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Monster without a name

Naoki Urasawa’s work, Monster, is published between the years 1994 – 2001, in Big Comic Original magazine, having overall 18 volumes. It is later on adapted into anime series by studio Madhouse, aired in 2004 – 2005. The genre is mystery, psychological horror.

Monster tells the story of a Japanese brain surgeon, Doctor Kenzo Tenma, living in Germany since university. Tenma is respected and loved by people around him because he is extremely skilled and has a cheerful, kind personality. One day, getting tired of the political bias of the hospital he works for in treating its patients, he decides to save a 10-year-old boy rather than the mayor; only to find 9 years later that the boy, Johan, is a psychopath, involved in numerous murders. Fighting with the burning question inside and feeling responsible, he leaves everything behind and sets off on a journey to kill Johan. Imagine you are the doctor and you know the person lying before you, whose life is depending on you, is the reason of mass murders. Would you kill the person or would you save him, thinking it’s not your decision to make no matter what?

Looking at Tenma, his story can only be categorized as a tragedy because what he learned, cannot be forgotten. Furthermore, trying to uncover the truth and desiring to know more only brings distress, depression and unhappiness to Tenma. "All lives are equal." motto is still important to him and in the end Tenma cannot bring himself to kill Johan when he confronts him the second time.

  • I liked that quote about tragic characters from the article by Berliz Gucbilmez; I think it exemplifies Tenma's motivation and philosophy that fueled him throughout that tiring cat-and-mouse expedition that took a lot of his years and life. Tenma's guilt and moral ideals were his driving force, and I daresay that's what so likable about him. :) – shiroyuni 6 years ago
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  • A long time ago, I bought books 1 and 2 of this, then discovered that book 3 was only available for £50 up. They've just started releasing the bumper version in my local book shop so I may finally get to read more of it :) – mattdoylemedia 6 years ago
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  • @shiroyuni Thank you, I hope there would be an English translation of the article because it has many other great ideas on tragedy and tragic character. I think what strikes me most is that at one point his actions seems like they are in vain but at the same time Tenma seems so heroic and we approve of his choices by heart. I agree with you on that point. : ) ------------- @mattdoylemedia Oh sorry that I kind of gave a huge spoiler in the summary : /. I feel your pain, you either have to wait for a reprint or pay so much, or take the longest road: learn Japanese. : ) It's great to hear that you get to read it, though, the story is perfect. If you have the chance you can also watch its anime, it is faithful to the manga. – Allthefujoshiunite 6 years ago
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  • I'm not sure Tenma's life can be seen as a tragedy. Sure he doesn't kill Johan at the end, but he also seems to be in recovery, and in a better place than when he first found out about Johan. – Winter 6 years ago
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  • @Winter. Hello and thank you for the comment. I think I didn't quite understand what you mean by "being in a better state" because to me, everytime he uncovers something new he gets deeper in the situation and harsh reality behind Kinderheim and the twins, the conditions he has to fight and defy the most important thought in his life drifts him apart. Actually not killing Johan puts him in the right track in my opinion. Another point I should be clear about is that being a tragic character does not necessarily equate to being crushed and devastated at the end of the story. The point I argued with a reference article puts Tenma in tragic category because of his lateness; he much later learns about Johan and when he gets to know, there is nothing more he can do to return the things as they were, 'being in vain' is the main theme of the tragedy. Maybe I wasn't able to convey the idea in a good way. Thanks so much for stepping by, I hope I was clear enough. – Allthefujoshiunite 6 years ago
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