The series follows Dr. Kenzo Tenma as he pursues a young psychopath/sociopath named Johan, whose life Tenma had once saved. The story rapidly progresses through a number of locations: it starts in Düsseldorf, Germany, passes through Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Wiesbaden, cities in the Czech Republic such as Prague, and other cities and villages.
Both the anime and the manga begin with a passage from The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Chapter 13: Verses 1 & 4:
And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads, the names of blasphemy. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
The quote is often interpreted as the coming of the Antichrist. This quote is used because of the many parallels and comparisons between one of the main characters of Monster (Johan) and two candidates of the Antichrist as predicted by Nostradamus.
The text on the cover of the first volume reads as follows:
“Düsseldorf, West Germany in 1986. One day, Dr. Kenzo Tenma ignored his boss’s order and executed a humanitarian rescue of a man’s child. That’s how this horrible story begins!!”
Dr. Kenzo Tenma is a young Japanese doctor working at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf during the 80s. A highly accomplished brain surgeon, he appears to have everything on his plate: a promotion in the offering; the favor of the director of the hospital Heinemann; and Heinemann’s daughter Eva as his fiancée. However, Tenma grows increasingly dissatisfied with the political bias of the hospital for treating patients, and seizes his chance to change things after a strange massacre brings the twins Johan and Anna Liebert into his hospital. Johan has a gunshot wound to the head and Anna keeps muttering about killing, and Tenma decides to operate on Johan instead of the mayor of Düsseldorf, who