Dr Kenzou Tenma has the perfect life as one of the world’s most renowned brain surgeons. However, one night he is presented with a doctor’s most painful choice – to save an injured child or the mayor, both mortally wounded. Against his colleague’s advice, he saves the kid. However, when a series of crimes start happening around him, all evidence points to the child he saved.
Some people may be put off by the premise and the length of Monster, but it lives up to every ounce of praise. Regardless of if you like character-driven thrillers, Monster and these similar anime recommendations are series that just kind of suck you in and never let you go.
For Fans of the Real Monsters Being Humans
Light Yagami is a high school prodigy and genius. However, he has an ever-increasing boredom and disdain for the rotten violent world. One day, he happens upon a notebook, called a Death Note, which states that if you write a name in it, the person will die. To his surprise, the notebook’s claims turn out to be true. This Death Note, the property of the Shinigami gods of death, gives Light the power to change this world and he decides to become its new God by executing all criminals.
Death Note is often the series most equated to Monsters because they both detail the descent into madness. In each series, you watch people carry out what they believe is right while exploring the frontiers of good and evil. However, while Death Note has a supernatural element to it, Monster maintains a more realistic approach.
Terror in Resonance
After a terrorist attack on a Japanese nuclear facility, the country was paralyzed to act. After six months of searching for the perpetrators, the public is shown a video tape of two boys known as Sphinx that take credit for the attack. Threatening more mayhem, it is up to the police to catch these terrorists.
The biggest similarity between these two series is that they both have their plot centered around a child that was the result of government experiment. However, the hunt of the series is the same too. Tenma feels responsible for Johan and Shibazaki feels responsible for bringing justice to those behind the plot.
In near future Japan, in order to fight crime and bring justice, they have implemented the Sibyl System, a means of determining the threat level of each citizen. Some citizens, despite being threats, are made into Enforcers that work alongside Inspectors to bring criminals to justice.
Despite its future setting, Psycho-Pass sticks to the classic trappings of a crime thriller like Monster. Both series keep a dark atmosphere and actually have the same overall plot of people searching for a ghost killer. However, why so many people like both of these shows is because the antagonists in both Monster and Psycho-Pass are perhaps the best characters of each series.
For Fans of Being Kept Guessing
Recently the detached struggling manga artist Satoru Fujinuma finds himself going back in time just minutes before tragedy strikes around him. He has saved many lives with this power of “Revival,” but when he is wrongly accused of murdering someone close to him, Fujinuma finds himself sent back to his childhood. As he discovers the recent death in his life is somehow connected the kidnap-murder of three of his classmates, this time he may be able to use his power to save more than just one life, easing his past regrets in the process.
While Monster takes a while to spin up, once it going it has the exact same feeling of Erased. You are drawn in by the intrigue of the mystery and you find it very hard to tear yourself away. However, while Monster suffers from being a little long and thus boring at some parts, Erased keeps things compact and exciting.
Immortal humans known as Ajin first appeared in Africa 17 years ago. While they were labeled a threat to mankind, to many they were just an infrequent news items. However, for Kei Nagai, a high schooler studying hard to be a doctor, he discovers he is an Ajin after being fatally hit by a car. Now on the run from the government that wants to imprison him, Kei must find a way to survive.
Ajin is about literal monsters while Monster relies more on the metaphor. However, what both of these series excel in is crafting the suspense. You never quite know what is going to happen next, but you want to find out. Both shows also have characters that work in shades of gray where there are very few truly good characters.
For Fans of Psychological Distress
Kaiji Itou is a thug in the truest sense. With his days spent drinking and stealing hubcaps, his world is turned upside down when a co-worker tricks him into taking on a huge debt. In order to pay it off, Kaiji takes up a shady offer to participate in illegal gambling on a cruise ship that is filled with even worse scumbags than him.
Did you enjoy the way Monster painted the world out to be a complete shithole full of terrible people? Kaiji takes it a step further by showing the real bottom of the barrel of corrupt society and trash human beings. While Monster does a better job at it, Kaiji also heavily relies on psychological terror.
Higurashi: When They Cry
Keiichi Maebara just moved to a small rural town and has finally settled into his sleepy days playing games after school with his school mates of various ages that attend the small school house. However, as the village’s annual festival approaches, Keiichi learns about the gruesome local legends that surround it, namely the mysterious disappearances and murders that happen each year. When he asks his friends about it, they are all mysteriously tight-lipped.
The thing that separates these two series is the violence level. Higurashi has ten tons more blood than Monster, but while violent, it also excels in displaying the psychological side of terror. Despite the difference in violence content, both series craft a mystery that makes you need to watch more.
There is an urban legend going around in Musashino City where the infamous Shounen Bat rolls around on roller blades and beats people with his golden baseball bat. Numerous reports of his attacks have been reported, but the police have been unable to catch him. As the investigation continues and more people fall victim, paranoia begins to set in.
Although fundamentally different in plot, they share many of the same trappings of a psychological thriller series. You examine that moral choices of life through the characters and watch them be tortured psychologically by them. While the mystery in both series is intriguing, ultimately, they both also present themselves as highly insightful.
Do you have any more anime recommendations like Monster? Let us know in the comments section below.