You know, it’s strange to realize how little we know about Tenma? It’s not that we really needed his background to know who he is, but it was a shock to realize I didn’t know anything about his family life. The picture of Tenma that we get through the eyes of others is fascinating. It’s not clear if he’s disowned or anything by the family, but there’s definitely a gap there between Tenma and his parents. It explains why he left for Germany rather than stay in Japan. It explains why there wasn’t really anyone to defend him when he went on the run. He’s always marked as an outsider in Germany, but it’s so interesting to see that. Its... kind of weird to hear all these things about Japan come out of Lunge's mouth, which I think is intentional? Its gotta help highlight just how weird and off-base Lunge is, even if he's getting some understanding of Tenma.
Meanwhile, Johan's manipulation of the couple is. Super terrifying. I don't think they're aware of Johan's crimes or even willing to let themselves consider them. Johan is the son they always wanted. The perfect boy who got to grow up and live a fulfilling life. Successful, smart, outgoing... these are the only things they can say about Johan because that's all they want him to be. This fantasy child that fills this void they've always had. The truth... can't combat that fantasy. So they just sit outside and marvel at the literal fruit of their perceived labor.
It says a lot about Johan that he could craft an elaborate plan that involves murdering everyone around Schuwald for years and then suddenly decide “actually, forget Schuwald, I’m gonna make a new plan.” This really is just a whim to ya, huh bud?
I really like this subplot with the nurse too. The fact that she doesn’t get a name doesn’t speak well to the possibility of her returning, but who knows! Her passion for helping me at her own cost is a great little commentary of Tenma’s own character. These little “filler” subplots are so good!
These episodes are so good at parallels and theming. A Child's View centers mainly on, well, the child's view of Johan's games. The influence of Johan spread in these little inklings of childhood. But with this picture book swerve, it feels like they're showing how the view of a child is still in Johan. Despite decades of terror, something in a picture book can scare him more than anything. Maybe he's just a child causing random cruelty because he can. Maybe the scariest thing about Johan is that he's still just a child after all.
The minute this episode finished, I went to go searching to see if there was any Lotte/Nina content and I am Pleasantly Surprised to say there's some Good Stuff but also Not Enough I need more, I need more, I need more.
This show really does knock villain reveals out of the park. Every time Roberto and Johan appear, you know something horrible is going to happen. When just a person walking into a room is instant d r e a d, you've got GREAT villains.
This wasn’t the episode I stopped on the first time I tried to watch Monster but it was definitely one of the last. It’s definitely the only one I remember with such clarity and the one I always think about when I think of this show. Its absolutely why I had to commission it too: it feels like the episode that most demonstrates the moral world Monster exists in. Everyone can be a murderer, but it’s how they react to it that matters. Richard tries to move on with his life, while Johan just… keeps doing what he does.
The scene on the roof is one of the most evil things I’ve ever seen in my life. And every time I rewatch it, the build up and all, the slow devastation just… creeps in more and more. From minute one, Johan is already playing Richard. He drops little words like “execution” or such to push against Richard’s buttons. Build up the stress. Toy with the ways he remembers the incident.
There are only two sides of Richard’s story we hear. Richard’s and Johan’s. Was Johan telling truth? He could be lying, to drive Richard over the edge. Or he could be right and Richard turned to alcohol to forget and block out his mistakes. The namedrop of 511 Kinderheim is a little twist of the knife. If Richard knew the history of kinderheim, would that stop his guilt? Or would it make him feel worse that he murdered someone with such a horrible past? Was the suspect actually from Kinderheim? Or was Johan using the truth to tell a lie? But at some point, it doesn’t matter to Richard anymore what the truth is. There is one single known Fact in this case that matters to Richard: he killed a child. And now, does he have the right to go see his own?
There's a very specific needle that really hard to thread in mystery stories. The thrill of the mystery often comes in the balance of what the audience and the characters know. In a fair mystery, the author has to offer just enough information for the audience to get the chance to solve it themselves. If the details are too obvious and the audience figures it out too quickly, it can be frustrating when the characters can't solve it. On the other hand, if the author hides too much information, it can get frustrating when it would be impossible to figure out the answer otherwise.
Its why I think this arc is so satisfying. The audience has one solid piece of foreknowledge prior to this arc: Johan is in Munich. That's the only information we need to know that something bad is going to happen. The progression of the arc and the growing details of the cases is so carefully paced so the audience is solving the case at the exact same moment as the characters. Just like us, they're racing to figure out what Johan is up to. Trying to figure out his master plan.
Hoping if we can understand it all, we can stop it in time.
Monster loves to let characters' feet step frame and talk for a bit before they show us who they are but goddamn does it work. The appearance of Johan is so perfectly tailored for misdirection. Just the vague hints that he's coming, emphasizing again and again that "The Thursday Boy" will start a chain of destruction... but Johan has always been one to show up a little later than you'd expect. Its so well-crafted for the shock of seeing him back in all his evil glory.