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YMMV / Monster

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The Manga and Anime:

  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: All villains in the story are either German or Czech Caucasians (the most dangerous of all being, actually, a young blonde man), whereas the ethnic minorities are portrayed in a positive light (for instance, all Turks and Vietnamese are hard-working immigrants who have to put up with groundless German intolerance on a daily basis). One of the story arcs includes a neo-Nazi group that tries to set fire to the Turkish quarter in Hamburg... and the police, fire brigades, and even emergency ambulances are nowhere to be found while that's taking place. That is, until everything's already wrapped up.
    • In fairness, that same arc depicts most of the leaders of the Turkish community as people who make prejudiced insinuations about Turkish sex workers and women seeking out interracial relationships with ethnic Germans or involving themselves with German clientele getting what they deserve when they (invariably) disappear or face other adverse circumstances, to say nothing of the fact that they initially dismiss Tenma's warnings about the extremists' plan at least in part by pointing out the fact that he is a Japanese outsider who is unaffiliated with the Turkish community, and have to be set straight by a respected Turkish elder. While their wariness is somewhat understandable, their attitudes still seem to stem from xenophobic impulses.
      • And excepting Tenma, the entire main cast are white Germans and Czechs. It would be a stretch (or really, and outright lie) to say there aren't as many (or greater in number) who are portrayed sympathetically.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Johan. Is he truly heartless? Or is he just broken? Or is he heartless because he was broken?
    • His relationship with Tenma has a number of possibilities. Was he serious about seeing Tenma as a Father figure and genuinely want to make his life better? Or was he just screwing with him? Or was he screwing with him because he thought it would make his life better?
  • Base-Breaking Character: Dieter. Is he a nice tag along kid or a Bratty Half-Pint who is Anvilicious about being nice?
  • Broken Base: The ending is considered to be divisive - or, at least, the final shot of the ending.
  • Complete Monster: Johan Liebert's refusal to seek redemption makes him the titular monster. A sadistic chessmaster since he learned to walk and talk, Johan murdered his own foster parents and manipulated over 50 adults and children into massacring each other, even as a preteen. As an adult, Johan is on a personal journey to become, in his own words, as dark as possible. He is also trying to find out if there is anyone as evil as he is out there, or, failing that, forcing the heroic Dr. Tenma, and/or his own pacifistic sister, Nina Foertner, to kill him in cold blood. In this way, he hopes to establish that even the best people can become just like him. Along the way, he convinces children to jump from rooftops; gets a recovering alcoholic drunk before throwing him off a building; sets a highly-occupied library aflame, with a smile on his face; and convinces various serial killers to murder every foster family he has ever lived with, as part of his quest to become an unperson. In the end, Johan tries to manipulate the population of an entire town into slaughtering each other, and, failing at this, prepares to shoot a child in the head just to torture Tenma. In the end, Johan undermines any possible Freudian Excuse, proving himself to be simply pure, unadulterated evil.
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  • Funny Moments: There is an unintentionally hilarious moment when Gustav gets hit by the police cruiser.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" being played in Episode 23 when Roberto and Eva are at the bar.
    • "Medium Shot" with its jittery violin and clattering percussion (including the triangle!) is the one of the most delightfully creepy songs in the OST.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Johan Liebert. Given that he is a fairly attractive young man, this treatment was practically unavoidable. If anything, some fans have a habit of always excusing Johan's actions in a sympathetic light, no matter how flawed the argument is.
  • Ear Worm: How much of an ear worm is the Ronette's "Be My Baby"? People have reported getting it stuck in their head from reading about it in the manga.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Grimmer, Lunge, and Martin to name a few.
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  • Evil Is Cool: Johan Liebert is a loathsome human being and an obvious Satanic Archetype, but he is so sophisticated, cunning, physically attractive, classy and intelligent that sometimes you can forget that HE IS the monster.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Johan Liebert has a legion of fangirls, mainly because of his physical attractiveness.
  • Genius Bonus: Aside from the extra understanding gleaned by those with medical degrees, there's a bonus for film or animation students. Lipsky could be a puppeteer just because it's a part of his character, or because it's both creepy and sad...or it could double as a Shout-Out to the Prague school of animation, which, based on when Monster is set, would have still been going strong during Lipsky's childhood. This particular localized trend produced a lot of work based on puppetry and dark fairy tales, both elements which compliment Monster nicely. And of course, Lipsky's first met in Prague.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When Grimmer first meets Tenma, they hold a short conversation. Grimmer's first line starts with "Thanks." The second starts with "Thanks again." And now Patrick Seitz, who voiced Grimmer, is voicing Sky High, and the lines sound kind of familiar.
  • Ho Yay: Roberto describes Johan to Dr. Reichwein as if he were having an affair with the man. Also doubles as No Yay for a lot of people.
  • Iron Woobie: Tenma.
  • It Was His Sled: Johan's a cross-dresser.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Eva. She just wants to fill the hole of having lost Tenma, but does so wrongly by becoming an alcoholic. None of her relationships post-Tenma were successful, maybe except the one with Martin, and then he dies saving her.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Will Tenma actually confront the problems of his Thou Shall Not Kill code? Of course not, don't be ridiculous. Possibly subverted by the finale, however. If Johan escaped to continue his rampage, it wouldn't do Tenma's idealism any good.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: Despite its massive praise, this series isn't watched or read that often.
  • Mind Game Ship: Johan and Tenma. To a lesser extent, Johan and Nina.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Most people appreciate Johan's Chessmastery. Others seem to ignore all that, and move on to a Roberto-like level of worship.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Johan skips right past it in the first volume and keeps going from there.
    • Dr. Heinemann crosses it with his total lack of remorse that his political games caused a patient's death, then screwing Tenma's career over and driving him close to the Despair Event Horizon as punishment for saving Johan.
    • The Baby crosses it (aside from the whole "burn the Turkish district" plot) when he orders Dieter killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    • A key theme of the series is whether or not the horizon truly exists. People are redeemed (sometimes at a large cost) for crimes so heinous even death wouldn't be enough in most series. Johan refuses to seek redemption in large part because he considers himself to have crossed the horizon long ago ("Some things can never be amended.") At the end, however, even he is forgiven by his sister, who says "Even if we were the only two people left in the whole world, I would forgive you."
  • Narm: When Lunge is being strangled he's sticking his swollen tongue out. It's a realistic depiction of strangulation (a combination of the tongue losing circulation and swelling and a last ditch attempt by the body to open the mouth and get more air) and it's also really silly looking.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The show, for the most part.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Franz Bonaparta's books are supposed to be ominous, but honestly, they try way too hard. And the silly artwork doesn't help.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Gustav Milch, Tenma's cellmate and prison escapee extraordinaire.
    • Martin is only in three episodes, but gets enough attention that you'd think he was one of the main characters.
  • The Scrappy: Some characters, Eva for being a Rich Bitch to everyone for starters, though she does get better.
    • Otto Heckel probably qualifies for many viewers. Even if he may have his place in the series, few people will lament his long absence from the story after episode twenty-four (until he makes a cameo towards the end). The fact that he survives while many more sympathetic characters do not doesn't improve matters at all.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: A doctor chases after a psychopath who is described as "pure evil." Hmm... we're either talking about this anime/manga series or the classic horror film Halloween, except Dr. Loomis is a Japanese neurosurgeon and Michael Myers is a handsome, German young man who plays as The Chessmaster, uses guns, and actually speaks.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Tenma is this trope on legs. Without the Aesops he provides, this series would be far too grim to bear.
  • Tear Jerker: Many, but in particular Grimmer's death. Not to mention the poor guy with his baby in Ruhenheim whose wife was killed and he's crying begging for a gun and revenge.
  • Too Cool to Live: Martin.
  • Values Dissonance: Asking women to smile has become very frowned upon since the series was made.
  • The Woobie: Tenma, Grimmer, Nina, Dieter, and Wim are all excellent examples.

The Film:

  • Heartwarming Moments: For all the trouble in their relationship, Aileen and Selby do have some pretty cute moments together.
  • Hollywood Homely : Zig-Zagged. While the makeup, prosthetics, and dumpy wardrobe make Charlize Theron look much more "average" than she usually does, it's still hard to disguise the fact that it's Charlize Theron! In an interview on the DVD extras, she points out that Wuornos was not ugly, she was a beautiful woman who had had a very hard life.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: While Theron gained 35 pounds to play the role, she's not that much bigger than average. Wuornos herself wasn't that big either, just out of shape from being in prison.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Aileen.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The message of the film is loud and clear - other people will do unto us as we have done onto them, and if we don't want people like Aileen Wuornos in our world, then we must not allow them to have the kinds of childhoods she had.
  • Tear Jerker: Several moments, but the last ten or fifteen minutes of the film especially qualify.


Example of: