review/manga “Rohan au Louvre” by Araki HirohikoPosted: October 6, 2011
The other day, I bought a book from Amazon.co.jp.
The title of the book is “Rohan au Louvre (Rohan goes to the Louvre)” and the author is Hirohiko Araki, who is famous for the manga “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.”
“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” is the second longest running manga in the Weekly Shonen Jump and it has over 100 volumes.
This “Rohan au Louvre ” is Araki’s newly written work for the “Bande Dessinee Project,” which is a project that Musee du Louvre in France is developing in collaboration with the publishing company, Futuropolis.
La bande dessinee is a European comic movement mainly from Belgium and France.
In this project, five cartoonists received the requests from Musee du Louvre, to create a work on the theme of Musee du Louvre freely. Araki was the only Japanese artist to participate in it.
Araki’s book was published in France in April of last year and the Japanese version was put on the market at the end of May of this year.
(I’m wondering why there was a lag time for the Japanese version like this? I’m sure Araki must have written it in Japanese and it didn’t need to be translated.)
The main character of this book, Kishibe Rohan is a sub character in “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.” He is a manga author in Japan. In this story, he goes to Paris to search for the mysterious “Blackest Picture in the world.”
To begin from the conclusion, I thought that it was not bad, but this is not the best work by Araki Hirohiko.
I think that he is better at long stories than short stories. If you expect to enjoy this as much as “Jojo’s…” then you will be disappointed.
However, the art work is really excellent and the first full color book by Araki Hirohiko is worth seeing.
Also, there is something to enjoy for fans of “Jojo’s.”
Kishibe Rohan is a character from “Jojo’s” and some other characters from “Jojo’s” appear in this story too.
You can see Josuke, who was the protagonist of part four of “Jojo,” and his friends, Okuyasu and Koichi. (Although Josuke had no dialogue and we could only see his backside.) If you are a fan of part four, you will be glad to see them.
You can also see young Rohan before his debut as a manga author and his first love. I love part four very much and my number one favorite character in “Jojo” except for the protagonists is Kishibe Rohan. So, I enjoyed this sufficiently.
Although I said that this is not his best, if you don’t compare it with other works of his, this story is sufficiently good.
I thought that this story was one volume in the “Thus spoke Kishibe Rohan” series, although there is no clear explanation on this story’s relationship with the other parts of the series.
It’s a series of short stories in which Kisibe Rohan talks about mysterious incidents he comes across.
死刑執行中 脱獄進行中 (SCオールマン愛蔵版)
The first story of the series is in Araki’s collection of short stories, “Carrying out execution and breaking out of prison.” The second one was published in the magazine “Jump Square,” but is not published in book form. (I prefer the second one, so I hope that it will be published in Araki’s collection book.)
If you want to read the second one immediately, you can read it on this site.
(Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan – Mutsukabezaka
The original Japanese title of the series is “Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai (Kishibe Rohan doesn’t move/act)” This title means that Kishibe Rohan is not the protagonist but the narrator for these stories.
He does not fight for justice nor does he battle with vicious enemies.
He only talks about strange occurrence that he experiences (or is involved in) when he was collecting material for his manga or just for his own curiosity.
This is the difference from the Jojo series. The protagonists of Jojo are the heroes and heroines of justice. They fight with vicious enemies and of course win. They are perfect characters for “Weekly Shonen Jump.”
The “Kisibe Rohan” series doesn’t have a good and fresh feeling like the Jojo series.
I think that this is the reason why the fans of Jojo complain.
However, I like this series.
He is an attractive character even though he is not a hero of justice. He primarily appears as an antagonist in the story of Jojo. He is a genius manga author, has super manga skill and doesn’t spare any effort for his manga. But, for the sake of making his manga his personality is very forcing, selfish, amoral and unfeeling for others.
In spite of being very eccentric, he is very attractive and he became a popular character on par with the protagonist.
It seems that he is the author’s favorite character. It may be the reason why Araki writes many spin off stories using this character.
I heard that people think that Araki is an eccentric person and came to be afraid of him because Kishibe Rohan is a very eccentric and arrogant character, but it is said that Araki is an affable person with commonsense in fact.
Kishibe Rohan is probably Araki’s ideal rather than his self-projection.
However, in “Kishibe Rohan goes to the Louvre,” his eccentricity is more restrained than in “Jojo…” and other stories.
When Araki was asked about this point in an interview, he answered like this;
“This Rohan is little bit different from “Jojo..” and other stories because this is a story for the Bande Dessinee project for Louvre. Although it’s possible that he is doing strange things out of the story…（Laughter) ”
It seems that Araki can change his character flexibly adjusting to requests, but there was a point that he didn’t dare to change.
Araki also talked about his work for Louvre like this;
“Bande Dessinee is avant-garde art rather than entertainment, different from Japanese manga. However, I wanted to be obstinate about making entertainment, because Japanese manga is entertainment. I thought this was the intention/purpose that they requested this work of a Japanese manga writer.”
Araki Hirohiko has pride as a manga author and is a fastidious manga author.
I think that he is an excellent manga author, although he is not like Kishibe Rohan.