What's new in the anime world?
In terms of U.S. releases, we have been bestowed upon a true great.
Naoki Urasawa's Monster is a 2004 anime based off of Urasawa's manga from 1994-2001. The manga has been released in its entirety, 18 glorious volumes by Viz, and now Viz brings us the anime!
This first box set contains the first 15 episodes, out of an intimidating 74, and all that can really be said is WOW!
The story involves Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a Japanese neurosurgeon working in Germany. Dr. Tenma is probably the most perfect protagonist ever, in both theoretical sense and physical sense. Everybody loves him, he is engaged to the daughter of his hospital's director, and he is progressing rapidly in the medical field, and always performs impossible feats in the operating room. That is until one day he gets a dose of reality when he saves the life of an opera singer over that of a Turk who arrived at the hospital first.
Tenma is such a sympathetic character that the audience immediately becomes attached to him and his sense of honor and right and wrong really hits home with the viewer the instant it does with Tenma.
One night a child is shot in the head while his parents are brutally murdered. Tenma is again instructed to operate on the Mayor instead of the child who arrived first; Tenma refuses and saves the child. Tenma's world immediately falls apart but his sense of right and wrong remains and he continues to be the best doctor he can be.
I won't divulge any further as this is the real treat of the series. Murder, Serial Killers, wrongfully accused, and a journey of discovery that mimics and even bests The Incredible Hulk, think the 70s TV show.
These first 15 episodes provide such detail and depth to all the characters, main and side, that the viewer immediately gets immersed in the world and feels with the characters. I simply cannot wait for the next set because, just like the manga, I MUST see what happens next.
The show isn't very high on action but it makes up for that in suspense and drama. This isn't a shonen action series and those looking in that direction better grow up before getting into this. This is a series for adults, as it is based on a seinen manga, and it takes an adult (or someone grown up enough to understand) the true depth of the series. It provides plenty of back stories for all the characters so that nothing gets left out and you get even further immersed in the story.
The only complaint I have with this set is the packaging, the box art and box itself are gorgeous and I look forward to more like it. However, Viz decided to not use thin packs or a clam shell case, this is a box in the strictest sense. Three separate DVDs each is containing one disc with no booklets or anything. This takes up a lot of precious space on my shelf and over time 15 DVDs will be a space hog instead of 5 small boxes.
The bonus features in the set are also phenomenal. They are only included on disc 3 but they are good. There is a MONSTER file that contains tons of information on the geography used in the show as well as some trailers for Urasawa's other masterpieces Pluto and 20th Century Boys.
I recommend this show to everyone, Dan will be seeing it soon enough, and I simply cannot wait for the rest of the series. This is perfection the likes people have not seen enough of. BUY THIS SHOW NOW!!!!