The latest episode of the manga’s popular spin-off series Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe is now out, but in an unlikely magazine!
2017 is undoubtedly a big year for manga artist Hirohiko Araki, whose internationally popular manga series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The manga even got its first ever live-action film adaptation, which was released in Japan earlier this month (which I thought was not exactly what you would call a spectacular piece of work, but still a commendable effort to recreate the unique world of JoJo), and to coincide with the movie’s release, a new chapter in the spin-off series Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe was published in the latest September edition of the girls’ manga magazine Bessatsu Margaret. Now, this was a treat we weren’t going to miss!
▼ The September issue of Bessatsu Margaret, which came out on August 12, certainly seems to have the look of a typical girls’ comic magazine.
▼ But upon closer inspection, you’ll see Araki’s distinctive artwork on the lower right area of the cover
▼ And if you turn the magazine around to the back cover, you’ll get a full dose of Araki-sensei’s artistic handiwork. His unique use of color is as stunning as ever.
Now, anyone even remotely familiar with the JoJo series may find it surprising that this newest addition to the franchise has been published in a girls’ comic magazine, because one thing the manga — which contains supernatural and bloody battles in abundance — definitely isn’t is “girly”.
And while the spin-off Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe is lighter on the violence and fighting than the original JoJo comics, it still is a series of dark, mysterious short stories with chilling and unexpected twists which reads like a cross between the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Roald Dahl, so it certainly was unexpected for the latest episode to appear in the very “girly” Bessatsu Margaret.
The somewhat disturbing yet captivating spin-off series focuses on the strange events surrounding the fictional manga artist Rohan Kishibe, a highly popular character who appears in the manga’s fourth story arc Diamond is Unbreakable, and is often considered to be Araki’s alter-ego. The masterful storytelling which combines elements of horror, mystery and the supernatural in short yet densely packed episodes has garnered a strong following among JoJo fans.
▼ Here’s the first page of the episode with a cover illustration in color.
▼ The episode included a page (pictured on the right) with a synopsis of the Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe series, as readers of girls’ comic magazines may not be familiar with the story and characters.
▼ The new chapter was titled “D・N・A”. What mysteries will this latest story bring?
▼ Just for a bit of fun, the Bessatsu Margaret issue also included a page of stickers with artwork from the spin-off series.
So how is the newest addition to the Rohan Kishibe spin-off series? Without giving out any specific details, it feels somewhat milder in tone than some of the other stories in the spin-off, and perhaps it also leaves more elements unexplained than usual, but the 50-page episode was intriguing nonetheless. It was also a bonus that we got to see another familiar character from Diamond is Unbreakable appear in the story; it felt almost like seeing an old friend, even if Araki’s art style has changed noticeably over the years. Based on comments on the Internet, fans also seemed to be satisfied overall with the new chapter, with many of them feeling that Araki did a decent job of adjusting the tone of the story just enough to make it girls’ magazine-friendly.
We hope there’s more excitement to come for JoJo’s 30th anniversary, and we’ll certainly be looking forward to Rohan’s next adventure. We just hope we won’t have to wait too long, Arkai-sensei!