Kenzo Tenma is a skilled Japanese brain surgeon working in Germany. One night, a boy is rushed into hospital after being shot in the head. As he is about to operate, Tenma is called away to operate on the mayor instead. Though his superiors disagree, Tenma makes the decision to operate on the boy as he was brought in first. Meanwhile, the boy’s twin sister lies in a terrified trance in another hospital room, saying “kill him… kill him…” over and over. Tenma is demoted due to his decision costing the mayor’s life. He goes out to drown his sorrows and is woken up by the police at his door. His superiors are dead and he is the prime suspect. During all of this, both the twins disappear from the hospital.
It isn’t until nine years later, after a number of serial killings, that the real suspect makes himself known. One of Tenma’s patients, a lock picker involved with the killings, runs away from the hospital. Tenma gives chase, but the patient is shot in front of him by a young man. The young man thanks Tenma for saving his life nine years ago and explains how he killed Tenma’s superiors. Tenma realises when he chose to operate on the boy over the mayor, he unknowingly saved a “monster”. He embarks on a mission to end Johan’s life and rectify his “mistake” of saving him.
The plot is interesting at first and especially in overall concept, but the episodes soon grow slow and repetitive. The show is drawn out over 74 episodes running at 24 minutes each, making the total runtime almost 30 hours. This could have definitely been cut in half, perhaps even quartered, which would have greatly improved the show.
The psychology aspect behind the plot was interesting, such as the brainwashing that took place at Kinderheim 511. This could have been greatly expanded upon as it was only shown through characters recalling their vague and questionable memories. The treatment of the children and who they were moulded into also wasn’t covered fully, especially with the character of Grimmer. After Tenma, he is the most interesting character yet his past is glossed over in flashbacks.
The character designs are very good with everybody looking distinct and semi-realistic. The colours used are a little desaturated which adds to the realistic feel. All of the writing in files and reports were in German or Czech, rather than Japanese, which was nice as it kept consistency to the setting and showed attention to detail.