Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan (TV Drama)
Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan (岸辺露伴は動かない Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai) is a live-action mini-series based on the manga series of the same name by Hirohiko Araki. It was produced by and aired on Japan's national broadcaster NHK from December 28 to December 30, 2020 and December 27 to December 29, 2021.
Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan consists of six episodes, each of them being loose adaptations of one of the Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan short stories. Episodes 1 and 3 are based on stories originally featured in the manga, Millionaire Village and D.N.A.. Episode 2 is based on the short story Kushagara written by novelist Ballad Kitaguni for the Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan: Short Story Collection series.
Actor Issey Takahashi stars in the series as the titular character Rohan Kishibe, an eccentric mangaka originally featured in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable. He plays alongside Marie Iitoyo who plays the character of Kyoka Izumi, Rohan's editor, adapted from the same character in Millionaire Village. Unlike the original one-shots, Kyoka is now a recurring character and reappears in all of the episodes. Tomoya Nakamura also plays the original character Taro Hirai, Kyoka's boyfriend.
On August 14, 2021, NHK announced that a second season consisting of three additional episodes were in production and would be broadcasted in December of the same year. Issey Takahashi and Marie Iitoyo will reprise their roles as Rohan Kishibe and Kyoka Izumi. Three additional actors will make special appearances in each of the three new episodes: Sho Kasamatsu in Episode 4, Ennosuke Ichikawa in Episode 5, and Rio Uchida in Episode 6.
The cafe where Kyoka Izumi and Taro Hirai drink is the real-life cafe Enokitei Honten, situated in Yokohama. Scenes of Rohan Kishibe and Kyoka Izumi trekking in the forest were shot in the forest of Shinano Province in Nagano Prefecture. The cascade where Kyoka rests was identified as the Tateshina Otaki. The luxurious mansion of the Millionaire Village is in reality a house named the Omori-Musasino (大森武蔵野苑). It is a historial site situated in Koganei, Japan. The tea cups used in the luxurious mansion are made of Coalport porcelain in an Adelaide shape with a phoenix motif, dating from approximatively 1830. Rohan's own tea cup shown at the end of the first episode is a Saint-Médard silver plated metal tea cup. Manners consultant Hiroko Nishide worked on the episode to guide the production team about the proper manners to adopt.
In Kushagara, the red book that Jugo Shishi grabs in his office is a volume from the Soseki Collection (漱石全集 Sōseki Zenshū), a collection of Japanese novelist Natsume Sōseki's works, published by Iwanami Shoten. The cafe where Rohan meets Jugo Shishi is the real-life cafe Yamata Jubankan situated in Yokohama. The sloped path in which Rohan tells Kyoka about "kushagara" is situated in a road in Yamanouchi. The place where Kyoka meets Taro is the Harbor View Park Observatory in Yokohama. The bookstore in which Rohan meets Jugo Shishi again is the real-life book store Tenpodokaribe in Yokohama. The isolated alley in which Rohan confront Jugo about his obsession is situated in a path in Tama Ward, Kawasaki, in the Kanagawa Prefecture. Jugo Shishi's office was filmed in a building in Kawasaki. The "university building" used in the introduction of the episode is in reality an annex of the Yamanashi Prefectural Office, in Yamanashi Prefecture. The shots of the Kushagara creatures in Jugo Shishi's throat were filmed using an upscaled model of Mirai Moriyama's throat with the creatures being manipulated like puppets by several production members.
In D.N.A., the park used as the production set for the episode is the Sagamihara Park. Mai and Mao Katahira's house is the Megurohonchou studio. The sloped path in which Rohan meets Mai and Mao Katahira is the Motomachi Park's Hitaizaka, in Yokohama. The hospital in which Taro is brought is actually the NHK's broadcasting center in Shibuya, Tokyo.
- Kyoka Izumi's boyfriend in Millionaire Village is fleshed out as Taro Hirai, a once world-renowned photographer.
- A subplot revolving around Taro's amnesia is added.
- Added a scene of Rohan turning two burglars into books.
- Added an epilogue with Kyoka's memory of the events being altered and Rohan refusing to mention the village in his stories to not endanger his readership.
- Added a scene of a guard discovering the dead university professor.
- Added a scene of Rohan reading about this incident.
- In Deoxyribonucleic Acid, instead of Heaven's Door's usual ability, it shows Mao, and later Mai and Taro's memories by literally transforming them into picture books. In the latter scene, Kyoka also transforms into a magazine, although Rohan refuses to read her memories.
- In the TV Drama, Mao is more withdrawn and has a habit of hiding. This is explained as Mai's constant efforts to hide her abnormal features.
There are several nods to the main JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series:
- If closed-caption is turned on, its text is formatted similarly to the original manga as well as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in general. For instance, Rohan and Kyoka often end their sentences with lowercase katakana.
- When Rohan turns one of the burglars into a book, one page of it mentions that he was in the same class as Toshikazu Hazamada in school. Hazamada ordered a mozzarella pizza from Tonio Trussardi and had it delivered to a test center. He was immediately called to the registrar's office. The burglar thinks about how a girl named Aya in their class should choose him instead of Hazamada while she still can. There is also the mention of a Tamami station.
- Rohan mentions Pink Dark Boy's Part 8 has just began serialization one month ago, referencing Part 8 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, JoJolion.
- When Ikkyu asks Rohan to leave the mansion after Rohan's right arm went limp, Rohan replies with his famous "But I refuse" quote from Chapter 386 of Diamond is Unbreakable.
- Cioccolata's name appears on a book titled Cioccolata's Operative Orthopaedics in Kushagara, which is based on the real life book named Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics.
- In Kushagara, the pizza box that Jugo Shishi brings to Rohan's home is labeled "Tonio pizza", after the character Tonio Trussardi.
- One page of a newspaper in Kushagara mentions Yoshikage Kira.
- A sketch resembling Noriaki Kakyoin can be seen in a room of Jugo Shishi's house, with the pose that Kakyoin assumes in Chapter 123. Sketches of Will Anthonio Zeppeli and Kars can also be seen.
- Heaven's Door's Stand form is never directly seen, akin to its appearance in the Let's Go to the Manga Artist's House story arc of Diamond Is Unbreakable.
- When Rohan turns someone into books, the type of pages differ depending on the victim. Kyoka's pages looks like a fashion magazine, while Ikkyu's pages look like refined book pages, Jugo Shishi's pages are a notebook full of scribbles.
- The word "Stand" is never uttered, and is replaced with the more generic term "gift".
- Kyoka takes more importance in the drama and becomes a recurring character, appearing in stories in which she was originally absent.
- The publisher of Pink Dark Boy is formatted as "Shumeisha" (集明社), rather than matching the real-life Shueisha (集英社).
- Kyoka Izumi is presented as Rohan's new editor and meets him for the first time at his house. When telling Rohan about the mountain village, she is also at his house rather than meeting him at a cafe.
- Kyoka's motivation for buying the villa is also to show moral support to Taro.
- Kyoka only commits two breaches: putting her finger in the tea cup's handle and answering the phone.
- Previous breaches like stepping on the edge of a tatami are pointed out as rookie mistakes.
- Her breaches result in her dog Maron and Taro being endangered.
- When Rohan turns Ikkyu into a book, his punishment is not Kyoka's death, but rather the loss of his right arm.
- Rohan turns Kyoka into a book and puts her to sleep for a while.
- Thus, he has to eat the corn with one hand instead of two like in the original one-shot. He technically commits a breach, but escapes punishment because Ikkyu commits the greater breach in trying to make Rohan fail on purpose.
- Omitted Jugo Shishi's new editor. Instead, it is the old editor who gave Jugo the list of forbidden terms and sentences.
- Developed the character of Jugo's editor, added a scene of him in a warehouse.
- The timeskip between Rohan and Jugo's first and second meetings is reduced to a week instead of a month.
- Rohan's fight with Jugo is briefer and Rohan doesn't actually strike Jugo.
- The climax of Kushagara happens at Rohan's office, in Kyoka Izumi's presence.
- Kyoka Izumi's boyfriend, Taro Hirai, replaces the character Obanazawa in the story.
- The original one-shot's plot point about sperm donation is omitted. The connection between Mao and Taro is changed into organ transplants from Akira Katahira to Taro.
- Obanazawa and Mai's husband Akira Katahira's quirk of opening canned coffee with their pinky finger as well as their habit of sticking their tongue out are both omitted, though Taro and Akira's mannerism of scratching their head with their pinky finger is kept. Instead, these quirks are replaced with Taro and Akira's preference for sweetened coffee.
- Yukako Yamagishi is completely omitted. Instead, Mai and Mao pass in front of Rohan's group while Kyoka is introducing Taro to a coincidentally-encountered Rohan.
- Rohan takes an interest in Mao and follows Mai to investigate her daughter.
- Instead of Yukako introducing Mai to Rohan, Kyoka pretends that Rohan is a hypnotherapist, which becomes the reason why she lets Rohan examine Mao.
- The character Tomoya is omitted.
- Added Mai's fear that her bloodline may be subject to the fate of having tragic accidents. It is explained as a mere coincidence.
Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan won the monthly Galaxy Award for the TV show category in January 2021. It was chosen because the drama beautifully recreated the bizarre world of the original work, and was steeped with a unique aesthetic sense with meticulous art and direction. Yasuko Kobayashi's script accurately depicted the essence of the original work and the actors all played their parts well. In particular, Mirai Moriyama made the most of his physical abilities and excellently portrayed a sense of discomfort with his character, Jugo Shishi.