JOJO JOURNEY (September 2013)

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Published September 19, 2013

A commentary on the JoJo series from Hirohiko Araki in the History book in JOJOVELLER, released on September 19, 2013. It begins on page 145 and ends on page 157.


Parts 1-3: Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, and Stardust Crusaders

As mentioned during the interview with Mr. Kabashima, Dio was the character I wanted to depict in Part 1. It felt as though the story existed to portray him, and I was always thinking about how Dio should proceed. I wanted to draw a manga that illustrated the stark contrast between the hero and his rival, like good and evil or black and white. Because of that, the enemy had to be powerful for it to be fascinating. So I wanted Dio to be the "ultimate evil," someone that would force the reader to ask, "How is the protagonist going to beat him?" But at the same time, I also wanted to make him an evil that readers could sympathize with and even admire a little.

I made Dio the ultimate evil, so in contrast Jonathan became too pure of a character. If I wrote Jonathan today, I would have given him a bit of a different flavor, but I was young at the time. The main character's name, Jonathan, doesn't have a particularly deep meaning. The main character is a foreigner, so I wanted to make the name easy for readers to remember. I felt the name would make a stronger impression if it utilized alliteration, like Steven Spielberg, so I ultimately went with Jonathan Joestar. It's more common now, but at the time there weren't many manga starring foreigners as the main characters, so the unfamiliarity of it left me a bit uncomfortable. I myself was aware that it probably wouldn't be popular while drawing it, but I also felt that I wanted this kind of thing to become accepted.

Dio serves as an evolution of B.T., the main character in Cool Shock B.T. As a character, he exceeds B.T. in demonstrating the darker aspects of human emotion, such as jealousy and hunger. Even portraying Dio, the villain of the work, might have had an effect on my own mental state. I don't get frustrated often, but in my day-to-day life I would, for example, suddenly think dark thoughts or look down on people from Dio's perspective, as if they were mere insects. Just like when I was working on Cool Shock B.T., I was aiming to create a kind of anti-shonen manga with Parts 1 and 2, a cheeky attempt to challenge and explore Weekly Shonen Jump's world of friendship, perserverance, and triumph.

Joseph, the protagonist of Part 2 of the series, was also given his name simply to be a "JoJo" like Jonathan, and again it has no deeper meaning. The reason for his light-hearted personality was to create a contrast between him and Jonathan, who was more serious. What I wanted to do within the story was depict the strongest and most terrifying kind of person. By using ultimate lifeforms as the enemies, I was able to depict precisely that, the apex of the food chain.

At the time, I was anxious about having to create my own style. My predecessors, the famous writers of the 1970s, each had their own individual style. I believed there was some important meaning behind that. But just because my manga wasn't popular, I thought, that's no reason to suddenly switch to drawing sports manga or romantic comedy manga. I began to believe that "I have to push myself to the limit," and that "I can't let myself falter." I had to push myself to live up to that at first, but I've kept it up to this day. If I ever hit a dead end, that might just be the end of it... if I let myself believe that there's always a path forward, that is.

The main characters in Parts 1 and 2 were foreigners, so I guess it had to be a Japanese person in Part 3, huh? But the destination was Egypt, and besides, many of my friends were foreigners too, heheh. As for the main character's name, the "jo" in Jotaro means "to inherit." It's actually read as "sho," but sometimes it appears in the names of temples with the reading "jo," so I decided to go with that. The Kujo surname came from Hōjō, the regent clan of the Kamakura shogunate, since I had gone to Kamakura for an interview around the time Part 3 started. And so, JoJo became Jotaro Kujo.

Parts 4-6: Diamond is Unbreakable, Vento Aureo, and Stone Ocean

The name of Part 4's protagonist, Josuke Higashikata, also doesn't have any deep meaning. The idea behind it is that the name of the protagonist should be memorable. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but as long as it's somewhat unrealistic and abbreviates to JoJo, it should be fine.

In Part 4, I thought a lot about the antagonist. In Part 2, I depicted the ultimate lifeform Kars, and in Part 3, I depicted DIO, who wanted to rule the world. I looked for a new concept of evil distinct from any evil I had depicted before, and I arrived at the character of Kira. I imagined seeing human beings from the perspective of the universe or of God, and I asked myself: What exactly is evil? Could good and evil be ambiguous? For example, what if someone commits murder as a hobby? What if someone existed for whom murder was a necessity, and something they couldn't exist without?

Murder as a hobby is a terrifying concept, and it fits with the city setting. Yoshikage Kira is a man who doesn't resent his cursed life. He is a character who recognizes the curse of his obsession with beautiful hands and tries to move forward nonetheless. In that sense, he is just a bit different from the villains in my other works.

In Part 5: Vento Aureo, the thing I had the most difficulty drawing was the protagonist, Giorno, or more specifically his eyebrows. The previous protagonists had thick, pitch-black eyebrows, but with Giorno, I wanted to try drawing thinner eyebrows. It was fine for a supporting character like Kakyoin to have thin eyebrows, but for the main character, I found it challenging at first. The style of shonen manga used to prioritize thick eyebrows, and I was used to that. But since I considered it a challenge, I took care to draw him as calmly as possible.

I also tried to incorporate a feeling of gender neutrality in Part 5. The fashion largely consists of feminine apparel, and Bucciarati even has the haircut of a little girl, heheh. But my main goal was to depict the world of man. It was the challenge of the artwork and the full manifestation of the world of man in Part 5 that allowed me to introduce a female protagonist in Part 6. I had already decided before the first meeting that Part 6: Stone Ocean would have a female protagonist. I felt that I could do something now that I couldn't in Gorgeous Irene. I had thought about having a girl as the main character in earlier parts, but once I began drawing Giorno in Part 5, I had the strong feeling that next time, it would definitely be a girl.

I wanted to make the girl tough and realistic enough that she could handle a nosebleed or a severed arm. The reason why the story takes place in a prison is because I wanted to show off that toughness. Part 5 traveled all across Italy, so this time I chose the enclosed space of a prison. Jolyne can fight, but I also wanted to show the curvature of a woman's body, so that's why I chose the outfit I did for her. I also put a lot of emphasis on the silhouette of each character, and so I wanted to create a design that wouldn't clash with the silhouettes of the main characters of the previous parts. So I designed her with two dumplings on her head.

Incidentally, the subtitles were first added in Part 6. As for the title of Stone Ocean, I included the word "ocean" to symbolize the femininity of the main character. Like in the phrase "mother ocean" and like how ships are usually named after women, the sea symbolizes womanhood all over the world. The word "stone" evokes the image of a stone prison. So Stone Ocean represents both a prison and a woman's heart. And her Stand, Stone Free, symbolizes breaking free of the prison, or something like that.

And since I had the chance, I gave subtitles to Parts 1 through 5 as well. Part 1: Phantom Blood was inspired by the blood relationship between Jonathan and Dio, as well as the fantasy, mythology, and magic a bloodline brings to mind. Part 2: Battle Tendency was mainly influenced by the times. It was the height of the bubble economy, and the general feeling of society was "on to the next one, on to the next one" or, "get richer, get bigger!" The social background was such that the tendency to battle grew stronger and stronger, all the way up to the ultimate lifeform... That's the image I intended to convey.

The subtitle of Part 3: Stardust Crusaders references the word "stardust," which is associated with the Joestar Family and Star Platinum. The image created is that of a crusade against the enemy, DIO. Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable is an indomitable fighting spirit that simply cannot be broken, no matter what. And Part 5 is Vento Aureo, the image of the air or wind (vento) of the four elements and the refreshing feeling Giorno gives off. I had put minerals like platinum and gold in the names of the previous protagonists' Stands, so I wanted to reflect that in the subtitles of the parts after Part 3, along with the four major elements of nature: air, fire, earth, and water. So I included the names of minerals such as gold (aureo) and diamond. It was also around this time that I published the artbook JOJO A-GO!GO!.

Before Part 6 began serialization, I went to the U.S. to do research. I was given special access to the inside of a prison, which was an invaluable experience. I was shown the wing inside the prison where the thugs were kept. I was told that the thugs were locked up in transparent hard-glass cells and spent the day watching a TV outside their rooms. It really did feel just like a movie. Like I said in the interview with Mr. Azuma, I got sick to my stomach during the visit. Haha. Anyway, the security was so tight that every time I got on the elevator or entered another block, the door would close behind me with a bang. I didn't know where I was going or how I would get there, and I began to hyperventilate, thinking, "What if I can't get out?" I was seriously concerned for my well-being, so I took a rest on a sofa in the corridor, but I heard later that the man sitting next to me was a criminal waiting to be locked up. Ha. It really was a rare experience.

Parts 7-8: Steel Ball Run and JoJolion

I envisioned Steel Ball Run as a story about starting again from a place where everything has been destroyed. The story of Stands ended once in Part 6, but I wanted to revive it once more, or perhaps I could even call it a renaissance. There's the feeling of a parallel world to it, perhaps a continuation of the universe that came full circle at the end of Part 6, or perhaps not. In Part 7: Steel Ball Run, the words "reincarnation," "rotation," "spiral," and "infinite energy" were used to form the image of the work, and I named one of the main characters, Gyro, after the gyro effect of a spinning top. The title Steel Ball Run was chosen because I wanted to create a sense of unstoppability, and also because it reminded me of a race and the image of steel.

When it was first serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, the title was just Steel Ball Run, without any mention of JoJo. This was a request from the editorial department, who thought that calling the work a new series would attract more readers. But in my mind, it was always JoJo. That's why I brought the JoJo title back when I moved to Ultra Jump. If I may talk about the drawings for a bit, I wanted to create a western atmosphere for Steel Ball Run. I tried to make the lines I drew a bit more jagged to evoke the desert atmosphere, and I also tried to make the lines on the faces and the proportions thinner.

After drawing four volumes' worth of manga, I moved to Ultra Jump. I chose Ultra Jump because Mr. Ito worked there, and because none of the other seinen magazines had as many pages, so there really was no other option for me. I had it in mind from the beginning that Shueisha was the only publisher for me, but I began to think that it would be alright to work for a publisher other than Weekly Shonen Jump, because I was in a period of crisis as a manga artist, or perhaps because I couldn't imagine what would happen to me if I stayed there... Those were the types of doubts I had at the time. I talked it over with Mr. Kabashima, who was my first supervisor... But the final decision was mine to make.

After moving to Ultra Jump, I escalated the series in various ways, like introducing a mysterious corpse and a new enemy in the form of the president. Also, compared to the previous series, I drew a lot more of the pasts of the protagonists, Gyro and Johnny. In a weekly series, I would have to return to the present and draw a separate scene to illustrate that "this week is a story from the past" in 19 pages or less, which made things very hectic. But in a monthly series, I have a lot of pages to draw what I want. That's another benefit.

Ultra Jump prints better than Weekly Shonen Jump (haha), so I wanted to make my drawings more realistic. It wasn't that I had a theme before and wanted to change it, but rather that I didn't want to lose out to the print quality, and the change came about naturally. Even with color illustrations, Ultra Jump gives off the feeling that the colors will come out deeper in print. At first, I didn't really understand that, so there were times when I thought, "I should have applied a few more layers of color here." But once I understood it, I changed the way I applied the colors instead. The story of Steel Ball Run itself had the image of "rebirth," but after the transfer, I feel that the way I draw manga was also able to be reborn.

JoJolion is also a kind of parallel world. It's a world next door to the Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan series. The main character, Josuke Higashikata, wears a sailor suit, giving off the image of a person in distress. The image conveyed is that of a person who has lost his memory in the disaster.

The origin of the title is as I wrote in the cover comment of Volume 2. I wanted to include the word JoJo, and I also wanted it to have a monumental meaning. So I just connected the two and came up with JoJolion. When I first asked my editor, Mr. Ito, about it, he said, "Huh? What do you mean?" and I thought, "Well, that's not good." Haha. I came up with a lot of other titles. One of them was JOJOmenon. It was later used as the title of a mook. I also thought about JoJo Town, since it takes place in Morioh. I didn't take it very seriously. I just wanted people to get the feeling that the title was a little archaic. Even if they didn't understand the meaning, it was fine. All they needed to know was that it was the new JoJo work.

I wonder how long I'll be able to continue as a manga artist. I've thought for a long time that I'll last until around 60, but I wonder what will happen. As I get older, the time I'll have to sit around will keep getting shorter, and I'll be worn out more and more often, meaning I'll have less time to work. I think I'll keep looking for ways to serve readers while doing so. Instead of serializing my work on a weekly or monthly basis, I think I'd like to spend a lot of time drawing, and then have readers experience it in a newly-published book. That's the kind of manga artist I might become.

To Be Continued...

The idea of becoming a manga artist first solidified itself in my mind in high school, when someone else of my generation made their debut. I became impatient, thinking, "They've gotten ahead of me!" I had appreciated manga since I was in elementary school, but back then I didn't have a distinct goal of working as a manga artist. But I would read manga, analyze them, categorize them, and keep a notebook of them. For example, I would write things like, "There's only one genre for horror manga, but Shigeru Mizuki and Kazuo Umezu's manga are so different," and so on. I would also analyze a movie by breaking down the overall length with such questions as, "At what point does the main character appear? At what point does the incident occur?" That was how I viewed manga, movies, and paintings.

When I was in elementary school, I had friends who were fanatics in various fields. An audiophile friend would say, "That amplifier has a softer sound because of the vacuum tubes inside," or a bicycle enthusiast friend would say, "There are two kinds of screws to fasten pedals, and this one looks cooler," or my art-lover friends would say, "Gauguin does this part so well. But Da Vinci is so different from the rest!" Some of my friends had a huge collection of records, even though they were in elementary school, haha. Among them was a friend who would critique the manga I drew. He also gave me constructive criticism. He was the same type of person as Mr. Kabashima, my first supervisor. Maybe it was that kind of environment that led me to become a manga artist. It's a bit strange, now that I think about it. I think I lived in the countryside of Sendai, but maybe the culture there was unusual.

As a manga artist, I think it's important to always try new things. That is something Weekly Shonen Jump taught me when I first started out. I was taught that I should never draw the same thing as some other artist or work, and I've been trying to maintain that while taking on new challenges. I feel a little strange about the magazines. In some ways, it's like I draw for Weekly Shonen Jump and Ultra Jump themselves. Of course, I want the readers to be happy with my work, but I draw for the editors and staff who commission me... In metaphorical terms, I am the artist who made a sculpture at the request of a Roman emperor or created a painting for the Pope. That's how I feel.

JoJo also carries the theme of overcoming destiny. When the protagonist is driven into a corner, the author himself feels the same way as the protagonist, because he doesn't know what to do either. How the author overcomes the crisis perfectly aligns with how the protagonist overcomes the crisis. When I draw manga in that way, I come to the conclusion that the human way of life is to overcome. I'm sure that the same feeling applies to, say, agriculture, where nature is overcome in order to grow crops. Whether growing tomatoes or drawing manga, you challenge something and overcome it. I believe that is the human way of life, and I would like to continue to depict that human way of life through JoJo.

[Translated by HudgynS]


Hirohiko Araki Interview
荒木飛呂彦 インタビュー

★ 第1部 ファントムブラッド
★ 第2部 戦闘潮流
★ 第3部 スターダスト クルセイダース




『魔少年ビーティー』を描いていた頃もそうだったんだけど、第1部や第2部の当時に目指していたのは少年漫画へのアンチっていうか、友情・努力・勝利っていう「週刊少年ジャンプ」(以下、WJ) の世界に挑戦して開拓していこうっていう生意気な気持ちもありました。



第3部は、第1部と第2部の主人公が外国人で続いたので、日本人になったっていうのはあるかな。でも向かう場所はエジプトだし、仲間も外国人が多かったんですが (笑)。

★ 第4部 ダイヤモンドは砕けない
★ 第5部 黄金の風
★ 第6部 ストーンオーシャン

第4部では、「悪のキャラクター」については色々と考えましたね。第2部ではカーズという究極生命体を描いて、第3部では世界の支配を目指したDIOを描いたんだけど、以前に描いた悪とは違う新しい悪の概念を探して、それで辿り着いたのが吉良というキャラクター。宇宙だとか神の視点から見る人間を想像し、「悪っていったい何だろう?」「善悪とは実は曖昧なものではないか」という考えから生まれました。例えばもし殺人が趣味というヤツがいたら? 殺人が生きるために必要なことで、それが無くなったら存在できないヤツがいるとしたら?


また第5部では中性的な感じを取り入れることにも挑戦しました。ファッションも女性っぽいものを着せたり、ブチャラティなんか女の子の髪型だし (笑)。だけど目指したのは「男の世界」を描くことでした。絵の面での挑戦、そして存分に「男の世界」を描いた第5部があったからこそ、第6部で女性主人公に持って行けたという面はありますね。



「スターダスト クルセイダース」という第3部のサブタイトルは、「スターダスト」が「ジョースター」家とか「スタープラチナ」から連想される言葉。「DIOという敵に向かっていく聖戦」のイメージですね。 第4部の「ダイヤモンドは砕けない」ってのは何があっても壊れない不屈の闘志。
第5部は4大元素の空気 (風) を入れて、ジョルノの爽やかさもイメージして「黄金の風」。歴代主人公のスタンドには、プラチナとかゴールドみたいに鉱物の名前を入れていたんですけど、第3部以降の部のサブタイトルにも鉱物の名前と、加えて空気・火・土・水といった自然界の4大元素を入れたいというのがあったんですよ。それで黄金とかダイヤモンドといった鉱物系の名前を割り当てていったんです。

画集「JOJO A-GO!GO!」を出したのもこの頃ですね。

東さんもインタビューで言ってるけど、僕は見学中に気分が悪くなっちゃって (笑)。とにかくセキュリティがすごくて、エレベーターに乗ったり1ブロック進むたびに扉が「ガーン!」って閉まるんですよ。自分がどこをどう進んでいるのかも分からなくなって、「出られなくなるかも⁉」って思ったら過呼吸になっちゃった。「これはまずい」と思って廊下のソファで休んでいたんですが、隣に座っていた男の人が、後で聞いたら入獄待ちの犯罪者だったっていう (笑)。ホント、そういうレアな体験をしました。

★ 第7部 スティール・ボール・ラン
★ 第8部 ジョジョリオン


WJでの連載時は『スティール・ボール・ラン』だけで、タイトルに『ジョジョ』が入っていません。これは「新連載」と銘打ったほうが読者の食いつきはいいだろう、という編集部からの要請でした。でも自分の中では『ジョジョ』。「ウルトラジャンプ」(以下、UJ) に移籍した時に『ジョジョ』を復活させたのも、そういうことですね。



UJはWJに比べて印刷がいいので (笑)、絵をリアルに描きたくなりました。テーマを持って変えようと思ったわけじゃなくて「印刷に負けないようにしよう」と思ったら自然に変わったんです。

タイトルの由来は第2巻のカバーコメントに描いたとおり。「ジョジョ」という言葉を入れたかったのと、記念碑的な意味を込めたかったからです。それでそのままふたつを繋げて『ジョジョリオン』。最初に担当編集の井藤さんに聞かせたら、「え? なんスか、それ」って言われて、「ちょっとヤバいかな」と思ったけど (笑)。
タイトルは他にも色々と考えましたよ。そのうちのひとつが「ジョジョメノン」。後にムックのタイトルとして活かされてますけど (笑)。杜王町が舞台なんで「ジョジョタウン」ってタイトルもあったかな。割と軽い気持ちですよ。ちょっと時代からずれていたりとか、そういう雰囲気を感じてもらえればいいんであって、意味が分からなくても「『ジョジョ』の新作だ」って分かってくれればそれでよかったんです。

★ To Be Continued


小学生の頃は友達にも各分野のマニアみたいな人がいました。オーディオの友人だと「あのアンプは真空管がこうだから、出てくる音が柔らかいんだ」とか、自転車の友人だと「ペダルを止めるネジは2種類あって、こっちのネジがカッコいいんだ」とか、美術好きの友達は「ゴーギャンのここがいい。ダ・ヴィンチはここが他と違う!」みたいな話をしたりとか。膨大な数のレコードを持っている友達もいましたねぇ、小学生なのに (笑)。そんな中には僕が描いた漫画を批評してくれる友達もいた。彼がまた的確な批評をくれるんですよ。初代担当の椛島さんみたいなタイプ (笑)。
僕が漫画家になったのはそういう周りの環境も大きかったのかもしれない。今にして思うとちょっと変ですかね (笑)。僕が住んでいたのは仙台市の中でも田舎のほうだと思うんですけど、変わった文化圏だったのかもしれませんね。




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