Monster – 7-8


(A day late because I am an easily distracted doof. Also, minor spoilers regarding the direction of Eva’s character in the series.)

When I first watched Monster, my reaction upon seeing Eva drinking herself into oblivion and pummeling herself with memories of how she screwed up with Dr. Tenma was probably similar to many people’s — “She is getting what she deserves!” Now, though, I cannot help but be horribly sad watching Eva waste away while Inspector Lunge tries to pry information from her.

It would be easy to say that Eva is bitter, and really, that is the image she wants to project to the world at this point in time. She is the tough, bitter woman who unashamedly runs men through the wringer to support her own lifestyle. Eva wants to be hated, despised, by other people because being the object of another person’s hatred may be able to make her briefly forget being the object of what she assumes is Tenma’s scorn. The alcohol helps with that, too — nothing hammers away the memories like a slowly disappearing bottle of whiskey, after all.

To me, however, Eva’s bitterness forms only her brittle outside shell. She is angry at Dr. Tenma, of course — at this point Eva is still a very selfish person, so it would be bizarre if she weren’t angry at Tenma for turning the tables on her — but she is more angry at herself for making the absolute worst mistake of her life. Time passes by in flashes during Monster, so it is kind of surreal to think that it is already a solid decade (or close to it) since Eva abandoned Tenma and began her spiral into deep self-loathing. Like many people in the series, Eva is coming face-to-face with her monster, and she is getting her ass kicked. That is the only way I can describe her pain: A thorough ass kicking of self-hatred.


Eva never forgets Tenma; she doesn’t want to forget Tenma. She has tried to go back to him once already, and the results of that drove Eva to the bottle and three divorces. But Eva tries again once Inspector Lunge pays her a visit and shows her something she recognizes — a high-class tie she gave to Dr. Tenma as a gift — although even under the influence of alcohol, Eva can bluff when it is needed. Alcohol, desperation and selfishness mix into that final gambit to get back into Dr. Tenma’s good graces.

Interestingly, Eva tries to recreate the scene from when she first tries to get back with Tenma. She invites him to a cafe and reminisces about the good times she spent with her beloved, seeming as contrite as she possibly can. Eva loses herself in the good memories of her time with Tenma, but the doctor is having none of it. He moved on from Eva long ago; despite Eva’s pleading, nothing can change Tenma’s resolve. Even though I feel sorry for Eva now, I still like how realistically Monster handles this situation. Tenma isn’t some wuss who is waiting all this time for the first opportunity to jump back into the arms of someone who, frankly, treated him like utter shit as a young man. But he isn’t really angry at her, either. He simply accepts that they did not work in the past, and they probably will not work now, either, especially since “there is something important [he] has to do”.

This sets something off in Eva. She absolutely cannot handle this second rejection. In a hopeless attempt to curry Tenma’s favor and simultaneously blackmail him (Eva reeks of desperation at this point), she tells Tenma about how she hid incriminating information from Inspector Lunge and says she will keep her mouth shut if Tenma gets back with her. This falls on deaf ears; Eva is enraged. She marches straight to Lunge and tells him everything. A horrible act, for sure (it is not even certain at this point whether Eva thinks Tenma actually did anything, although that does not stop her from carelessly accusing Tenma of murdering her father), and one could be forgiven for simply thinking it is a final act of hatred from a thoroughly despicable woman.


However, I believe Eva’s self-hatred is a powerful motivator here. She betrayed Tenma once before, realized the gravity of her mistake too late and was turned down by the love of her life. Eva has spent the past 10 years punishing herself for her error — she spends her days wasted, she enters into inherently destructive relationships and becomes a social pariah, and she openly and endlessly mocks her miserable life. When Tenma spurns Eva a second time, she makes a snap judgment based on anger, yes, but as will be proved down the road, Eva still loves Tenma. He is the only thing in her heart that connects her to the world in any way.

If you want proof just in the space of these episodes that Eva still loves Tenma, think about this: In either scenario of Eva’s belief about Tenma’s guilt/innocence, her actions regarding her advances toward Tenma dictate that she loves him. If Eva thinks Tenma is innocent, well, she is trying to help him out by hiding evidence (albeit in an incredibly selfish way, but selflessness is not something one learns overnight after growing up as a complete douchebag for so long). But the more interesting scenario is if Eva believes Tenma is guilty — she directly places her love for Tenma above her love for her father. Helping Tenma stave off arrest is more important to her than bringing her father’s killer to justice (if he gets with her, anyway). It’s not perfect, of course, but there is a streak of self-destruction to Eva’s feelings, so there is very little chance that they will be “pure” in any way.

As her choices relate to her self-hatred, Eva knows that by going to the police with this information, she will cause great hardship to Dr. Tenma. But if she loves Tenma, is Eva not also causing hardship to herself? She is fueling her self-hatred. Now, not only is she responsible for driving Tenma away from, but, should Tenma be caught and tried and put to death/jailed for life, she is also responsible for providing the evidence that would put him away. There would be the momentary satisfaction of getting revenge on someone who denied her love (and finding someone who truly loves her is of the utmost importance to Eva); however, it would soon be replaced with a lifetime of regret many times more painful than what she feels now. And, deep down, I think Eva believes she deserves to feel this pain for being such a completely shitty person for most of her life.

Eva’s pain makes me sad — not so much because she doesn’t deserve hardship (she really was a truly awful person), but because she believes there is no path to atonement, and she should suffer for the rest of her life without making any real effort to move on and reconcile her past.


Some notes to close out the post:

— Ep7 subtly adds to how frightening Johan is, because it has the realization of just how far Johan’s influence spreads. Not only can he use random thugs from the underworld to his liking, but he can also cherry pick police officers for his schemes. Very scary.

— First-time viewers should get used to Nina wearing the Heroic BSOD. Definitely not the last time you will see that plastered on her. Poor girl probably wears it more than any other character in the show.

— Not really sure what Tenma was thinking by going to the police right after escaping from two police officers. I guess the gravity of Johan’s influence had not quite hit him yet. After this, I don’t think Tenma’s doubts Johan’s resourcefulness.

— A comment on the English dub: I like how Tara Platt’s voice sounds so light and carefree during her flashbacks and so rough and hardened while she’s on the sauce, talking to Inspector Lunge. Not quite as good as Mami Koyama playing drunk, but Platt’s performance gets my approval. (Not that this is worth much.)


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