“Being Born Really Isn’t That Uncommon… Almost Everything In This World Is Meant To Die. In This World, A Life Born Is Nothing More Than An Insignificant Speck, And Shouldn’t Even Be Counted As An Existence. Death Is Natural.”– Johan Liebert, Monster
Johan Liebert, as argued by many, is one of the greatest antagonists of all time. He reminds me of another iconic villain, the Joker, who is similarly adored by many. Just like the Joker wears a ‘mask’ to portray himself as a murdering psychopath, Johan too, has a ‘mask’ which covers his inner darkness. From the outside, he is seen as a calm and handsome gentleman. But on the inside, he seems to be the definition of pure, unadulterated evil. His cold stare and persuasive words were enough to make people do his bidding or kill themselves.
Of all the villains I’ve read about so far, his persona scares the crap out of me. Reason being he can exist in any person in this world and you may not even be aware of it until you meet him…
What were the true motives that drove this murdering sociopath? What drove him to do insane stuff without feeling an ounce of guilt?
Did Johan have a motive for his crimes?
Johan’s goal basically revolved around two things, witness “The Scenery of Doomsday” and engineer a perfect suicide. His motives for committing crimes stemmed from his warped vision to spectate and cause chaos. In a wider sense, he wanted to pit humanity against each other.
Johan interpreted that life was a game of survival of the fittest. And that in the end humanity would strive for a person to be on top. Now, this is not a bad viewpoint to have. But if your mind is as warped as Johan’s, then this alone is enough to make you want to end the whole of humanity and witness the doomsday per se. This is what he did at Kinderheim 511!
His weapon of killing is not guns or chainsaws, but words. Just frightening, blood curling, truth bombing words which makes his victims drown in depression. He also used manipulative techniques to use people as his puppets to do his bidding. His being is a personification of the meaning of the phrase “Words can kill”.
Johan’s goals and actions were deeply influenced by the incidents that happened around him. Especially the events surrounding the three frogs and the red rose mansion. As time passed and he experienced more dire situations, his motives and goals changed accordingly.
Johan is heavily influenced!
Johan and his twin sister, Anna, were born to a couple who underwent the Eugenics Experiment orchestrated by Franz Bonaparta. The goal of the experiment was to create a child who had an exceptionally high level of intelligence and a flawless appearance. They were being molded to become leaders of the human race. After his father died in the hands of Bonaparta’s thugs, Johan’s mother and Anna left to live in the three frogs.
Johan’s mind started to sink into darkness when he started to read “The Nameless Monster”. He could relate with the monster in the book all too well.
The 1st trigger came when his mother had to choose between him and his sister to be handed over to Bonaparta and Peter Capek. The very act of choosing between them left Johan with a bitter taste. He began to think that not everyone in this world is equal and the person who can survive in the end, wins the game of life.
When he killed his foster parents, the Lieberts, another idea struck in his head. He wanted to test his own fate. He asked Anna to shoot him in the head, by pointing his finger on his forehead.
His plans change to a little degree when Dr. Tenma saved his life, instead of the mayor’s. Johan felt he was chosen by fate to continue surviving. He felt that Tenma was a worthy person. Apart from himself, Johan felt that only Anna and Tenma were worthy enough to see “The Scenery of the Doomsday”. He felt that they would be the last ones on this Earth and Tenma would kill him eventually, making it the “The Perfect Suicide”.
His primary motive took a detour when he re-read the “Nameless Monster” at the Munich University Library. His act of shivering and fainting as he read the words means he regained all the horrid memories of his past he lost when he was in 511 Kinderheim. This included the memory of his mother’s wish for her children to kill Bonaparta, while Johan was still inside her womb. This led to his 2nd trigger in his life. The secondary motive.
After that he planned to execute two things. 1) To kill Bonaparta in his ancestral homeland Ruhenheim and slaughter everyone belonging there in the process. 2) To show Tenma the “Scenery of the Doomsday” and execute his “Perfect Suicide” by asking Tenma to shoot him.
“Hatred is created when people gather. I just poured a little oil in it.”– Johan Liebert, Monster.
My sense is, even though he might have had hatred on Bonaparta, he was deeply influenced by Bonaparta through the books. In the Novel “Another Monster”, we see the same thing happening to Hermann Fuhr, who was an outstanding student and a participant in the reading sessions in the Red Rose Mansion.
The dark elements of nihilism and loneliness which were in Bonaparta’s books slowly crept into his mind and to Bonaparta’s fear, he became a bigger monster than himself. Johan imbibed that philosophy and inscribed these feelings of utter loneliness and uselessness in his victims before driving them into their deaths. He feared Bonaparta, but the latter’s ideas and way of thinking was in sync with Johan’s. To draw a similar theme expressed in Tokyo Ghoul, Kishou Arima, even though was ordered to kill Sen Takatsuki, silently agreed with her reasoning.
Another person whom he felt affectionate for is his twin sister, Anna. So much so that, he thought that her memories of her being dragged to the Red Rose Mansion and witness the massacre there, was his memories. He felt that she was Johan in a girl’s body. She too felt resentment against their mother who let the monsters experiment on her children. That’s why Johan felt that she too, should also be the one left standing in the end.
Disclaimer: The following contains spoilers from the Light Novel “Another Monster”
It appears that even after he disappeared from the hospital in the final chapter of Monster, he had the same goal in mind, by teaming up with Hermann Fuhr. He still continues to quest to remove people from their existence and make himself and Fuhr the last persons standing on the Earth.
Do you think Johan Liebert is still alive after the incidents of Monster? What do you think of his motives? Let us know your opinions in the comments!!