- It’s been 20 years since you created Stone Ocean, a masterpiece of a manga featuring a female protagonist. What was the reason that you made the main character a woman?
Araki: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a manga series based around the theme of the protagonists inheriting the spirits of their ancestors. My goal was to make the main character of Stone Ocean, Jolyne Cujoh, a woman who would still be able to hold her own in a fight, both physically and mentally.
- How does the way you portray Jolyne Cujoh physically differ from those of your other male protagonists?
Araki: Even when depicting male characters, I often reference poses and styles used by women. And while drawing female characters, I try to make them more expressive and dynamic than they would be normally. In Jolyne’s case, I was very conscious of how muscular the character would be.
- The way the series focuses on spiritual power and the manifestation of “Stands” is very unique. What were you thinking when you came up with this concept?
Araki: Stands were created to reflect an “inner power” that’s invisible to the naked-eye. That’s why when I design Stands in my manga, I aim to match the ability and appearance to the personality of the user they’re tied to.
- So what was the design process for Jolyne’s Stand “Stone Free“?
Araki: Jolyne’s Stand “Stone Free” has the ability to turn itself into string and manipulate it. The more string it uses up, the weaker the main body becomes. This gives the Stand a “risk and reward” element that I think goes together very well.
- I’ve noticed that over time the characters in JoJo have become much slimmer, sexier, and softer from how you initially drew them. What was the reason for this change?
Araki: I think it’s because of how the times have changed. In the ’80s, main characters were drawn as the embodiment of adventure, with muscular bodies and strong features. However, when I came up with the concept of “inner power” in the ’90s, the bodies of the main characters started becoming more normal-sized (around 5’7″ to 5’9″).
- How does fashion tie into your manga?
Araki: Fashion plays a very important role in the creation of my manga because it helps highlight the appearance and personality of my characters.
- The characters in JoJo are very elegant and beautiful. Which character design is your favorite?
Araki: It would have to be Weather Report’s fur hat.
- I heard you’re personally involved in selecting the ending songs for the JoJo anime, so why did you choose “Distant Dreamer” by Duffy as the ending song for Stone Ocean?
Araki: When I listen to it, I vividly picture Stone Ocean's protagonist, Jolyne, within the coastal prison. Duffy’s “Distant Dreamer” is a great song and I love it very much.
- VOGUE Magazine has appeared many times in JoJo. Can you tell us the influence that VOGUE has had on your art?
Araki: VOGUE is a fashion magazine chock-full of avant-garde and artistic photos. Every time I read it, I get inspired to draw.
[Translated by Morganstedmanms (JoJo's Bizarre Encyclopedia)]