Six months ago(ish) I finished reading the Monster manga. Pretty soon afterwards I started on a weekly date with the anime. The manga had affected me so much that I was immediately keen to see how well the anime adaptation would be. Despite some fears to the contrary, I was in no way disappointed.
If there is one thing that can be said for the Monster adaptation, it’s that it is incredibly faithful. I mean, I would struggle to name a single scene from the manga that wasn’t animated. For some adaptations the idea of being ultra-faithful can be a downside, but I guess that’s the big plus point of having this done as a television series with 74 episodes.
One thing that I don’t think I truly appreciated whilst reading Monster is just how visually brutal it would be. The torture scenes with the nail clippers were especially awful… I mean how can you not cringe when seeing that depicted onscreen. Similarly, there’s something about seeing villains like the Baby and Johan (aka the titular Monster) being animated that can being an extra chill to your bones. I mean just look at that pale death stare:
On the other hand there is a lot of beauty in the anime that you don’t see as well in the manga. The attention to detail that went into making the German countryside look as idyllic as possible is admirable. Similarly the way that regional tchotchkes like the pop-up clock are brought to life shows a great affection on the part of the animators.
As someone who had read Monster I was still able to be shocked and intrigued by the adaptation. The English dub that I watched wasn’t perfect as some of the voices were fairly similar (i.e. Lunge and Grimmer), but on the whole it was fine. One bonus was the far superior ending theme which was so much more fitting than the Japanese one.
This is a seriously good show. Whilst it might be more enjoyable if you don’t know the story it is still a lot to enjoy because of how complex it is. My next anime pick may not live up to this….