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Old 2004-10-03, 23:23   Link #1
F Stop
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Is this series underrated?

It seems to me that in the grand scheme of anime releases this season, Monster seems to have become a small cult favorite, but the press/ fan following just isn't there from what I've seen. Other forums I post on barely even have a mention of this show, and at that, I was the one that started the threads to begin with.

Do you think this show is underrated within the anime community? How popular is it in Japan?

Thanks.
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Old 2004-10-03, 23:34   Link #2
hooliganj
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It's not a show that appeals to the usual anime demographic. There are no easy answers, there are no simple characters, and if you want to know what's going on, you're going to have to be in it for the long haul. None of that is conducive to building an audience. It would be better to wait until the DVD release before making any judgements about its popularity.

Plus it runs at something like 2 in the morning. That can't be good for the ratings.
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Old 2004-10-03, 23:58   Link #3
stpehen
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It depends on how you look at it.

You could say that Monster is overrated because its small number of very vocal fans make a disproportionate amount of hype for the total number of people who actually watch the show.

You could also say that Monster is underrated because the number of people who watch are disproportionately small for the quality of the show.

The Monster manga is a qualified success in Japan. Last I heard, the series had achieved 20 million books sold, which would be more than a million for each volume. However, Urasawa's works in general are not subject to a lot of hype because their audience is not exactly the type of otaku that most "publicity magazines" like Newtype cater to. Monster doesn't translate well to hype or publicity because it's not flashy or colorful, it doesn't have T&A to sell, and there's no action or fighting. The anime adaptation also suffers (in this sense) by strictly following the manga, which means that even many of the manga fans don't watch it because it's exactly the same. I suppose it's too early to estimate the ultimate success or failure of the anime, but for now I would guess that the returns have been mediocre.

On the subject of media hype, Urasawa's current work, Pluto, is probably the most hyped of anything he's done, because it's an adaptation of a Tezuka work, and the target audience is both Urasawa fans and baby boomers that read Tetsuwan Atom as children, the same way that Urasawa did. And it's doing well; I was very surprised and happy to see that the recently-released deluxe version of Volume 1 reached #1 on the manga sales for Amazon Japan.
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Old 2004-10-04, 00:24   Link #4
Yebyosh
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On the ratings front, Monster is doing decently, I suppose.

For July 04 - early August 04, it was averaging ~2.5% overall.

Most other series that had no hype or anything typically go around this figure.

For comaprison purposes,
Naruto was averaging ~9.0% or higher, very devoted fanbase...

FMA used to get ~10% at the start, but dropped to ~8.0% in the episode 20's and now has dropped to 5.0% (which is only just slightly better than the ~4.0% average for popular shounen shows) ever since episode 30's, which speaks something of what the show is going through as well...

The most popular anime Sazae-San averaged ~14%, though it had lows as low as 9.0% and highs as high as 17.4% as well ( its highest ever was 39.4% ). Everyone watches it.

Shura no Toki & BakuTen had ~2.0% average.

MADLAX ~0.9%

Melody of Oblivion ~1.3%.
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Old 2004-10-04, 00:41   Link #5
stpehen
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Just as a footnote to my speech above, when it comes to places like this forum, "hype" is really in the eye of the beholder. You can read 2 glowing, raving posts about something and think that it's really garnering a lot of hype, and then read 20 merely interested posts about another show and have a much different impression of it. Which show has more hype, based on your experience? It comes down to how you react to statements like that.
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Old 2004-10-04, 11:29   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpehen
You could also say that Monster is underrated because the number of people who watch are disproportionately small for the quality of the show.
Ya, I guess this is what I was getting at. To me this is kind of sad in a way, and it says a lot about anime fans in the US.

There have been some recently hyped shows that it seemed everyone was talking about, but on personal investigation, the shows lacked quality, substance, or any merit whatsoever outside of quality animation.

Personally, I'd never heard of the Monster Anime or Manga until reading about it on another website a couple months back.

What's my point? Well I guess I really don't have one, other than to say it's a shame this show isn't receiving more credit outside of it's already existant fanbase...
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Old 2004-10-04, 18:59   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F Stop
What's my point? Well I guess I really don't have one, other than to say it's a shame this show isn't receiving more credit outside of it's already existant fanbase...
That's not saying much either, and it's nothing that couldn't be said about loads of other shows I can think of.

The show has already been running for awhile, and there are bound to be people watching it who didn't read the manga. That in itself means that the 'fanbase' is bigger than it used to be. There might be some people who haven't seen it who would like it, but lots of people instinctively shy away from long series.

Also, several fans have made extravagant claims for the show -- claims which the show doesn't necessarily live up to. I don't think that that kind of boosting does much to make any show accessible to a casual viewer.

There doesn't seem to be much chance that any one series is going to overwhelm anime fandom in general any more; too many people are looking for too many different things, and they can only get them by watching different shows.
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Old 2004-10-04, 19:21   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babbito2k
That's not saying much either, and it's nothing that couldn't be said about loads of other shows I can think of.
I agree, but at the same time, many avid anime fans I know haven't even heard of this show, nor the manga.

I too can think of lots of shows which didn't necessarily receive the press credit or fanbase they might be deserving of...but people had at least heard of those shows...
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Old 2004-10-04, 23:05   Link #9
avmoghe
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I think a part of the issue might be the title. I was VERY hesitant to give the show called Monster a try.. especially since I had seen some pretty crappy supernatural shows.

The title Monster suggests some sort of a horror anime.... something which I was relieved to find wasn't the case.
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Old 2004-10-05, 03:53   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avmoghe
I think a part of the issue might be the title. I was VERY hesitant to give the show called Monster a try.. especially since I had seen some pretty crappy supernatural shows.
Same here... I never thought Monster was a very one-of-a-kind title for the series. And when you try to google the words "monster" and "anime", you'd much rather hit things like tentacle hentai or Digimon. -_-
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Old 2004-10-05, 12:43   Link #11
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oh well, I always think this title MONSTER is very cool... I don't think it's under-rated, but rather quite under-received...
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Old 2004-10-05, 16:07   Link #12
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I say monster is somewhat underrated because of the fact that the anime has top notch animation and the storyline is very original, but its not getting its props like it should. But thats the way things are. Most people follow the crowd when it comes to anime. If one anime series has major hype, then alot more people are gonna see that anime series or ova.
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Old 2004-10-05, 17:26   Link #13
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it's smarter than your average show like naruto, and it's a lot more mature, the subject matter, the characters. gret series and very much underrated, but only due to the difficulty which omst people would find it hard to get in to. It doesn't have the accessible appeal of the more popular series. I guess it has little in the way of happy moments unlike the rest. It goes from depressing to the absolute abyss.
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Old 2004-10-05, 18:24   Link #14
babbito2k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quikimpulse
...the storyline is very original, but its not getting its props like it should.
I don't see what's so original about this story. It's a quick cocktail -- a jigger of The Fugitive and a few dashes of The Boys From Brazil. When people make this sort of insupportable claim about Monster it is hard to view it as underrated.
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Old 2004-10-05, 19:53   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamless
oh well, I always think this title MONSTER is very cool... I don't think it's under-rated, but rather quite under-received...
That's a very good way of puting it. I guess under watched/discussed might be another way to describe it as well.

And yes, the story does have a Japanese The Fugitive feel, but it's SO much more elegant and precise in it's story. Very few things happen in this series without a reason, even some of the smallest actions or people have a role to play...even if it's not clear at the time...
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Old 2004-10-05, 19:57   Link #16
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No it's the opposite. I hear so much good things about it from a huge amount of people saying "It's the best anime ever'.

Don't get me wrong. I jsut started watching Monster(on Episode 5) and it has been great but it really depends on what you prefer in anime it's simply not the best.
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Old 2004-10-05, 20:16   Link #17
dreamless
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babbito2k
I don't see what's so original about this story. It's a quick cocktail -- a jigger of The Fugitive and a few dashes of The Boys From Brazil. When people make this sort of insupportable claim about Monster it is hard to view it as underrated.
well, it is quite original for an anime... I mean, if you think MONSTER is not original, then which anime you think as original?
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Old 2004-10-05, 21:31   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamless
well, it is quite original for an anime... I mean, if you think MONSTER is not original, then which anime you think as original?
I don't understand how combining plots from a movie and a TV series = "original" whether you are talking book, manga, whatever. The Fugitive is a very well-known TV series with a distinctive plot, and a movie remake came out just about 10 years ago. I'm not the only person in the world who saw a bit of Monster and recognized the similarities...

And I don't think being original is all that important, either. Being creative is not the same as being original, and creativity is more important to me.

But I'm not the one making extravagant claims for Monster, and trying to put me on the spot does nothing to back up the idea that the story is "original."

As an example of a recent series, I thought Yugo: Negotiator was original. I don't know if the idea of a private negotiator comes from anywhere, but the idea of molding one's thoughts and/or beliefs in order to deal with various extremists was a great touch. But if that's all the show had going for it I wouldn't have enjoyed it.
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Old 2004-10-06, 01:28   Link #19
hooliganj
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If it comes to that, no plot since the ancient mythologies has been truly original. There's plenty of scholarly work out there that details how all plots are derived from the stories that mankind has been telling each other since we all lived in caves, and only differ in the details.

On the other hand, originality, small or great, is not that gigantic of a claim. I'd be curious to know what else babbito2k thinks is an outrageous statement in support of the show. If you can think of anything specific, I'll try to come up with a fair response.
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Old 2004-10-06, 02:44   Link #20
babbito2k
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What else babbito2k thinks is an extravagant claim in support of Monster

The thing I take issue with regarding the originality of Monster's story is that it was claimed that the show is underrated because this quality which it does not possess has not been recognized.

Likewise none of the other claims made on behalf of the show are "outrageous" (I didn't pick this word, you did), but they are equally fulsome and dishonest.

"Few other anime shows have such a perfect sense for characterization or mood."

Two strikes against this one. First of all, in itself the statement ignores fistsful of good titles. Also, Monster is a bit awkward at times; perhaps because the show juggles such a large cast, and needs to create suspense so often, it often resorts to crude shorthand when expressing character.

"Even the stand alone shows... are... like mini-movies that work as modern parables and bring light to various paradoxes of the human experience..."

Gimme a break. I think this is referring to the various character sketches which appear from time to time. They are nicely done, but they aren't anything amazing.

"Monster is basically beyond all other anime..."

This sort of thing only really means something to the person who typed it out, but it definitely lacks perspective. Lots of shows get trashed just because people dislike the ending, of which for Monster there won't be any in sight for about a year...

I don't dislike Monster, but when some people insist on practically congratulating themselves for doing nothing more than watching a TV series, it's hard to feel that the series is in any danger of being underappreciated... or that they are doing anything to make the show seem even remotely attractive to those who have not yet seen it.

Lots of Monster fans have a more balanced and realistic appreciation of the title -- but they are not the ones slandering others for not sharing in the "joys."
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