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I saw Hell right there in his eyes. Hell. In the eyes of a living human being.
~ Hans Georg Schuwald on the true nature of Johan Liebert
Dr. Tenma. For you, all lives are created equal; that's why I came back to life—but you've finally come to realize it now, haven't you? Only one thing's equal for all… and that is death.
~ Johan Liebert provoking Tenma to shoot him

Johan Liebert is the titular main antagonist in the manga and anime series Monster and the unseen overarching antagonist of its light novel sequel Another Monster. He is a ruthless and psychopathic serial killer whose life was saved by Kenzo Tenma as a child. He is also the twin brother of Nina Fortner. Johan has stated that his one true goal is to be the last one alive when the world ends—but upon rediscovering a children's book that appeared to play a pivotal role in his past, he instead set his mind on committing the "perfect suicide", i.e. dying without leaving behind any evidence of his existence (with the possible exception of Dr. Tenma's memories of him, in order to destroy Tenma's faith in humanity).

He was voiced by Nozomu Sasaki in the Japanese version of the anime who has also voiced Mello and K9999, and Keith Silverstein in the English dubbed version, the latter of whom having also voiced Hisoka Morow, Chairman Rose, Dr. Wily, Deag Grav, Hawk Moth, Masayoshi Shido, Deep Sea King, and Aaroniero Arruruerie.

Biography

Early life

Johan watching the destruction of Kinderheim 511

Before the events of Monster, Johan Liebert's origin is shrouded in mystery. Johan and Anna, were born in April 7th 1975 to Věra Černá and a unknown father (who is Franz half brother, who was later one a failed escape), as a result of an eugenics experiment, done by Franz Bonaparta.

After his mother was released from confinement, they move into the Three Frogs Building in Prague. she dresses both of her children as identical girls to make it appear as though she has a single child to fool the people. The family had a very quiet life, with the neighbors hardly take notice of them.

Later in 1981, Franz Bonaparta and Petr Čapek barges in and tells her that one of the twins will be taken to the Red Rose Mansion for experimentation; with the other is spared. At first, she hands over Johan, but quickly switches to Anna instead. It is unknown whether or not she is aware which child is which. This event impacts Johan's mind for the rest of his life, leaving him whether his mother was trying to protect him or had confused him for Anna.

With Anna and Černá are gone, Johan now home alone, he spends time reading a book named The Nameless Monster, by Franz Bonaparta under the pen name Emil Scherbe. Anna then escapes from the Red Rose Mansion and returns to the Three Frogs, Johan asks her to describe the experience. Eventually, Johan confuses the information relayed by his sister for his own experiences, and believed that he was the one who was suffering through the events at the Red Rose Mansion.

An person would come to their house and tell them they are their own. The two then burn down the Three Frogs and escaped to cover up what they did, and made a run for it. later, they meet a middle-aged couple who give them sandwiches and start taking them into their care. some time later in a field of grass in front of the couple, Johan then kill the caretakers and run off again, leaving the middle-aged couple's corpses behind.

During their journey, they were wandering the border of Germany with his twin sister, Anna. A patrol officer named Helmut Wolf came on time and found the then half-starved and dying. Wolf then inspects Johan's bag and only finds a copy of The Nameless Monster. He decides to name the boy Johan after the monster in the book. Afterwards he takes the two to a hospital.

Following their recovery they were taken to two separate orphanages, Anna to Orphanage 47, and Johan to Kinderheim 511.

Kinderheim 511

When he arrives at Kinderheim 511, he tells them that he have already been beyond the program, intriguing the higher-ups and resulting a forced interview with some chemical treatment.

Johan would then befriend two boys possibly the same age as him.

One day, Johan led a revolt in the institution, and got fifty people to kill each other by simply "tossing an oil rag into a fire." Johan's mentors had always nurtured Johan's skill for manipulating others with no conscience. However, when confronted, they claimed that Johan was already a "monster" when he first came to the orphanage. The Motives of how his mind came to be so twisted are still unknown.

Monster

This section is under construction.

After the events being free from Kinderheim 511, Johan and Anna were adopted by Michael Liebert and his wife, which Johan would later kill them and putting Anna in a state of shock, however his life was saved by Kenzo instead of him saving the mayor.

Following the post-surgery, Udo Heinemann was disappointed on what happened, since of Kenzo not following his orders, this consequently leads to Kenzo to be stripped from his position and has any chances of career progress ruined, and Eva to break up with Kenzo, after the party, Kenzo walks up to Johan who was "unconscious" as Kenzo has a breakdown where he rants how much he hated Udo and how greedy he is and wishes Udo dead, Johan listens to Kenzo's rant, Johan was "grateful" for Tenma's decision, Johan then would get poisoned candy, to repay him, when Udo and two doctors ate the candy, hours later they would succumb to the poison, causing the three doctors to die offscreen.

As Udo's corpse was shown first, with Eva in shock, and the police would then arrive and investigate the scene, Kenzo would see the bodies of Oppenheim and Boyer, and has found out that Johan had escaped.

The End

Following his post surgery. Kenzo would visit Johan's mother where he explains about Johan, then Tenma goes to the police hospital where Johan was sleeping.

After Tenma informs Johan, Johan wakes up and explains retelling the story of his mother abandoning him. leaving the question on Who is the real monster?

Later after Johan said his last words, Tenma left, Johan would wake up and escape the hospital offscreen, leaving Johan's fate unknown.

Another Monster

Johan does not appear in Another Monster due to the lack of his comeuppance, However after the three years after the events of Monster. Johan had later inspired person named Hermann Führ to kill. It is told that the countries like United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China, etc. Are now aware of his existence, his crimes and actions are now exposed to the public, the authorities in the world also got ahold them. However, he is still believed to be in a coma, while some think that Johan took his own life and successfully commits suicide after finally learning his true identity and past.

Fate

Johan's ultimate fate was unknown after the events of Another Monster, it's mostly believed that Johan is either still at large and still being tracked down, was arrested and was later executed, found his true identity and past and successfully commits suicide or he committed suicide as last resort to get away with his crimes. By this day Johan's fate still remains a mystery.

Personality

Johan tormenting Tenma by forcing him to watch the death of Adolf Junkers

Tenma: You can't just go around killing!
Johan: Why not?
~ Johan expressing his utter lack of empathy

Johan Liebert can be best described as an entity of pure evil, heavily allegorical to the Antichrist and the Beast. His wanton cruelty and depthless malice do not appear to be humanized by traits or drives such as hatred, vengeance, lust, a point to prove, or even sadism; being fully aware of his nature and devoid of any need to justify himself, his actions are about as reasonless, emotionless, and nihilistic as he is—thus possibly rendering his evil as literally pure and undiluted as can be, given his lack of any discernible gain from it or even a consistent identity. It is perhaps for this reason that he earns such condemnations as monster, devil, vampire, alien—and for which Schuwald claims to have seen Hell itself in his eyes. The clear psychopathic tendencies he exhibits as a child—along with the hellish fate he inflicts upon the child-experimenting orphanage Kinderheim 511, even prior to most of his past traumas—clearly prove that he is far from a victim of circumstance, given the premeditated and calculated murders of his foster families; a former director of said orphanage, Hartmann, admits himself that not even such an inhumane place could have crafted a "masterpiece" like Johan. His most consistent belief is that all life is insignificant, equal only in death.

Once again like the Antichrist, Johan masks his vileness and coldness with a persuasive, unfailing veneer of compassion and politeness, and bears an aura of perfection. When approaching others, he is almost angelic in both appearance and behavior, possibly also paralleling Lucifer himself before his fall; Schuwald, before falling victim to Johan's true colors, even describes him as being not of this world due to his apparent myriad of favorable traits. He is a highly intelligent, patient, and methodical chessmaster who is always five steps ahead, and his unprecedented prowess for manipulation allows him to use even the most uncompromising criminals to his advantage and corrupt them further, whom he invariably disposes of once their utility expires.

He possesses an equal capacity for psychological torture and can persuade nearly anybody to kill either others or themselves; whenever possible, however, Johan will subject his victims to the worst possible suffering and loss rather than killing them himself, which often drives them to suicide anyhow—such as when he forces Helmut Wolf to watch his wife, children, and many friends and acquaintances all die one after the other, reducing him to a broken and paranoid wretch, despite he and Anna having been saved by Wolf from a near-death experience. Johan has expressed a similar lack of gratitude to Dr. Tenma, who had also saved his life, by poisoning his boss and coworkers, thereby framing Tenma for the murders due to his severe demotion prior to this.

With an unchanging expression and monotonous manner of speaking, Johan appears to be pathologically stoic, if not nearly devoid of emotion; he retains an unnerving calm regardless of the atrocities he commits and when he is confronted about them. He has only ever once expressed genuine emotion upon rediscovering The Nameless Monster (a picture book that is a key component of his past), screaming and passing out from being overwhelmed by his memories. On two occasions, he sheds tears that are, in all likelihood, deceptive. He shows a malicious grin upon relentlessly attacking Detective Richard Brown's psyche, which is the only instance that may imply genuine sadism; otherwise, he has enough of a penchant for corruption and ruining lives to treat it as a mundanity.

The only two people that he seems to refuse to kill are Anna and Tenma, most likely merely to toy with them. It is often believed that Johan genuinely cares for Anna, yet seeing as he has no qualms with (and expresses no remorse for) traumatizing her time and time again to further his own goals, gaslighting her, and nearly driving her to suicide, it's quite transparent that his idea of "love" is either twisted or—as with many of his other traits—feigned. It is also implied he only "loves" Anna because he sees her as his "other half" or an extension of himself. While he claims to view Tenma as a father figure, he takes no issue to killing in front of him even as he pleads for him not to, and seems to spare him only out of a petty desire to crush his idealism.

As an example of his deceptive nature, Johan once hints at having multiple personalities—a criminal one that is the dominant personality, and a distressed one wishing to prevent the crimes, the latter never physically seen—which is quickly dismissed as merely an attempt to mislead Tenma, Anna, and/or the authorities.

Abilities

Johan dressed as his sister Anna/Nina to earn the trust of others

Inheriting his mother's genius intellect and deductive reasoning capabilities, Johan is prodigiously brilliant and impressive in whatever he studies and the absolute best in anything he pursues. This is noted by Schuwald when praising Johan's knowledge of law and economics, and by Karl, who notes that none could surpass Johan in anything. Johan has an amazing voice (hypnotic), he always intuitively knows the right thing to say at the right time, he is an excellent speaker and teacher.

He has the most perfect, ideal, healthiest, and prime physical conditions, he possesses incredible pheromones, he is "well-endowed", handsome and attractive.

Johan can intuitively and perfectly assess anyone's psychology, behavior, and motivations, he sees their mind and soul at first glance allowing him to perfectly predict what people will do and how to manipulate them, he has perfect, observational, perceptive, analytical, calculating, tactical, and deductive skills, these allow him to perfectly predict, understand, and control anything no matter how simple or complex, easily. These skills, along with his charisma, eloquence, and persuasive abilities, allow him to create convoluted plans and control anyone into doing what he wants easily.

He can amass wealth and power without being noticed or challenged, he nearly and easily conquered Europe's entire economy only to stop because his goal changed. Johan can create loyal, submissive, and completely obedient "friends," allies, and followers out of anyone and anything after one conversation, one word, and people will do what he says, absolute obedience.

He can make anyone and anything feel good and hopeful, or feel overwhelming intimidation, fear, and despair with his presence. He possesses endless willpower, vitality, he never gets bored. He is able to not feel fear, guilt, regret, loneliness or pain. He's capable of leading humanity on a global scale with ease.

Johan is an exceptional master manipulator. The process of his exploitation could be represented by a tree where he is the base and each branch in a separate case which is all tied together in one grand scheme.

Johan leaves such a strong impression on people that he is able to convince legions to commit murder, play suicide games, or do other monstrous things after just a single encounter. According to Heinrich Lunge, this process is done by altering the fulcrum of someone's identity, like removing a map's coordinate axis. The more jumbled their "lines" become without that foundation, the more room he has to redraw or redefine their maps.

As discussed in the personality section above, Johan often manipulates people to kill for him; this is done in a variety of different ways. When working with Michael Müller and Detective Messener, for example, he blackmailed the two by threatening to reveal their drug scandal if they refused to murder Mr. and Mrs. Fortner. In other cases, such as with Peter Jürgens and Rheinhard Dinger, he befriends his victims and acknowledges their worth; they are therefore willing to perform "favors" as extreme as killing, dedicatedly withholding any information on him even in the face of authorities.

Johan convincing Richard to drink before driving him to suicide (if not murdering him directly)

Johan is also skilled at making people reflect on their mistakes or any haunting memories of the past, as in the cases of Richard Braun and Miloš. He forced Richard to connect his former blunders as an officer and alcohol problems with his desire to see his daughter, making him believe he was not worthy of the one thing he truly wanted. Similarly, he convinced Miloš that he was not wanted by anyone and thus destroyed the boy's cheerful personality (at least temporarily).

When dealing with Schuwald, Johan gained the tycoon's trust pretty quickly. Schuwald noticed Johan's talent in law and business and decided to employ him as his personal secretary. To further secure their relationship, he approached Schuwald's son Karl and reunited the family, putting himself on even more favorable ground to succeed Schuwald's position.

Tenma once visited the blind man who taught Johan French and English. The old man was impressed by Johan's intelligence, patience, and mastery of the languages, as he had quickly become perfectly fluent (mastered) in both within a span of just thirteen months. Johan learned and mastered Latin in a very short time while attending the University of Munich. He tutored Karl to help him impress his father.

Johan is also a master of perfect disguise. Around the middle of the series, he masqueraded as his sister while living in Prague. This proved to be quite useful, not only for spying but also because he was able to pass unnoticed while leaving crime scenes. However, Tenma wasn't fooled. Grimmer was also skeptical of Johan's disguise. Johan, for the most part, played his role as "Anna" perfectly, leaving the impression of a beautiful, charming and polite young woman. It was easier for him to manipulate people while in form, especially the male characters like Detective Suk.

Quotes

There's nothing special about being born. Not a thing. Most of the universe is just death, nothing more. In this universe of ours, the birth of a new life on some corner of our planet is nothing but a tiny, insignificant flash. Death is a normal thing—so why live?
~ Johan tormenting Miloš, an orphan, while disguised as his sister Anna
I was born in a town that was straight out of a fairy tale. Many people died there, and when I walked away, I held hands with my other self. To me, it seemed like we were the only two people in the world. Neither one of us possessed a real name.
~ Johan terrorizing Schuwald
I woke up from the dream. There were so many visions I had of the end, but now I'm picturing a different ending altogether; a clearer vision of the true ending.
~ Johan to his henchman Horst Grossman immediately before killing him
How weak the mind when it wants to forget. Maybe you didn't forget; maybe you're lying. Is it a lie you tell everyone around you, or perhaps a lie you tell yourself?
The big secret to breaking the rules is to make it look as though you're following them.
Tell me, what do you think is the ultimate fear? I really thought I'd already reached the darkest of the dark—but then, ahead of me, I beheld a darkness even greater still.
Hatred is born when people gather. I just poured a little oil on it.

Gallery

Images

Videos

Trivia

  • Johan is perhaps among the most acclaimed and most evil villains in the history of manga and anime.
  • It is stated in the light novel sequel Another Monster that Johan "rebuilt his life" subsequent to the events of the manga/anime. Whatever this means is unclear and possibly left up to debate.
  • Not only Johan is the overarching antagonist in Another Monster, that also included Franz Bonaparta (who is the true bigger bad and the true heavy, since he instigated the events of Monster).

External Links

Navigation

          Naoki Urasawa's Villains

Monster/Another Monster
Johan Liebert | Hermann Führ | The Nameless Monster | Franz Bonaparta | Roberto | Christof Sievernich | Michael Müller and Detective Messener | Udo Heinemann | Dr. Oppenheim and Boyer | Gustav Kottman | Hartmann | Peter Jürgens | Peter Čapek | The Baby

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