Is Monster a guide to Psychopaths like Johan Liebert?

Is Monster a guide to Psychopaths like Johan Liebert?

Monster by Naoki Urasawa has garnered significant attention in recent years. The series explores the dark side of the human psyche, raising questions about the nature of evil, morality, and, more importantly, the concept of psychopathy. In this article, we will explore whether Monster can be considered a guide to understanding psychopaths and how the character Johan Liebert, also known as Yohan in anime, contributes to this thought-provoking narrative.

What is Monster anime all about?

Dr. Kenzou Tenma from Monster anime
Dr. Kenzou Tenma from Monster anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

Before we analyze the psychological aspects, it’s essential to grasp the premise of Monster. The story revolves around Dr. Kenzou Tenma, a highly skilled neurosurgeon working in Germany. His life takes a dark turn when he is faced with a moral dilemma: save the life of a young boy with a gunshot wound or the town’s mayor. Tenma chooses to save the boy, Johan Liebert, a decision that sets off a chain of events that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Understanding Johan Liebert

Johan Leibert in Monster anime
Johan Liebert in Monster anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

Johan Liebert, the central character of Monster anime, is on the surface a well-mannered, charismatic, and compassionate yet somewhat aloof young man who possesses a myriad of favorable traits. He can easily overwhelm individuals with his seemingly flawless nature, as seen with Hans Georg Schuwald, who describes him as being not of this world. This delicately crafted appearance makes it easy for him to make new allies and manipulate them into doing various deeds for him through the influence of his supposed friendship and good will. With such skill in creating this sense of perfection and pureness, Johan hides his true motives with ease.

Johan’s Psychopathic Tendencies

A still from Monster anime
A still from Monster anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

However, within this contrived exterior, Johan callously delivers destruction and suffering to those who happen to fall prey to his schemes. Even before his tenure at Kinderheim 511, Johan still exhibits psychopathic tendencies. The deaths caused by him directly or indirectly throughout his life have been pre-calculated.

Johan often shows a complete disregard for life by pointing to his forehead, inviting Dr. Kenzo Tenma to shoot him. Many of Johan’s beliefs align with nihilism, as he does not see any meaning to life. He claims, “The only thing humans are equal in is death.”

Inflicting maximum pain

Johan Leibert offering Richard Braun a drink in Monster anime
Johan Liebert offering Richard Braun a drink in Monster anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

Johan also has a tendency to make his victims experience the worst possible loss and suffering rather than actually killing them himself; this experience often leads the victims to kill themselves. Helmut Wolf is a prime example of this; instead of simply being killed, Wolf is forced to watch as all of his close relatives and acquaintances die, one after another, all so he can feel what Johan felt, solitude.

Similarly, Johan uses Richard Braun’s dark past of killing an underage suspect to haunt him and damage him emotionally, Johan offering him a drink is a final blow to make Richard’s suicide plan happen. 

The root of Johan’s actions

A still from Monster anime
A still from Monster anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

The reason for Johan’s actions is still a mystery. Even though he was raised at the experimental orphanage Kinderheim 511, Hartmann tells Tenma that it could not have created a masterpiece like him. Neither of his parents seemed to have psychopathy or any other mental illnesses.

  • Anna, who also experienced the horrific events at the Red Rose Mansion, is a genuinely loving and caring person.
  • However, while she is able to suppress her memories of the mansion, Johan takes them as his own, believing that he was the one who experienced them.

After the Ruhenheim massacre, while recovering from his second surgery in a state hospital, Johan reveals to Tenma, through unknown means, his memory of his mother’s decision, which had a profound impact on him.

Can Monster anime Serve as a Guide to Psychopaths?

To determine whether Monster anime can be considered a guide to understanding psychopaths, we must consider its realism and its portrayal of Johan Liebert’s character.

The realism of Monster

A still from Monster anime
A still from Monster anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

While Monster is a work of fiction, it remains grounded in the characteristics of human nature. The portrayal of Johan Liebert’s psychopathy is chillingly realistic, drawing on established psychological theories. It forces viewers to confront moral dilemmas and ethical quandaries, reflecting the challenges faced by professionals dealing with psychopathic individuals in real life.

Johan Liebert’s contribution

A still from Monster anime
A still from Monster  (Image via Madhouse Studio)

Johan Liebert’s character adds more intrigue in the field psychopathy. His psychopathic traits, manipulative behavior, and disregard for life are vividly depicted. Through Yohan, Monster anime offers insights into the human psyche, making it a valuable source for those interested in understanding the enigmatic world of psychopaths.

The anime doesn’t shy away from the darkest aspects of human nature. It explores the capacity for evil within individuals and raises questions about the blurred line between sanity and madness. Johan Liebert serves as a stark representation of the potential for malevolence lurking within us all.


In conclusion, Monster anime by Naoki Urasawa offers a thought-provoking journey into the world of psychopathy. While it may not be a definitive guide to understanding psychopaths, it certainly provides valuable insights into the human psyche. Johan Liebert’s character, with his psychopathic traits and enigmatic persona, adds more thrill to the psychological phenomena of this anime. Monster is a testament to the power of storytelling to engage viewers in profound discussions about morality, evil, and the enigma of psychopathy. So, if you’re intrigued by the human mind’s darker facets and enjoy gripping narratives, Monster is undoubtedly an anime worth exploring.

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