Manga artist Hirohiko Araki is best known for his hugely popular JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure comic series, which began in 1986 and is still going strong today, after nearly 30 years. But now fans of the series can look forward to enjoying one of Araki’s works in a different form this fall — as a theatrical production! This is actually the first time a manga by Araki will be turned into a play, so fans are bound to be excited, but, as it turns out, it’s not a story from the JoJo series that we’ll be seeing on stage. Instead, it’s a short story with a fast-paced and bizarrely creepy plot, known in English by the title Under Execution, Under Jailbreak, and fans are already abuzz with speculation about the upcoming production!
The Jojo series may be Arak’s lifework, but the artist has also created some very entertaining short story manga episodes over the years, some of which involve characters from JoJo, but also a good number that have no connection to the series at all. Either way, these short stories have all the elements that fans consider “classic” Araki. And Under Execution, Under Jailbreak, with Araki’s characteristic intricate artwork, unique use of color, and a plot that is a delightful combination of the supernatural, creepy, fantastical and slightly gory, is no exception!
Below is a close-up of the cover of the comic that includes the short story Under Execution, Under Jailbreak. The man featured here is actually a character from one of the other short stories compiled in this comic, but it gives you a good idea of Araki’s detailed and delicate artwork, especially his almost jarring combinations of vivid colors.
And this is the very beginning of the story, which starts with a young man being sentenced to death for some crime. Once the young man finds himself in his cell, the story quickly takes on a Twilight Zone quality as bizarre things start to happen…but then, we guess that’s to be expected with Araki, master of the bizarre!
It will certainly be interesting to see how they turn this surreal story into a stage production. They’ve already released the promotional image below for the play, and, if nothing else, the picture definitely does look surreal!
げきぴあ byチケットぴあ (@gekipia) August 11, 2015
The main character will be played by actor and dancer Mirai Moriyama, who is also the man in the promotional image. Moriyama has experience working with a dance company in Israel for a year as part of a government cultural exchange program and in Belgium as well, which should allow him the great breadth of expression necessary for this unique artistic endeavor.
The play is scheduled to be performed at the Ginga Theater in Tokyo’s Tennozu area from November 20 to 29 and then will go on tour in the cities of Sendai, Hiroshima, Sapporo, Toyama, and Osaka the following month. Fans genuinely seem excited at the prospect of seeing such an unusual story brought to life, and we’ll be waiting to hear what people think of it when it debuts. For now, kudos to the production team, as well as Moriyama and Araki, for taking on what could be a very daunting, albeit interesting, project!