In the thirty-seventh episode of Monster, help. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Monster.
Trigger Warning: For manipulation, terrorism, PTSD/trauma
One of the recent episodes was called “In Broad Daylight.” That’s what I feel towards the “answer” to a major mystery in this show: it was right there the entire fucking time.
A Nameless Monster
I don’t know if that’s the translation for the Czech picture book, but it works, doesn’t it? The picture book that’s linked to the trauma of the twins is a story that feels eerily relevant: a nameless monster splits in two, one heading east while the other heads west. (A possible reference to Germany being split in two?) Both monsters encounter humans, promise them increased powers, inhabit them, and then consume them from the inside. (Never gonna forget that imagery, y’all.) The process continues over and over again; the monster assumes a name for a temporary period of time, but they never gain a permanent name.
Until one monster is invited into the body of a young boy named Johan. This begs the question, doesn’t it? Is this picture book about Johan? Or was it used to condition him? Where’s the origin of all of this? It’s clear that Nina is deeply, deeply triggered by the story, and she knows more about it than she’s letting on. My take is that this was used in part of some sort of brainwashing at Kinderheim 511? But was Nina there, too? Is that what that flashback is, the one where she’s wandering the halls and saying, “Kill him”?
I don’t have all the pieces, but this reveal is huge. And what a brilliant decision to have this episode open with this! The previous episode ended with a cliffhanger, so I expected this to open immediately with Tenma’s decision, but NOPE. Instead, I got hit with the freight train that is this book.
I am still trying to wrap my mind around the utter chaos and destruction that I witnessed here. It’s clear now that so much of this was an attempt by Johan to cause as much mayhem, terror, and pain as possible. Taking his words at face value means that he sought out Schuwald to specifically craft a narrative, one that Farren was a part of until Johan didn’t need him. Once that happened, he discarded of Farren and manipulated Karl so that Schuwald would do what he did here: become a better businessman and a philanthropist. At some point, as Schuwald’s life turned around, he would be honored for his accomplishments, and the best of the best would clamor to be in the same room as him.
And what would happen if the beloved Schuwald was assassinated in front of them all?
It’s not lost on me that Dr. Tenma was unknowingly on a parallel path with Johan, since that’s largely what the show is trying to do. How similar are the two? At what point is it possible to claim that Dr. Tenma is the same as Johan? Well, I think this episode answers that for the most part: at the end of the day, Dr. Tenma couldn’t kill Johan. As Roberto says near the end of the episode, Dr. Tenma’s hands are for saving lives, not ending them.
Of course, there’s the more obvious contrast here: Dr. Tenma didn’t arrange for an entire ceremony to exist so that he could TORCH THE LIBRARY DOWN WITH HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE INSIDE OF IT. The show invokes the whole “ant” metaphor again because Johan just wanted to watch these people scurry in terror. He wanted to observe human suffering en masse, and he only changed his mind because he knew it was much more horrible to watch Schuwald as he witnessed the carnage.
It’s truly one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen, and IT’S NOT EVEN OVER. Does anyone escape? Who was that woman who set fire to the library? I feel like we’ve seen her briefly before, and it’s true that Johan has (for lack of a better term) “minions” all over. And what of the fate of Roberto? Who fired their gun? I can’t believe that Dr. Tenma is dead at the halfway point, but now I’m thinking about another anime I watched where I was certain the main character wasn’t gonna die AND HERE I SIT, STILL COMPLETELY WRONG.
Nina is on her way; Lotte is on her way; so is Dieter and Dr. Reichwein and Lunge and WHAT THE FUCK IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.
The video for “A Nameless Monster” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– The paperback edition of my debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now OUT! If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.