Gorgeous Irene (ゴージャス★アイリン, Gōjasu Airin), also called The Gorgeous Irene, is a two-chapter Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. It was first published by Shueisha in the Autumn Special of Weekly Shonen Jump on October 1, 1985, later followed by a second chapter in Issue #1 of Super Jump on December 29, 1986. It narrates the adventures of Irene Rapona, a young girl who makes a second life as an assassin characterized by her makeup-based techniques.
The short-lived series has been published alongside other early Araki works in a volume of the same name, and has been frequently referenced within Araki's subsequent works and related media.
Irene Rapona is a teenage girl with a youthful face and gentle personality. Despite being really gullible and innocent, she is secretly a professional assassin who is able to transform into any type of woman using special makeup. Due to her personality, she is bullied by her classmates.
A young man is taken to Irene by her butler. He hires Irene to assassinate Lauper, a female gang leader in Swing Town (スウィング・タウン, Suwingu Taun). Lauper replaced the former leader and killed the young man's father. Murders and the crime rate increased, and even children and the elderly were not spared. Lauper began selling drugs in schools and only keeps female slaves with her in her gang.
Ten days later, the man is caught by Lauper as she discovers that he hired an assassin. Irene reveals herself disguised as an old woman who was hired in the gang. She uses her Battle Makeup to transform her appearance and enhance her killer instincts. The gang fire their guns at her, but Irene had replaced all their bullets with blanks while working with them. Irene then fires her fake nails at each gang member and kills all of them, aside from Lauper.
Lauper attempts to attack Irene with a giant chainsaw, but Irene dodges it and sees through Lauper's movements with her special Death Dance. Irene's Heart Magic allows her to take control of Lauper's body after Lauper smells the scent of her perfume. Irene then manipulates Lauper into cutting herself in half with her chainsaw by using her Execution Makeup. Irene expresses sorrow that the young man spoke about her to Lauper. She lets him live because she had promised to and then leaves.
Irene's butler is killed by an unknown tattooed assassin. As he dies, he tasks a squirrel with warning Irene about the assassin. It is revealed that Irene's father was a killer born in the underworld. He was loyal to his boss, but eventually he and his boss were killed by another organization. Irene had inherited his killer instincts and deadly skills.
Meanwhile, a young man named Michael relaxes in the slums of Harlem in New York City. He sees Irene walking by and is shocked to see a young girl on her own. As the butler's squirrel finds Irene and informs her of the assassin, Michael attempts to rob Irene, only to find that she only carries makeup in her purse. Angered at Irene's dazed expression, Michael takes out a knife. Irene simply grabs the knife with two fingers and hugs Michael. however. Some nearby thugs ask Michael to share Irene with them, but Michael beats them up.
The two go to a bar and meet a drug dealer who offers to make Irene rich as a film star. Irene agrees but Michael elbows the man in the face, warning Irene not to trust everyone she meets. They leave and reach the subway, where a man sells Irene an old racing stub. At first Michael refuses to take care of Irene, but he relents upon hearing that she has nowhere left to go and takes her to his house.
The next day, after Michael and Irene rob a store for money, the tattooed assassin who killed Irene's butler meets with the drug dealer. The man says he saw Irene recently, though she was wearing a disguise. That night, the assassin breaks into Michael's house. The assassin attempts to stab Irene with her phantom tattoo ability. However, Irene had already planted mines on the floor, and one of the mines blows off the assassin's foot, waking Irene.
As Irene prepares for battle, the assassin summons vicious fire ants from her tattoo which latch onto Irene's face and attempt to burrow into her skin; the assassin herself only remains unharmed via the use of a special repellent. Irene transforms using her Battle Makeup, and uses the muscles in her own face to force the insects out of her skin. Irene then dances and draws on her opponent's lips using her Execution Makeup, preventing the assassin from being able to close her mouth. Realizing too late that she has not applied the insect repellent inside her mouth, she falls through a window as the fire ants crawl into her mouth and devour her from within. Irene apologizes to Michael for lying to him and gives him a kiss before departing into the night.
Michael later discovers that the old racing stub that Irene bought was a big winner, and moves to Los Angeles to start his music career. He eventually releases a debut single about a mysterious girl, selling over 600,000 copies. For her part, Irene vanishes, never to be seen again. It is later reported that a mafia boss named Tony Bormont committed suicide in his Chicago estate by stabbing himself in the throat, though the police continue to suspect homicide.
- Gorgeous Irene -Lauper's Palace- (ゴージャス★アイリン -大女の館-, Gōjasu Airin -Dai Onna no Yakata-)
- Gorgeous Irene -The Girl in the Slums- (ゴージャス★アイリン -スラム街に来た少女-, Gōjasu Airin -Suramu Gai ni Kita Shōjo-)
- B.T. "The Wicked Boy" (魔少年ビーティー, Mashōnen Bītī)
- Say Hi to Virginia (バージニアによろしく, Bājinia ni Yoroshiku)
- Poker Under Arms (武装ポーカー, Busō Pōkā)
- Outlaw Man (アウトロー・マン, Autorō Man)
The series was originally published as a two-part story, chapters 1 and 2 being released in the Autumn Special of Weekly Shonen Jump on October 1, 1985 and in Super Jump #1, 1986 (December 29, 1986) respectively. Both chapters were later compiled into a tankōbon volume alongside other various Araki works made before JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The volumization has since been republished in aizōban and bunkoban editions, as well as a digital release. In Italy, the volume was published by Star Comics as part of the Il bizzarro universo di Hirohiko Araki (Hirohiko Araki's Bizarre Universe) collection in 2019.
- Araki came up with Gorgeous Irene's plot while pursuing physical power. He named her "Irene" because he thought it sounded cute and started to draw her to see if he could actually draw girls. In the end, he admits that he thinks he couldn't draw girls.
- Despite the popularity of Gorgeous Irene, Araki decided not to have it serialized as a weekly manga. In that time period, he felt that something was off and believed a female protagonist would not fit into his work. Years later, he revisited the idea with Jolyne Cujoh, the first female protagonist of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
- In Chapter 1 of Phantom Blood, Dio Brando is seen reading a book titled Gorgeous Irene.
- In Episode 10 of the anime adaptation of Battle Tendency, the cafe where Joseph Joestar fights Straizo is named Irene's Cafe. JoJo's Pitter-Patter Pop! includes the cafe in its New York furniture set.
- A broadcast labeled "Gorgeous Irene" can be seen when Joseph Joestar uses Hermit Purple on a television in Episode 8 of Stardust Crusaders's anime adaptation.
- Rohan Kishibe's bookshelf in I Want You contains a book by the name of Gorgeous Irene alongside other books titled after Araki's lesser-known works.
- The Naples Station stage in Eyes of Heaven contains a poster advertising an opera titled Gorgeous Irene, with the titles of other Araki works filling the cast list and other details.