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Be warned and don't trust the hype!
"The Never-Ending Journey" (Name of Episode 56)
I am not a hardcore anime fan, but I enjoy watching a "good" anime from time to time. Whatever "good" means, because monster is universally praised.
I was very disappointed after watching it and regretted all the time I invested in this anime. My mistake, I trusted the hype and thought it must be worth it to "sit through".
I just want to warn others about what to expect from this anime and I suggest to think twice before investing 1850 minutes / 30 hours of your life.
The main problem with this show is that it is much (much) too long. I have no problem with long series, if the length is justified. I don't want to miss a single episode of Breaking Bad for example. The story of monster is not grand enough to fill 30 hours. Many (many) episodes will deal with uninteresting side stories and information about certain characters, which a) are not very interesting and b) are not relevant for the plot at all. Be ready to witness (repeated) childhood memories, shopping sprees (!) and our hero Dr. Tenma treating all kind of random people (broken leg here, gunshot there). You might hit the skip button for the first 3 - 4 minutes of each episode, because it will mostly just repeat the ending of the previous episode. A quick calculation reveals that the show has around 5 hours of repeated flashbacks. 5 hours equals a 12 episode season. Things would not be half as bad if all the information, the characters would play a significant role in the plot and especially in the end. But most of the characters seem to have the single purpose to simulate an epic scale of the story and Monster fails miserably to deliver on that note. After finishing the series I looked back and wondered, why was all that exposition needed, if so many questions were left unanswered. The only reason we get to know so much about certain characters is to fill 74 episodes. That is all.
Be aware that many if not most of the plot details, which look interesting on first sight, will not be explained in full. Don't expect "monster" to make much sense in the end. Which leads to the next main problem:
Ridden with annoying plot devices. To fill 74 episodes of this crime story the writers needed to make use of McGuffins and Deus Ex Machina plot devices to move the plot along. Suspension of disbelieve is required throughout the series. Coincidences play a big role in everything that happens. In the universe of monster it is completely natural that anybody you encounter will most likely be connected to the plot. It seems that everybody is a relative or a friend of a key character. The twists and turns become a boring routine.
Monster was a huge and very long disappointment. And if you start watching and start feeling slightly bored around episode 20, do yourself a favor and stop, because it will get worse. You might end up like me: After watching 35 episodes you might feel obliged to "finish" it, just like a job you need to do.
I think there was potential in the plot and without all the crap it could have been a solid crime story. The scenery was great and authentic and there were some interesting ideas and concepts in series. But most of the good aspects are buried under a huge pile of boring and unnecessary episodes. I assume there is a solid crime story hidden somewhere in the 74 episodes. But we will never know.
Maybe this show was made for kids who don't bother as much as I do or maybe i don't appreciate anime as much as I thought. I don't remember having such problems with Neon Genesis Evangelion, Elfen Lied or Haibane Renmei though.
The true mystery of Monster is why it is getting so much praise. "Monster" is just bad.
True Detective tells a griping and epic crime story in 8 hours. Better watch it twice instead of Monster.