Epsiodes: 74 episodes
The story starts in 1986 with Dr. Kenzo Tenma as a Japanese surgeon working and living in Germany. Unlike his coworkers, he is a man of high morals and conscience. One day he is called upon to operate on a famous opera singer rather than on a lowly Turkish patient who then dies. He is overcome by guilt so the next time a similar situation occurs, he elects to treat the patient who comes in first. This time a boy with a bullet wound to the head comes in first and then the mayor with a heart attack. Dr. Tenma operates on the boy and the mayor dies. The Chief of Surgery starts to destroy his career and promotes lesser doctors to higher positions. Then they all die. Dr. Tenma is the prime suspect. Years later, there is a rash of serial murders. How are they connected to the deaths from nine years ago?
Animation is clean, but not much color, rather unusual since most anime have vibrant colors. The character designs are excellent as the characters look realistic and look different from each other. The animation flow and feel is quite good as well. Opening and ending themes are very good. The ending song illustrated with childish drawings is appropriately disturbing and haunting. Voices are appropriate although it's strange that everyone, except Dr. Tenma, is suppose to be German but is speaking Japanese.
This is an excellent crime drama, mystery, and character study. Dr. Tenma is a wonderful character. You really feel for him as he is unjustly cast aside despite being a superior surgeon and human being. Detective Runge is another great character whose fingers are always twitching because he's typing stuff into his head. Tenma's ex-fiance Eva is another memorable character who goes from sympathetic/pathetic to super-witch. Developments so far include a number of serial murders and a few twists. The poor doctor becomes a fugitive while helping the people he meets in his travels. Many of the people he meets have shady violent pasts and one of the prevailing themes is redemption. Their stories are quite sad but each is distinctive. Some may find the themes/stories repetitive, but the continuing storyline and mystery of Johan keeps things focused.
Upgraded to "A" as the mystery of Johan deepens, more twists and turns, and additional wonderful characters are introduced. This series' strength is character development - more in one episode than many entire series. The story is also much more complicated than the Fugitive as the secret police, secret experiments, and conspiracies are interweaved. The ending scenes from a children's book are their relevance is explained and is well-integrated into the story.
Recommended for people who love mysteries and drama. Not recommended for hardcore action fans as the story takes time to build. Fans of the original Fugitive series should like this anime. Excellent tension, but may be too slow moving for some. It's a MUST SEE for adults.
Rated PG-13 for violence.