Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan - Episode 5
Episode 5: Millionaire Village (エピソード#05 富豪村, Episōdo #05 Fugō-mura) is a one-shot manga written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki as part of the Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan series, a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure spin-off starring Rohan Kishibe from Diamond is Unbreakable. The one-shot follows Rohan and his editor Kyoka Izumi as they attempt to purchase a villa in the mountains, only to find themselves subject to a test of etiquette with dire consequences for failure.
An OVA adaptation of the one-shot was announced on April 15, 2016 and was produced by David Production. The promotional DVD was made exclusive to applicants who had purchased the entirety of the Diamond is Unbreakable Blu-Ray or DVD set before July 31, 2017. Another adaptation of the one-shot was produced as a TV Drama and broadcasted on December 28, 2020.
The first two pages of the one-shot feature Rohan performing his morning hand exercises for his drawing session.
Rohan and a Shueisha magazine editor by the name of Kyoka Izumi are meeting at cafe in Morioh. They discuss the one-shot Rohan must complete by the end of the summer, Izumi suggests that Rohan talks about buying a villa in the mountains. She shows Rohan a satellite photography of an isolated yet incredibly luxurious village in the middle of the mountains. Having done research about the owners, the editor claims that whoever buys a property in the village becomes incredibly rich. She asks Rohan to come with her when she buys a villa, to use as a prompt for his one-shot.
Hiking up the mountains, Izumi mentions that the people in the village are intolerant when it comes to etiquette, and will not sell to anyone without manners. Thus, she warns Rohan to watch his manners, to his irritation. Finding a lost chick, Izumi places it in a candy box and decides to find the nest later. At the front door, a child butler named Ikkyu greets the two and leads them into a room to wait for the current owners, giving them tea as refreshment. Although they guess that they are being tested, the butler soon asks Izumi to leave as she's already breached three obscure rules of etiquette among which is stepping on a tatami's edges.
While Izumi begs for a second chance, which is granted, Rohan reaches into his pocket and realizes that the candy box sheltering the chick is overflowing with blood and vermin. Moreover Izumi's is devastated to learn on her mobile phone that her mother and fiancee both died in a car crash. Rohan immediately uses Heaven's Door on Ikkyu and realizes with horror that he is tested by the gods of the mountains, who punish breach of etiquette with the death of the transgressor's loved ones. His reckless action causes Izumi to have a heart attack. To save his editor, Rohan must face another trial. Finding himself sitting with a plate of corn, Rohan correctly deduces that the proper and only way to eat corn is to hold it with both hands. Moreover, Rohan has written on Ikkyu that he'd be unable to see the tatami's edges, causing him to breach etiquette three times. Izumi returns to life, and as a prize, he asks for Izumi's loved ones to be returned to her as well.
Upset, Ikkyu threatens Rohan who is confident of his safety since the one breaching etiquette was still Ikkyu. He immediately leaves without any intent to return, carrying the still unconscious but safe Izumi. Outside of the village, he gladly notices that the chick is also alive and healthy.
In Hirohiko Araki's Manga Techniques, Araki describes how he created Millionaire Village.
The idea of this one-shot came to Araki when he overheard a conversation between some homeowners and an association of hunters. The owners took issue with wild boars entering their property in the mountains and asked the hunters to exterminate them. Araki privately disapproved of this and took notes about the conversation. Later, when he was asked to write a one-shot, Araki combined the ostentation he felt from the owners' world and the opposite idea—respect for nature and the mountains—into the broader idea of etiquette. Thus Araki developed his idea of a battle of etiquette. The one-shot itself follows the classical structure of "introduction, development, twists, and resolution."
Araki aimed for a setting similar to present-day Japan, albeit with otherworldly elements, comparing the setting to Seishi Yokomizo's novels The Village of Eight Graves and The Inugami Curse. For the cover of the one-shot, Araki used a backdrop of a waterfall reminiscent of painter Hiroshi Senju's works. Araki drew chicks gathering around Rohan to reflect the theme of respect for nature.
The one-shot originally started with Rohan directly meeting Kyoka Izumi, but Araki later inserted several pages to present Rohan and give the readers the impression that something bizarre could be happening. Araki introduced Rohan from behind, as a mysterious figure, before he explicited his job as an eccentric manga artist.
The story starts with the conversation between Rohan and Izumi. Araki starts with an establishing shot to relay the setting. Through character design and dialogue, Araki establishes Izumi as an editor from Shonen Jump who is ambitious, conceited, positive and clashes with Rohan's ideas. Similarly, Rohan's character design and pen motif establishes him as a manga artist.
Araki focuses on a singular panel, the aerial shot of the Millionaire Village. He isolated the village by omitting any road and contrasted this with the number and designs of the buildings to show that it was a place for the rich elite. Moreover, the aerial viewpoint, meant to evoke that of a spy satellite, elicits a suspenseful mood. Finally, showing the village itself from afar presents the reader with an objective—visiting said village—so that the story and the characters always have a goal to work toward.
Kyoka explains that each of the property owners in the village were poor, but became rich after purchasing a property in the village at her age. This anecdote is meant to further engage the readers' attention, but Rohan's curious reaction is also shown, making it clear that his primary motive is curiosity.
Twists and Resolution
Later in the one-shot, Araki introduces the character of Ikkyu, whom Araki designates the antagonist of the story. Ikkyu's character design, with his snobbish attire and braided hair, is typical of Araki's concept of a shōnen manga villain. Moreover, the child's eerie appearance and impeccable manner mark him as a sinister character and signal the subject of the struggle. Ikkyu's introductory panel is also drawn from Rohan's point of view. As the butler opens the door, a glimpse of the manor is revealed, suggesting that the heroes will be venturing further inside.
As the story builds toward the climax, Araki's art becomes more dramatic and he adds focus lines, which were largely absent from the introduction, to heighten a sense of speed and impact. He also begins to use his trademark pounding (do-do-do-do) sound effects. To ramp up the stakes, Araki contrasts Izumi's punishment for her lack of manners with Rohan's struggle to save her, exposing Rohan's inner kindness in the process and leading the reader to empathize with him.
To resolve the conflict, Araki has Rohan use his power to turn Ikkyu's own manners against him. Araki avoided introducing any additional elements or forcing Izumi to save herself, as he prefers that his characters use their own strengths to tackle challenges.