Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan - Episode 16
Episode 16: At a Confessional (エピソード#16 懺悔室, Episōdo #16 Zange-shitsu) is a one-shot written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki, and the first chapter in the titular Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan series. It was originally created for Shonen Jump: Readers' Cup '97, which released on November 23, 1997, but debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump 1997 #30 on June 24, 1997. The one-shot features Rohan Kishibe from Diamond is Unbreakable, who finds himself a confidant to a sinner's terrifying story while in Italy.
The one-shot was also included in Under Execution, Under Jailbreak. On August 18, 2019, an OVA adaptation by David Production was announced. The episode was screened at select Japanese theaters and was eventually released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 25, 2020.
Rohan Kishibe presents himself and narrates a gruesome story he heard in Italy.
After an incident forcing him to pause his series Pink Dark Boy for the summer, Rohan had decided to take a vacation in Italy. In Venice, Rohan accidentally entered the priest's compartment of a confessional in the middle of his research. Shortly after, a man entered the booth and confessed his sin to Rohan, believing him to be a priest. Interested, Rohan heard out his confession. The man accounted for his youth as a common worker. One day, a starving Asiatic beggar came to him begging for food. Disdainful, he forced the beggar to carry large bags of corn, eventually leading to the beggar's death. However, the ghost of the beggar appeared, swearing revenge and stating that he would come back on the happiest day of his life.
Things soon looked up for the man; he became rich and eventually had a daughter with a top-model. One day, as the man walked with a servant and his daughter cheerfully playing with a bag of popcorn, he couldn't help but think that it was the happiest moment of his life.
Suddenly, the spirit of the beggar possessed the little girl and revealed that he has assisted the man's prosperity from behind the scenes so that he could fulfill his revenge. The ghost explained that he wanted Fate to judge the man fairly, and thus challenged the man to throw a piece of popcorn in the air higher than a nearby lamppost and catch it in his mouth, each time at the clap of his hands, three times in a row. If the man succeeded the ghost would leave the man forever, otherwise the beggar would cut off his head.
With luck and ingenuity, the man succeeded twice, but attracted a flock of pigeon looking for the popcorns. To deter them at the last try, the man lit the pop corn on fire as he threw it, but sunlight shone out from behind the clouds, preventing the man from seeing the popcorn. Thus it landed on his shirt and without a second to spare, the beggar cut off his head.
Yet that man was alive. The two ghosts of the beggar and the servant appeared near him, revealing that the man used his servant as a body double to trick the beggar, only incuring the wrath of both ghosts. Rohan witnessed the spirits follow the man, vowing to endlessly stalk him. Deciding to interview him later if given the chance, he also expressed some respect for the man who tried to hang on to life.
During the time period this one-shot was written, Weekly Shonen Jump's editorial department restricted the publication of side stories for pre-existing ongoing Jump titles, which prompted Araki to find a workaround. The resulting concept of Rohan narrating a short story was largely inspired by the 1950's TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and the series' name, Rohan Kishibe Does Not Move (岸辺露伴は動かない), was derived from the fact that Rohan is not the main protagonist in this one-shot, but rather a "navigator" or onlooker of the story.
- In the one-shot's Weekly Shonen Jump and Readers' Cup '97 publications, Rohan Kishibe himself is credited as the author of the work, with Hirohiko Araki being listed merely as an illustrator. Additionally, the author's comments in both magazines are written from Rohan's perspective as well.
- Following the one-shot's initial publication in Weekly Shonen Jump, the ending pages were heavily altered for Readers' Cup '97 and all subsequent volumizations: the single page revealing the ghost of the confessor's servant was extended to take up two pages with additional drawings and dialogue, and the ending page was expanded into a full two-page spread.