I heard a lot of good things about the manga, though the concept didn't sound that original. But I was disappointed with the first episode. It kinda felt like a mix between Shaman King and Yu Yu Hakusho. But I decided to stick with it a bit more.
Episode two was much better. Rukia is awesome. She's my favorite character so far. ^^ I laughed at her drawing skills in ep. 1, and now she's stealing Ichigo's sister's clothes and living in his closet! And trying far too hard to fit in as a high school student.
Ichigo (Strawberry?) is okay, I guess. I like that he's not all eager to become a hero- he's just a nice guy who wants to live a normal, ghost-free life. But I didn't like that barely a second passes after he becomes Shinigami and suddenly he's weilding this giant sword and using it like a pro. How can he be all-powerful from the beginning? I wonder if the whole Shinigami-mode thing is based off spiritual power, or does sparring with his dad make him an expert on fighting? But then it also looks like he could improve on his strategy too.
As for the Opening, I don't really like rap music (let alone Japanese rap), but this song is pretty darn catchy. And the animation is very stylish. The Ending is nice, but not spectacular. Rukia looks cool holding that ribbon, though. I dunno why. Maybe the ribbon has nothing to do with it, and Rukia is just cool by default. I think that's it.
Plot-wise, there isn't much to see so far. The mini revelation at the end of episode 2 could lead to some angst, and there's something developing with Orihime. I'll keep watching for a few more episodes, then I can make my judgement.
And now some random comments: The way a black butterfly appears whenever a ghost passes on is random, but cool. I like it. The noises Orihime made when she was first talking with Ichigo were weirdly cute, and the subtitles for that went something like "I'm %#$%#%$%!" XD Aaaand Chafurin makes an appearance as a mysterious Hollow thing (I think?). This guy gets around. I find it hard to take his voice seriously because whenever I hear it I think 'Megure keibu!'. Especially since this time there isn't much of a visual to go along with it, so my mind conjured the image of the Hollow wearing an orange suit and hat. ^_^;
If Bleach serves up my portion of Shounen action, then Monster follows up with the creepiness factor. Really. This show is dark, and deep, and I'm loving it so far. There's some hospital politics, followed up with angst for the main character, and OMFG those kids scare me.
The character designs aren't too pretty, but the quality of the animation makes up for that. Direction is superb. Atmosphere, very effective. Background music isn't memorable, but the Opening and Ending themes are haunting. This looks like the kind of show that doesn't have that many lovable characters, but an involving plot. I'm already trying to get my hands on the next episode, and the one after that, because I need MORE dammit! I don't care if it scarrs me for life, it's just that addicting! And this is only the second episode!
Random comments: I am SO glad there are fansubs of this, because I wouldn't be able to understand the raws. Medical lingo I cannot comprehend. ;_;
Oh, and Desktop Update: Fishing!