Baoh the Visitor

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His touch signifies death! This is... Baoh!

Baoh the Visitor (バオー来訪者, Baō Raihōsha) is a manga written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump with seventeen chapters from October 1984 to February 1985. In September 1985, it was compiled into two tankōbon volumes with nine chapters. It later released as one bunkoban volume on June 16, 2000.[2]

The manga was licensed in English and released in monthly chapter issues by VIZ Media in 1990. As it was financially unsuccessful, it was not until 1995 that it was re-released in a volume format.[3] An OVA adaptation of the series by Studio Pierrot released on September 16, 1989.

Seventeen-year-old Ikuro Hashizawa can transform into the parasitical bio-weapon, Baoh, gaining superhuman strength and other abilities such as emitting corrosive substances and discharging electricity. He escapes from the secret Dress Organization along with a young psychic girl, Sumire, and the two must face various assassins sent by the organization to kill him.

Summary

Prologue

The mysterious bioweapon "Baoh" appears

One day, the mangled corpse of a woman washes up on a northeastern shore of Rikuchu, Japan. The dead woman is revealed to have been on a certain train several days earlier.

On said train, Dr. Kasuminome (霞の目博士, Kasuminome-hakase, Professor Hazyeye in the English translation) of the Dress Secret Organization (秘密組織ドレス, Himitsu Soshiki Doresu, Judas in the English translation), a covert government group responsible for creating secret weapons, escorts one of his latest creations, Baoh (バオー, Baō), kept dormant in a tank. Meanwhile, a little psychic girl named Sumire (スミレ, lit. "Violet"), who was kidnapped to be studied, escapes from her room and during her escape releases Baoh, revealed to be a young man with superhuman abilities. Baoh and Sumire subsequently escape the train, Kasuminome worried that he might have unleashed a terrible weapon.

Ikuro on the run

Ikuro battles various assassins and monsters

Fearful, Kasuminome immediately calls for an assassin to kill Baoh. Later, the boy and Sumire try to bond with each other, but a knife wielding assassin named N.22 stabs the former, forcing the duo to steal a motorbike and flee. The assassin reports his failure, and is ordered to gather more of his comrades to finish off Baoh before his power fully awakens. It is revealed that the boy, named Ikuro Hashizawa (橋沢 育朗, Hashizawa Ikurō), is amnesiac and doesn't remember how he obtained his uncanny strength and regeneration. N.22 soon attempts a second murder, slicing Ikuro's throat, but it only awakens Baoh, who dissolves N.22 before turning back into a human.

Later, a death squad is already searching for Ikuro and Sumire, who are busy betting on horse races to acquire money. Meanwhile, Kasuminome explains to his sponsors how deadly the Baoh, a parasite granting supernatural strength and several other abilities to even the weakest organisms the longer it stays inside of them. To demonstrate its potential, he pits a little Baoh dog against a tiger, a battle which Baoh wins. If Ikuro were to fully develop into a Baoh, he would wreak havoc upon the world and turn everything into a Baoh. Meanwhile, Ikuro and Sumire have settled inside an abandoned building, Ikuro sensing that something inside of him is changing. The death squad attacks the duo, but Ikuro transforms again into Baoh, decimating the squad. Unbeknownst to him, he is observed by another assassin.

Baoh senses the assassin, who reveals himself as a beastmaster commanding a heavily modfied giant mandrill named Martin. Due to its strength and many weapons hidden inside his body, Martin is more than a match for Baoh. Sumire, having sensed that Ikuro's humanity is still intact inside of Baoh, tries to stop the assassin from controlling Martin, only to be hurt. Enraged, Baoh finally overpowers Martin and kills both the beast and his master, healing and turning back into Ikuro.

Sumire taken hostage

Sumire is taken hostage by Dress

Walking through the mountains, Ikuro explains to Sumire that after a deadly car collision, Ikuro and his parents were heavily injured and taken to the hospital six months ago. Unfortunately, the doctor was linked to Dress, looking for guinea pigs at the time. Kasuminome callously killed Ikuro's parents under his eyes and took him away to inject the Baoh parasite inside of him. Back to the present, an old couple living in the area gives Ikuro and Sumire shelter and food. But during a moment the old man is isolated, another cyborg assassin emerges, hypnotizing the old man into waiting for midnight and shoot Ikuro in the head with his hunting rifle.

The cyborg named Dordo (ドルド, Dorudo) watches the house until the clock strikes midnight. The old man wakes up and tries to shoot Ikuro, who transforms into Baoh but senses that the old man is not his true enemy. Jumping through the roof, Baoh confronts Dordo who disables all of his sensory organs through chemicals released by a swarm of bats. Thankfully, the old man, who has come to his senses and guided by Sumire, shoots down the bats while taking a bullet. Baoh confronts Dordo, who is heavily wounded, but reveals his heavily modified body. He kidnaps Sumire to use her as bait and escapes with a delta plane to one of the Dress' headquarters near Sanriku. Ikuro is determined to free Sumire, but risks unleashing the beast inside of him for good.

Going away on a motorcycle given by the couple, Ikuro deems it necessary to learn to control his power first to have a chance to save Sumire. Meanwhile, Kasuminome chastises Dordo for his perceived failure and the danger of letting Baoh time to grow stronger. Meanwhile, Ikuro is forced to save a trapped girl from a speeding train and is pushed into managing to activate his acid touch without fully transforming. Humiliated by his hierarchy, Dordo goes out to snipe Ikuro, but his attempt is foiled thanks to Ikuro activating his super senses and strength to evade the bullets. Meanwhile, Sumire is experimented on, but the scientists cannot make her cooperate. Sumire then sees a hulking man, Walken (ウォーケン, Wōken) and is terrified. Walken is one of the most dangerous men in the world, gifted with extraordinary psychic powers and demonstrating it by willing a coffee cup into boiling.

Ikuro at the Dress facility

Baoh with a laser weapon

Taken back to the headquarters, Dordo is executed by Walken for his failure and is atomized into dust. To lure Baoh, Kasuminome purposefully tortures Sumire whose distress is detected by the weapon. Ikuro is already scaling the seaside cliff leading to a vulnerable side of the facility and, turning into Baoh, rampages through the security staff as well as survives death traps to reach Sumire's room. He is stopped by Walken, whose ability to destroy anything with a thought makes him invincible and his every attack deadly. Nonetheless, Baoh manages to stab inside Walken's brain by launching one of his arm blades and he finally reaches Sumire.

He is welcomed by a flurry of laser beams, and the attack does not faze Baoh but wounds Sumire. Seeing that Baoh is cornered, Kasuminome prepares to blow up the facility. Meanwhile, Baoh heals the girl with his blood. Walken has woken up, still alive despite his injury, and seeks Baoh for revenge. As the headgear restricting his psychic powers was destroyed by Baoh's attack, the full strength of Walken's abilities causes an earthquake inside the facility. As Sumire awakens, Walken finds them and destroys the floor. All of them, as well as Kasuminome who tried to escape in a pod, find themselves in a cavern. Telling Sumire to flee, Baoh uses one of the lasers to kill Walken for good, unintentionally fatally wounding Kasuminome in the process. The facility then self-destructs, causing the cavern to collapse.

Some time later, Sumire walks by the sea. She has been taken in by the old couple and lives a happy life while the incident at the research facility is covered up by the press. Looking at the water, she senses that Ikuro is dormant but alive at the bottom of the sea and predicts that he will return when she is seventeen and reunite with her.

Characters

Characters from Baoh the Visitor
Ikuro Hashizawa
Protagonist
Sumire
Ally
Sunny Stefen Nozzo
Ally
Dr. Kasuminome
Main Antagonist
Walken
Villain
Dordo
Villain
22nd Man
Villain
Masked Men
Villain
Martin
Villain
Cain & Bloody
Villain
Cain & Bloody
Villain
Dress Guards
Villains
Ikuro's Parents
Posthumous
Ikuro's Parents
Postuhumous
Shirasawa
Neutral
Aya (Baoh)
Neutral
Fishermen
Neutral

Volumes

Baoh Volume 001.png

Baoh Volume 1 Back.jpg

Release Date
ISBN
Japan September 10, 1985[4]
Chapter Titles
Baoh Volume 002.png

Baoh Volume 2 Back.jpg

Release Date
ISBN
Japan November 8, 1985[4]
Chapter Titles

  1. Aroma Bat (アロマ・バット, Aroma Batto)
  2. Cyborg Lieutenant Colonel Dordo (サイボーグ・ドルド中佐, Saibōgu Dorudo-chūsa)
  3. Come Out, Baoh (怪物(バオー)よ出でよ, Baō yo Ide yo)
  4. Demon Walken (魔人ウォーケン, Majin Wōken)
  5. Molecular Vibration! (分子振動!, Bunshi Shindō!)
  6. The Nepenthes Trap (ネペンテスの罠, Nepentesu no Wana)
  7. The Warrior's Warpaint (戦士の化粧, Senshi no Keshō)
  8. The Last Trump Card (最後の切り札, Saigo no Kirifuda)
  9. Submerged in the Darkness! (闇に沈め!, Yami ni Shizume!)

Adaptations

OVA

Main article: Baoh the Visitor (OVA)

The series was adapted into a single-episode original video animation (OVA) by Studio Pierrot in 1989; licensed for an English DVD release by AnimEigo in 2000, delayed until finally released in 2002.

Author's Note

Volume 1

Link to this sectionAuthor's Note
Araki Baoh Vol 1 Note.png
I was once asked, "If you could have a superpower, what would it be?" I immediately answered, “Transform!” because with transformation, you can be anything you want. I think one would eventually get bored of precognition and telekinesis after a while, but transforming would always be fun. You could mess with other people and go to different places...... I'm sure you'd be able to enjoy yourself forever without ever getting tired, which is why I'd like everyone to check out Baoh the Visitor. It's a cool story, but also a sad one at the same time.
超能力を持てるとしたら何? と聞かれ、ぼくは即「変身!」と答えました。何にでもなれるからです。

予知とか念力とかは、ある程度やると飽きてしまうと思います。 でも変身はきっと楽しいよ。 他人をからかったり、いろいろな所へ行ったり……。 きっと一生飽きずに遊べると思うな。そんなわけで『バオー来訪者』をどうぞ。カッコイイけど悲しいお話なんです。

週刊少年ジャンプ・S59年45号~

52号掲載分収録

Link to this sectionAfterword
Terasawa Baoh Vol 1 Afterword.jpg
I think my first contact with Araki was when I read his submission for the Tezuka Awards. Looking at his manuscripts, I was surprised and delighted at how similar are styles were. Araki is very meticulous with how he crafts his story, going over it several times before putting pen to paper. He's the type of person who only starts writing once he has a complete grasp of the dynamics of his characters, the circumstances they face, their outlook on the world, and so on. This method is the same one used by novelists and screenwriters, but for a serial manga artist is very detrimental.

Most of these subtle attentions to detail go unnoticed by the reader, like the sci-fi themes scattered throughout the story and the deliberate awe created by the protagonist. Nonetheless, this is precisely where a science fiction writer gets to put their skills to the test, trying to visualize what we can only see in our wildest dreams. I mentioned earlier that our styles were similar. That's because I felt that his approach to drawing manga was very close to mine. There are very few artists who can make sci-fi manga entertaining without compromising the overall quality of their work, and Araki is one of them. Given his current style, I think he'll continue to grow as a manga artist in the future.

It's important to recognize that science fiction manga isn't the same as novels or films. At first, this seems obvious, but I think it's something necessary to keep in mind. I hope the both of us will continue drawing science fiction manga until we truly understand what it means.
荒木さんの作品とのファースト・コンタクト(はじめてのふれあい)は、彼が出した手塚賞の応募原稿を読んだ時だったと思う。驚きそして喜んだ。なぜなら、彼は僕と同じにおいがしたからだ。

彼は何よりもまず、ストーリー展開を何度も緻密に練りあげてから構成していく。人間関係はもちろん、それを取り巻く状況、センス・オブ・ワンダーをどこに置くかなど、すべてを完壁に把握した上でなければ語り出さないタイプだ。とはいっても、これは小説や脚本を書くのと同じ手法であって、連載マンガ家としては非常に不利な一面を持っている。

みを求めるあまり、画面の中にちりばめられたSF的感性や主人公の中にある計算されたワンダーに、すべては大気のように気づかれず読み落とされる場合が多い。

しかし、SF作家はそこにこそ自らの資質をつぎ込み、自分の白中夢を映像化しようとこころみる。

先に、彼と僕は同じにおいがしたといったが、それは彼の求める作品の方向が、僕のそれと非常に近しいと感じたからだ。

SF漫画において、作品の質を低下させずになおかつ、エンターテイメントであろうとする作家は数少ない。彼はもちろんその中のひとりであり、今後、今のにおいを持ったまま成熟してゆくと思う。

SF漫画にSF小説でもSF映画でもない。あたりまえのことのように思えるが、SF漫画を描く上ではこの認識が最も重要であり、難しいものだと思う。

お互いそれを意識し、SF漫画というものが何者であるかを知るまで描き続けていきたいものだ。

Volume 2

Link to this sectionAuthor's Note
Araki Baoh Vol 2 Note.png
I love almond-shaped eyes; they feel mysterious with an intense ghostly air and loneliness to them.

The eyes of Sting (the musician), Madonna, Nastassja Kinski, Joe Asakura, and Kamui are full of mystery and that's why I love them. They're all very attractive!

...With that in mind, please enjoy volume two of Baoh the Visitor. Ikuro's eyes are also full of loneliness...
ぼくは吊りあがった目が大好きで、謎と熱い妖気と孤独を感じます。

スティング(ミュージシャン)、マドンナ、ナスターシャ・キンスキー、ガッチャマンのジョー、カムイらの目は特に謎めいていて、大好きです。みんなカッコイイ!

……と、あこがれて『バオー来訪者』第2巻をお楽しみください。育朗の目も孤独でいっぱいです……。

週刊少年ジャンプ・S60 年1・2 号~

11号掲載分収録

Link to this sectionAfterword
Yumemakura Baoh Vol 2 Afterword.jpg
I have been reading this unusually-powerful story with my undivided attention since its serialization in Shonen Jump. I appreciated that the artist didn't hold back in his drawings or in the storyline. Perhaps this is because what the author has been waiting to do for years boiled over all at once in this work.

If the persuasive power of a novel comes from its style, the persuasive power of a manga comes from its drawings. It's all about what kind of pictures you can present before the reader's eyes. The persuasiveness of those drawings is the persuasiveness of the manga itself. The small details fade away.

In that regard, when I laid eyes on the drawing of the Baoh parasite, I was struck by its eeriness—in other words, its persuasive power. When the reader is presented with such a drawing, they simply have to trust the author. Masaki Yamada once wrote that "science fiction is description," and I believe that manga is a form of description as well.

A sequel to this story will undoubtedly have to be drawn before long.
この異様な迫力を持った物語を、ぼくは少年ジャンプ連載時から注目して読んでいた。絵柄もストーリーも遠慮がないのがよかった。おそらくは、この作者が何年もあたためていたものが、この作品でいちどに噴き出したからであるう。

小説の説得力が"文体"によって生まれるのなら、漫画の説得力は"絵"であると思う。どのような"絵"を読者の目の前に差し出せるかである。その"絵"の説得力が、そのまま、その漫画の持つ説得力になる。小さな理屈はどこかに消えてしまう。

そういう意味で、寄生虫であるバオーの"絵"を見た時、その不気味さ、つまり説得力にぼくはうなってしまった。このような"絵"を見せられれば、読者はその作家信用してしまうのである。「SFは描写だ」と、山田正紀氏(SF作家)が何かに書いていたが、漫画も描写であるとぼくは思う。

この物語の続編は、やがて必ず描かれねばならないものであろう。


Afterword

Link to this sectionBaoh the Visitor Bunko Edition Afterword
When I started writing Baoh the Visitor, I moved my workplace from my hometown of Sendai to Tokyo. Up until that point, I had been working alone, drawing at my own house. If I had a fax machine and an efficient photocopier like I do now, and could get to the editorial department in about two hours via bullet train, perhaps I wouldn’t have moved.

However, at the time Baoh began serialization in 1984, courier services had barely been established in Sendai, so my work schedule was already constrained. I didn't want to move to Tokyo in the summer because of the hot and humid weather, as well as the small size of the place (which I'm still not used to), but after some encouragement I took the plunge. And now, looking back, I can only remember the positives of coming to Tokyo.

Firstly, the people there were human, too. I got to know people with different ideas and information, and was shocked at the different ways of looking at things, and being able to see and hear new things was the biggest plus in terms of studying. There were books on sale by painters and designers I had never seen before, and I became obsessed with food I had never eaten before. I really admired the painters Frank Frazetta, Enki Bilal, and Antonio Lopez. I was surprised by the beauty and fashion sense of designer stores like Missoni and Versace. I also watched MTV shows late at night, and I got to see performances of Madonna and African American rap music for the first time. I brought the question I had been pondering since my previous work, Cool Shock B.T., with me to Tokyo: "How can I develop my own art style?" As I studied, I realized I had a lot of work to do.

The idea for Baoh the Visitor came to me while I was working in Sendai. Since I had depicted an "intellectual conflict" in Cool Shock B.T., I thought about creating a setting and protagonist based on the theme of "the body" for my next work. I wanted to write a story about the topic of creating biological weapons using the cloning and genetic engineering techniques already available in 1984. The abilities used by the protagonist had to be sufficiently biological and logical, even if they were exaggerated. I also wanted to depict the story's progression with a similar rhythm to rock music. That's what it felt like to me, anyway. It had to be like the groove I'd seen on MTV since I came to Tokyo, full of the shrieks, the crescendos, the "Barubarubarubaru!" of life.

Once serialization began and the story progressed, I began to feel that, while genes could be a strange and wonderful concept, there's also something sad about them. Perhaps something like fate exists within one's own genes. For around ten years after its conclusion, I was often asked whether I would continue Baoh the Visitor. However, I think it's best to keep the end of Baoh here. The heroine, a young girl, grows up with a sense of hope for the future. I drew the last chapter with the feeling that the future is driven by hope, and I believe this "ode to life" was inherited by a work I started two years later, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. In regard to that art style challenge I had during my Cool Shock B.T. days, I wonder if I'll continue to study and hone my skills from here on? In that regard, I'm hopeful for the future.

I lost the manuscript for the full-color illustration of this book at some point, probably when the Shueisha building was being renovated, and I haven't been able to find it since. That's why I decided to use a magazine cover from the time of its publication. In other words, the original cover doesn't exist anymore...
本作品『バオー来訪者』執筆から、わたしは仕事場を故郷の仙台から東京に移した。それまでの作品は、故郷の自宅でひとりで描いていたわけだ。そして、現在のようにFAXや性能のいいコピー機があって、新幹線で約2時間で編集部まで行かれてたなら、仕事場をもしかしたら東京に移していなかったかもしれない、とも思う。

でも『バオー』連載時の一九八四年当時は、やっと宅配便のシステムが出来た程度で、故郷で仕事するのは、時間的にもう限界に来ていた。夏、あついのはヤだし、土地は狭そうだし(現在でもけっこう慣れてない)上京するのはいやだったけれど、背中をドンと押されて上京したというわけだ。 そして今、思い返すと、上京して良かったと思う点しかあがらない。

まず、やっぱり人間だ。いろんな考えや情報を持った人と知りあえて、いろんな物の見方にショックを受けて、見たり聞いたり出来たので、勉強という点では最大にプラスになっている。見た事もない画家やデザイナーの本が売ってるし、食べた事もない料理に夢中になった。

フランク・フラゼッタとかエンキ・ビラル、アントニオ・ロペスといった画家は、本当に好きになった。ミッソーニとかヴェルサーチといったデザイナーの店の美しさやセンスのよさにビックリした。それと、MTVのテレビ番組も深夜やってて、マドンナとか黒人ラップとかも初めて見た。 わたしの前作『魔少年ビーティー』からの作品的な課題で「自分なりの絵をどう描くか?」それをひきずって上京したわたしは、研究したり勉強したり「やる事がいっぱいあるなあ」と思った。

『バオー来訪者』のアイデア自体は、仙台の時からあって、「魔少年ビーティー』で「知力」の闘いを描いたから、次作は「肉体」をテーマにして設定と主人公をつくってみようと思っていた。一九八四年当時のし(・・)て来た、クローンだとか遺伝子操作の科学技術で、生物兵器を作ってる話にしよう。主人公が使うワザは、ちゃんと生物学的に、誇張はしてても筋道が通ったモノでなくてはいけない。そして、それをロックのリズムでストーリーが展開していく様に描こう。そう思った。東京に来てから見たMTVとかのノリ(・・)の様にギャアーーンだとかバルバルバルだとかドッバァァァァンとかいった、生命感あふれるノリ。

そして連載が始まり、どんどん話をすすめていくと、描いているうちに「遺伝子」ってなんて不思議でスバらしいメカニズムであると同時に、なんか悲しいところもあるなあと感じるようになって来た。たぶん、運命のようなものが遺伝子の中に存在するからかもしれない。 よく『バオー来訪者』の続きは描かないのですか?と、完結後10年くらい言われた。でも、『バオー』のラストは、ここで「終わり」を保っとくのが一番いいと、自分では思っている。主人公の女の子が、希望をいだきながら成長していく。未来のことは希望の中にこそあると、自分は描いている途中で感じ、そしてこのラストは、生命の讃歌として、この2年後の作品『ジョジョの奇妙な冒険』が受け継いでいると自分では思う。

最後に「自分なりの絵をどう描ーか?」という『魔少年ビーティー』からの課題も、これからもずっと研究して修業していくのかな? と希望の中に思っているというわけ。

本書のロ絵の4色カラーは、(たぶん集英社のビル建て直しの時だと思う)原稿が紛失してしまって、どうしても見つからない。しかし、だからあえて発表当時のジャンプの表紙として載せる事にした。という事で、もう存在しないわけ…。

Gallery

Trivia

  • Baoh was Araki's first successful manga series and allowed him to afford his first trip abroad, to England. However, Araki found the trip difficult as he didn't understand English and wasn't familiar with the food.
  • According to Araki, the name "Baoh" comes from the term "Bio" as in Biotechnology, which was a hot topic at the time of Baoh's publication.[6]
  • VIZ planned to bring JoJo's Bizarre Adventure to America in the early 1990s. They ran a blurb about it in their promo newsletter Viz-In under the name "The Strange Adventures of JoJo".[7] However, the plan collapsed when Baoh sold poorly in America.[3]
  • Hiroyuki Takei, the manga artist of Shaman King, said that Baoh the Visitor was one of his favorite series along with JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in his youth.[8]

Cameos

Notes

  1. Some chapters were fused together for volumization.

References

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