Franz Bonaparta (a.k.a Klaus Poppe), is a character who is shrouded in mystery in the entire series of Monster. Though he gives his personal appearance in the final arc of the series, his presence is felt throughout. It’s hard to give a concrete answer to the whole “who’s the real monster” debate, but I can safely say that Bonaparta was the main culprit who kindled the fire of monstrosity in the hearts of his subjects, especially Johan Liebert.
Johan Liebert is argued to be one of the best antagonists, whose persona and motives are still heavily discussed. I think it is equally interesting to discuss about the motives of the man who played a big role in making of the well-known serial killer.
Bonaparta, in my opinion, is one of the best written characters and one of the most important personalities in Monster. He’s such a complex character who is hard to ignore. He reminds me of Sigmund Freud who, surprisingly, has a lot of similarities to Bonaparta. Freud was a neurologist, born to Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg, in the Austrian Empire (later Příbor, Czech Republic). Bonaparta, a German born Czech, was a psychologist and a neurosurgeon. Both loved to experiment on people’s minds. It’s possible that Naoki Urasawa (Creator of Monster) could have created Bonaparta with Freud’s looks and personality in mind.
Bonaparta lusted for power and control. He initiated the Eugenics experiment with those goals in mind. He was a genius in brainwashing, a feature which was rubbed onto Johan. He was also an expert at stripping people off their memories and the sense of who they are. The members of his reading circle couldn’t recall his persona so much because he made sure that he wiped their memories off. Also, he used aliases for his writings.
He worked out a revolutionary theory of brainwashing and personality restructuring. He charmed the politicians, the military and the secret police, and acquired the backing to live freely as a powerful figure of the state. With power and respect on his side, he set forth on his quest to create a set of beings to rule the country of Germany, among which, would eventually become the next Hitler. He created the orphanage 511 Kinderheim for this purpose.
His books, apparently classified as children picture books, had a very dark and disturbing tone which crept into the reader’s sub-conscious. This was the technique he used to influence the children in his reading sessions at the Red Rose Mansion. But, what drove Bonaparta to be mindless researcher?
Warning: The following contains major spoilers from the Light Novel “Another Monster – The Investigative Report”, authored by Naoki Urasawa
What were the set of events which drove Bonaparta to do what he did?
To answer the question in short, Bonaparta’s father, Terner Poppe, played a big role in the formation of Bonaparta’s dark side. Read on to find out how.
“No, I don’t hate him. I don’t know… Mother never asked about the seminar. And of course, I didn’t tell her that I knew the man who ran it was my father. I simply pretended to my mother that I had absolutely no interest in him. But I didn’t hate the seminar. The more I understood what he was doing, the more frightened I was, of course… But the more I was drawn to it, as well. But I didn’t love him. Oh, I don’t know, maybe I do hate him. I can’t really explain…”– Jaromir Lipsky, son of Franz Bonaparta
According to Karel Ranke, a former captain of the Czech secret police, Terner Poppe was both an anti-Nazi, anti-fascist hero, and a communist. Born in Jablonec nad Nisou, he was also said to be a genius of an agitator. He was a national hero in the Czech Republic communist party and was the star, who played a huge part in spreading communism in Germany. From him, it seems Bonaparta got the traits of influencing the masses.
According to Mr. Procházka, one of the few people who knew Terner Poppe, mentioned the following story:
Bonaparta fell in in love with a beautiful girl of German and Czech descent, but the girl and Bonaparta’s father fell in love instead. The love soon ended, and the girl married a Czech man from the next town, based on his German lineage.
Bonaparta’s already existing hatred on his father for leaving him and his mother grew larger. He had hit upon a method of destroying people by depriving them of their names, and he tested this on his father, who afterward spent the rest of his life in fear and confusion. At the time of his death, he apparently was so confused and that he couldn’t remember his own name. He died at the age of 65, in a hospital located in his town. This is the trigger that gave him a nudge to do bigger things.
Years after the incident, the woman he had loved got in touch with him. She told him that her son wanted to become a career soldier. But because her husband was of German lineage, she doubted that she could get a recommendation to the military academy for a minority child. But he gladly granted her this favor. He planned to keep an eye on her son. When the boy became an adult, he would conduct an experiment with him because the boy had splendid genes dwelling within him.
He waited patiently for the boy to grow up and graduate from the academy. During this time, he was also receiving information from all over Czechoslovakia about girls who had superior genes. Among them all, his favorite was a young girl who was said to have been a twin while in her mother’s womb. He decided to have this girl and the boy from the neighboring town meet in Prague. At last, he could test his method of making two people fall in love. The two were united as he had planned.
However, there was a miscalculation in that plan. Though it was a small miscalculation, and still within the predicted range, the two confessed the truth to each other, and tried to escape from the experiment. He didn’t hesitate to dispose of the young man, but he was extremely interested in the twins growing within the young woman’s womb. However, he failed to notice a greater miscalculation. He was falling in love with a woman young enough to be his daughter. Just as his father had done….
The “favourite young girl” and the young man were none other than Johan Liebert’s parents. This, undoubtedly, gave rise to the much bigger Eugenics experiments he conducted in the Red Rose Mansion and so on. It all began with a typical passionate young love, which the father stole away from his son.