt down the real killer while evading capture from the law.

The first episode takes you into a moral quandary right away and the series begins asking a series of tough questions about fairness before probing deeper into the core of the human psyche. Part of what makes Monster so appealing is finding out an answer to the show’s basic premise of whether a monster lurks in every one of us. While the series answers that question through many different scenarios, not all of the resolutions will leave you comfortable. But because that’s what it was aiming for to begin with, Monster is able to engage its audience and deliver an unforgettable experience.

Its questions on morality and ethics only serve to complement Monster’s intricate plot which boasts some of the best storytelling that I’ve seen. The story’s scope stretches beyond the mystery and suspense, and to say that the plot is competently executed is an understatement. Every story arc is brilliantly done to the point that it left me with a deep impression, and even now, I can recall even the most minor arcs with a surprising amount of clarity. That is where this series shines: there’s never a dull moment. The pacing is as perfect as it can be and every minute of it keeps you enthralled. To put it simply, Monster’s story flows excellently from beginning to end and ties it all together into a complete package without a single episode anywhere close to being wasted.




The metaphorical picture book: Monster Without a Name (narrated)




Photobucket
challenging one to shoot him in the head.




"Look at me! Look at me! Look how big the Monster has become!"

1 comment:

+Gabsicle+ said...

Caught a few glimpses of it last year on Animania, but too bad, SPM was just around the corner, so I couldn't enjoy it in full. I still don't know the ending =/

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