Horror is a multi-faceted genre covering a wide range of diverse topics. It often incorporates other genres, creating fascinating hybrid series that give viewers the best of both worlds. Because of this, different horror series will appeal to distinct groups of horror fans, and some may even appeal to those who don’t enjoy horror. For those who love scary thrillers and adore the crime genre, then the cult-classic horror anime Monster is perfect for this Halloween season.
Monster is based on the manga written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa. It was serialized in Big Comic Original magazine between 1994-2001 and became a massive success, garnering praise from many manga fans and critics. Then in 2004, legendary studio Madhouse adapted Monster into an anime. This series was directed by Masayuki Kojima, who has worked on popular shows like Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi and Black Bullet.
What Is the Psychological Thriller Anime Monster About?
Monster follows Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a young brain surgeon who works at Eisler Memorial Hospital in West Germany. Kenzo is developing an impressive reputation after flawlessly performing several risky operations. However, he isn’t without problems; Kenzo frequently butts heads with the hospital’s management and is frustrated with its internal politics, especially with how it assigns cases.
One night, two twins arrive at the hospital. The boy, Johan, has a gunshot wound on his head and needs to be operated on immediately. However, just as Kenzo goes to start, the mayor is brought into the hospital, also requiring surgery. Kenzo’s bosses insist he treats the mayor first, but Kenzo refuses and operates on Johan. While he saves the boy’s life, the mayor dies due to the delay. This causes Kenzo to become an outcast and his social standing falls through the floor.
While Kenzo’s life and career seem irreversibly damaged, things suddenly take a turn. The director and several other doctors who looked down on Kenzo suddenly die in mysterious circumstances. The police are suspicious but can’t find anything, and thus Kenzo starts to move back up the ranks. Several years later, a criminal comes in for surgery and Kenzo is forced to get to the bottom of a spate of brutal murders.
Why Monster Is Perfect for Fans of Crime Series
What makes Monster stand out among other horror anime is its atmosphere. The show is delightfully moody, with every scene being packed full of tension that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat. And many later sequences have an utterly oppressive atmosphere that perfectly captures the conflict and confusion at the center of the storyline, helping fans fully understand what Kenzo is feeling as he navigates the situation.
The fascinating thing about Monster is how grounded it is by focusing on more banal forms of evil, from the initial shooting that sets off the plot to the idea of hospital administrators prioritizing cases based on internal politics rather than need. This theme becomes even more overt as the story continues; while the deeds do grow more intense, the show never loses this grounded feeling.
This all helps give Monster a really creepy vibe as it captures the idea that evil often isn’t some giant monster, but a regular person who could be anywhere and look like anyone. It also hammers home that systems and hierarchies exist to prop these people up, protect their decisions and hide the consequences of their actions. This is all intensified by the show’s discussions of ethics, which often force Kenzo to debate if he is doing the right thing by taking justice into his own hands.
Because of this, Monster plays out more like a slow-paced psychological thriller than a horror series. It works effectively as it leave viewers wondering who the true villain is until the final acts, making the experience that much more immersive and the reveals all the more impactful when they arrive. It also helps add to the story’s grounded feeling, helping to show that evil can hide in plain sight under any guise.
Monster is an excellent anime series. Kenzo’s slow search for the truth is masterfully handled and creates a chilling atmosphere that feels genuinely uncomfortable. The ideas and concepts discussed throughout will remain with viewers long after the series ends. This fascinating fusion of thriller and horror makes it perfect for crime fans who want to dive into a dark, but human, tale. Monster is a cult-classic for a good reason — and this Halloween is the perfect time to check it out.