JoJonium Vol. 4-7 (February 2014)

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Published February 4, 2014
First volume of the JoJonium release of Battle Tendency

A series of interviews by Hirohiko Araki included in the JoJonium release of Battle Tendency, which were published in four volumes between February 4, 2014, and May 2, 2014.[1][2]


Volume 4 (Joseph Joestar)

Joseph Joestar was the one who took up the torch from the original JoJo, Jonathan Joestar, to become the main character of the second generation. Looking back on it, it seems that a lot of fans feel as if the two of them look rather identical. The thing is, when this was originally being serialized, it was unprecedented to have a main character die in a Weekly Shonen Jump story. "The manga has the same title, but it now has a different main character"—it was difficult to think of a way to overcome the reader's perception that it had turned into an entirely different manga altogether! That's why I decided to keep Joseph's appearance the same as Jonathan's but change his personality. Now that the series is up to Part 8, though, I wish I had differentiated the appearances of the protagonists of Parts 1 and 2 a bit more (laughs).

As mentioned when discussing Jonathan, Dio is the black to Jonathan's white—rather passive and perhaps a bit uninteresting as a main character. Joseph, on the other hand, is easier to perceive as being proactive, and I felt like that worked. As I wrote Joseph's tale, it was more as if he was in control of how the story progressed, so I think he ended up being more of an "adventurer," if you will. In comparison to the gentlemanly Jonathan, Joseph is constantly looking to win in confrontations or games and will do insane things without hesitation. In more crude terms, he has the personality of a swindler. This isn't only to create a contrast between him and Jonathan, but also because I wanted the focus to shift from the physical battles of Part 1 to more cerebral confrontations.

Back then, as an extension of my other work, Cool Shock B.T., I wanted to make Joseph a shonen manga character that bends the rules as he fights. Essentially, have him use the playbook of a swindler to win using cunning and logic. I also didn't want him to be the type of character who wins with bravery and perseverance, so it was easier to flesh out his personality with lines like "Your next line is…" where he ends up reading the actions of his opponent ahead of time. To put it simply, Joseph is more of a muscle-bound B.T. I put some Stallone into B.T. and added some cheerfulness for good measure to make him more of a jolly fellow.

Joseph is the character that connects the Joestar bloodline to Parts 3 and 4. I made Jonathan die for the storyline in Part 1, but I didn't even consider killing off Joseph. If I had known JoJo would go on until Part 8, I think I might have changed his visual design a little bit.

Q. Why does Joseph have a hat and goggles?

A. To help differentiate him from Jonathan. Part 2 takes place when airplanes were first becoming prevalent. That's why I gave him a pilot's hat with goggles--sort of a steampunk or biker look.




Volume 5 (Lisa Lisa)

Lisa Lisa the Ripple teacher. For the second JoJo, I had a female character play the part of the Ripple master. This idea originally stemmed from me wondering what it would be like for a female to follow up the original Ripple master, Mr. Zeppeli from Part 1. There actually weren't too many female characters in JoJo's at that point, but she works well paired with Joseph and Caesar, doesn't she? There are times where I simply think, "no…a guy or an older man just wouldn't work here" and pick characters based on the balance of the group. The first obstacle with Lisa Lisa's character was her name. Back then, if you picked a non-Japanese name for your character, it was a challenge to get the audience to remember it. That's why I picked Lisa Lisa--I had hoped that like with JoJo, a repetitious name would help. It also phonetically resembles Japanese to some extent.

When this part was originally serialized, the girls that showed up in Shonen manga were all cute types--essentially the stereotype of "a man's ideal girl." Readers weren't looking for a realistic portrayal of women, but instead, the type of girl that giggles during a conversation with heart marks appearing next to her. That's why I think a warrior-type character like Lisa Lisa felt fresh. Mr. Zeppeli in Part 1 was a very gentle character, and to contrast with that, I made her what you would call a "sadistic" character today. There was a girl in my neighborhood who would tutor me toward the end of elementary school. She was incredibly smart and it was very intimidating for me! Not that she was a sadist or anything (laughs). I think I was inspired by that moment, that exhilarating "nervousness" that I felt around my female tutor. It's normal to see strong women these days, but back then, it was unheard of in shonen manga, not to mention society in general. It was exciting to challenge people's expectations through the medium of Weekly Shonen Jump by having a woman train the main character so he can get stronger.

In addition to functioning as someone's master, people also weren't used to seeing a woman fight. When displaying the strength of a character, for example, if it's an old man, there could be a backstory where he spent his youth doing harsh training therefore he was able to learn the techniques and become a master. That would explain why he can catch a fly using chopsticks…but for a woman, there needs to be something more substantive to back it up. In a match, common sense dictates that the physically stronger would win, but I realized that if you add supernatural abilities into the mix, a woman can fight on even footing with a strong male opponent. In other words, if the battle is between those with supernatural powers, physical appearance has nothing to do with strength. The Ripple is Lisa Lisa's supernatural ability. The idea of "looks being irrelevant in super natural abilities" is what led to the introduction of Stands in part 3.

Q. What inspired the look of the Pillar Men?

A. Roman sculptures, the sphinx, Japanese Nio statues, etc. By basing them on the kind of sculptures you would see in temples or shrines, it gave them a mythical aura while also feeling familiar. Quite a bizarre juxtaposition, if I do say so myself.




Volume 6 (Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli)

For Part 1, I wasn't able to draw the friendship aspect of a rival pairing. Jonathan and Dio didn't really have that sort of relationship. That's why I had Caesar, who inherited the Zeppeli bloodline, appear along with a Joestar. Weekly Shonen Jump is a shonen magazine after all, so I wanted to include something that portrayed friendship in a positive light. Caesar's trademark is, of course, his bandanna with the triangle marks on it. Even now, I still strongly associate this design with Caesar--not necessarily because Caesar wore it, but because I like the way the colors contrast on the bandanna.

This is going off on a tangent, but I like to play on "bizarreness" even when I draw in color, so I pay a lot of attention to how I combine colors with one another. For example--aqua and pink, blue and white. Those combinations are my secret weapons--they give quite an impact even when looking from a distance. I'm sure you think color pages use all kinds of different colors, but there many times where I only use two colors plus a few more muted ones. It's really helpful for me to use markings like this one where I can combine alternating colors.

Both Caesar and Joseph are Ripple users that inherited the bloodlines of their grandfathers. When I decided to draw these characters, I already wanted to associate their supernatural Ripple ability with their last names. In other words, I wanted each user to have a different Ripple, each with its own unique design. That's why I gave Joseph the "trickster" style of Ripple he has, and Caesar his bubbles. Bubbles pop easily, so many of you may think of them as being fleeting. I had not only read a lot of shonen manga, but a lot of books as well, and I was never a huge fan of the main character getting some sort of unbeatable, ultimate weapon. He may be stronger than before, but you feel like it's essentially over at that point. I like equipping the characters with weapons with faults and have them try to cover for them through strategy, and I feel like it's more fun to write something where you deal with the different merits and demerits that each of them have. I feel like Caesar's bubbles were a perfect representation of his fate and the burden he was carrying. I was able to play with the visual aspects of them as well by having him morph the round bubbles into discs for his Cutter, or use them as lenses. There are infinite possibilities that can come of a spherical shape like a bubble. I consider that to be a very important aspect of JoJo. Both Gyro in Part 7: Steel Ball Run, as well as Josuke in Part 8: JoJolion inherit these spheres, and my stance on that hasn't changed from when I originally drew Caesar.

Q. What is the reason behind Caesar's pose?

A. I wanted to convey a crucifixion--in other words, his future. Sort of a sense of preparedness for what's to come. I believe it represents the fate of the Zeppelis--to forge a path for the Joestars.




Volume 7 (Kars)

The first thing I wanted to consider when writing the characters of Kars and the Pillar Men was how they would surpass Dio. We're talking about ultimate beings, so you first have to consider the fact that those who put on the stone mask become vampires, thus surpassing humanity. Therefore, I had to take things up a notch to the level of gods. That's why I based the four of their appearances (including Santana) on Roman statues, Egyptian sphinxes and Japanese nio statues--to give them a strange physical beauty as godlike figures in organic form. The reason Kars's ability, the Brilliant Bone Blade, was a Light Mode was because I thought a shining blade was appropriate for a godlike technique. At the same time, I wanted to visually express to the readers that defeating Kars would be impossible.

I think the Light Mode: Brilliant Bone Blade reminded a lot of readers of Reskiniharden Saber Phenomenon from my previous work, Baoh the Visitor. While we're not speaking of scientific development per se, there were aspects of Kars's quest to become the epitome of biological evolution that overlapped somewhat with Baoh. Visually speaking as well, as a manga artist, I really enjoyed drawing a technique where flesh and blade merge like that. In my opinion, taking those two completely different materials--flesh and blade--is something you can only do in manga. For example, the movie Terminator 2 had an enemy that could morph his arm like memory alloy into a metal spear, but that's not what I was picturing for this. The blade I wanted to draw was something more organic, more skin-like. I think I was able to convey what I wanted to because of this medium, black-and-white manga! I can freely draw things that can't even be done with Hollywood CG. Besides Kars's technique, there are several ways I feel like I'm helped out by manga as a medium. Both then and now, I never forget how thankful I am for manga.

Lastly, there are likely some of you out there that think Kars might come back to Earth at some point, but as the creator, I actually drew this with the intention of him never coming back again (Laughs). The line about him "deciding to stop thinking" was something that came to me naturally when I was thinking about what you would do if you were journeying through space and you became unable to return. The fact that he cannot fulfill his wish to go back--no matter how much he wants to while time continues ticking on--may be the harshest punishment possible for Kars as the Ultimate Thing. That's why, unless I can come up with a logical reason for him to come back, like maybe him developing a compass-like ability, or crashing down on some other civilization, that final scene will be his last one.

Q. Why does only Kars get a turban?

A. It's to show his superior power and intelligence as their king, along with it having a jewel. If you liken the Pillar Men to Mito Komon, Kars would be Komon-sama, while Esidisi and Wamuu would be Suke-san and Kaku-san, respectively (Laughs). That's where I was coming from when drawing their poses for Part 2, Vols. 2 and 3. I made him naked from the waist up to contrast with that air of intelligence.





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