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This Horror Anime Is A Secret Remake Of A 60s TV Classic – SlashFilm

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The author of “Monster” is Naoki Urasawa. Born in 1960 in Tokyo, he was the right age to watch reruns of “The Fugitive” on Japanese TV. Speaking to the blog All the Anime in 2019, Urasawa confirmed “The Fugitive” TV series influenced the story he told with “Monster”:

“I watched (‘The Fugitive’) when I was about eight. The story is that a doctor is accused of murder, the detectives are chasing him and he must run away. That storyline really had an impact on me.”

Indeed, it did. “Monster” has (on the surface) the same premise as “The Fugitive,” down to three central characters who make up a triptych of hunters and the hunted. Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a neurosurgeon, is forced to go on the run after being framed for murders carried out by a former patient of his, Johan Liebert. Tenma hunts Johan and, in turn, Police Inspector Heinrich Lunge hunts him.

While Tenma is Japanese like his creator, “Monster” isn’t set in Japan or America like “The Fugitive.” Nope, it’s set in contemporary Europe (“Monster” began publication in 1994; the story opens in 1986 but soon jumps ahead nine years). Tenma’s story begins in Düsseldorf, Germany, and stretches across Frankfurt, Munich, and Prague, Czechoslovakia. Urasawa (who draws European architecture in photorealistic detail across the manga) explained the setting decision to Crunchyroll in 2019:

“I think in Japan, our medical industry was influenced by a lot of German technology at the time, so when we think of medicine in Japan, a natural association is Germany. So when I began to write ‘Monster,’ the protagonist is a doctor and setting the story in Germany seemed natural.”

Post-Cold War Germany proved to be fertile narrative ground, for “Monster” explores scars left on Germany by the felled Nazi and Soviet regimes.

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