In each volume of JoJonium, there is a section in the back of the book containing an interview with Hirohiko Araki discussing the character featured on the cover. These interviews act as small biographies outlining the creation process of said character and Araki's thoughts at the time.
The pages also include a picture of the character, their profile, and a one question Q&A regarding the character design choices of the cover illustrations.
Volume 1 (Jonathan Joestar)
There are limitations on how I could write the character because he was a "symbol of justice," so he may be a little on the boring side. I solidified his character as I went. Jonathan is passive, reacting to Dio's various attacks, and this leads to him discovering his way of life. Perhaps this is linked to me as an author, growing along with my character as I drew him. Just as Jonathan was unsure as to how to live his life, I was unsure where to take the character. Maybe I grew as an author a little with Jonathan as he trudged on through his hardships.
In Part 1, during the seven years after Danny's death, Jonathan gets very muscular. This change was made with the upcoming battle between him and Dio in mind. I thought his physique needed to be able to withstand the constant onslaught from this point on. In addition, when this part was originally being serialized, it was the era of "muscles" on the silver screen—guys like Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Schwarzenegger, for example, could never be stopped by an amount of gunfire right? I wanted Jonathan to have a similar look to him—a look of unstoppableness. Weekly Shonen Jump also has a history and tradition of main characters evolving and growing.
I also wanted Jonathan to exude an aura of strength like in Karate Baka Ichidai after doing martial arts training alone in the mountains. As a child, I loved karate manga—you would see all kinds of supernatural strength, like punching electrical poles and having the birds on the wires drop down or someone trying to stab another person with a knife, only to have the knife bend. In actuality, martial arts does have a certain mystique to it, such as strengthening punches with breathing techniques. I wanted to include supernatural things like that in JoJo, and I believe that the Ripple is inspired by my love of karate manga.
Q. Did Dio and Danny make up?A. Just for the cover. It's hard drawing characters from Part 1 after all this time, but it feels like meeting up with old friends.
Volume 2 (Will Anthonio Zeppeli)
Mr. Zeppeli* was named after the rock band "Led Zeppelin." They are top-tier musicians to me, so I felt I had to reference their name with this character, albeit it's really a shame I used it so early—kind of like playing the Joker right at the beginning of a card game. Therefore, I had to resolve myself to that when I debuted Mr. Zeppeli. It's also important how the name sounds; there are a lot of "J" names in the series like JoJo, Jonathan and Joestar that are similar, so I wanted to balance out the names with a "Z" like Zeppeli. I made sure to do the same thing with Speedwagon.
Mr. Zeppeli teaches the Ripple to Jonathan and leads him on his quest to destroy the stone mask. I like teachers who are silly and make you wonder whether or not they're missing a screw up there. Like in Jackie Chan movies, the master's always a drunkard—so how can he be so strong? Same thing in The Karate Kid. Their outside appearance may be a little off, but it's what's underneath that is deserving of respect. These characters have charm because of the gap between their exterior and interior, and because you can't judge them by their covers. Mr. Zeppeli may look weak at first glance, but he's actually strong, even though I dressed him like a magician and gave him the mustache of a snake oil salesman. His mustache was actually inspired by those worn by the painter Salvador Dali and Osomatsu-kun's Iyami.
However, the mustache requires a lot of courage to pull off in a shonen magazine. Mainly because it makes the character look older and untrustworthy, no matter the type of mustache. As for Mr. Zeppeli—while he serves as JoJo's master, it's not like he's an old man far older than JoJo. He's also the lead supporting character. I might have turned readers off with him, so it took courage. He's a type of character that I haven't really used in any of my other work, but one that I wanted to use for the reasons I mentioned above. Thinking about it now, it may have been a "gamble" or "adventure" on my part. Back then I probably figured, "Eh, it's JoJo, it'll work out." It is a Bizarre Adventure, after all.
Lastly, to my credit, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken) came out before the Japanese TV drama series Bizarre Stories in This World (Yonimo Kimyou na Monogatari). Let's get this straight.
Q. Could the sphere on his cane be…?A. It's a steel ball from Steel Ball Run. Zeppeli is known for his silken top hat. It's a cool shape and if you curve the diamond design, it looks three-dimensional.
Volume 3 (Dio Brando)
In regards to how he contrasts with Jonathan, I wanted to tackle how you represent the ultimate villain as depicted against a symbol of justice. How exactly would he fall into that role of "villain"? People always love to compare who's stronger or who's cooler. You've got Godzilla versus Mechagodzilla, Schwarzenegger vs. Stallone… I wanted there to be that sort of contrast or struggle between Dio and Jonathan.
Additionally, FBI psychological profiling was a hot topic around the time that I wrote this. Why do serial killers do what they do, scientifically speaking? I was inspired by that when I was working on Dio. Guys like that are true scumbags, rotten to the core. Yet, I've always sort of thought that they're actually incredibly strong for being table to commit such crimes. Why do they go so far? Do they do it just to see if they can? The "control" aspect of it interests me as well. There was a famous case in America where a man trapped several women in a room and brought them out, one at a time, into another room to kill them. All of these women were waiting, together, for their turn to get killed. I can't imagine what their mental state was like at that point… Thinking rationally, you wonder why they wouldn't try to make a break of it, or why they wouldn't try to band together and overpower the killer? There has to be some way to resist. However, if you look into the process by which people control others, you start to see what's effective. There are many ways, including instilling fear, but I always found the act of controlling others strangely fascinating.
That's why Dio wasn't simply a strong villain, but a character that controls others and had admirers that served him. As an antagonist, it makes it suspenseful for the reader, as they wonder how he can be beaten. During serialization, I actually hadn't prepared a weakness for Dio. It's the best kind of suspense when you are on edge. How will they overcome him if Ripple doesn't work? The stronger the enemy, the better. It was hard coming up with a way for him to be defeated, though.
Q. Why is Dio naked?A. He wanted to show off his beautiful body. If I try, I can draw these characters to look the way they did, but they're living, breathing things. They do end up looking like completely different people when drawn in a modern style.
Volume 4 (Joseph Joestar)
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)
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)
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)
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' quest to become the epitome of biological evolution that overlapped somewhat with Baoh. Visually speaking as well, as a mangaka, 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' 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 Being. 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.
Volume 8 (Jotaro Kujo)
Clint Eastwood, who I love and respect as an actor, served as the model for Jotaro. Jotaro's trademark pose where he points his finger actually was inspired by Eastwood pointing his .44 Magnum. Even details such as Jotaro's catchphrase being "good grief" take inspiration from parts that Eastwood played, where he'd have lines like "A bank robbery? You have to be kidding me…" That's why Jotaro seems a bit "rougher" compared to other Jump protagonists. Joseph might be a little easier to get into from a Weekly Shonen Jump perspective, but Jotaro actually fits my image of a hero to a tee.
My image of a hero is that of a loner. As opposed to someone who does the right thing looking for compensation or attention from others, my idea of a hero is someone who is an unappreciated symbol of justice. There are times where taking the correct path leads to loneliness. I also think that heroes shouldn't be in the business of making friends. Jotaro goes on his journey while keeping his feelings bottled up inside because he's a "lone hero." He doesn't celebrate in an over-the-top manner when he defeats an enemy. For him, a throwaway "good grief" is plenty.
Jotaro has become big enough to function as a synonym for JoJo as a whole. I've actually based subsequent JoJos on his visual design and differentiated them from there. My original vision for Jotaro was having him journeying through the desert while wearing his school uniform, and with that, fantastical and bizarre things would happen to him during his day-to-day life. On top of that, it's not your everyday uniform. He's got a chain hooked on to his collar, two belts… I played around with his design quite a bit until I got something that conveyed just the right amount of rebellion. Speaking of teenage rebels, you know how guys used to have chains hanging from their pants, connected to their wallets? I drew Jotaro with his chain on his uniform first (laughs)! Let's add that to the record as well.
Q. What is the meaning of Star Platinum's pose?A. It represents the starting point for Part 3--the work of Mitsuteru Yokoyama. The concept of wearing one's school uniform in the desert has its roots in Yokoyama Sensei's Babel II. If were to draw Part 3 all over again, I would have used Yokoyama Sensei's Tetsujin 28-go as inspiration for the Stands, representing a return to the basics.
Volume 9 (Joseph Joestar)
This was fifty years after the battle with the Pillar Men. I had considered having him drop out partway through due to his age, but I figured I'd play it by ear as the serialization chugged along. The first role I gave to Joseph was that of the "navigator." After all, who better than to have a previous JoJo introduce us to the Joestar family, DIO, the Ripple, and Stands, leading us from the Ripple Arc (Parts 1 and 2) into Part 3? However, he is a previous JoJo, so I took care to make him not look like a protagonist. I wanted to make it clear that Jotaro was the main character of Part 3, and I couldn't let the readers get confused either. Thankfully, this part takes place fifty years after the events of Part 2, so I was able to make some drastic changes to his appearance without it feeling out of place (laughs).
Joseph's Stand, Hermit Purple, is more of a supporting ability, allowing visual and aural psychic projection. Even though he was a former protagonist, I didn't give him your typical offensive ability for the reasons I mentioned earlier--I wanted to make his ability fitting for his role as "navigator." A guide needs "lines" that connect him across the world so he can receive information. I was inspired by telephone lines or network cables. If he connects to a camera, it outputs a photograph; if he connects to a TV, it outputs video--the vines from his Stand represent that physical "line" or cable connecting them. Additionally, the form of the vines also has to do with Joseph being a Ripple user.
One of the things I wanted to do from the beginning of JoJo was visually express supernatural abilities. The Stand is a succession of the Ripple, and both are rooted in the same concept, so with Joseph reappearing in Part 3, I wondered how to visualize the Ripple in terms of a Stand. The Ripple is life energy which spreads across the body through breathing methods. The vines are meant to be an explicit visual expression of that--literally wrapping themselves around his body. If Jotaro and the rest of the Stand-using crew went back in time fifty years prior, maybe you could have seen a younger Joseph using Hermit Purple.
Q. Why is Hermit Purple purple?
A. Purple is a classy color. It's easy to make work with older characters. I decided on this after taking into account the Joestars and their associated colors. I figured that purple would work better with Joseph in his sixties as opposed to someone younger (laughs).
Volume 10 (Hol Horse)
I had planned from the beginning to have Kakyoin and Polnareff switch allegiances away from DIO to join the group, but I didn't plan this for Hol Horse. However, I don't think it would have been such a bad idea to have him join the group. Maybe I didn't because I love Westerns and it would have felt like a shame to remove the iconic “outlaw gunman” from the group somewhere along the way. I also liked his “why be number one when you can be number two” philosophy on life, which also carried on to Kira Yoshikage in Part 4. I drew him on a color title page like he was part of the crew, and I had him show up multiple times after his first appearance. However, my conclusion was that he would throw off the balance of the group if he were to join. As far as his character is concerned, both his looks and his personality overlap somewhat with Polnareff, and I felt that it would be difficult to work in his Emperor Stand as an ally.
The Emperor's motif is a gun, and I didn't add very many limitations based on how many could shoot or his firing distance. Unlike Mista from Part 5, who was only limited to six shots, Emperor is a Stand, including the gun itself... I figured as long as the user himself doesn't get tired, he could shoot as many bullets as he wanted, and as I kept going with it, it kind of got out of control. Also, the whole aiming and shooting at an enemy part overlaps with Kakyoin's Emerald Splash. In the end, I made the decision based on his character and ability to have him remain as an enemy, Additionally, I didn't have any more humans join the group after that. We had the cute little dog Iggy instead to assist the Joestar party. From a balance perspective, I was totally fine with that (laughs).
Q. Hol Horse looks a lot like Gyro from Steel Ball Run!A. They're connected in that they're both tough outlaws. They both have that "spaghetti western" feel to them. Crank that aspect up a little bit more and that's my image of Gyro. At the time this was serialized, I might have also been inspired by another gun slinging outlaw, Buichi Terasawa's Cobra.
Volume 11 (Enya the Hag)
The same goes for her Stand, Justice. There are several horror films that deal with some sort of unknown virus coming down from space and putting humanity in danger. That was the inspiration for why I had her Stand "infect" the town, and why I had it in the form of "fog." This is a bit off-topic, but I consider Frankenstein's monster, werewolves, and mummies to be the three greatest designs in the world of horror. I think it's absolutely fantastic to imagine how you can start to unwrap one part of a mummy's bandages and it'll just keep going and going. I drew her son J. Geil's Stand, "Hanged Man," based on a mummy, but I worked the essence of a merman into him as well. Both mother and child are truly denizens of the world of horror, through and through.
Looking back on it now, Enya is chock-full of all of my favorite aspects of horror, so I had a fantastic time drawing her, even during the original serialization. I'm still not sure whether she was an appropriate enemy for a shonen manga, though. It's pretty "adventurous" to have an old woman as an antagonist for the main character to face off with, after all. The ratings didn't necessarily go up during that time either (laughs). No matter how much I may like her personally, there's no mistaking that the ability to convey her strength and horror as a character despite the fact that she's an old woman is something unique to JoJo due to the existence of Stand battles. I talked about this in Volume 2 of JoJo Part 2 when I was discussing Lisa Lisa, but when Part 2 was being serialized, I realized that if you worked in supernatural elements the outward physical strength of women and children would no longer matter. Stands use the concept of the Ripple and take it to the next level of visual representation. Despite being "just an old woman," she can use her Stand to disguise an entire town. Both Enya's looks and the concept of her Stand had a strong impact on readers. One last thing--I think having the mental strength to be able to control an entire town's worth of corpses would match up pretty closely with that which would be needed to stop time.
Q. Why is an enemy Stand called "Justice"?A. I like that it makes you ponder what "justice" really is. "Justice" is a subjective thing, after all. Enya is on the cover for this volume, so I put a lot of detail into this drawing, including the wrinkles on her face. Her eyes look a bit more friendly than usual, but well...she is this volume's "cover girl" (laughs).
Volume 12 (Noriaki Kakyoin)
Kakyoin is the Japanese main character in Part 3 other than Jotaro, but I didn't really think about his nationality much. His name is much more interesting. I always come up with first and last names together. I took his last name, "Kakyoin," from an area in Sendai, where I'm from. Whenever I went to Sendai Station, I would always pass through there, so it was a very familiar name to me. I gave him the following kanji for his last name: 典明. Kanji can be read in different ways, and while canonically this is read as Noriaki, I had always read it as Tenmei. You can see this in the hotel log where he signs his name (see the last volume). I spent a lot of time considering the sound and the balance of the kanji characters for the main character, Jotaro Kujo, but my editor had a "Noriaki" join the Joestar party instead (wry laugh). I was pretty shocked when I first saw that in the graphic novel release, but I justified it as that maybe his parents named him "Tenmei," but his friends called him by a different reading of the same kanji, "Noriaki"--a relatively common thing to happen with kids.
I didn't really pay much mind to the fact that he was of Japanese nationality, but I did have him act as a foil to Jotaro. I had him be Jotaro's first real opponent in a Stand vs. Stand battle so that I could visually convey the concepts for both short-range and long-range Stand abilities to the reader. I thought making Kakyoin's Hierophant Green able to stretch itself out like a rope as a long-range type would contrast nicely with Star Platinum, making it easy to understand how they differ in action. I had lots of ideas for long-range attacks, but I wanted to keep things from getting too far out of control by having Stands need to "stand" near where the action was happening.
I didn't get too many chances to actually show this, but Kakyoin goes to the same high school as Jotaro. While they're not super close on their journey, they do have a nice friendship, and I wonder what might have happened had they not had Stands in common. They might not have become friends (laughs). I have a feeling that Kakyoin would have been better friends with Josuke from Part 4.
Q. Did you ever consider making him wear something other than a gakuran (Japanese school uniform) to distinguish him from the main character?
A. Kakyoin's well-tailored gakuran gives him the feel of being an honor student. Meanwhile, Jotaro's loose-fitting gakuran fits with him being a delinquent. You can distinguish characters like that even though they might be wearing the same outfit. I think the accessories I gave Jotaro helped distinguish him as well.
Volume 13 (Muhammad Avdol)
I put him out of commission for a while when the party was in India. I did that because I never want readers to get bored or complacent with the events taking place, so I wanted to inject a little reality in there with having someone get sacrificed every once in a while. I also was enamored with writing chapters where an ally is lost. But in the end, as you know, I wasn't planning on keeping him gone for long... The thing is, I thought it was kind of lame to have someone who died just come back to life immediately, so I wanted to come up with a good reason, as well as an appropriate setting to reintroduce him. When I'm working on JoJo, I try not to sweat the small things. In the end, I brought him back just before the party got to Egypt, but at the time, I didn't have any specific plans as to when I would bring him back. I just wrote what felt natural to me at the time.
Looking back on it now, I probably should have given Avdol a section where he played more of a primary role in the story, especially given the fact that I took him out of commission for a while. Of course, this is all in hindsight after having finished the story. At the time Part 3 was in serialization, it might have been quite an "adventure" to have the story focus on Avdol (laughs wryly). If we had a character popularity poll at the time, I doubt he would have ranked at the top. All the readership wanted was more battles featuring Jotaro. On top of that, his Stand, Magician's Red, was difficult to draw. The ability to control fire is a pretty common thing in manga, as well as movies, but in the end, they just burn things up and that's about it. If you play it too loose, as an ability, it can break the balance. After writing JoJo, I think "fire" and "poison" are two abilities that I'm okay with putting behind lock and key.
If I were to write a portion of the story centering on Avdol, I think it would have been an origin story featuring his family--in particular, his relationship with his father. It might end up being a bit too mature of a story for Weekly Shonen Jump (laughs).
Q. Did Avdol get younger?!
A. He's actually supposed to be in his late twenties. He's younger than you might expect! He may look as if he's older than that, but if you ask someone who's been in the army their age, it always surprises you how young they are, right? Experience gives men a mature look.
Volume 14 (Daniel J. D'Arby)
I think of gambling as something where you bet your own soul and pride as part of the process. To me, the money and chips you actually use at a real casino are just a representation of your soul. So it felt natural to have D'Arby take the souls from his opponents once they lost. Well, the fact that I can depict it the way I did is all thanks to the concept of Stands (laughs). As far as gambling is concerned, you can only win or lose--there is no in-between. With D'Arby as the sole challenger, I wanted to give him the mental fortitude and strategic cunning to give Jotaro a run for his money, as well as be able to instill some fear.
I had D'Arby face off with the Joestar party in a few different ways. I like coming up with ideas for gambling because you can turn almost anything into a bet. Bets involving animals are particularly interesting to me. It's hard to predict what they're going to do, so it works as a bet. I like situations where it doesn't seem possible to cheat, but maybe they actually are somehow. It's also important for the bet to feel like it fits JoJo. Poker is pretty mainstream, so I assume many of you have played it before, but the key point to winning at it is perfecting the "bluff." It's less of a surefire way to win the battle, and more of a battle of wits between you and your opponent, testing just how much you can fool them along with just how gutsy you are, so I think it was appropriate for the final face-off between Jotaro and D'Arby. I really enjoyed drawing the D'Arby battle, so I introduced his younger brother, Telence, before the final showdown with DIO. I didn't want to give readers yet another poker match, so that time I had them play video games instead. Video games have all kinds of genres, like baseball or racing, so I had plenty of ideas to play around with, just like with the gambling theme.
Looking back on it now, I think introducing the D'Arby brothers and the Oingo Boingo brothers in Part 3 separated JoJo from other manga, because it allowed me to add just that much more variation to the battles. Jotaro and D'Arby's gambling battle led to Josuke and Rohan's dice battle in Part 4, and in JoJolion, which is being serialized right now, Josuke and Jobin's beetle fight. Battles in JoJo can be both fistfights and battles of wits. I think the D'Arby battle might have been the starting point for that.
Q. Who got turned into soul chips?!A. Polnareff, Joseph, Kakyoin and Avdol. Only drawing two didn't seem like enough, and it wouldn't make sense to draw characters who didn't have anything to do with that part of the story, so I added Kakyoin and Avdol here as a special bonus. Looking at these, you can easily imagine a story where Jotaro saves them all.
Volume 15 (Iggy)
Just like with Polnareff and Kakyoin, I didn't originally plan for Iggy to join the Joestar party. I also didn't initially assign him a Stand and tarot card. I feel like The Fool is a perfect fit for Iggy, but at the time, it was the last card I had left to assign besides The World. Furthermore, I was considering having The Fool belong to an enemy instead. Things just kind of ended up working out the way they did, but given how much I love the design for The Fool, it's kind of crazy that it ended up being the last one left for me to assign.
When I design Stands, I often take inspiration from artifacts such as clothing, masks, and dolls from indigenous peoples. Once I fuse that aspect with something biological or mechanical, it makes a really unique design. Originally, I imagined Stands as being something inorganic powered by life force, so it makes sense that a lot of their designs are fusions between living beings and machines. The Fool's design starts out with a dog, and then adds on a Native American mask and the tires of a car. I think The Fool really represents my ideal design for a Stand.
I really enjoy looking at animal encyclopedias and reference books, but Iggy was actually the first animal I'd put into a main role in a manga. It was the first time I'd ever made one battle as well, so I used Yoshihiro Takahashi Sensei's Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin as a reference. The more I drew Iggy, the more I found myself becoming a dog lover. I actually thought about getting a Boston terrier, the breed that Iggy is, but I gave up on it, since given my job, it would be hard to take care of a dog. But if I were to ever get one, I think I'd really enjoy playing Frisbee with it. I guess I wouldn't get a Chihuahua or a toy poodle then, since they don't seem like they'd enjoy playing with me that (laughs).
Q. Tires make up the lower half of The Fool. What inspired that?A. Formula One race cars. Shonen Jump was actually sponsoring a formula One team back when this was being serialized. I'd see them in the magazine a lot. It's not as it The Fool is a super speedy Stand, but it was relevant at the time, so I worked it in.
Volume 16 (Jean Pierre Polnareff)
For example, when he's with Jotaro and Joseph, I could have him spout both goofy lines and serious ones, making him a very versatile character to employ. From bathroom-related issues to traps set by enemy Stands, Polnareff is the first one in the group to tackle them. It wouldn't be as fun if the aloof Jotaro were to do so instead. As such, naturally, Polnareff needed to make more appearances. Polnareff is straightforward and a bit of a rubbernecker compared to Kakyoin or Avdol, which allows him to get into all sorts of hijinks. As such, he may have had an advantage as to how often he appeared in the series. Also, from my perspective as the artist, he also had the most memorable silhouette out of the good guys by far. I used foreign models as reference for his hair. I sort of drew it like Stroheim's from Part 2, but done up.
More appearances in the story means more fights for him to take part in. Devo, J. Geil, Alessi, Vanilla Ice...he ended up fighting many of DIO's underlings, all with very different abilities. Back when this was being serialized, I was always writing those fights with the intention that Polnareff could lose and face death at any given moment. Like in the movie The Magnificent Seven, I wanted the reader to never know who would survive until the end--to experience the thrill of lives being on the line--and I think his fights definitely had that in them. I think it's because he made it through so many life-or-death situations that I feel like he grew the most along the way.
Lastly, as for the origin behind his name, Jean P. Polnareff: my three favorite French people are the actors Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo, and the musician Michel Polnareff, so naturally, I drew inspiration from their names. The character is French, so naturally, his name would have to be Jean P.! Now there's also the famous chocolatier, Jean-Paul Hévin, so I think I would think the same way, even now.
Q. He doesn't usually have a coat. Why does he have one now?A. I imagined him like a supermodel or a rock star. His original outfit was pretty simple, and I mean, he's going to be on the cover so why not have him dress up for it? Also, the reason why Silver Chariot is purple is so it's coordinated with Polnareff's outfit.
Volume 17 (DIO)
What is the destiny that DIO has to face? It's not to face off with Jotaro, the descendant of Jonathan. It's something invisible to the eye that lies behind their bloodline. It's what gives the Joestars their allies, the Ripple, Stands, and their uncanny luck... that's what I define as the Joestars' "destiny," and instead, what DIO is destined to do is to quash that and surpass it. As such, he doesn't view Jotaro himself as his archenemy—rather, DIO only views him as an obstacle to overcome in order to fulfill his destiny after his hundred-year slumber. In the end, DIO wasn't able to achieve his goal, but it's fun to imagine what things would have been like if he had been able to defeat Jotaro. I'm sure he would have beaten down anyone who he thought had the potential to challenge his position at the top of the food chain. Even after defeating Jotaro, perhaps someone else would inherit his will. After all, DIO had already experienced that once before. However, DIO is more of the reactionary type, so he probably would have continued to take root in Egypt and wait for his prey to come to him.
I had been working with DIO's character since Part 1, so I would often try and put myself in his shoes and imagine myself as a vampire. Those who put on the stone mask have to take the lives of others in order to keep on living. During the part where DIO is chasing after Joseph and Kakyoin, I wrote a scene where he takes a moment to marvel at the sight of cars. One would have to be an immortal vampire to experience something like that, so I actually found myself feeling a bit envious of him. If you slept long enough, for example, you could see a country instantly change from a monarchy into a democratic society—experiences that the average person could never have. As long as you had humans to feed on and you remained in good health, I think it would be pretty fun. Do vampires even get sick to begin with? (laughs)
Speaking of DIO, I'll never forget how my editor suddenly ended up in the hospital right when DIO and Jotaro were in the midst of their final battle. I remember panicking because Part 3 was rapidiy approaching its end, and it's not like I could stop and wait for him! He would always give me really good specific feedback on things like Stand designs. "This one is too similar to something you've already done, so try and differentiate their silhouettes a bit more." It was tough working without him. What's that? Did he give feedback on the design for DIO's The World? Hmm... I'm not sure about that one (laughs wryly).
Q. You already drew DIO naked for Part 1. Why did you do it again?A. It makes him seem more like a Greek or Roman god. In Parts 1 through 3, besides DIO, there are other examples of me drawing characters like this, such as the Pillar Men. However I stopped doing it as much after I changed the setting to be a bit closer to home for Part 4 onward.