To me, the best anime villain is Johan Liebert from the Monster anime series. I could actually go as far as to call him ‘my favourite villain’ and that should say a lot. Urasawa Naoki was such a master when he created the series and the characters, that Johan scared the micky out of me. Now, I should mention that I am a huge fan of good horror, and ‘good’ in this context rather means ‘Japanese’; but with this I mean to say that I do love horror and sometimes I will be scared. However, what really scared me about Johan was just how well he could be, for all I know, one of my neighbours or even…myself – so there really is no need for something to be classified as ‘horror’ in order for it to be scary.
We all have our inner demons, and Johan was no exception; what’s more, he’s even aware of them, of what he is and what he’s doing; but to a certain degree, he is the master of himself – of his inner demons, if you will – and unfortunately, I mean it when I say ‘to a degree’; I cannot give him full credits for mastering completely (if there’s such a thing) his inner demons, as he has not.
I will also admit that when I saw the writing on the wall – his message to Tenma (“Sehen Sie mich! Sehen Sie mich! Das Monstrum in meinem Selbst ist so gross Geworden!” – “Look at me! Look at me! The Monster in me has grown so Big!”) I thought he might be suffering from split personality disorder, but now I know better. And if I had to label him (which I kind of hate, but hey ho) I would say he fulfils the requirements for a psychopath. Of course, I cannot diagnose him, but at this point this is what I’d call him. He’s most definitely charming, bloody intelligent and charismatic; at the same time though, he shows no empathy (although he seems to show some degree of attachment to his twin sister), he is a cold-blooded killer and I could actually go as far as to call him cruel.
Now, I should also mention that none of these made me love him any less. Of course, I do not love him the same way I love Natsume Takashi, but he is nonetheless, bloody brilliant. And I cannot emphasise enough the point I made above: it’s the fact that he could even be me for all I know, which scared me to this extent.
I could go on talking about him, but I feel like at some point, I will write a critique for the series so I think I shall stop here. Thanks for bearing with me!