Monster(2004): Why You Should Watch It


No spoilers, this is a recommendation.

You should watch Monster because of its exploration of dark themes, great animation and art direction, great characters and story-line, and if you can handle dull portions of the story. Perfect for those who love crime dramas and a good intro to more mature anime.

When people hear the word anime they think of ridiculous hairstyles, cat-eared girls, and over the top expressions. Don’t get me wrong, there  are some pretty good reasons for those stereotypes. However anime like Monster fit none of these stereotypes. Its considered one of the best crime dramas in anime and holds up incredibly well with the other anime. Despite finishing over a decade ago as of writing this, its still ranked at #41 on myanimelist and has an 8.7 on IMDB.

If anime is not really your thing,  this show is a great place to start. For some people “anime” is something you do not particularly favor “real shows”. I’m right there with you, I almost never watch anime, but there are some real gems that should not be avoided just because of the medium its in. Fans of story-writing should not skip out on this show. Themes are heavy and deal with uncomfortable topics; abusive parents,prostitutes, murder(obviously) to name a few. The realism of the show makes it almost seem like the show truly occurred and there are only a handful of times where its grounded nature was remotely in question.

The show is a crime drama about a prodigy doctor,Doctor Tenma, who saved the life of a boy who later becomes a serial killer. The main theme deals with the value of human life and the value of saving one over another. This is not about a bunch of adults playing a children’s card game to determine the fate of the world. The art is pleasant and especially good when showing the countryside of rural Germany. However, some of the character designs seem too similar, particularly the plethora of one-off characters.

Monster is one of those slow-burning shows. It starts slows, goes crazy for a bit, settles down for a bit, and then insanity takes control again. Viewers who do not want to pay too much attention to plot and the dialogue of the characters will be rather disappointed in the series. Character development can be rather dull at times, but the show really emphasizes the various main characters and how their world views conflict with one another. You have a doctor on the run, a young serial killer, the serial killer’s twin sister who is just as capable as him (in a good way), a dark and imposing inspector devoid of emotion, and an emotionally unstable ex-fiancee.

Even the portrayal of the show adds to the rather unnerving atmosphere. The ominous opening and closing scenes are dark with flashes of blood and guns. Monster is just as good portraying murder scenes as beautiful views of nature. After the first dozen episodes or so, viewers will never be sure how long the happiness presented will last and if the buildup in a rather tense sad will end with everyone surviving. Your emotions will be toyed with throughout the series, be warned. Boredom will also be an emotion felt, as developing the characters takes time and the gradual revelations that occur later in the series are built upon. There will be dull moments, but if you can manage to power through them you will be rewarded in the plot later.

Though it is a serialized show, not all episodes are created equal. Some episodes add little to nothing in terms of moving the plot forward, but help establishes the main character compassion or the killer’s all-around cunning. You’re slowly piecing together what each character’s motives and beliefs are, leading to some horrifying realizations. Certain episodes have their main focal points vary to include side characters  as well. The amount of characters introduced and followed outnumber the main cast by a fair amount, but they all eventually come back to them. I found myself barely paying attention to certain episodes as it seemed like nothing was happening and there are several instances where I was right to do so.

All-around this show is solid and if slow-pacing isn’t a downside for you then the show is perfect. Fans of crime dramas will feel right at home watching this. Its mature,but not over the top nature makes it a perfect example of a realistic anime that is perfect for those who are not too fond of the more exaggerated versions in the genre.

Obviously this is coming from someone who is as mainstream as mainstream gets when it comes to anime; DBZ, Naruto, Death Note, Fullmetal,  Kuroko no Basuke. Those already well-versed with anime are almost certainly going to mention Monster to those who are new to anime or not too fond of the anime genre. It is one of the most well-received series by anime fans and it offers plenty to those who enjoy detailed plot-lines and heavy themes.

TL:DR; Monster is one of the best examples of grounded anime. The show is perfect for those who are not as fond of the intense screaming, big-boobed,crazy-haired anime that is stereo-typically thought of. Its dark themes and plot-lines ask questions that many people do not want the answer to. The only major knock to it is its length and slow build-up, but the overall plot is well worth it.


How to Make a Life Changing Decision

Changes in your life can make or break you as a person. Making the right choice on a decision can lead to you hanging at the chillest restaurants and wearing the freshest clothes. Making the wrong choice and oh man. You’re stuck spending the rest of your life thinking “What if?”. The answer to that question may not be the best to think about. Beating yourself up about it won’t help you at all and eventually you’ll have to face Everyone will have at least two or three of these in their lives.

Should I ask her out?

Should I really move across the country for this job?

Should I post my naked ass on the internet?

There are no definite answers for questions like these (except the last one, trust me). I’m sure you’ve spent hours weighing pros and cons. It’s always good to do this, just to see exactly where your fears and aspirations lies with the decision. Some might seem a bit far-fetched,

“If I move to the desert, I’m at an increased likelihood of being struck by a meteor, but at the same time vending machine accident probability goes way down”

That is the kind of thought that keeps me up at night…

Not only will there be an immediate impact when you make that decision, there will be residual outcomes and unspecified side effects. The world will keep spinning even after you make your decision, unless that decision was stopping the Earth from spinning. That back tattoo of a butterfly will infuriate your parents and they’ll cut off your $1000 allowance. Joining an underground fight club will lead to you blowing up a bunch of credit card companies’ buildings. You know typical x causes y, but then z,q,r,and p too. Once the decision is made understand that there will be an afterwards.

There is a lot of emotion that goes along with making a decision like moving across the country. Your parents will miss you and you’ll miss the free rent. You shouldn’t just move because you’re angry at your parents and its all a part of your parents’ punishment. You need to be as objective as possible. You might change you’re mind when you see how much it costs to even live in a cardboard box in Los Angeles. Spend a day relaxing and free of others before making a decision and before the days comes when you make the final decision repeat and see if there were any doubts during that window of time.

The final piece to making the decision is acceptance of your decision. No matter what your decision is there will be positives and negatives. Different people in your life will disagree with either decision and its up to you to accept the decision you’ve made. Be proud of the decision you’ve made, knowing that you did whatever you had to to make the best of your situation. I guarantee it won’t be a perfect life afterwards, yet its almost comforting in a sense that both decisions have their own flaws to them. If you’re lucky enough to still have the chance to go back on your decision later, just be ready to go through the same process above to undo it, BUT ONLY IF YOU KNOW WITH 100 PERCENT CERTAINTY THAT ONE CHOICE HAD MORE NEGATIVES.

You’re molded by your decisions and its from this mold that the current you is made. That current you will also be in charge of future decisions so do what you can to make the decisions as easy as possible. Everyone will have a difficult decision in their life at one point or another, so make sure you can help others when they go through something similiar.


Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a horrible thing, like a guy at a bar in the middle of a midlife crisis.

Writer’s block is a horrible thing.

It prevents writers from doing the one thing that makes the writers. So are they really writers at that point? They’re just frustrated people staring at the same sentence for an extended amount of time. It can be extended to other facets of life as well.

Everyone reaches a point where they don’t know where to go from there. They want to progress, but every time they start to move forward, something stops them. Some people have huge blocks, often referred to as a “midlife crisis”. Quite frankly, that is a horrible term. Any smart person would try to have their midlife crisis in their eighties or something so they could live until their 160. By then you could probably go to space and do some awesome old-person-in-space stuff.

Anyways, during a midlife crisis sufferers will often ‘discover’ that they are/were in a rut and were wasting their time; usually in the form of a soul-sucking job or maybe a less than ideal marriage. The realization of one’s own mortality, the minuscule impact one’s life is going to have in the grand scheme of the universe, the horror of shopping at Walmart. These are all realizations that may occur as a result of the crisis and to combat this victims will try to do one of two things; try to relive their youth or break up the monotony of their life all at once. These two options should remind you of a lazy son of a billionaire, they don’t work.

A person cannot just have a realization one day about changing up their life and have the exact life they wanted the next one. It’s a process. Instead of quitting your agency job to pursue your art career, just start by drawing in your free-time everyday. Are you planning on dying your hair so you can buy 50 dollar vodka/water mixed drink for a woman half your age at a bar? Maybe just try online dating first… I like your confidence though. The point is, when you’re having midlife crisis, its only a crisis if you try to 180 your life too quickly and you end up crashing and burning. You’re essentially doing a 360. You gotta build the changes you want to make in your life and then each time you do them, you’ll be that much closer to the person you want to be.

The same thing can go for writer’s block. Instead of writing an entire trilogy of novels in one night, just try writing a stupid blog post. About writer’s block.

One of the Most Pathetic Attempts in Romance History

Sometimes looking back at the failures in your love life can help you in the future. Usually it just hurts though.

I have never been a suave man. Man is hardly a description of me, let alone a suave one. I was not in anyway bad at talking to girls throughout my life, they’re just people after all. They live in the same world as everyone else, filled with all the stresses and problems that seem to just nag at you until they are too overwhelming to stop. We’re all human (or so I’ve been lead to believe). Even girls fall into that category to my great surprise. “Everybody poops” my Grandpa would say, as I would often help him wipe his ass.

In my young eyes, the girls that I were attracted to did not fall into that above category of human. Whenever someone of the opposite sex would pique my interest, my mind would immediately put her on a pedestal about twice as high as Trump’s wall. They could do no wrong and I was merely a mortal gifted an opportunity to look at her. Speaking to a girl I liked was like surgery, me barely coherent and one small slip-up away from dying of anxiety.

That’s a pretty normal problem to have in middle school, but a guy has to get over that at some point. I had thought I had gotten over it in high school, but no. One particular college experience made me realize how little progress I had made.

For a little background, I go to an extremely small school with around 3000 people. That translates to roughly 20ish students per class and everyone sitting in the same seats as the school decided to skip out on buying multiple tables. Also, the guy to girl ratio was heavily skewed towards guys, badly. Like extremely rare. We weren’t even an engineering school, the hell. So in addition to the pressures that come with approaches and whatnot, guys at my school had to deal with it being impossible to avoid others in a class unless you completely dropped the course (and sometimes that’s what you gotta do), while also realizing there were not a lot of fish in the sea. Also the sea is more like a pond. The pond is on fire too, but that’s a different story.

So this whole nonsense occurred in my public history class. I spent the first couple weeks in class like I spend most of my time; bored and oblivious. The only thing I could focus on was the girl sitting a table away from me.

I spent the entire class thinking,

“What would I even say to her?”

“Just say hi.”

“When has that ever worked ya dingis?”

At one point I even drafted what I would even say to her in my notebook in the margins. Let me point out that she was sitting about four feet from me, so I can only imagine how fucking insane I must have looked while filling every inch of blank space in my notebook with stuff about her. After class I would beat myself up about not even trying to talk to her before or after class. I would spend hours on /r/seduction and other sites trying to find the perfect phrase that would instantly display to her that I was the alpha and insanely confident about myself. Every time I failed to even make direct eye contact with her, I’d spend the rest of the day beating myself up. If there is one skill I have mastered, its beating myself up. My biggest and only bully in life has,is,and will continue to be myself.

The only reason I kept even attempting to speak to her was because there would be another class that I’d be able to try and fail in. This cycle went on until the very last day of the class.

I got a B in the class by the way. I have no idea how.

By this point my notebook was about 10% notes from the class and 90% the thoughts of a horny, insane asylum resident. I was exhausted from studying for finals and had reached the end of being able to say , “Just try again tomorrow”. This was an all-time low. She must of known somewhat what I was doing about it and trying to ignore it right? This creepy guy trying to look at her throughout class, but then simply scribbling some stupid pick-up lines about her in his notebook. Not really the best angle to come from.

When the final rolled around I was too exhausted to make an excuse for not talking to her. What was the point? I pussied out plenty before, does taking one more in the loss column really make much of a difference? Anyways after the final, our professor handed out some food for us and talk about the final. And of course, the girl has to hand the food off to me.

I could feel my entire body tighten, expecting something along the lines of “Choke on these you creepy fuck”. A perfect end to a horrible semester of absolute disgust of myself as a man. I looked her in the eyes, readying my defense on how I was just writing notes to ask out some other girl that definitely was not her. A flawless defense really.

Instead, she just smiled at me and started talking.

I don’t remember what she said, I can only recall the wave of tension leaving my body to find another victim. A half a year’s worries had built up to the point where I couldn’t focus on much else. Hell, at one point I had written “Cancer would be cured before you fix your manhood” in my notebook. We whispered for the rest of the discussion. She was hilarious and I’m glad I got to talk to her once. Did I mention I somehow got a B in that class?

I can’t say I asked her out or anything (well I could but then I’d be lying), but that moment showed me something about how I had been acting. Sorry there is no real grand payoff for this long story. There are only some lessons, like  old cartoons.

What I got was that I was beating myself way more than I should have. She had not been creeped out by me at all and talking with her wasn’t forced or something either of us had to do, we just did. Remember what I said at the  beginning about poop? Everybody does it. Everyone is their own worst critic about things others don’t even notice. It’s also a better idea to approach someone before you have too much time to psych-out yourself, or write in your notebook.

I also learned how much of a pussy I am.

Horrible end to the story I know, but it could have been way worse.